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Recap / The Walking Dead S03 E02 "Sick"

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Season 3, episode 02


Rick encounters a potentially dangerous group of inmates who've been trapped inside the prison since the outbreak began.

After amputating Hershel's leg in the previous episode, Rick and Maggie rush Hershel back to Cell Block C while Daryl and T-Dog keep the prisoners at bay. The prisoners explain that they were locked in the cafeteria by a prison guard when riots broke out, and have been there for nearly ten months. The leader of the prisoners is named Tomas and he is armed with a revolver left with him by the prison guard. He and Daryl get into a standoff before Rick comes back and defuses the situation.

The prisoners follow Rick outside and are shocked to find that the group has killed over fifty walkers. Tomas demands that he and the other prisoners be given access to Cell Block C, reasoning that the prison belonged to them before Rick and the others arrived. Rick refuses, and a prisoner named Axel negotiates a compromise whereby Rick's group is to clear another cell block in exchange for half of the prison's food supplies, and the two factions will live in separate blocks. Rick's group moves their share of the food back to C Block, then begins to teach the prisoners how to engage and dispatch the walkers. Rick and the others look on in bemused disbelief as Tomas and the prisoners try to apply prison-style riot tactics to the undead.

During the ensuing clearing, one of the prisoners, Big Tiny, panics and stumbles into a group of walkers, sustaining deep scratches. The group explain to the prisoners that infections from walkers are fatal and he will eventually turn. As they debate what to do about him, Tomas suddenly attacks and kills Tiny. Tomas' utter lack of compassion or remorse unnerves Rick and the others.

In Cell Block C, Glenn, Maggie and Beth are trying to stabilize Hershel's condition when Carl shows up with supplies from the prison's infirmary. When he tells them he killed two walkers while securing the supplies, Lori questions his behavior. Carl is defiant, and Lori is forced to thank him for his act of heroism.

As Rick's group and the prisoners move through the cell block, Rick tells Daryl they should kill Tomas if he makes a wrong move. During one of the battles, Tomas' failure to obey Rick's commands exposes the group to a dangerously large group of walkers. In the ensuing fight, Tomas takes a swing at Rick, then shoves a walker toward him. After the walkers are cleared, Rick confronts Tomas. Tomas claims it was an accident, but Rick doesn't buy it and surprises everyone by splitting Tomas' skull open with a machete.

Another prisoner, Andrew, tries to attack Rick but ends up fleeing. Rick pursues him while Daryl and T-Dog stay with the two remaining prisoners. Rick chases Andrew into an enclosed yard containing several walkers, then locks the door and walks away. Andrew's screams and pleas for help are heard from outside.

Back in Cell Block C, Carol enlists Glenn's help in securing a female walker. She explains that she will need medical expertise if Hershel doesn't recover and Lori goes into labor. Glenn distracts the walkers while Carol captures one of the walkers and practices performing a c-section on it. Her actions are watched by an unseen observer in the woods. Inside, the rest of the group is administering to Hershel. When he suddenly stops breathing, Lori manages to administer CPR and revive him.

Rick returns to the remaining prisoners, and threatens to kill them for their association with Tomas. Axel begs for his life, but his fellow prisoner Oscar is stoic. Rick lets them go, and gives them the now-cleared cell block. Rick and the others return to Cell Block C and are relieved to discover that Hershel has pulled through.

Rick stands outside on a catwalk when Lori comes to visit him. She says that it was a good day, and Rick admits that she isn't a bad mother and that the group is grateful to her for saving Hershel's life. He touches her on the shoulder, but before anything more is said he turns and walks away.


  • Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: Big Tiny is The Big Guy of the prisoners and is the first one to bite it.
  • Black Comedy: The prisoners using riot tactics to try and take out walkers, and the expressions Rick, Daryl and T-Dog have watching them.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Big Tiny becomes not only the first casualty of the prison survivors, but of season 3 as a whole.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Lori is angry with Carl for going off on his own to the infirmary, and is perfectly justified to be concerned for the life of her child. Carl points out, however, that he can fend for himself now, and that Hershel’s life being in danger was a justified reason to go into danger himself to help him. Though Lori is forced to thank Carl, he also gets out of line by talking back to her even when she is conciliatory, earning him a stern chastising from Beth.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Big Tiny expresses concern for his mother upon learning what happened with the rest of the world.
  • Face Death with Dignity: A non-lethal example. When at Rick's mercy, Oscar remains calm and stoically boasts that he's never pleaded for his life and doesn't plan to do so.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Tomas beats Big Tiny to death, the killing blows happen off-screen.
  • Ironic Echo: "Shit happens." First delivered by Tomas to Rick, then from Rick to Tomas just before chopping his head in with a machete.
  • Jump Scare: When Hershel wakes up as Lori performs CPR on him.
  • Mugging the Monster: Despite Rick's group's obvious skill at destroying walkers by the busload, Tomas clearly despises Rick and tries to kill him. This earns him a machete to the head.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Rick discovers where the prisoners have been relieving themselves for the last ten months.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Carl mentioned that he gunned down two walkers in the infirmary to get medical supplies for Hershel.
  • P.O.V. Cam: Right after the scene where Andrew is locked outside by Rick, an unseen individual is seen watching Carol from behind a tree as she practices C-sections on a walker. This turns out to be Andrew himself, who we learn in "Killer Within" is not dead.
  • Room Full of Zombies: The uncleared cell block.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Rick listening as Andrew screams behind the door. Later turns out to be a subversion.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Tomas clearly didn't expect Rick to split his head open with a machete when they faced off in the cell block.
  • Villain Has a Point: Upon learning that there is no hope for Big Tiny, Tomás cuts him down on the spot. Rick was already saying he would have to be put down at some point, after all. The incident, however, convinces Rick and Daryl that Tomás is almost certainly too dangerous to be left alive.