After being forced to abandon the prison, and their group, and Judith's blood-filled car seat, Rick and Carl are not exactly their best selves. Rick's very recently been beaten to within an inch of his life by the late Governor, plus he's having to deal with all kinds of attitude from Carl. The kid's pissy, disobedient and arguing with everything Rick says. Eventually they find a house to hole up in, and more than one kind of wound is reopened as they batten down for the night.
The next morning, Rick is dead to the world. While he sleeps or possibly even comas the day away, Carl takes it upon himself to go out into the neighborhood, deal with a few walkers, score some supplies and generally prove his independence to himself. All of this is done in typical Carl fashion, which is to say that he is an idiot who would have gotten killed several times over were he not a series regular. But then he goes back to the house and unloads on Rick, blaming him for the fiasco at the prison and claiming he doesn't need him any more. But he does so while Rick is still passed out, so he's not actually that brave.
The only other member of the group we spend any time with is Michonne, who reverts back to her pre-Woodbury self and adopts a fresh couple of zombie pets with which to travel the countryside. In the process, a dream sequence gives us a little backstory on Michonne and her original pets -- who, it turns out, were her boyfriend Mike and Mike's friend, back in the days when only the living walked the earth and those two gentlemen still had arms and jawbones. It's not yet clear what all happened between their happy salad days in Atlanta and the day Michonne met Andrea, but she also had a kid once and now she clearly doesn't, in case you didn't think she was tragic enough. Michonne decides she she's done with tragedy, shakes off her herd and decides to follow the Grimeses' tracks rather than continuing with her new pets and forcing me to make a "what has six feet, ten fingers, and thirty-two teeth?" joke.
Rick is unconscious for so long that when he stirs again the next night, barely mobile and wheezing through a semi-collapsed lung, Carl thinks he's died and turned. He comes thisclose to killing Rick with Rick's own service revolver, but loses his nerve. Lucky for him Rick's just hella hurt, and the two end up patching things up somewhat as Carl realizes he still needs Rick and Rick realizes Carl's a man. And then Michonne finds them, so maybe things are on their way to getting back to how they were after all.
Nah, who are we kidding?
We're picking right up where we left off; namely the scene of devastation at the prison. Mitch's bombed-out tank stands in the inner yard, belching black smoke into the sky; Michonne's horse lies gutted in the grass; and so does the Governor, with a bullet hole in his skull. And of course there are walkers everywhere, converging on the prison buildings. Not that there's anyone left alive in there. At a distance, Michonne follows them toward the prison, katana in hand, and takes in the destruction. She keeps walking, barely pausing long enough to slice off a few zombie heads before making it safely over the spike barrier just outside the destroyed front gate, just ahead of a pair of good old dead boys that had their curdled-milk eyes on her. Her two pursuers obligingly impale themselves, and after collecting the rope from the mechanism of the ruined gate -- and the arms and jaws from her two former pursuers -- she's got herself a fresh pair of zombie pets. The three of them make their way back out across the field, and Michonne soon comes across Hershel's severed, but not actually dead, head. With her sword, she puts an end to its gasping and slavering, and after choking back some tears, she soon leads her new party on its way, away from the prison. Just like old times.
Rick and Carl walk up a muddy dirt road with nothing but the clothes on their backs, the guns at their hips, and that dumb-ass hat on Carl's sweaty head. Carl's in the lead, not bothering to wait up for Rick, who only minutes ago was beaten 90% to death by the Governor, and is thus not his usual energetic self. Rick calls out to Carl to slow down, his voice sounding of broken teeth and a recently squished windpipe as he says they need to find a safe place, food, and supplies. He tries to tell Carl they'll be okay, but the look of pure hatred Carl gives him shuts him right up. Sounds like it hurts to talk anyway.
They eventually find their way to an abandoned roadside mom and pop restaurant. Or rather a son and pop place, called Joe and Joe Jr.'s. All these independent establishments are kind of contrary to the usual zombie themes, don't you think? Rick and Carl have a pretty salty debate about whether Carl's coming in or not, which Carl wins given Rick's decrepit condition. In other words, they go in together. The place seems clear, other than the party room to the side, where a towering zombie is chilling behind a makeshift barricade of chairs, tables, and barstools. Rick wants to draw it out rather than , while Carl finds a note: "Please do what I couldn't -- Joe Jr." I wonder if the theme of a son being unable to kill his father will pop up again late. The zombie that presumably used to be Joe Sr. comes crashing through the chairs at Rick, who buries his hatchet in the undead forehead. But the thing doesn't go down, and Rick's holding it back with his free hand while telling Carl to get going. Instead, Carl shoots it down, which Rick isn't happy about. "Every bullet counts," Rick lectures. "We'd have needed that one later." Oh, just you wait, Rick. They get to looting. Rick returns from the kitchen with a sack of goodies and grows, "My haul. You?" Carl adds his and snots, "I win." Not that either one of them is in any shape to open those pickle jars anyhow.