The Walking Dead Chad L. Coleman Gives a Face to Desperation in “Isolation”
Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead found the survivors trying to deal with the after effects of a plague that had swept the prison. Without any medicine or any clues as to how to cure the inflicted from their disease, the survivors decided to isolate those infected. Meanwhile the mystery of who burned alive two of the inflicted last week was revealed, and desperation and fear begin to erode the group’s unity. While watching the episode two actors’ performances really stood out. One, is a mother without a child who has turned her maternal instincts towards nurturing the group. The second, is a man who found hope with a new love only to lose it at the hands of someone he trusted.
Melissa McBride (Carol) has been with the series since season one, and we’ve seen her transform from mild-mannered, abused wife to grieving mother, and finally to tough survivalist. The revelation in the final moments of “Isolation” that Carol was the murderer blew my mind. The entire episode Carol obsessively tried to get water for all of the sick prisoners. Her obsessive behavior should’ve been a clue that something was amiss with her, but instead it just looks like more of the desperation that had been plaguing the survivors. When survivors are being attacked by zombies at every turn is often easy for viewers to forget that one of them was a cop. By the end of the episode Rick had investigated the murders as Tyreese asked and discovered that someone he thought he knew had done the unthinkable. Melissa McBride’s performance as a woman who made a choice and is now living with the ramifications of what she is done left viewers riveted to the screen in a somewhat quieter episode. Now that Carol has been unmasked as the killer, questions arise as to how it will affect her character further on and how the other characters will react to the news.
Rick: You know, you do a lot for us. For the kids. You sacrifice a lot. Is there anything you wouldn’t do for the people here?
Rick: Carol, did you kill Karen and David?
Chad L. Coleman (Tyreese) was the other actor whose performance stuck out the most in episode 405. Tyreese was a man grieving the loss of his girlfriend at the hands of someone he thought he trusted. Even though Tyrese didn’t know that Carol was the killer, he knew that one of the people he’s lived with for months had taken away someone he really care for. Whether Tyrese was crying over the loss, fighting Rick in a knock-down, drag out fistfight, or giving up in the mist of a herd of zombies, Coleman played the character with so much depth that we, the viewers, could totally feel his pain. Even when Tyrese was punching Rick you couldn’t help but to root for him. While it’s true that Tyreese in the end decided to fight and not commit suicide via zombie, Tyreese will undoubtedly be a changed man. Like Carol, Tyreese’s transformation will certainly not just affect him, but also the group as a whole.
Tyreese: You’re a cop. You find out who did this and you bring them to me, you understand? You bring them to me.
Daryl: We’ll find out who brought them out–
Tyreese: Do I need to say it again?
Rick: No, no. I know what you’re feeling. I’ve been there, you saw me there. It’s dangerous.
Tyreese: Karen didn’t deserve this. David didn’t deserve it. Nobody does.
Both of these performances were so stellar that it’s really hard to pick which one stuck out the most. If you’ve read the comic books you are aware that both of these characters have a relationship not yet shown on the series. While I’m not sure if the show is going that route, and I don’t want to spoil the comics for those of you who may want to read them at a later time, watching these two characters progress in the manner we have seen in contrast to their literary counterpoints was very interesting in comparison. Having said that, I believe that Chad L. Coleman’s raw, emotional portrayal of a man who’d given up hope, and whose desperation nearly caused him to give up his life has earned him this week’s MVA Award.