Episode 9: After

In the aftermath of the prison battle, Michonne lingers at the perimeter fence, taking in the scene of destruction. She finds Hershel's reanimated head on the ground and reluctantly drives her katana through it. She then hacks the arms off of two nearby walkers, leashes them and leads them into the forest.

Carl marches down a road while a wounded Rick limps far behind. Rick yells for Carl to stop. Carl ignores him. They come across a former barbeque restaurant — Joe & Joe Jr's BBQ Shack. Rick orders Carl to stay outside while he checks for walkers. Carl refuses to stand by. "You can barely stand," he argues.

Inside, Rick and Carl find a large walker trapped behind a wall of furniture. Nearby is an axe and a note: "Please do what I couldn't. –Joe Jr." Rick attacks the walker with the axe, but fails to kill it. Carl steps in and shoots the walker dead. Rick chides Carl for wasting bullets. They scavenge the bar and stock their bag with food.

Michonne leads her pet walkers through the forest. She spots Rick and Carl's footprints in the road but doesn't follow them.

As Rick and Carl enter an abandoned home, Rick urges his son to exercise more caution. Instead, Carl bangs on a wall and screams for walkers. Rick admonishes him. Carl defiantly claims that the clamor would have flushed any walkers out from hiding.

Carl pulls the cord off a TV and uses it to secure the front door shut. Rick, wheezing heavily, pushes a couch against the door for extra security. Rick insists Carl eat some food. Carl refuses.

In a bathroom, Rick grimaces in pain as he removes his shirt and examines the injuries from his fight with the Governor.

Michonne dreams she's chopping food in a bright, clean kitchen with her toddler son. She serves food to her boyfriend, Mike, and his friend Terry. Their conversation about art abruptly transitions into a fevered discussion after the fall about how they're going to survive. "Where's the happy ending here? This isn't life," Mike argues. Suddenly Mike and Terry's arms are gone, replaced by bloody stumps. Michonne screams and wakes up in a car.

Carl wakes up the next morning to find Rick asleep on the couch. He eats breakfast upstairs then checks back on Rick, who still hasn't moved. Carl screams at Rick to wake up but gets no response. A walker bangs on the front door.

Carl sneaks out the back entrance and sees now two walkers beating at the door. He lures them down the street but falls to the ground when a third walker catches him off guard. In the nick of time, he shoots all three walkers dead. "I win," he gloats.

Michonne walks undisturbed among a herd of walkers, camouflaged by her new pets. She notices a female walker who looks similar to her.

Back at the house, Carl reports to an unresponsive Rick that he killed three walkers. "I don't need you anymore," he says, blaming Rick for failing to protect Judith, Hershel and everyone else at the prison. He wipes tears from his face. "I'd be fine if you died," he states.

Later, Carl jimmies open the door of a nearby home. He loots cupboards for food and finds a large can of pudding. Upstairs, a walker leaps out at him. Carl shoots but runs out of bullets. He finally traps the walker in a bedroom and writes on the door: "Walker inside, got my shoe, didn't get me."

Afterwards Carl sits perched on the roof happily eating pudding. The trapped walker claws at a nearby window trying to reach him.

Still marching with the herd, Michonne again encounters her walker doppelganger. Terrified, she kills it and then slays the rest of the walkers. Michonne wails. She returns to the road and follows the footprints.

That night, Carl wakes to the sound of Rick's groans. Carl backs away and aims his gun at Rick, afraid his father has turned into a walker. Rick falls off the couch and grabs at Carl's leg. Unable to pull the trigger, Carl drops the gun and cries. "Stay safe," Rick finally rasps. Carl cradles Rick's head. "I'm scared," he admits.

Michonne enters the BBQ Shack and sees Joe Jr.'s note. She breaks down and begins talking to an absent Mike, telling him she misses him. "I'm still here. And you could be, too. And he could be," she says, referring to their son.

Meanwhile, Rick tells Carl he shouldn't have left the house, but admits it's good that Carl found more food. "You're a man," Rick says.

Michonne finds Rick and Carl's house and looks inside. She bursts into tears when she sees them through the window. She knocks on the door.

Rick peers through the peephole and breaks into a smile. "It's for you," he tells Carl.

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9

View photos from Season 4 Episode 9, "After"

Guest stars:
Terry - Brandon Fobbs
Mike - Aldis Hodge

Written by: Robert Kirkman
Directed by: Greg Nicotero

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The group encounters many obstacles in their quest to find stability and safety, but sometimes all they have to guide them is hope.

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