If you’ve been waiting for The Walking Dead to take the training wheels off this season and showcase a full-on zombie free-for-all, "Internment" is the episode for you. Blood, gore, suspense, and male bonding, all culminating with the best 20 minutes this show has produced in season four.

The episode opens with Rick returning to the prison after abandoning Carol in the events of last episode. Not much is made of his decision here, other than him telling Hershel about it, but it's hard to imagine that there won’t be consequences down the road. Aside from that, most of this episode is focused on Hershel taking care of the sick prisoners affected by the flu epidemic ravaging the prison.

The first half of "Internment" moves at a glacial pace, with Hershel beginning to show the mental fatigue of caring for, and then mercy killing, prisoners who are dying from the flu. But just as this episode settles into a slower groove, all hell breaks loose. First off, a few dead victims of the flu turn to walkers and begin roaming the prison, forcing Hershel and some of the healthier victims to fight. As this is happening, the fence holding off the walkers on the outside is breached, and it’s up to Rick and Carl to take up arms and blast them all away. If video game-levels of violence is your thing, you should get your fill here.

In trademark Walking Dead fashion, there is also a generous sprinkling of suspense and drama mixed in with all of the non-stop action. Hershel is left pretty much on his own, to not only battle the walkers in the prison, but to also get medical aid to Glenn, who is rapidly dying in his cell. Somehow Hershel finds his inner Rambo and mows down any walkers in his way.

Eventually he and Maggie get Glenn’s condition stabilized using TV medical logic; they’ll all live to fight another day. But the show has been so unpredictable so far this season that for a moment it genuinely looked like Glenn was ready to kick it.

On the outside of the prison, Rick and Carl partake in some Red State bonding by unleashing a hail of gunfire on an advancing army of zombies. The action on the outside and the inside is intercut simultaneously to provide a pulse-pounding final act that rivals anything you’ll see at the movies all year.

Right as a bullet is put in the head of the last remaining zombie, Tyreese, Bob, Daryl, and Michonne return from their odyssey, missing all of the gruesome fun of the episode. None of them know what happened between Rick and Carol, although Daryl does ask Hershel where she is, leaving Hershel to tell him to ask Rick. Daryl likely won’t take too kindly to Rick’s answer.

More intriguing than that, though, are the final few seconds of the episode. As Rick and Carl are admiring their garden, the camera pulls back to reveal the familiar figure of the Governor stalking them through the fence.

In all, "Internment" was a refreshing, action-filled breather from the heavier character drama of the first few episodes. However, it's those last few seconds that fans will remember. With the Governor back in the fold, the direction of this season changes completely. With illness and betrayal ravaging the prison, Rick and his crew have never been more vulnerable. 

GIFs via Uproxx and Tumblr

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