You know how you feel when you’re about to watch a movie that you know is going to end sad? Maybe it’s about a person suffering from a terminal disease. Maybe it’s about a dog. Whatever the subject, you sort of brace yourself for tears but you watch anyway because sometimes sad can be good. Lately I’ve been getting that feeling each Sunday night watching The Walking Dead. If we file this series under horror, then we really shouldn’t expect much in the way of happy moments. But man this show has gotten really depressing. And even when there’s the faintest flicker of a light at the end of a tunnel, a walker stumbles into view and blocks it.

If you’ve been hating Carol and her coldblooded behavior this season, you might consider her departure to be a good moment, but I’m adding it to the list of Season 4 downers. Carol’s an original, and Rick just made her leave. Why? Because she killed two people to try to save the rest of the camp. Rick’s list of reasons for Carol needing to leave are sound. If/when people find out what she did, they’re going to want her out anyway. And Tyreese would probably kill her. And they can’t have people going around killing other people in their community without consequence. They just can't. It’s reasonable. I still feel sad about the whole thing, especially as Carol didn’t put up much of a fight. She just went off on her own.

Also depressing were the two sweet hippies Carol and Rick came upon. Here’s an opportunity to bring two fresh faces into the group. Two optimistic, motivated, kind characters who might have brightened things up at the prison and maybe even bring some light humor to the series, but never mind that. The girl (Anna) was last seen missing her tattooed calf, while the rest of her was devoured by walkers. And her guy (Sam) with the recently healed shoulder is missing in action. Maybe he’ll show up at the prison on his own — Rick did tell him where it was — if not, then maybe the spinoff. The spinoff could also be where we see Carol next, if she doesn’t find her way back to the prison or in the Governor’s clutches.

In lighter news — yeah right — Bob admitted his alcohol issues to Daryl and then nearly got himself killed trying to save his bag, which didn’t hold medicine, but a bottle of booze. Daryl took his gun but let him keep the alcohol. On the bright side, they scored some antibiotics and are headed back to the prison where people will hopefully still be hanging on. And Michonne, who showed an uncharacteristic smile tonight, told Daryl she was giving up her search for the Governor. It seems her determination to take every field trip opportunity available has been part of her quest to get revenge on the Governor, but she’s letting that go, which means it’s probably not long before the character re-emerges.

Meanwhile, Tyreese seems like he's on autopilot here, hesitating when he should be moving and moving when he should be backing off. At this point, it seems like he's running on fumes trying to save his sister. If not for Sasha, I'm not sure he'd still be pushing forward.

So, is Rick going to tell the people at the prison that Carol left? Or will he say she died? Maybe he’ll just hope no one notices. And I’ll continue to watch, because I’m hooked on this show. But is it too much to ask for an uplifting moment here or there? Is there any chance these characters will be able to smile once in a while and actually experience any measure of happiness amidst all this chaos? Or are we just tuning in each week to watch the dominoes fall?

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