A major storyline in this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Ghosts,” concerns Carol and the hallucinations she is having because of lack of sleep. I should note, first off, that it is true that sleep deprivation can lead to hallucinations. There’s a lot of science behind it. It’s happened to me on a few occasions, including one very embarrassing incident a few years ago in which I watched a screener for the series premiere of FX’s Atlanta late at night during a week in which I had slept very little. I appeared on a podcast that week with my colleague here, Josh Kurp, and Vanity Fair‘s Joanna Robinson, to discuss my thoughts on the series. I noted during the podcast that I really liked the pilot episode, except that I didn’t care for the either the aliens or the time travel elements in the episode.
A week later, I watched the pilot episode again to write about it, and in watching it a second time, I awkwardly realized that there were no aliens in the pilot, nor any time travel elements. I rewound it a number of times trying to find the aliens before realizing I had hallucinated them, and those hallucinations were so real that I had incorporated them into my podcast review, much to my embarrassment.
That’s the thing about those sleep-deprived hallucinations: Those who experience them have a very difficult time making the distinction between what is real and what is a hallucination. In this week’s episode, The Walking Dead took us through Carol’s sleep-deprived hallucinations. She refuses to go to sleep because she has nightmares about her dead son, Henry, who was killed by The Whisperers. She pops Adderall and refuses suggestions that she get some rest. At one point during the episode, she has an entire conversation with Daryl about hallucinations from sleep deprivation only to realize that the conversation itself is a hallucination, as is the image of a home economics textbook with Carol on the cover along with the various children who she has treated as her own, like Lizzie, Henry, and even her biological daughter, Sophia.
Later in the episode while patrolling a school where several other Alexandrians are sleeping, Carol is caught in a booby trap and attacked by a small horde of walkers. While she’s hanging upside down by her feet, she fights several walkers off, including what she believes is a Whisperer dodging and weaving her knife thrusts. Eventually, Carol shoots the Whisperer before freeing herself from the booby trap and killing the rest of the walkers.
After Carol is stitched up by Siddiq, she finally falls asleep and experiences another nightmare involving Henry. When she finally awakens for real, Carol has a conversation with Michonne and tells her that she did see a Whisperer. “I know,” Michonne says, “but only you did.” Michonne doesn’t believe Carol actually saw a Whisperer. Carol goes outside to talk to Daryl on the porch and insists to him that she did see a Whisperer. Daryl says he believes her, but he doesn’t look convinced. Did a Whisperer actually invade the Alexandrians’ territory and lead a horde of walkers to Carol?
Apparently, yes. In the episode’s final scene, the camera cuts back to the school where Carol put down the walkers. The camera pans through the school and out into the school yard, where we see the Whisperer that Carol shot awaken as a zombie. In other words, Carol did see a Whisperer, despite what Michonne may think. Everything else might have been a hallucination, but seeing that Whisperer was not. Alpha was getting her revenge on Carol for shooting at her earlier in the episode, and the death of that Whisperer may provoke more bloodshed in the weeks to come. AMC
AMC has decided to follow HBO’s lead and provide some free streaming content for folks stuck at home AKA everyone. AMC Networks is now offering several programs to stream for free, including The Walking Dead, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Comedy Bang Bang, and more. So please, stay the hell home so we can flatten the curve and get beyond this current situation.
AMC Networks – which includes AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV and Sundance Now – are giving everyone a good reason to stay home: free stuff. Free is always good, and it’s especially good now, since so many of us find ourselves facing financial hardship. So even if you’re not a subscriber to any of those channels, AMC has you covered. They’re making AMC has made the first half of The Walking Dead Season 10 available for free until May 1 per Deadline.
IFC has Baroness von Sketch Show, Birthday Boys, Spoils of Babylon, Spoils Before Dying, Bunk, Food Party, and select episodes from Comedy Bang Bang and Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Sundance Now shows that will be free until April 14 include Riviera, The Restaurant, Public Enemy, and The Bureau. And BBC America will feature the entire Planet Earth collection – Planet Earth I & II, Blue Planet I & II, Frozen Planet, and Seven Worlds, One Planet. That’s a lot of planets, folks.
Regarding the move to select free content, Sarah Barnett, President of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, said:
“We want to join with our talent and respond to this moment in the best way that entertainment companies can – which is, to entertain people. Our We’re With You campaign is intended to give information, to offer companionship in the kind of responsive way that linear tv is uniquely able to, and we want to offer audiences the chance to have a laugh, maybe especially important at times of crisis. We also wanted to make our great content available to more viewers at a time when we are all looking for fantastic things to watch.”
AMC is also going to run new commercials that feature various AMC stars – including The Walking Dead‘s Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Better Call Saul‘s Rhea Seehorn and Giancarlo Esposito – in homemade videos. So, again: just stay home. Heck, stay home even if you don’t want to watch stuff on AMC. It’s the right thing to do.