‘Walking Dead’ Burning Questions: Unpacking The Sick Burn

Tyreese's love life went up in smoke in the latest episode of 'The Walking Dead,' titled 'Infected.'

Warning: spoilers from the latest “Walking Dead” ahead!

The heat is officially on.

We knew it was going to get ugly on last night’s “Walking Dead,” given how the season premiere ended with innocent Patrick dying from a mysterious illness — right before he roared back to life as a zombified monstrosity. Patrick’s warpath and the deadly disease stormed through the prison in this week’s episode, titled “Infected,” with several lives lost in the process — most of them of the “red-shirt” variety, but hey, red-shirts are people too.

After a sleepless night of digesting all of the latest “Walking Dead” atrocities, here’s our weekly list of (wait for it) burning questions.

What’s With The Rats?
More to the point: why is someone feeding rats to zombies? Was it one of the kids feeling bad for the walkers, someone like little Lizzie? Or was it something more sinister — a traitor lurking inside the prison walls, working from within to topple Rick and his group? Perhaps someone from the Woodbury contingent remains loyal to the one-eyed Governor, wherever he may be.

What’s With The Pigs?
More to the point: did Rick really have to sacrifice those poor animals so brutally? OK, yeah, he probably did. Credit where it’s due: as difficult as it was to watch Rick use the pigs to lure walkers away from the weakened fence, it was the episode and the season’s very best scene yet, upsetting and chilling and emblematic of what humans must do to survive in this world. Wonderfully written, wonderfully shot, wonderfully performed.

What’s With The Carol?
More to the point: why on Earth would Carol ask these poor little children to euthanize their dying father? That’s way too much to put on these young girls. Sure, Carol’s battle-hardened from Sophia’s death, but that was a bit much, even for such a stone-cold veteran of the zombie-apocalypse. Between her explicit disappointment in the children’s inability to put a knife in dear-old dad’s brain, to pleading with Carl to keep her “cutlery classes” a secret from Rick, Carol lost some major rationality points this week.

What’s With The Murdering?
More to the point: is there a serial killer inside the prison, or did someone just take it upon themselves to kill Karen and her infected cellmate in order to put an end to the fast-spreading disease? If it’s the former, there’s precedent, as the “Walking Dead” comics have explored the “killer within” storyline on multiple occasions. If it’s the latter, things could take a dark turn, depending on who made the lethal decision. Here’s a third and even more troubling possibility: what if the person feeding rats to walkers, and the person killing and burning the infected, are one and the same?

What’s With The Tyreese?
More to the point: now that Karen’s dead, has our hammer-wielding hero snapped? When we spoke with actor Chad Coleman at the “Walking Dead” premiere a few weeks back, he warned us that Tyreese’s story takes a dark turn following his girlfriend’s death.

“That’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” he teased. “You’re going to get to know Tyreese in a way that you haven’t yet. It’s a very profound situation. That journey, it’s gut-wrenching. It’s gut-wrenching.”

Answer our burning questions and share some of your own in the comments below!

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri. Find him on Twitter @roundhoward — like Ron Howard, but rounder.