This week's The Walking Dead recap reminds us all that this "isn't kid stuff" [SPOILERS]

Fair warning, fair readers: There is no way to discuss this episode of The Walking Dead without major spoilers, because this one was probably one of the most emotionally impactful episodes of the season, maybe even the series so far. Serious things happened to major characters; one of them could have been predicted by fans of the comic, but another was pretty unprecedented. What I can mention ahead of the jump (and all the spoilers) is that we have more with Merle, Michonne, Andrea, and the Governor, and it looks like our separated factions will soon reunite.

Once again, this recap contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead, so proceed with caution.

Judging by the reactions on social media (where I hope you weren't spoiled due to some people having a total lack of self-control), this episode, called "The Killer Within," is one that caused any waning interest to return with full force. It's been a strong season so far, but this hour was positively gut-wrenching and proved, once again, that no one is safe from Robert Kirkman's zombie apocalypse.

We begin back at the prison, where some routine zombie maintenance was taking place. The inmates are getting restless and believe that they've paid their dues. But they also don't want to be left alone in a prison full of zombies (or ghosts). Some discussion takes place, but an alarm suddenly goes off, and the zombies come a-running. Everyone is separated -- a be-crutched Hershel stays safe with his younger daughter after some of the most successful physical therapy ever (known as "suck it up, or be eaten by the undead"). Lori, Carl, and Maggie head off in one direction. T-Dog and Carol head in another, and Rick, Daryl, and Glen try to find the generator to turn off the alarm.

But first, let's go back to Woodbury and the Governor to see what's going on there. Here is all we need to know: Michonne still doesn't trust the Governor (for good reason), Andrea is ready to leave, but might change her mind, Merle is getting curious about finding his brother (and also why he and Andrea never hooked up, I'm guessing that him being a racist hothead might have something to do with it), and the Gov continues to tell beautiful lies. And his name is Phillip, but we know he's a liar who keeps heads in jars.

Back at the prison, T-Dog is bitten by a zombie. On the shoulder. As we learned two weeks ago, you cannot just cut off a shoulder to stop the zombie virus (which they all have anyway), so it looks like the end for Mr. Theodore "T-Dog" Douglas. But not before he and Carol head back into the prison and he sacrifices himself by flinging himself into a gaggle of zombies to let Carol escape. Good night, sweet T-Dog.

Meanwhile, Lori has gone into labor. She, Maggie, and Carl find a zombie-free shady spot, but Lori knows what's really going on here. She wasn't able to have a natural birth with Carl, so the only way this baby is coming out is if it's cut out of her. And that probably means the end of Lori.

Rick, Daryl, and Glen -- and the inmates -- eventually make it to the room with the generator, where Andrew suddenly pops out of nowhere! Last we saw that guy, Rick had chased him through the tombs of the prison and left him for dead in a pen of zombies. But he's back -- until Oscar shoots him, proving that he's an ally. So, that's good!

Back to the shady spot: After Lori tells Maggie that it's up to her to deliver the baby and let her die, she tries to conjure up all the maternal wisdom she can for Carl in her remaining minutes. It's a truly sad scene, and even sadder when you remember that Rick never really made things right with her. They exchanged a sweet glance across the prison yard right before the day's chaos, but that was all the time they'd get.

We get a flashback to Rick giving a similar, but less urgent speech to his son, telling him that the "kid stuff is over," then handing him a pistol. When the baby is out and Lori is still, Carl knows what he has to do -- prevent his mother from "turning." Maggie, who accepted her grave task and performed, still can't quite wrap her head around the situation and tries to leave the room, but there are zombies outside. The moment she comes back in, she hears a gunshot, and a stoic Carl briskly walks past her. Yup. That happened. (Though we didn't actually see it, did we?)

With the zombie situation under control, everyone starts to come together. Except for T-Dog, whose partially-eaten remains are found by Rick et al, and Carol, who has disappeared. Back outside, Rick waits for his son and his wife. He sees Maggie, holding a baby, and Carl, holding a gun. He puts it together and loses it. Loses. It.

Look, everyone had their problems with Lori. She wasn't always written very well, but no one can deny how heartbreaking a scene like this is. But more importantly, this was another stark reminder that not even the most established and crucial characters on The Walking Dead are safe.

Photo credit: AMC

Previously: This week's recap of The Walking Dead finally catches up with Andrea and Michonne -- and the Governor [SPOILERS]