Ready for one of the most horrifying and depressing episode in The Walking Dead history? If you thought the theme of loneliness in the last episode was heartbreaking, you definitely weren’t prepared for what The Grove had to bring. The episode focused solely on Carol, Tyreese, and the three young girls, Lizzie, Mika, and Judith, under their wings.
Where We Begin
The group continues their quest towards the mythic Terminus. It’s been a troubling while since they saw a map and sign leading them, so they take shelter in a rustic home, set with a wire fence and plenty of pecans to eat. They have to decide whether they should just stop there and become a makeshift family. That would mean abandoning the dream of a utopia where there is safety in numbers and hope to see the rest of the prison group again. There’s no guarantee that the house will be safe or that Terminus won’t be another false promise. Tyreese points out that he trusts Carol and cares for the girls, so it may be better to just stay together. Let’s just say that Tyreese’s instincts are terrible.
In Which We Learn What We Already Knew
In the first half of the season there was a mystery looming over the heads of the prison group. Somebody was feeding the walkers rats, which was luring them to the fence and putting everybody in danger. Most viewers guessed that Lizzie was the culprit, especially since she was all about naming walkers like they were pets. I was hoping it would be a little more complicated, like Bob with a menacing motive. Nope. It turns out it was the obvious option. Lizzie was feeding the rats to the walkers, cutting open animals to experiment, and treating walkers better than people. It’s a disappointing reveal but at least now it’s certain. I hope the writer’s didn’t think that was a mystery.
The Legend of Grisella Gunderson
Before finding the safe haven house, Carol and Lizzie have a heart to heart. Lizzie explains that she saved Tyreese, not the other way around. She killed humans in order to survive and really didn’t have much of a problem. (She also points out that her headshot at the end of the prison riot was a complete accident, if you were wondering.) They talk about Sophia for a bit too. “She didn’t have a mean bone in her body,” Carol says. “Is that why she isn’t here now?” Lizzie asks. “Yeah,” Carol responds. Carol later describes Mika with those exact same words to Tyreese. That was major hint number one.
Poor Mika. She’s exactly the type of kid to find a doll and name it something idiotic like Grisella Gunderson. She also tells Carol that there’s no way she could ever kill a person, even if it meant her own death. The scene is meant to show that she’s naïve in her steadfast convictions, but the precocious way she had of explaining her stance made her seem witless. Mika has lived in this world long enough to know better, but maybe she is just one of those people that was never able to adapt to their new surroundings.
Hey, remember your sister Sasha?
Tyreese does a lot of talking about Karen, who was killed in the first half along with David, after she got sick. He tells Carol, not knowing that she is the killer, that he still dreams about her. He doesn’t mention his sister, who can’t be certain is still alive. Not once. There are a lot of negative things you could say about Beth, but at least she doesn’t hang on to the dead like it can do her any good. Tyreese continues to focus on the past, which doesn’t make him a great end-of-the-world companion.
The Kid Ain’t Alright
If you were waiting for the glorious moment when Lizzie would finally go off the rails, you got your wish tonight. When a walker falls on the train tracks, she convinced Tyreese that he doesn’t need to kill it. Later, she acts as if getting chased by a walker is like playing with a stray dog. When Carol kills the walker, Lizzie is devastated. “What if I killed you?” she cries. That’s literally the last thing you want to hear coming out of the mouth of a child. Shivers. Also, Lizzie declaring that the walker was her friend after a minute of “playing” makes her a clingy mess.
Back on the tracks, Lizzie feeds rats to the walker that she saved from Tyreese earlier. Mika tries to let her know that she’s a f***ing nut. Lizzie’s completely sane response is to try to change into a walker. “I could make you all understand!”
“I’m Sorry I Pointed My Gun At You”
Carol and Tyreese leave Pyscho-pants and the two younger girls together to walk and talk about the possibility of staying at the house and abandoning the prospect of Terminus, at least for now. However, when they get back to the house, they find that Lizzie has stabbed Mika to death (but not in the brain!) and is waiting for her to turn. “Judith can change too. I was just about…” she says. She pulls her gun on Carol and tries to convince her to wait for Mika to turn so that she can show them her point of view. Clearly this girl was missing a few marbles before the apocalypse ever happened.
Carol and Tyreese later discuss what they should do. Carol offers to go away with Lizzie, leaving Tyreese and Judith to go to Terminus. Even as she says it, it’s obvious that she’s waiting for the only real solution to be said by somebody else. Unfortunately, Tyreese is stuck on the idea of rehabilitating a girl who feels more empathy for the dead than a sister that she knew her whole life. So, Carol has to do it herself.
She takes Lizzie out into the field to pick some flowers to give to Mika. (Zombies love flowers, dontchaknow.) Lizzie is distraught over the thought that Carol is upset with her. But she thinks she’s upset over having a gun pointed at her, not at the threat of killing everybody to turn into walkers. Carol kills Lizzie in the most chilling Of Mice and Men reference ever.
It was certainly possible for Carol to dump the responsibility of Karen and David’s deaths on Lizzie. Tyreese already floated around the idea, ignoring the logic that a little girl was not strong enough to drag two adult bodies outside. (Maybe Tyreese really isn’t that bright?) However, being on of the strongest-willed characters on this show, Carol sticks with the truth. She tells him that she killed them and why. Instead of picking up the gun and killing Carol, Tyreese decides to forgive her.
Maybe he decided that he understood her reasoning. If she was successful, she could have stopped the spread of the disease and saved many lives. Karen and David were going to die anyway. However, I think his reasons may be a little more selfish. If he kills Carol, or even just decides to leave her, then he’s basically alone. That’s much scarier in this world than hanging out with the woman who killed your girlfriend.
- I’m really interested in the idea of kids becoming hardened and psychotic due to this world. But I don’t think Mika or Lizzie fit into that mold. The stuff about Lizzie looking at the flowers and counting makes me think that she’s always been a bit crazy. Plus Mika was still as mentally sheltered as ever, albeit better with a gun.
- “Maybe the kids kept their parents safe,” Lizzie says of Terminus. At least she never saw kids as helpless.
- Tyreese completely misses the obvious clues that fly right in front of his face, like Mika saying that Lizzie isn’t afraid of dead rabbits.
- “My mom used to say, everything works out the way it’s supposed to.” You dumb idiot, Mika. Mom is dead.
- The last time somebody shot a deer, Carl ended near death.
- Lizzie starts shooting walkers at one point and Carol gives her an epic side-eye.
- What do you think the burning walkers were about? Was it because of the house that Beth and Daryl burned or something else?