Review

Review

TV Recap: 'The Walking Dead' Episode 414 - 'The Grove'

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The Walking Dead Episode 414
“The Grove”
Written By: Scott M. Gimple
Directed By: Mike Satrazemis
Original Airdate: 16 March 2014

In This Episode…

Carol and Lizzie keep watch while Tyreese, Mika, and Judith sleep. Carol wants Lizzie to sleep, but Lizzie wants to help. She points out that she shot at two people who were shooting at Tyreese, and Carol assures her that it was necessary - she saved Tyreese. Carol opens up a little bit about Sophia, then insists Lizzie needs to sleep so she can be helpful in the morning.

In the morning, Carol uses some tree sap to help heal a wound on Tyreese’s arm. They discuss the girls, with Carol worrying that Lizzie is confused about the walkers and doesn’t see what they are. But Mika is worse off - she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. Just like Sophia. Carol and Mika go off for water so that Carol can talk with the younger girl. While they are gone, a walker comes towards Tyreese, but its foot gets trapped under the train tracks and it collapses. Tyreese is about to hammer its head in, but Lizzie stops him. “Sometimes we have to kill them; I know that. But sometimes we don’t.” Tyreese lets the walker wallow. Carol, meanwhile, wants Mika to be tougher. Mika points out that she can run real fast, but “my daughter ran - and it wasn’t enough.” “I’m not like my sister,” Mika argues. “I’m not messed up. I can’t kill people. Killing people is wrong.” Yes, even if people are trying to kill her. The little girl is excited when they come to a clearing - a farmhouse is set back amid a bunch of pecan trees.

The rest of our little group return to the house, hoping that they can camp here for a day or two and rest. There is a well full of water, trees full of pecans, and deer sniffing around the property. This could be heaven. The girls wait outside while Tyreese and Carol check the house for zombies. Mika is getting worried about her sister, and tries to tell her that walkers aren’t people - they are just dead. A walker stumbles out of an open window and straight towards the girls. Lizzie just sits there and screams while it crawls towards her. Mika saves the day with a gunshot to the head. (It took her three tries.) Lizzie is crying but insists she isn’t scared. Mika helps her calm down by looking at the flowers, and counting the petals. (It was Lizzie who was asthmatic, right?) Night comes, and the five survivors settle in for a cozy evening. Mika has a doll; Carol and Lizzie are shelling pecans; Judith has a crib; Tyreese has a living room. It is a freaking Norman Rockwell painting.

Morning comes, and Carol puts on the kettle (apparently the farmhouse comes with a generator). She sees Lizzie outside running from/playing with a zombie. Carol rushes out and stabs it dead, and Lizzie loses her shit. “You didn’t have to! She didn’t want to hurt anyone! She was my friend, you killed her!”

While Tyreese and Carol are doing chores, Mika looks for her sister and sees her heading off the property. She follows, and discovers Lizzie feeding a mouse to the walker stuck in the train tracks. Mika is upset. “We can’t pretend anymore. These things are bad. They want to kill you.” Lizzie says they don’t - she can hear them. “They just want me to change, to be like them. Maybe I should.” She offers her finger to the walker. Before she gets too close, a handful more walkers start coming after them. Mika grabs Lizzie and they run, screaming at the top of their lungs. Tyreese and Carol instantly drop their water pails and race towards the screaming. They help the girls get past the meager barbed wire fence and all four of them open fire on the walkers. When all are dead, Carol hugs Lizzie, proud that she was able to kill the walkers that she, apparently, considers friends.

That night, Lizzie seems traumatized, troubled that she “had to help stop them.” Carol hopes that she understands what the walkers are now. “It’s ugly and scary and changes you. That is the cost of growing up now.” Mika doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but Lizzie assures her you have to, sometimes. “But only sometimes.” Then the ladies make candied pecans.

In the morning, Carol and Tyreese are out on their own, hunting or something. They discuss staying there, not forever, but for now. Tyreese is good with that - he isn’t ready to be around new people yet. He is still traumatized over Karen’s death. Guilt flashes across Carol’s face as he discusses his nightmares, and I swear she is about to spill. But she doesn’t. She does cry a little, and Tyreese assures her she did right by those girls, did right by everyone, and hugs her close. Having no luck finding any critters to eat, they head back to the house - and see Lizzie standing there, knife in hand, covered in blood. Judith is laying on a blanket, perfectly safe… but Mika is obscured behind Lizzie. “Don’t worry, she’ll come back,” Lizzie assures her guardians. “I didn’t hurt her brain. Just wait. I want you to see.” Carol reaches for the knife, and Lizzie snaps, dropping the knife and leveling her gun. Carol takes a breath and promises they can wait for Mika, but she has to give up the gun. She does, and Carol suggests Tyreese and Judith go wait inside. Tyreese looks terrified of the little girl and is eager to get away. Lizzie was about to turn Judith into a walker, too, but when Carol reminds her that Judith can’t actually walk yet, she accepts this as logic and realizes it is silly to kill her. Carol offers to stay outside with Mika and tie her up so she doesn’t go anywhere. Lizzie seems happy with that and heads into the house. Alone, Carol loses it and sobs. She pulls out her knife and prepares herself for what she will have to do next.

Tyreese and Carol sit, trying to decide what to do next. He gave Lizzie some food and made sure her room was cleared of weapons, but he found a shoebox full of mice. It was Lizzie who was feeding the zombies at the prison, and the dissected rat they found was Lizzie, too - she says she was just having fun. Tyreese thinks that maybe Lizzie killed Karen and David, but Carol points out that she would have let them turn. He thinks that maybe they can “fix” Lizzie, undo all the trauma that the walkers have caused, but Carol stops him. “It was always there. This is just how she is.” She realizes that Lizzie can’t be around other people. Tyreese agrees.

So Carol and Lizzie go for a walk. The girl is in fine spirits, and Carol suggests she pick some wildflowers for Mika for when she comes back. Lizzie is happy to do this - then notices that carol is upset. She gets scared. “Are you mad at me? Is it because I pointed the gun at you? I just wanted you to wait and see Mika.” She turns away, crying, begging Carol not to be mad. “I love you Lizzie,” she says, and tells the girl to just look at the flowers. She removes her gun, crying as she levels it. There is a single shot, an off-screen thunk, and Tyreese watching from the house. Carol, still crying, heads back to the house. On the way she sees that elusive deer. She does not shoot it.

After Carol and Tyreese put the girls in graves, they sit tensely at the kitchen table. She passes the gun to Tyreese and admits she killed Karen and David in an attempt to stop the illness. “It wasn’t Lizzie; it wasn’t a stranger. It was me. Do what you have to do.” Tyreese shakes, and needs to know if Karen knew what was happening (no), if she was scared (no), and if it was quick (yes). His hand tightens on the gun, and she again tells him to do what he has to do. Tyreese lets go of the gun. “I forgive you. I know you feel it, it’s a part of you now. I forgive you.” She thanks him. Tyreese no longer wants to stay there. They can’t stay there. In the morning, they leave.

Dig It or Bury It?

Wow. That was one seriously fucked up episode. Shit got real. I can’t help but feel bad for Lizzie. From the first time we met Lizzie, there was definitely something “off” about her. As the season went on, it became clear that she was mentally disturbed. I am not 100% sure what her diagnosis would be, but it seems like she had some kind of dissociative disorder. Mental illness is so difficult because it is like you are living on a completely different plane. Lizzie was simply trying to show Carol her plane of existence. Unfortunately her plane of existence is a very disturbing one. In our world, Lizzie would have been relegated to padded rooms for the rest of her life; but in the zombie apocalypse, Carol doesn’t have that luxury. There is no place to put her; no medication to help her. It’s really quite sad, and rather terrifying to think about.

This was impressively intense. Few shows on television dare to broach the subject of mental illness, and no one has approached it with children. (Except Law & Order: SVU but there is something less sincere and more sensational about that show.) Even me, with a black hole where my heart should be, was moved by this episode. In a season of moving episodes, this one was particularly sad. But it got me thinking: how many other mentally unstable people are out there, without their meds, living in their own personal hell? That is truly upsetting.

Kill o’ the Week

Lizzie for the sad and shocking nature of it; Carol for the traumatic reasons behind it.

Prophecies?

We spend time with all the other groups next week, as they all inch closer to Terminus. Isn’t anyone worried that the name of the new town is “Terminus?” Sure, it could be where all paths end - but it could also mean something deadly.

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