21 March 2014

Talking Out The Dead: "The Grove"


Kelen Conley: So this week’s episode features Carol/Tyreese/Krazy Lizzie/Mika/Walker Bait as they make their way to the many time aforementioned Terminus. It’s funny that I made a joke to Derrick about there being no interracial couples in the south during the apocalypse and then the show gives us Carol and Tyreese: She Clearly Wears The Pants! SPOILERS…

Wow. This episode made me what to give it a standing ovation at its end. First off, I commend the writers on giving this episode a one shot feel as well. Hell, it could even be a short film. 5 characters enter, 3 leave due to one of them being a psychopath during the zombie apocalypse? I’m in. And who would’ve thought that one of the kids would be the crazy one?

Also:

Wow…Lizzie is beyond psycho.  I am not sure if this is something that has been building or whatever, but I thought baby Judith was in serious trouble.  I have to say children can be the creepiest characters in any story.  My hope is that this is just the beginning.  The writers would miss out if they don’t push this character forward and possibly make her a main reason that some of our beloved TWD characters end up in serious trouble.

That was your quote from “Inmates” and Jesus, if you didn’t hit it on the head. I mean, what kind of messed up do you have to be to not realize that the walkers are not your friends, they want to kill you?! Didn’t she watch Carol have to kill her dad, Ryan, because he got bit? Did she want him to come back so they could “play”?

I hated Krazy Lizzie since she was introduced in “30 Days Without An Accident”, when she and the other kids were naming walkers. But did I ever think she was capable of killing her own sister? Not in a million years.

But let me calm down from being blindsided by Krazy Lizzie’s actions for a few. There was a lot of character growth for Carol and Tyreese this episode and it was much needed for the man formerly known as Cryreese. I think this was the first time Ty spent time with a anyone outside of Sasha, his original group, and Karen. He’s been wary of Rick since he lost his marbles when he first got to the prison. He probably thinks Daryl is a dangerous redneck. Glenn is up Maggie’s butt all the time (rightfully so). Herschel got along with everyone but I doubt they hung out on a regular basis. He really seemed satisfied with new situation. A nice house that’s dependable. Some kids (albeit a slightly off one) to take care of. A strong female companion who wouldn’t take no shit. Hell, I’d hole up there in the apocalypse.

If Carol had confessed to Tyreese prior to Lizzie killing Mika, I don’t think he forgives her. His days and nights have been tortured since Karen was murdered, and with no consequences to pay other than to himself, he would’ve abandoned her and the girls. I don’t think he would’ve killed her though, that wouldn’t of made him any better than her.

Seeing how insane Lizzie has become (and I fully thought she was about to point her gun at Carol when she was shooting walkers), he knew she couldn’t be left alive. And as angry as he was when Carol did confess at the table, he realized that she killed Karen and David for the greater good of the group and maybe, humanity. Can you imagine her trying to run that by the council? Hell, the group could barely agree on what to do with Randall. They’d all be dead from the plague by the time they even voted.

Tyreese was able to walk away from the house with a new start. While Karen will always haunt him, he doesn’t have to wonder about her fate anymore. He and Carol can continue to Terminus, and hopefully he’s done with crying!

But why he didn’t kill that train track walker, I’ll never know.

Carol looked human for the first time since Season 3. It’s almost like a lot of her remaining humanity died when Axel got killed in front of her. She was teaching kids how to use weapons (putting Mika’s death on her a bit), killing infected group members, saving Walker Bait from getting suffocated, you know, general bad ass stuff.

The past few days was the first time she got to really know the girls, since Rick outcasted her shortly after their dad died. She knew Lizzie had problems understanding the walkers were dangerous but I think this episode was the first time her and Mika got to really talk.

And Mika was just like Sophia.

While Sophia didn’t get too much character development in the early seasons, you could see it from Carol’s reactions in their first scene together. And while Carol did spend time mourning for her daughter, she never thought she would meet another child so similar, so soon.

Carol’s huge mistake this episode was trusting Lizzie to be by herself just because she helped kill a few walkers (or did she? It looked like she was just firing to me, I don’t think she actually killed any of them). SHE WAS PLAYING TAG WITH A WALKER. You keep your eye on that child at all times!

I’m glad that Lizzie was put down though. I was afraid the writers would have this subplot of “Let’s bring the crazy girl with us to Terminus and hope this doesn’t end badly”! And she remained Krazy until the end, only wanting Carol not to be mad at her. Not fully comprehending she was going to die. Not showing a bit of remorse for Mika.

Back to Carol/Mika: having to put Mika down for good was something she didn’t get with Sophia (since Rick shot her). In a strange, twisted way, I think it gave her the closure she thought she could never have. When she broke down in tears before she did it, she was crying for Mika and Sophia. And that’s why she was able to give Tyreese his closure on Karen. I don’t think she tells if all this insanity hadn’t occurred on top of the normal insanity of the apocalypse.

But with Tyreese’s forgiveness, she can let go of her secrets, she can better deal with having to bury two children, she can better deal with losing Sophia, she can regain some of her lost humanity. She and Tyreese can continue on to Terminus.

Kudos to both the actresses who played Mika and Lizzie, both were wonderfully convincing in their roles.

But dammit, why did they pick Mika to be the “get to know this character and care more so we can KILL HER” person?! Especially at her own sister’s hand?

Thomas Crawford: This episode was amazing.  It was sad and twisted and very dark, but I was standing for the last half of it to be honest.  It did have a great one shot feel.  Honestly it felt like it was a finale episode in some way.  I’m not saying it should be; just the feel.  There were questions answered, a big confession, and a lot of twists that had me glued to the screen.  Even in the ending, there was some forgiveness, and then moving on.  It sort of signified that even though everything that happened was terrible, life had to go on.  Just a thought about Carol and Tyreese walking away with Judith at the end.  

I honestly will admit I forgot about my prediction with Lizzie causing trouble.  I was right though, kids can be the creepiest characters.  This one took the cake though.  It didn’t feel creepy as in evil.  It was creepy in the portrayal, the way she viewed the world, and how she thought walkers were people.  Like you said, she thought they were her friends.  She was crazy, which in a way did sort of help develop some sympathy for the character.

The sympathy ended when she killed Mika.  However, when she was screaming at Carol about killing her friend, I was just thinking, “This poor kid is twisted.”  She has no concept of reality.  When she was feeding the walker on the tracks, talking about how they wanted her to be one of them, I really felt like she was beyond hope.  Again, the sympathy ended when she murdered Mika.  Up until that point, I actually felt a little sorry for her.

This episode was powerful because it portrayed mental illness in TWD universe.  It was twisted that they decided to use Lizzie to portray it, even though it has been hinted since Lizzie entered the show.  Look at the flowers Lizzie.  See how pretty they are.  I get a little freaked out just thinking about those scenes.

The writers really pushed envelope on this one.  They did it with Mika as well.  Throughout the show, she had to lose her innocence a little at a time.  She was clinging to it, even after killing the over the rail walker.  She didn’t want to hurt anyone.  She didn’t want to kill walkers.  She just wanted to run and hide.  She couldn’t even bring herself to kill the deer while her and Carol were hunting.  By the end, you could just see that innocence stripped away completely.  She stood by Carol and Tyreese shooting at the burned walkers coming towards them.  It was a mental and emotional change that in my mind signified the ending of her childhood.

I will say, it was a shot too by the writers.  By the end of the scene, even Lizzie had a gun and was firing on the burned walkers.  I think you are right; they didn’t show she was hitting anything.  Yet, it seemed like whatever trance she was in, she snapped out of it for their survival.  I say it was a shot by the writers because they instilled that little bit of hope that maybe Carol was starting to get through to both of the girls.

Now, we know that it wasn’t the case.  Let’s be real, we sort of knew or at least guessed that one of the girls was going to die.  That little ray of hope the writers gave us with that one scene cemented it for me that something bad was around the corner.  I don’t know but when it was Carol and Tyreese alone, I just had this horrible feeling.  I would be lying if I said I guessed or even had a clue as to how the tragedy would play out.

That scene, Carol and Tyreese walking up to Lizzie, standing over a dead Mika.  The bloody knife still in Lizzie’s hand.  How she reacted, like it was nothing.  It would be okay, Mika was going to wake up soon.  She didn’t stab her in the head, so she would wake up right.  Wow, I don’t know about anyone else, but I literally felt sick.  Kudos to the actors because the horror and disbelief were evident.  Big kudos to the actress playing Lizzie, because she did that scene to perfection.  She pulled a gun on Carol when she thought Carol was going to “kill” her sister.  She had no idea what she had done it seemed.  Overall, one of the most powerful scenes of the episode.  It could have been one of the most powerful scenes of the season.

Look at the pretty flowers Lizzie.  See how pretty they are.  Just look at the flowers.  She was upset because she thought Carol was mad at her.  She realized that pointing a gun at Carol was wrong.  Yet, she didn’t realize that she had murdered her sister.  I am sure that had some fans scratching their heads.  The fact is that mental illness is not a cut and dry thing.  Under the best circumstances, sometimes the only thing that can be done is to use medication to keep a person calm and make sure they don’t hurt themselves.

This scene, I’m not sure if it was as powerful or more powerful than the scene of Lizzie holding the bloody knife over her dead sister.  I think some of the steam was taken out because of the conversation Carol and Tyreese had after Lizzie murdered Mika.  It is also true that many compared this scene to the ending of the story Of Mice and Men.  The fact that Lizzie had such an affinity for feeding mice to the walkers was a nice touch.  I’m going to take a guess that was what the writers were going for in the entire episode.  Again, they really pushed the envelope by having Lizzie being the deranged one.  I’m going to be honest, I was actually guessing that it would have been Carol going off her rocker this episode.

The scene with Carol, admitting to Tyreese that she had killed Karen and David was powerful as well.  I think part of this was Carol hoping for the anger and outrage of Tyreese.  Carol not only lost Sophia, she developed a bond and practically adopted two other little girls.  One girl ended up being insane, and killed her sister.  Then Carol had to finish Mika off (This wasn’t shown, but as we know everyone who is alive is infected and will come back as walkers.  We know Carol wouldn’t have let that happen).  Carol, knowing that Lizzie could not function around people and really couldn’t be trusted around Judith, then had to shoot her.

She slid the gun over, almost begging for Tyreese to take it and finish Carol off.  Carol wanted to get it off her chest, she was being strangled with guilt.  You could see it in her interaction with Tyreese, and how he said she was a good person.  However, I think she was tired and out of anything resembling hope.  I think she wanted to die, and she wanted Tyreese to do it.

Tyreese, for all his anger and past reactions, forgave Carol.  He said he wouldn’t ever forget, but he could forgive.  I have to give respect to the character, and the tension build up of this scene as well.  At that point, with all that had happened, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had killed Carol.  I was expecting him not to kill her, but I’m just saying I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had.  The forgiveness thing was shocking to me.  I sort of expected him to get angry, maybe throw something, then get a hold of himself before he killed her.  I did not expect him to forgive her though.  The best I imagined, he would just leave, and the ending would have been them going their separate ways.

The ending was them walking away after burying Mika and Lizzie.  You mentioned that you didn’t know why he didn’t kill the walker.  I think it sort of symbolized what we have both said many times about this show.  This show is about the people and the interactions.  The walkers are more or less a backdrop.  This could be any natural disaster, an epidemic, anything that would make people go to great lengths to survive in a hostile world.  That walker was just a backdrop, a part of the scenery.  The important part was them walking away and moving on to Terminus.  After all that had happened, life was still moving forward and so were they.

KC: The mental illness point was something I wanted to touch on. Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) mentioned on Talking Dead last week about how no one on the show had a substance abuse problem until we met Bob. And now, no one’s had a mental illness until Lizzie. I commend the writers for bringing these every day, real life issues into TWD world. Hell, me and you would be dying for some cheap whiskey in the apocalypse, why wouldn’t one of the characters? Why wouldn’t there be a character who just couldn’t make the connection that walkers were not her friends?

You know me when I watch the show though, anything I perceive as a threat early, I want it dead. I never felt sympathy for Lizzie at any point because I knew she would never get it. Playing with the walker this episode really drove that home.

I felt sympathy for Mika though. Maybe it’s because I’m about to have a daughter, but she was wise beyond her years and was the true star of this episode. We’ve seen the apocalypse mostly through Carl’s eyes, so it was refreshing to get another (sane) take on things.

I think Mika showed enormous growth in this episode, prior to Lizzie knifing her life away. Sure, she didn’t want to kill a deer, but what little girl is ready to pull the trigger immediately? She saved her sister (bet she wouldn’t have in hindsight) from the walker and helped Carol and Tyreese take out the medium crispy walkers with ease. She melted some of Carol’s ice cold exterior. She found a doll and named it, making Tyreese want to live at the house (reaching).

I feel robbed by her death a little. While I understand its importance in relation to Carol spilling and Tyreese forgiving, I wouldn’t of minded having another little ass kicker around, especially when she comes with a head on her shoulders.

I think a part of Carol wanted to die as well. While Mika and Lizzie’s deaths helped her get closure with Sophia, she looks defeated when she slides Tyreese the gun. If she has to die in this world, why wouldn’t she want it to be at the hands of someone she truly wronged, maybe even the first person she wronged in a long time? Ed did her wrong for years. Sophia/Mika/Lizzie being taken away due to the apocalypse was wrong. Why not try to make something right with her death?

I was really glad with how Tyreese handled the revelation. After all of our speculation that he would try to pummel her, the forgiving did seem within his character. Again, maybe I’m channeling a little bit of his character from The Wire here, and he did attempt to beat Rick senseless when he discovered Karen and David’s bodies, but he always seemed peaceful. I even think that when Rick was having his mental break, one of the things he said was that he didn’t want any trouble.

He also knows that Carol is one of the strongest survivors that he’s come across. Regardless, it’s smarter for him to forgive her and continue to Terminus with her than without her. I wonder if they might play on this later though, with someone possibly reigniting his anger over Karen death and using it against Carol and/or the rest of the group?

Because he did say that he’ll never forget…

I only mentioned the railroad walker because I thought that if he kills the walker, Lizzie doesn’t go back to feed it, which doesn’t bring the horde, which might have kept Mika alive because then Lizzie wouldn’t have had to help shoot a bunch of her potential “friends”. But seeing 3 walkers kills (tag walker/railroad walker/over the rail walker) still might have been the final push Krazy Lizzie needed.

But I agree wholeheartedly. TWD is about people, not the walkers. Which might be a big point that a lot of these “fans” have been missing when they complain there’s not enough walker kills or action. Just because you’re a cop doesn’t mean every day is car chases, shootouts, and arrests. Sometimes you have to do paperwork, or listen to wire taps, or ride the boat. And sometimes, you need to roast some pecans, have conversations, or drink a bunch of moonshine. Even life in the apocalypse slows down.

Kudos to your first part there my friend, very well written.

Kudos to me for getting 2 references to The Wire in this column.

TC: Well said. This show is not a sprint of killing walkers, running, gun fights and terror.  There is a bit of that, of course.  The fact is that these people are trying to find a way in a life that has changed dramatically.  Let’s say beyond dramatically.  I think I mentioned before it is easy for us fans to complain, but try to immerse yourself in the actual setting.  No running water, no electricity, no toilet paper unless you find it.  A chance for them to slow down and collect their sanity is needed.

I agree totally with how Mika was portrayed and how it all ended for her in this episode.  I think that is why we felt that Bob was going to buy it at the end of the last episode.  The writers just have a way of endearing certain characters for a few episodes to the fans, and then getting rid of them.  Granted, I don’t remember it happening this fast at least not this season.

As you said, it feels like we have been cheated a little.  However, that is the way the world works in TWD.  Many people may not have loved Mika, but I think she was the main star and many fans felt close to her this episode.  They had sympathy with a child trying to figure out her place in a scary world with all the danger.

There is also a sort of darker symbolism to both Mika and Lizzie’s demise this episode I felt like pointing out, at least for me.  Both were victims, and neither could fully cope with what the world had become.  This doesn’t seem like a grand symbol, but really try and think about what the underlying meaning is considering what happened the first part of Season Four.

There are no certainties.  Even in the prison, Carol tried to impress this on the children.  They had to learn to fight and take care of themselves.  Even though Rick and the other adults didn’t agree with Carol teaching them this, she felt it was best.  (It seemed that her schooling was completely unknown to any of the adults in the prison I am guessing.)

Mika and Lizzie had been taught, and even hammered with this from Carol.  Yet, in the end they couldn’t adapt.  Mika may have been getting there, but she still clung to a sort of innocence that was a danger to her.  In the end, I felt she lost it, but it wasn’t soon enough.  Any sooner and she would have seen what her sister had become.

Lizzie, as much as I know you don’t like her, was a victim.  It could have been something she had dealt with before the world changed.  Perhaps with proper medical care she may have been able to live in what we consider a normal society.  However, this isn’t a normal society.  She was a victim to a mental illness, or perhaps just a mental breakdown because she couldn’t deal with the world.  It has happened, how many people decided to destroy themselves and their families then try and face TWD world?  Same thing, only we see it in Lizzie up close and for an entire episode.

These two sort of represent what can’t survive in TWD world.  Perhaps they can, if they are sheltered in a community, and don’t have to fend for themselves too much.  However, they couldn’t adapt fast enough.  They couldn’t get over the old world, the old way of thinking.  Mika represented the people that couldn’t find that killer instinct and drive to survive fast enough.  Lizzie represented the people that just cracked.  Many took their own lives, the lives of their families, maybe even let themselves be turned so they could be with their loved ones.

When I think back to this episode, I see this tragedy between these two girls as something that the entire human race had to endure.  As a whole, we are pretty comfortable.  Many of us tend to forget that we humans survived because we were able to adapt fast and change over the years to a variety of difficult situations.  Look at the history of man: sudden climate changes, famines, vast floods, volcanic eruptions, disease, mass migration across vast icy tundra, warfare and more.  However, in the end, people marched forward.

Maybe I am looking too philosophically at this episode.  Perhaps I am trying to find more meaning then a poor girl murdered by her sister who went insane.  I am sad to have lost Mika.  I am possibly just rationalizing and pulling at strings as to why the writers took both.

However, it is a dark show.  I think though that at its darkest, we see some light.  As you said, Tyreese forgave Carol.  He didn’t forget, which leads me to think this might come back later on, but he did forgive her.  These two marched forward, together, with something like hope for the future.  They were alive, together, and had baby Judith (aka Walker Bait) still in one piece.  Even in the greatest tragedies, people can pull together and try to move forward.  Of course, we are going to have to see what awaits at Terminus.

Kill Watch (and yeah, I’m that jerk who follows up all that beauty Thomas just wrote with bloodlust. Sorry, not sorry.)

  • Daryl – keeping him on from last week.
  • Beth – who knows if she’s alive, dead, or undead by now.
  • Tara – two episodes left, she seems the most expendable out of The Glenn & Abraham Show.
  • Members of the house invasion group – after the two major deaths of last episode, some of these guys biting it (or being bitten or arrowed by Daryl) seem the most likely casualties.
  • Bob/Sasha – I mean, what’s the worst thing that’s happened to this group since the prison? Fog?

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