What better way to show that the world is irreversibly “effed” than to show how it will impact children? And the children in this episode are shown in opposition - the sweet one, continuing to believe in the good of the world and the deranged one who has embraced the ugliness to the point of no return. This episode was woven into the ongoing theme of how the end of the world would fundamentally change us despite our attempts to try to hold onto civilization and our humanity. Most post-apocalyptic scenarios have plucky human survivors who somehow overcome the odds to restart civilization but The Walking Dead challenges that conception to look at the reality that such an event might create. When we watch post-apocalyptic scenarios we mostly see ourselves as the survivors but this show continues to make the point that the survivors are often worse off than the dead.
Tyreese, Carol and the children are “dead on their feet” and by what seems a miracle, they find a farmhouse with a grove of pecan trees. The house is untouched with good water and even gas for the stove. It is so idyllic that Carol and Tyreese consider staying there for good or at least a little while. Unfortunately, the ‘bad things’ are with them, inside Lizzie. There were many hints that Lizzie was unhinged. Her relationship with the walkers was an interesting way to think about how a child might cope with all the horror and death. Instead of seeing the walkers as a threat she sees them as her friends or pets. I could see why this might make sense to a child. Lizzie has turned things upside down and is willing to kill people if they are a threat but hesitates to kill walkers who she seems to see as kindred spirits. Mica, on the other hand has a clear idea of the situation, far clearer than you would expect for her age. She still draws the line at killing people. She is sweet but tough particularly when it comes to walkers. It almost seemed inevitable that Mica had to die, not because she was sweet, she would have toughened up, but because she symbolized a possible human future, a link with children and innocence from the past. This does not bode well for Judith. What kind of child will she be?
My heart broke for Carol in this episode (and kudos to Melissa McBride for her acting). She hasn’t always been my favourite character and I didn’t agree with her actions at the prison but she will make the hard decisions and take the actions no one else can. Watching her face was fascinating as throughout the episode, Tyreese talked about Karen and Carol tried to decide whether to tell him the truth. You could see the struggle and the pain on her face. And then when they came back to find Mica murdered by Lizzie she kept her cool and dealt with that horrific situation. She was the one who had to take Lizzie out into the field and kill her. If they were to save Judith there was no other way but it must have cost Carol deeply. When she finally did tell Tyreese the truth, I was sure that she was hoping that he would kill her. Tyreese in his own way set aside his feelings for Judith’s survival. He may have wanted to kill Carol for what she did but that would also have meant the death of Judith and because of his agreement with Carol on the necessity of killing Lizzie, he must have gained some understanding of her actions. You can see the terrible costs of staying at The Grove weighing on both Tyreese and Carol as they walk away on the tracks.
Bits and Pieces
The scene where Carol talks about Sophia reminded me of how much has happened in a short time.
I always watch the episodes twice. It was very difficult to watch the beginning of this episode knowing the end.
I’m sure there were people wondering why there was still gas for the stove. Where I live there are farms that have their own gas wells.
I was so sad to see Mica go. She would have grown up to be a kick-ass young woman with her head on as straight as it could be in the circumstances.
The lovely interlude with Carol and Tyreese in the forest juxtaposed to the scene of Lizzie standing in front of a dead Mica made it all the more horrifying. The look on Lizzie’s face capped it off.
For those who read the graphic novels this wasn’t as much a surprise as it must have been for everyone else. I was just glad I have read them so I didn’t end up bawling my eyes out.
Things I could live without - the bleakness of this episode (I know it’s important but still...), the crispy walkers, Lizzie covered in blood and sobbing.
Carol: “She didn’t have a mean bone in her body.”
Lizzie: “Is that why she isn’t here now?”
Carol: “...you’re little and you’re sweet and those are two things that can get you killed.” (Interesting that these weren’t really the things that got her killed.)
Carol: “People came in and killed our friends.”
Mica: “And I feel sorry for them.”
Mica: “Because they probably weren’t like that before.”
Tyreese: “Stand strong little lady.”
Lizzie: “She was my friend and you killed her.”
Mica: “When we were giving them names we were just pretending things weren’t bad. Things are bad. Those things are bad. They are. We can’t pretend anymore.”
Lizzie: “I’m not pretending. You were.”
Lizzie: “I can make you all understand.”
Tyreese: “The people who are living are haunted by the dead.”
Tyreese: “I forgive you. I’m never gonna forget.”
Carol: “Just look at the flowers."