Holy. Shit. When the producers let it leak that The Walking Dead would air it’s most controversial episode ever this season, I assumed it would be about Lizzie, but I did not think it would go down like this. I am most definitely shocked. And a little shaken up. What started out looking like a relatively boring episode (I’m really not a fan of kids in the apocalypse), ended up being way intense. And the performances that these actors brought just blew me out of the water. Bravo to everyone involved. Let’s look back at the insanity that happened, shall we?
The episode opened in a pretty melancholy manner, showing a kid playing what looks like tag with a walker. Obviously the kid is Lizzie, because who else would do that but our little budding sociopath?
Post-opening credits, we catch up with Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika and Judith, as they take a break from their journey down the tracks to Terminus. With the others asleep, Lizzie and Carol keep watch, and talk about what Terminus will be like. Lizzie asks if there will be other kids there, and Carol remarks that only if their parents managed to keep them safe. Lizzie insists that she can help keep them safe too, because she’s not afraid to hurt people who are going to kill her. She confesses that when the prison was attacked, she not only killed two people, but even managed to get a headshot. While I don’t want this kid near me in real life, she’s welcome to play on my Call of Duty team any night of the week. Carol appreciates the youngsters toughness, and tells her about Sophia, and that her niceness and gentle nature may have been what cost her her life.
In the morning, after what looked like a restless sleep for Tyreese, he gets fixed up with some syrup (or what we here in Canada call “medicine”) while him and Carol have a chat. Carol attempts to explain that Lizzie has a problem understanding what walkers are, but aside from that is a pretty tough kid. Just a minor detail. Mika on the other hand, is too nice, and too gentle… FORESHADOWING MUCH CAROL?
The group walk on, smelling fire in the distance (probably Daryl and Beth’s brief arson spree), but before they can investigate, a walker comes stumbling down the tracks. And stumble he does. The walker goes down hard, and when Tyreese goes to kill him, Lizzie begs that he doesn’t since he’s all busted up and can’t hurt anyone. Tyreese concedes to the lil’ psycho, but doesn’t look too sure about it.
Meanwhile, Carol and Mika take a stroll of their own, and Carol explains to the little one that she needs to toughen up if she wants to survive. Mika explains that she has no problem killing the zombies – unlike her sister she understands what they are – but she can’t kill people. Carol continues to emphasize that she needs to change, but before she can finish the pair stumble upon what looks like a pretty sweet house with an impeccable lawn. It even has pecans. (Fun story: Once on a road trip to Florida with my family, we stopped in Georgia for pecans. Well, my sister ate too many, and managed to projectile vomit onto the passenger side window from behind the driver seat. It was funny until I realized my Beanie Baby had been in the crossfire. Still not over it).
As the smoke looms on in the distance, Carol and Tyreese go about clearing the house of walkers. Of course without their chaperones, the girls are basically zombie bait, and one comes stumbling at them. Judith starts crying in Lizzie’s arms, while she begs her sister not to kill him. Mika doesn’t listen, because she’s not a crazy person, and shoots the thing square in the head while trying to yell some sense into her sister. With the zombie dead, Lizzie goes into hysterics, and Mika apologizes for yelling and tries to calm her sister down. She tells her to look into the flowers and count to three, like she’s supposed to. Apparently emotional outbursts aren’t a new thing for these sisters and Lizzie seems to have a pretty solid coping mechanism. I don’t know if this makes her more, or less, creepy. But I’m going with more.
As night falls, the group settles into their new home. Mika finds a doll and plays with her in front of the fire, Tyreese revels in their new found comfort and crashes out in a sweet chair, and Lizzie and Carol get working on those pecans. Mika asks if they can stay in their new house, and no one says anything to the contrary.
The following morning, as she boils some water, Carol spots Lizzie from the window. At first it looks like she’s running from a walker, but in reality she’s playing with the damn thing (This puts the shot from the opening in much better context). Carol runs out to put a stop to this madness. Once again, Crazy McPsychopants looses her shit, and rants and raves at Carol for killing her friend. This kid is certifiably insane.
Mika and Carol have another stupid heart to heart about how this sweet kid needs to change, and it culminates when Mika can’t pull the trigger on Bambi. If Carol wasn’t kind of right, I’d feel bad for this kid. Actually scratch that. I do feel bad for Mika. She’s just so damn cute.
Another heart to heart happens when Tyreese tells Carol he wants to stay at the house. He’s with people he trusts and doesn’t think he’ll find that anywhere. If only he knew what Carol was hiding. Speaking of hiding, Lizzie sneaks off to feed some tasty mice to the walker Tyreese left on the tracks. Mika follows her and fruitlessly tries to talk some sense into Lizzie. She will have none of it though, and explains that she understands the walkers because she can hear them (just when I thought she’d reached her apex on the creepy scale). They want her to be like them, and just as she goes to feed her hand to her new friend, a massive walker BBQ comes walking out of the woods.
The girls run back to the house screaming, and Carol and Tyreese go their aid. After a brush with death for Mika, the four of them stand side by side gunning the crispy critters down. Even Lizzie jumps on board, which is really a big step for her. Carol acknowledges this change in Lizzie’s behaviour, and the girl explains that she had to stop them, and knows what she has to do now. Mika on the other hand, hasn’t changed yet, and states that she doesn’t want to be mean. Lizzie says she’ll have to be, but only sometimes.
With the girls safe and sound, Carol and Tyreese take a stroll to find some deer, and they agree that maybe they should stay at the house for a little while. Maybe one day they’ll head to Terminus, but why leave a good thing? Tyreese then opens up to Carol, and tells her that he dreams about Karen every night. Sometimes he sees her before shit hit the fan, but on bad nights he sees a stranger come into her room and kill her. He thinks he’s being haunted, but Carol says that maybe these dreams are there to teach him; to remind him why he keeps fighting and how to live with what they have to do. Tyreese tells Carol she should never be ashamed of who she is. She has done right by the girls and by him. The pair hug it out and you can just see that confession dancing on Carol’s lips.
They head back to the house, and when they arrive they see Lizzie standing there with a knife in her hands dripping blood. Behind her lies Mika, motionless, lifeless. Lizzie has killed her sister. Carol runs to help Mika and Lizzie pulls a gun on her. She knows that Carol will put her sister down for good, and she insists that they wait until she comes back. She needs to prove to them that the walkers are people too, and Mika will come back as nice as she was in life. Continuing to be the scariest kid since The Shining twins, Lizzie says that Judith can change too, and she was actually just about to show them that before she was interupted. Carol tells Lizzie to go back to the house with tyreese, and she’ll tie Mika up so they can wait for her to come back. I have never seen Tyreese look more terrified.
With Lizzie safely elsewhere, Carol and Tyreese convene in the kitchen. Tyreese confesses to Carol that Lizzie was the one feeding the walkers back at the prison (duh), and he recently found a rabbit in pieces nailed to a board. Some kids make macaroni art, some destroy poor helpless bunnies. Stay away from the latter bunch. Carol tells Tyrese she can leave with Lizzie so he and Judith can have the house, but realizes that no one would survive long alone with a baby in this world. With pain and some distance in her eyes, Carol states that Lizzie can’t be around other people anymore.
Carol takes Crazypants for a walk, and tells her to pick some flowers to give Mika when they get back. Carol’s tough exterior begins to break, and Lizzie asks if she’s mad at her. She begins to apologise, but not for killing her sister, but for pulling a gun on Carol. She doesn’t understand what she did wrong, but is devastated that she has made Carol mad. She continues to apologise, in borderline hysterics, and Carol to tells her to just look at the flowers. She continues to calmly repeat the matra, “just look at the flowers”, as she slowly pulls out her gun and puts Lizzie down.
With the girls at peace in their graves, Carol sits Tyreese down, hands him her gun, and confesses to killing Karen. She tells Tyrese to do whatever he needs to do, basically resigning to the fact that she is moments from death. Tyreese grabs the sides of the table, then reaches for the gun, but just as quickly as his rage appeared, it seems to dissipate as he looks Carol in the eyes and forgives her. He says he’ll never forget what she’s done, but he forgives her.
The pair agree that they can’t stay at the house anymore, not after what happened with the girls. They continue down the tracks on their way to Terminus, leaving Lizzie’s last pet walker in their wake.
Holy shit intense, Batman. The last twenty minutes of this episode were the most stressful TV minutes since a shooter entered Seattle Grace/Mercy West Hospital. They also offered us a very interesting perspective on what can you do when you have a troubled child during the apocalypse. I’m not saying they all should be put down, that’s a little intense. But when they start killing the people who are on their side, what are your options? Carol offered to take Lizzie away, and I’m sure if it wouldn’t have left Tyreese alone with a baby that’s what would have happened. But even then, how long until Lizzie turns on Carol? Would Carol have remained safe out of Lizzie’s respect for her? Or would she have been in even more danger because of it? Obviously these aren’t questions we’ll get answers to, but it’s interesting to wonder, was there another option?
I know this is already excessively long (so many important little things happened this week I didn’t want to leave them out), but I do just want to give a shout out to the actors in this weeks episode. They all delivered brilliant, and heartbreaking performances. From Mika’s refusal to change, to Lizzie’s last apology, the girls gave performances that we won’t soon forget. And Carol and Tyreese seemed to span the entire spectrum of human emotion this week, breaking our hearts along the way.
This was definitely the best episode so far this season. It pushed and pulled our characters in so many directions, most of them dark, and gave us some long awaited answers. What will the next two weeks bring? After that I haven’t a clue, but I have a feeling we’ll have to band together to get through them.