We need to talk about Lizzie.
First of all, props to 11-year-old Brighton Sharbino for rocking one of the toughest acting assignments on The Walking Dead Season 4. In a short period of time, she’s had to show the journey of “messed up” Lizzie Samuels from walker Nick’s #1 fan to tearful girl who can’t watch her father be put down to stone-cold shooter of Alisha and now, possibly, baby-smothering psychopath. TWD asks a lot of its young stars — just ask Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes), who had his own trip down the “Is that child crazy?” path. The zombie apocalypse isn’t easy on anyone, but it’s hell on kids.
That said, did the zombie apocalypse make Lizzie crazy or was she already a little messed up and now it’s just emerging? Did she leave the rats at the prison fence to feed walkers, like her old buddy Nick? Did she dissect that thing in the prison? Did she have a role of any kind in what happened to Karen and David? All or none of the above? It just seems like there’s something … off about her and it would be silly to avoid all the obvious clues we’ve been given. Maybe they are just misleading clues, but if that’s true, how many psychos are out there?!
Lizzie and Mika Samuels (Kyla Kenedy) lost their dad, then their substitute parent in Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), then they lost their home in the prison war. Now they are out in the wild with a baby. Yeah, Carol is back and they have Tyreese (Chad Coleman) too, but Carol may be part of the reason why Lizzie is the way she is. Carol taught Lizzie to be strong, even borderline cold. She even refused to let Lizzie call her “Mom.” Lizzie scared the bejeezus out of us with that move covering Judith’s mouth — including that look on her face that suggested she was really into that power. But was that just Lizzie’s way of taking Carol’s advice — that if it means protecting herself and Mika, you don’t hesitate? Maybe Lizzie’s fragile, developing mind was the wrong place for that kind of tip.
It may seem like a stretch to apply the Karen/David murders to Lizzie — and even if she did have a role, she probably didn’t do any of it without help/cover from Carol — but there’s also the idea of the child killer storyline from the comics.
Comic book spoilers ahead:
In the comic books, there are 5-year-old twin brothers named Billy and Ben. Ben shows signs of worrying behavior, even possibly torturing and killing a cat. He later kills his brother Billy with a knife. The group debates what to do about it, since Ben is just a child himself and didn't fully understand what he was doing. (In the books, Ben thought Billy would come back, since he didn't knife Billy in the head.) If that isn't bleak enough, Carl decides to take action, and he secretly kills Ben. At least he feels bad about, though.
There’s meant to be dark stuff ahead on TV, including maybe a version of this child killer storyline. Maybe Lizzie kills Mika or even baby Judith. Or maybe it’s Mika who does something. Or maybe they avoid it completely. We do know the “most controversial episode” they’ve ever done is coming, and Robert Kirkman said AMC suits are “very worried” about some stuff in the second half. So it wouldn’t be too out there to think Lizzie has a role in some kind of murder, which would be pretty shocking for TV. If they don’t even touch any of this stuff, maybe the controversy is tied to the cannibal group The Hunters. But would they really give us this many hints about Lizzie and not follow up?
It seems like something bad is ahead for Lizzie. Do you think she’s responsible for stuff back at the prison or do The Powers That Be just want us to think that and it was really someone else? What do you think she’ll end up doing next? Can she turn out OK with the right kind of guidance or is it too late?
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.