How dark is too dark for a show like The Walking Dead?
Season 4 has already given us the graphic killing of Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), plus the deaths of more minor "good" characters, including sweet little Meghan (Meyrick Murphy). Kids aren't off limits on this show, and two of the most iconic shots of the series have been 1) Rick (Andrew Lincoln) coming across a little girl who turned out to be a walker at the start of Season 1, and 2) walker Sophia (Madison Lintz) coming out of the barn in Season 2.
So it would be tough to watch but not out of the realm of possibility for TWD to give us more such darkness with the deaths of Mika (Kyla Kenedy), Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino), and/or baby Judith in Episode 14, "The Grove."
This speculation isn't coming completely out of nowhere. There's a child killer storyline in the comics, and Judith actually died back at the prison battle in the original comic book story. Then again, sometimes we expect the worst (Beth dying) and something a little different happens (Beth abducted!). And there was a time when we really suspected poor Dr. S. might be a spy for The Governor. So it's possible we're letting our imaginations go down too wild a path again.
However, the promos and sneak peek for Episode 14 are making us think something particularly bad happens — especially since both Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Lizzie seem to break down in tears. It's possible Mika might go the way of the walker. Or is that too obvious, based on the promo showing her trip over some kind of a wire, with walkers right behind her? Last week's sneak peek showed Bob Stookey (Larry Gilliard Jr.) looking like he was bit by a walker, which turned out to be true, but the walker (conveniently) bit him right on his bandage and he was fine. Maybe this promo is equally deceptive. But we hear Mika shout for Carol, and later we see Carol heaving in sobs. Lizzie also seems to sob too, which she might do if something happened to Mika. (Or Tyreese? Could they want us to think something happens to Mika but it's really Tyreese?)
It's Carol crying we're curious about, since she's not exactly a softie anymore, so what would it take to see her break down like this? There's also a point where she’s walking, and she looks emotional. Is that grief? Guilt?
There's also a sneak peek scene where Tyreese (Chad Coleman) goes to check out someone or something coming down the train tracks and he leaves baby Judith with Lizzie. We remember how Lizzie almost smothered Judith last time. In this new scene, Ty, Lizzie, and Judith are apparently alone, so it might be happening at the same time that Carol is with Mika, and Mika trips and might get attacked.
What if Lizzie ... does her thing again ... and Judith doesn't make it? We may be reading too much into the Lizzie signs, but there was no mistaking her face when she was borderline smothering Judith back in Episode 10.
And there's a line in the promo, from Tyreese to Carol, presumably during some humanity-testing moment: "The whole world is haunted now. We are who we are, and we do what we do. And there's no getting out of that. Not until we're dead." Do you think that's connected to Carol finally telling Tyreese what happened with Karen and David, or part of a larger conversation about the kids? Don't forget that a while back Scott Gimple said Lizzie shooting Alisha at the prison, which saved Tyreese, would be part of a greater story involving Carol. Will that come into play this week?
Andrew Lincoln previously talked about "the most controversial episode" they've ever done being in the second half, and Robert Kirkman said AMC execs were "very worried" about some dark and dire things in the second half. Both of those comments may still have a connection to The Hunters (cannibals) and not the kids, but it still feels like something dramatic happens within this little five-some.
We speculated about this before, and it may be too much, but what if Mika gets bit when she’s with Carol and at the same time Lizzie kills Judith, then Carol and Ty have to figure out what to do about Lizzie? Is all of that way too much? Will any of it even be close? Do you think anyone will die this week or are they saving the really dark stuff for the final two episodes of the season?
UPDATE: Head to the bottom of this "What Happens in Episode 14" story if you want to read spoilers on what reportedly happens. It answers the question of who dies...
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.