*Warning: Comic book spoilers referenced ahead*
Powerful. Brutal. Shocking. Heartbreaking. Inevitable. So, so sad. The Walking Dead is not kind to little girls. Remember the little walker girl Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) saw in Season 1? Sophia? Penny? Meghan? And now we can add Lizzie and Mika. (Meanwhile, Carl will outlive us all.)
At least baby Judith survived Season 4, Episode 14, “The Grove.” Poor Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), though. She lost Sophia, and now she’s lost her mini Sophias, and she had to take down the one she guided the most. She also lost her big secret — that she was the one who killed Karen and David. And she lost Tyreese’s (Chad Coleman) trust.
But so much of this was Carol’s own doing. She meant well — she meant to avoid more Sophias — but she taught the kids how to use knives, she told them not to hesitate or be afraid. These aren't bad life skills in the zombie apocalypse, but when shared with the wrong "messed up" developing mind, they can lead to Lizzies.
Lizzie loved walkers. She loved them when we met her (as Nick's #1 fan) and that never changed. So yes, she was the one who fed them at the prison fence. She took on some of the characteristics of young Ben from the comic book storyline, with Mika as her brother Billy. In the comics, Carl was the one who put down killer Ben; this time, the show went with Carol for that act, and it was the right call. Carol needed to be the one. That scene in the grove was a perfect combination of Of Mice and Men (look at the flowers, Lizzie), the child killer story from the books, and Carol’s whole story arc to this point.
Did Carol and Tyreese ultimately make the right decision? Was Lizzie a lost cause or could she have come back with the right guidance — like Carl, who was on a different dark path, but was helped to a slightly better place, thanks to his father and Hershel? She was just a kid. The zombie apocalypse broke her, but maybe she could’ve been fixed. Like Carol.
Carol was a timid victim when we first met her, but she found her strength over time. And maybe she overcompensated for that — expecting the kids to go from where she was in Season 1 to where she is now immediately. It's not realistic. It may not even be a good idea. Mika may have been just fine, except for having a psycho for a sister. But we've seen how people can change, for better and worse. Earlier in the season, Tyreese was ready to kill whoever hurt Karen and David. But he forgave Carol. He won’t forget, but he forgave. We can change. We can come back. We're not too far gone.
Now Carol has to live with all of her choices — killing Karen and David, teaching kids to be comfortable with weapons, and now shooting Lizzie. She made every decision from a good place but, like the male characters on this show, sometimes her decisions are questionable.
By the way, it’s great that we’re finally getting to see a woman make these kinds of tough choices, when on TWD they’ve usually gone to Rick, Shane or even “Brian.” TV is filled with antiheroes but we don’t often see too many antiheroines making controversial game-changing story decisions. Usually women just end up reacting to calls made by men. In that sense, brava on all fronts. But it’s hard to know how to feel about what happened ... other than to be impressed with Melissa McBride, Chad Coleman, Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy.
Seriously, though, if Melissa isn't up for an Emmy for this ... we riot!
Read on for a full recap of Episode 14:
The sneak peek shared during Talking Dead opens the episode. We hear the old-fashioned music as water boils on a burner and a child is seen outside playing with a walker. Sounds like a job for Lizzie! Very brief scene before the official intro credits.
Carol and Lizzie are sitting outside. Carol says she can sleep, it’s OK. Lizzie says she can help Carol, and take care of Judith. Lizzie tells Carol that she saved Tyreese by shooting a man and a woman at the prison. “I didn’t mean to shoot her in the head” Carol: “You had to. You saved Tyreese.” Lizzie wonders if there will be other kids at Terminus. She asks if Carol had kids. “I did. A kid. A girl.” What was she like? “She was sweet. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body.” Is that why she isn’t here now? Carol says yes. Not technically true. Carol misses Sophia every day. Lizzie: “Would you miss me?” Carol: “I’m not gonna have to miss you.” Foreshadowing. Carol shooes Lizzie away to sleep, since she’s dead on her feet. Tyreese has nightmares.
ON THE TRACKS
Lizzie finds, what, sap? That helps to stop Tyreese’s infection on his arm? Ty figures they’re about three or four days out. Carol said they haven’t seen any other maps. Ty said Lizzie is tough. When it comes to people, Carol said. She’s confused about walkers. “She doesn’t see what they are. She thinks they’re just different.” Mika isn’t the same way. “She’s worse. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.” That's not worse, Carol! We want the future to be filled with nice people. Carol tells the story of Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn.
Thanks for that, Daryl and Beth. Now the air smells like burnt walkers. Ty and Lizzie sit by the tracks while Carol and Mika go off on a hunt. Lizzie plays “I Spy” with Ty, then he sees a walker on the train tracks. He gives baby Judith to Lizzie. Ty breaks out his hammer and walks down the tracks to see what’s up. Why does he have to walk so far toward it? Let it come to you, don't leave the kids alone again. The walker is all gnarly looking. He’s about to smash it, but Lizzie says sometimes they have to kill them, she knows that, but sometimes they don’t.
CAROL TALKS TO MIKA
She tells her she’s little and sweet and those are two things that can get you killed. She wants Mika to toughen up. Mika said she can run, that’s enough. Carol is harsh — her daughter ran and it wasn’t enough, that’s why she taught the kids skills. Mika said she’s not like Lizzie, she knows what walkers are. But she could never kill people. Mika couldn’t pull the trigger at the prison. “Killing people is wrong.” She talks about Karen and David. Someone killed them. What about people who try to kill you? Mika doesn’t even want to want to kill them. She feels sorry for the people who came to the prison to kill them, because they probably weren’t like that before. Carol stays harsh, says she has to change the way she thinks. Things don’t just work out. (Listen, Carol, it took you four seasons to get tough, after being saved over and over by Andrea, Daryl, T-Dog, and others; it’s OK for kids to not immediately be survival experts.) Mika finds a house in the grove and says her mom used to say everything works out the way it’s supposed to.
Carol says they can catch their breath there. They found pecans, there’s a well with water … they could stay there for a while. Lizzie still wants to get to Terminus. They see a huge thing of smoke from the Beth/Daryl house. It’s not too close, but not too far either. (Maybe the zombies elected a new pope?) Ty and Carol clear the house and the kids wait outside, with Lizzie holding Judith. Why do they not know never to give Judith to Lizzie? Lizzie sees graves outside. She’s upset that Carol and Ty are going to kill walkers in the house. Speaking of walkers, one shows up and Mika shoots it multiple times and Lizzie screams and Judith cries. Lizzie is crying because they killed a poor innocent walker. Mika apologized for yelling at Lizzie, and tells her to look at the flowers like she’s supposed to.
INSIDE THE HOUSE
Sometimes Lizzie doesn’t understand, but she’s trying to, ma’am. She is. Mika finds a doll and names her Griselda Gunderson. Why not Adele Dazeem? Tyreese is trying to get used to being in a living room in a house. Mika tells him to relax, but the vibe is weird. They’re tense in there. Beth and Daryl had more fun in the funeral home. Mika wants to live there. Why not? Why fight for a prison when they have food, water, and shelter in a “normal” place like this?
LIZZIE PLAYS WITH A WALKER
Carol sees her out the window playing with a walker. Carol runs out and kills the walker. Lizzie LOSES IT. Screams at Carol for killing her friend. “You killed her! You killed her! She was my friend!” Poor Lizzie. And poor Tyreese for getting stuck with this intense group of girls.
MIKA CAN’T SHOOT A DEER
She misses science class, except for when they had to dissect worms and stuff. Carol, a Debbie Downer, says they have to do worse than that now. Mika says she doesn’t have to. Carol insists she does. Lizzie is bigger than her and stronger, but Mika is smarter. Mika has to look out for Lizzie. Mika gets out a gun and aims at a deer. She says she can’t. Good! Because we can’t go through all that stuff at the farm again, like when they shot the deer on Season 2 and the bullet hit Carl.
TYREESE WANTS TO STAY THERE
Mika is right. He and Mika have a lot in common. Kind optimists. He still trusts Carol - he doesn’t know the truth.
LIZZIE FEEDS THE WALKER ON THE TRACKS
Guess we have our answer about who fed the walkers at the prison fence! She finds a mouse and feeds the guy on the tracks. So it’s OK to kill mice but not undead people? Mika finds Lizzie and tells her they can’t pretend those things aren’t bad. Lizzie says she was never pretending. She knows. She can hear them. She speaks walker. Mika said they want to kill her. Lizzie said they just want her to change, maybe she should change.
A huge group of charred walkers come at them and Mika makes Lizzie leave. They run down the tracks. Mika gets stuck on the fence and Lizzie tries to help her. She’s saved by a bullet from Ty or Carol. Lizzie jumps in and shoots too. So does Mika. So it’s not like Lizzie won’t shoot walkers sometimes. Carol hugs her and says she did it.
Lizzie said she knows what she has to do now. She knows. Carol, probably misunderstanding, says it’s ugly and it’s scary and it does change you but that’s how we get to be here. That’s the cost. That’s growing up now. Mika said she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. She doesn’t want to be mean. Lizzie said you have to be mean sometimes, but just sometimes. Carol and the kids do some cooking. It’s a cute little bonding moment.
CAROL SMILES … THEN CRIES
She actually seems happy and hopeful as she stands outside with Tyreese. If Ty doesn’t want to go to Terminus, they could stay. What about Sasha? Doesn’t he have any hope that she's alive? He said he dreamed about Karen. He sees her every night, and every time he forgets she’s dead. Carol says nothing. Ty says sometimes they just talk. Sometimes he sees her in a crowd in a city he’s never been to, and it’s back before it all happened. Some nights, the bad ones, he sees someone kill her. Carol looks scared and pained. That’s the deal, though. The people who are living are haunted by the dead. We are who we are and we do what we do. “The whole world is haunted now, and there’s no getting out of that. Not until we’re dead.” Carol says his name. She almost confesses. Carol: “Maybe they’re not haunting us. Maybe they’re just teaching us, helping remind us so that we can live with what we have to do.” Ty said she did right by those girls. She’s done right by everyone. Maybe not, buddy.
BEER NUTS VS. DEER NUTS
As they’re walking back, Carol tells Tyreese a joke Ed used to tell every year, a stupid one about beer nuts vs. deer nuts. Beer nuts are around $1.70 and deer nuts are just under a buck. It feels like Carol walking with Axel at the prison in Season 3, right before tragedy. … Yep.
LIZZIE KILLED MIKA
We see her standing with a knife. “Don’t worry, she’ll come back. I didn’t hurt her brain.” Almost directly from the comics, Ben to Billy … although those kids were only 5 in the comics. Mika is dead. Lizzie says they have to wait for Mika to turn. Then they’ll finally get it. Lizzie pulls a gun on them. Carol says they can wait, just give her the gun. Lizzie wants Judith to change too. Carol says Judith can’t even walk yet. Lizzie agrees with this technical note. Carol tells Lizzie to go with Ty and Judith into the house. Carol says she’ll tie Mika up so she can’t move. Ty is looking like “How did I end up on Team Crazy?” Poor Judith. Talk about a messed-up childhood.
When we saw Carol sobbing in the preview we knew something bad would happen. Lizzie lost it. She’s The Walker Whisperer and they have been telling her to recruit new zombies.
Carol sits at the table, Tyreese holds Judith. Ty said Lizzie has a shoe-box full of mice. She was the one feeding the walkers at the prison. Carol holds her head. Ty says he found a rat in the tombs, pulled apart and nailed to a board. That was her too. She said she was just having fun. All psychopaths have an origin story! Tyreese thinks she may have killed Karen and David, but how could she have dragged them away. Carol said she would’ve let them turn. It wasn’t her. Truth. Carol said she could leave with Lizzie. Ty said they’d never make it on their own. Ty said maybe they could try to help her, take her back somehow. Carol said this is just how she is. “It was already there. I didn’t see it.” Tyreese: “How could you?” Carol “I should’ve seen it.” Ty said he and Judith could leave. Carol said they won’t make it either. Carol: “She can’t be around other people.” Meaning Lizzie. They’ve made their decision.
LOOK AT THE FLOWERS, LIZZIE
Carol takes Lizzie out, says they can pick wildflowers for Mika for when she comes back. Lizzie says Mika will love that. Lizzie gets upset, wondering if Carol is mad at her. She is sorry for pointing her gun at Carol. She just needed her to wait. Carol knows. Poor Lizzie is really upset. Carol: “I love you, Lizzie. And everything works out the way it’s supposed to.” Lizzie cries. She doesn’t want Carol to be mad at her. She doesn't get it. “Just look at the flowers, Lizzie.” Lizzie cries and looks at the flowers. Carol takes out her gun. Just look at the flowers. Carol makes her cry face and pulls the trigger. Tyreese watches from the window. Carol cries as she walks back to the house. She sees a deer, maybe the same one. She doesn’t shoot it. Mika wouldn’t want her to, and the world could probably use a little more kindness and softness. Carol and Ty dig graves and bury the girls at the house. The poor Samuels sisters had a rough, rough road this season.
The truth is finally out. Over the puzzle at the table. (On Talking Dead, Melissa said the puzzle, when completed, shows Sophia in her rainbow shirt.) “I killed Karen and David. I had to stop the illness from breaking out, I had to stop other people from dying. It wasn’t Lizzie. It wasn’t a stranger. Tyreese, it was me.” Finally. She tells him to do what he has to do. Tyreese: "Did she know what was happening? Was she scared? ... It was quick?" Carol says yes. Tyreese is emotional, he paws the gun in his hand. Carol puts her head down, and says, "Do what you have to do." She'll accept a shooting. But he's not like that. He's more like Mika. "I forgive you. I'm never gonna forget. It happened. You did it. You feel it. I know you do. It's a part of you now. Me too. But I forgive you." Go Ty. She thanks him. He said they can't stay anymore. Talk about a haunted house...
To Ep 4, “Indifference,” we hear the voice-over when Carol was about to go out on her supply run. Lizzie was scared. Carol told her to fight it. You don’t give up. One day you change. We all change. We see them (Judith is hidden but in Baby Bjorn type thing; don't worry, she's there) walking the tracks, away from that burnt walker guy who is still just hanging out. Poor guy just wants to be shot, you know it! Would you want to “live” like that?
Daryl is walking the tracks with his new guys. We also see Glenn, Tara, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene. Does Daryl get beat up by some members of Joe's group? Is Rick in this ep? There was a flash of him. A brief one. Or is it just Daryl's new group and Glenn's group?
Ready to move forward? Episode 15 may not be any kinder to our characters. Here are the few things we’ve heard about it so far.