Credit: AMC Photo: Lizzie and Mika Samuels: Season 4

The world of The Walking Dead isn’t easy for anyone, but Season 4 was especially rough for the under 18 bunch, aka the kiddos. For starters, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) lost his home when the prison fell, and he thinks his little sister Judith (another unfortunate little one) is long gone. To make matters worse for Carl, he spent much of the second half of Season 4 blaming his pops Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) for The Governor’s (David Morrissey) massacre and even convinced himself that he’d be fine if Rick was dead.

He ultimately realized he didn’t mean that, but his situation hardly improved. In Episode 16: “A” Carl was roughed up by Joe’s (Jeff Kober) marauders and nearly raped. Papa Grimes saved the day at the last moment by taking a deadly bite out of Joe’s neck, but there’s no doubt that Carl will be scared by that harrowing experience. Plus, he already thinks he’s a “monster” for the things this world has pushed him to do.

“What's interesting and tragic — and this is something we were going for from the start of the season — is that he would wind up with a very mature self-awareness,” showrunner Scott Gimple tells The Hollywood Reporter of Carl. “He's worried about being a monster, but the fact that he's worried about that is actually wonderful for this kid. At the end of Season 3, he wasn't worried about being a monster. He was almost proud of the rough things he's done. He said, ‘I did what I had to do,’ in the season finale. In this, he's straight-up worried about the things he's done. He's worried about what his father believes him to be. It's a subtle thing, but the fact that he's worried about his demons to me says he's conquered them, that he is a human being with a conscience.”

As much as we hate to admit it, Carl has come a long way and really matured his season, so it will be interesting to see how the events of the finale affect him going forward.

But for as much as Carl’s been through, at least he can say that he’s still alive. Unfortunately we can’t say the same for his former pals Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika Samuels (Kyla Kenedy) who didn’t make it through Episode 14: “The Grove”. In that ep “messed up” Lizzie stabbed her little sis, and then Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) shot Lizzie because she didn’t feel like she was safe to be around people anymore. See what we mean about the kids having a rough time this season?!

THR proceeded to ask if, given everything that’s happened, our core group of survivors will treat kids differently going forward. “They've seen that children can be very vulnerable in many ways — emotionally, physically — and they can be a source of extreme danger, as we've seen with Lizzie,” Robert Kirkman pointed out. “They'll be a bit wearier moving forward of how they encounter children and what to do with them. We'll be seeing a bit more of that moving forward.”

If there’s one ray of hope with the kiddos it’s baby Judith. She may be MIA now, but we know we haven’t seen the last of little Ass Kicker!

Do you think it makes sense that our group will be more wary when dealing with kids going forward? Tell us what you think below!

The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October 2014 on AMC.  

Source: The Hollywood Reporter