Generally in TV shows, one can be confident that if an episode contains heavy participation from child actors/actresses the episode altogether will be very safe in terms of gore and large character progression, but this week The Walking Dead not only laughed at this assumption, they punished us for even believing it in the first place. This week’s episode is so controversial that #TheWalkingDead trended worldwide for days after airing and made millions of people feel indescribable emotions reminiscent of when the show began.
We return to Tyrese and Carol along with their three misfit children Lizzie, Mika, and baby Judith. In past episodes Lizzie, the eldest of the children has been having some pretty violent outbursts. She’s tried suffocating baby Judith, crucified rabbits she caught while on the road, and most recently, taken a liking to the walking dead she commonly meets out on the road. In fact, the episodes began with the camera jarring at odd angles around a kitchen until it finally meets the window in which we see Lizzie happily being chased around a tree by a friendly neighborhood walker.
The episode continues on with mostly non-violent scenes of Carol and Tyrese coaching the two young girls (Lizzie and Mika) on survival skills. Carol wanted to prove to little Mika that at some point, her optimism toward rest of mankind would be broken and she would eventually have to kill someone who is indeed not undead. It was sad watching Carol purposefully trying to corrupt one of the last innocent people in their world, especially sense when her own daughter was alive; she always seemed to want to shield her eyes from the cynicism and darkness of the world they live in.
Throughout the episode, pretty much their whole group, Tyrese and baby Jude included witness Lizzie’s affection towards the walkers she meets. We see her collect mice and feed them to stranded walkers around the wooded area near their camp and, as mentioned before, she attempts to befriend and play with another walker very close to the house putting not only herself, but those around her in danger.
After a small walker killing scene involving everyone but the baby, Carol thought that Lizzie may have learned her lesson about the danger of the walkers, but she was sadly mistaken. Unknowingly to her, Lizzie was hell-bent on proving that walkers were completely harmless.
After a brief heart to heart conversation shared between Tyrese and Carol in the woods on the outskirts of their temporary home, the duo return to the grotesque scene of Lizzie, knife in hand and covered in blood with Mika’s dead body next to her. Lizzie was trying to prove that when Mika came back to life she would be just as normal as she was before her previous death, thus validating her insane affection towards walkers. Holding back tears, Carol had to play along with Lizzie’s insane rationale in order to move her away from baby Judith and Mika’s soon-to-turn-undead body.
Soon after Carol put Mika’s body to rest, she asked Lizzie to take a walk with her out into the nearby garden grove. Lizzie proceeded to apologize profusely for her actions and tells a story of how her late mother always told her to ‘look at the flowers’ when something bad was happening, a defense mechanism we have previously seen her use in the earlier parts of the season. Sadly for Lizzie, Carol has already decided Lizzie’s punishment for Mika’s murder, and that is death to Lizzie herself. Carol pleaded for Lizzie to ‘look at the flowers’ one last time before shooting her in the back of the head ending her short, young life.
As we wait for the next episode, I wonder if Carol’s actions were completely necessary. Did she need to kill this insane and deadly little girl? It has been a long time since The Walking Dead has made me feel so passionately towards it’s story and I have loved every second of extra time it has spent in my head. Without this episode the end of the season was looking to wrap up quite badly. Score: 9/10.
Alex Troutt/Senior Staff Writer