The Walking Dead, Episode 414: “The Grove”

The modus operandi for The Walking Dead has been to bore viewers to the point of suicidal thoughts, and then to shock the hell out of them. The shocking episodes have been increasingly few and far between, making them all the more surprising when they do show up. I cant decide if this is a genius ploy or a cheap gimmick, but it keeps me watching this show every time I’m right on the verge of entirely giving up on it. “The Grove” hooked me again.

The Walking Dead functions at its best when its characters face moral dilemmas generated by the apocalypse. The show has been toying with the humanity of the walkers on and off throughout its run, but Lizzie’s exceptionally skewed perception really takes the cake. Lizzie is clearly a disturbed girl. When Mika kills the walker at the house, she calms Lizzie down by telling her to look at the flowers and count to three. Mika says this in such a way that we can be sure that Lizzie has needed talked down before, presumably even before the apocalypse. Time and time again, Lizzie has tried to play with some walkers, and she has almost died because of it. She is incapable of seeing them for what they are, in spite of the overwhelming evidence that she consistently encounters.

This brings us to Carol, who has the uncanny ability to see these issues of morality in black and white. She needed to prevent the spread of illness at the prison, so she killed Karen and that other guy. She needed to protect Judith, so she killed Lizzie. I like Carol for this reason; she may not want to actually carry out these deeds, but they are necessary in this world, so she does what needs done. If it were Beth, she’d whine and demand that Mr. Dixon find her some alcohol. If it were Lori, she’d make Rick or Shane do it for her. But Carol is not afraid to get her hands dirty, which aligns her with Michonne, except that I like Carol so much better.

It is only because of the Lizzie incident that Tyreese is able to forgive Carol. He was too close to that situation to see that there were noble motives behind the murder of Karen. The gruesome killing of Mika, however, seems to have opened his eyes to the reality of this world, and the fact that Carol’s attitude has allowed her to thrive in the apocalypse setting while he himself is still struggling.

There are only two episodes left this season, so I’m assuming that there won’t be another shocking until mid season 5. Nevertheless, this one was certainly worth the wait.

 

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