In episode 14 of The Walking Dead the elephant in the room is finally dealt with. Although it could be said that the show dealt with two elephants in the room. The teaming of Tyreese and Carol, combined with the fact that this second half of season four has been broken into the various groups of survivors from the prison attack, has certainly cranked up the level of viewer tension.
Since Rick’s group was scattered to the four corners after The Governor attempted to wrest the prison camp from its occupants, the episodes have been broken into mini stories about each little band who’ve found, and in one instance lost, one another. This targeted focus has let the audience into more backstory for characters and added another dimension to the show. There have been real eye-opening revelatory moments of these desperate survivors.
The viewers have learned more about Michonne, a series favorite, and now more of Carol’s past is revealed. In terms of backstory, the news about her daughter’s helplessness in the face of their present day danger explains a lot about why she was so desperate to train the children on how to survive. In terms of revelation Rick and Carl’s storyline looked beneath each character’s surface and dealt with surprisingly normal father/son issues. This episode shifts focus on an illusionary mother/daughter issue.
In The Walking Dead episode 14, the obvious elephant in the room, Carol’s murder of Karen, is finally dealt with, but, so is the issue of the children’s mental condition in the new dionysian and apocalyptic world of the walking dead. Until last night’s episode, viewers were focussed on Carl’s slide into the realm of possible sociopath. Rick’s son was a little too ready to use his gun and seemed to have problems dealing with the whole concept of life and death.
The Grove zeroes in on the two young girls, Lizzie and Mika. Both have issues in dealing with this living nightmare. Of the two, the littlest sister shows an amazing adaptability. Lecturing her older sister in the reality of the walkers and then finding a doll and expressing child-like delight at the discovery of a “normal” toy. She also tells Tyreese to enjoy the sanctuary of the house found amongst the pecan trees.
Lizzie is a completely different story here. She has completely slid into sociopath territory. According to Carol, this is not new, the poor child was damaged before the apocalypse. It has only been the non stop chaos that kept the older sister from being helped and treated. The signs of her inability to accept social codes and understanding of the morals and ethics of human behaviour were missed, or blamed on something else, and her madness was allowed to bloom.
Mika’s older sister believed the games the two children played in the prison where they made up names for the walkers in order to deal with the horror. Lizzie does not understand the difference between the walkers and people. Her idea is that her companions just do not understand that they are not dead, they have just come back as different people.
By the show’s end, the viewer learn that Carol is braver than could ever be imagined. Thus far she too has been classified as damaged goods. She cold bloodedly killed Karen and David in an attempt to save the group from more sickness. Rick banished her from the camp and in a stroke of karmic irony, after the survivors are scattered, she meets up with Tyreese. The one man who has sworn to kill whoever it was who murdered his love.
After scenes with Lizzie that contained a horrid and tragic pathos of shocking dimensions, Carol reveals to Tyreese that she killed the two at the prison and why. This elephant has finally been recognised and dealt with. The Walking Dead, episode 14, The Grove deals with two elephants, one of which had been overlooked. After Lizzie descends fully into madness and Carol loses everything, Tyreese finds an uneasy peace and the remnants of this former quintet move on to Terminus. This was, perhaps, the best episode in season four. A brilliant combination of hope, crushed dreams, madness and heart tugging grief The Walking Dead keeps delivering unmissable television.
By Michael Smith