18 Mar 2014

TV Review - The Walking Dead 4.14 "The Grove"

Just Look at the Flowers...

Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika and baby Judith come across an abandoned house. They move in and Tyreese begins to think that perhaps they don't have to make their way to Terminus but can just settle there. Carol comes around to thinking the same. She's worried about Lizzie however who doesn't seem to realize that zombies aren't just a different kind of people nor how dangerous they are. Lizzie seems to come around after an attack by the walkers but events force Carol to take drastic action.This week on The Walking Dead was truly touching and extremely daring, resulting in a pay-off so strong I sat in utter shock for a very long time. 

What a tear-jerker folks, from one thing hitting you in the gut to the other hitting you on the heart, The Grove was not an easy episode to watch, but heck, it was amazingly acted, directed and written  and can you seriously ask for anymore than that? The narrative follows Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie, Mika and Judith on their journey for safety, and moving on to another narrative gave the show some breathing room cause I don't know about you, but I was sick of looking at Beth and Daryl. This bunch's story has gotten the least of coverage out of all the groups, but after watching The Grove, I can see that the payoff was all the worth while, and extremely effective.

Of course happiness comes at a price in these sort of shows, and the price is nothing less of dark and deeply upsetting. The Walking Dead says goodbye to two of their youngest characters in such a way where it could only be described as one of The Walking Dead's daring and strongest moments, The murder of both Mika and Lizzie. All of it was shocking to say the least, and although it came to no surprise, the result still caused an impact so strong that right now, I still don't think I have recovered. After leaving the kiddies alone for like the 10th time in a row, Carol and Tyreese return to their cute little cottage to see Lizzie clenching a blood-drenched knife with Mika laying dead behind her, referencing to Lizzie who mental health is so unstable that she killed her sister so she could play with her, just like she plays with the other walkers. 

This moment was neither accompanied by the scene of the crime, not with a build up to it happening, but that's were the effectiveness lies, with the fact that we didn't see it happen, we didn't know it was going to happen, and that Lizzie saw this as a good thing, so good that she was about to take care of Judith next. Shocking wouldn't be the word, but was this a right move for the show to make? Absolutely. Why? because it finally establishes that all bets are off. This stunning episode was accompanied by fantastic performances all-round, especially that of Brighton Sharbino who was able to present a truly broken yet sympathetic character to match the clever and subtle character development written by Scott Gimple. Lizzie isn't sane we all know that, but she is played off in such a way that we see how damaged she is, and how lost she has become. She was a child, but now she is a child who adapted to her surroundings, and that turned her into something worse than a blatant psychopath, but instead to a girl who understands her actions, but see's it as the greater good. 

The death of little Mika wasn't the only thing that had the tissues by the ready, but the subtle death of Lizzie at the hands of Carol only added even more shock waves to the episode. Both Carol and Tyreese battle with with what's right and what's wrong, and after watching Judith's life at risk as well as seeing Mika's taken, they realize that what's best is to kill Lizzie, and that is exactly what Carol does, but in the most gracious of manners. "Look at the flowers" is the last thing Carol says before she pulls the trigger of the gun that's pointed at an oblivious Lizzie. The emotional impact is so strong that it leads Carol to tell Tyreese about the murder of Karen and David, and whilst expecting death to come soon after handing Tyreese a loaded weapon, he simply forgives her and they make their way to terminus. That was a touching moment, that Carol was willing for someone to take her life, yet the courage from Tyreese stopped that, building on his character, reassuring us that there is a lot of good in him. The episode ends with the pair leaving behind the house they planned to keep with both Lizzie and Mika buried in the garden, heading to what looks to be Terminus. 

Ps. Did you notice the likeness between Mika and Sophia? Both shared the same qualities, both hadn't adapted to the zombie world, yet both were taken suddenly in Carol's presence. It was sad to see cute Mika go shortly after seeing just how delicate and harmless she really was. Yeah Lizzie's death was sad, but Mika's was tragic.

The episode wouldn't have been as dynamic if it wasn't for the superb performances that inspired true emotional in an episode so filled with grief that it would have your heart in pieces are your gut firmly beaten. An interesting and shocking turn of events makes this one of the greatest character development episodes of all time on The Walking Dead.

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