“The Walking Dead” has finally proven once and for all that the true horror of a zombie apocalypse lies in the people it affects instead of the monsters it creates. And, sometimes, those two things are one and the same.
Truly it’s going to take a while and several viewings to process the devastating and horrifying events of Season 4, episode 14 “The Grove.” The audience has known for the majority of the season that there is something seriously damaged about Lizzie. But to find her with her younger sister’s blood covering her hands while pleading with Carol and Tyreese to wait until Mika changed into a walker to prove she is still the same person was heartbreaking and disturbing.
“The Walking Dead” Season 4 has been about the way the apocalypse changes people. It’s focused on showing how living in a world filled with walkers affects the youth, especially in the story of Lizzie and Mika. This episode especially highlighted that, as Mika couldn’t live because she is too sweet, and Lizzie couldn’t live because she no longer could see the difference between human and monster.
Maybe the change in morality that the zombie apocalypse has brought on the still-living characters has turned them into monsters as well. Mika says something ahead of her years when she says that she pities the humans who try to kill their group because they probably weren’t that bloodthirsty or desperate to survive beforehand. And she was probably right.
But Carol was also right in saying that there were seeds of Lizzie’s confused nature in her all along. The theories that Lizzie was behind the walkers being fed rats and the dissected animals were proved correct, though it’s an interesting twist that the other theory about her killing Karen and David was proved false.
Was Carol right to kill Lizzie? At first viewing, the obvious answer is yes. Many viewers were quick to compare the final murder of the episode to “Of Mice And Men,” and it’s a fair comparison. Lizzie was as much a danger to the world as the walkers she so loved were.
But who’s to say what humanity is anymore in this reality where the number of the undead far outweigh the living. In this world, Carol was right to kill Karen and David — and Tyreese clearly understands that when he says that he forgives her. Still, how far these characters have come from when fans first met them. There is darkness in this show that is never going away, because this is not a story with a happy ending.
It’s interesting that this is the same show where only episodes ago a character brought up the concept of a cure being within grasp. But even if the walker cure is found, this episode proved that there is no going back for these characters. No one can live in “The Grove,” no matter how idyllic it may seem. There’s no returning to the world that was lost. There’s only going forward, and hoping that your end is quick and painless.