'The Walking Dead' Season 4: Did Carol really kill Karen and David?

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There have been a lot of decisions and assumptions made on "The Walking Dead" Season 4 based on the reveal that Carol killed Karen and David. When Rick asked her point blank if she was the one behind the two prison murders, she confirmed it, and that led to Rick sending her away. But what if Carol wasn't the murderer after all?

There's a theory floating around that we've really gotten on board with that speculates Melissa McBride's character wasn't the one who killed the two infected prison members, but rather that it was the little girl she took on as her charge, Lizzie. This theory was seemingly reinforced by a conversation showrunner Scott Gimple had with Vulture about the moment in the midseason finale where Lizzie shoots Tara's girlfriend, Alisha, in the head.

"It seemed very natural that [Carol] would settle into the role that she did this season as a very determined protector of the prison, and especially the children of the prison. And though she wasn't in the midseason finale, we could feel her presence," Gimple says. "I like to say that scene, however sensational it is in the moment, was there to serve that Carol story. We'll be addressing that in the future. It's all part of a greater story. It's important to know that that wasn't just some big sensational moment."

Gimple describes Carol as a protector of the prison but, more than that, a protector of the children. Because of that, wouldn't she feel it is her duty to cover up for Lizzie instead of letting Rick know that the girl had taken it upon herself to kill Karen and David? Wouldn't her duty to those children make more sense as a reason for her admitting to the murders than actually doing them herself? Since she seemed to expect Rick to either kill her or send her away after the admitted to the kllings, it would make sense that she wouldn't want to let Lizzie be put in harm's way.

Carol's reactions in the wake of Karen and David's murders seem to confirm this theory. When Tyreese comes and speaks to her, she knocks over a huge container of water after he walks away and breaks down in tears. While this could be -- and was -- read as her being upset that the deaths didn't stop the spread of the virus, it could be that she was just frustrated over having to cover for Lizzie and the fact that those girls would take the lessons she was teaching them and translate them into murder.

It's open for debate whether the the killings were the right move for the people in the prison. After all, the spread of the virus wiped out a massive percentage of their population, and preemptively stopping it from infecting others would have saved a lot more lives than it cost. Carol was teaching Lizzie and the other children that sort of logic in the early episodes, and it would make sense that Lizzie would take the lesson of being strong (remember when she couldn't kill her own father after he turned into a zombie?) and translate it into this. It's worth noting that the deaths of Karen and David occurred after Lizzie failed to impress Carol with this kill.

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The one flaw in the theory is that it doesn't make sense that Lizzie would know about the virus and thus feel the need to kill Karen and David. The timelines just don't add up like they did for Carol. However, Lizzie does start feeling sick after the Karen and David die, while Carol remains uninfected, so that could serve as more evidence. As Mika tells Carol about Lizzie's tendency to think of walkers as pets, "She's messed up; she's not weak."

If the Lizzie theory proves true, it would be an interesting fold to this storyline. It would be nice to have Carol be someone who hasn't actually changed from the character fans have come to know in the past few seasons. 

It would also make Tyreese's storyline a heck of a lot more interesting in Season 4b if, while he's on the run with Lizzie, Mika and the rest of the kids, he finds out that Lizzie was actually the one who killed his girlfriend. He might have murdered Carol if he found out that she was behind the deaths, but would he respond in the same way to a kid?

It also would add fuel to the speculation that Lizzie was the one feeding rats to the walkers and dissecting the rodents. Maybe she really is the psychopath living in their midst. Welcome to daycare in the post-zombie apocalypse world.

While this is all speculation, one thing is for certain: Carol is coming back before the end of the season. Consider us intrigued for how the story arc plays out.

"The Walking Dead" Season 4 returns from its midseason break in February on AMC.

Do you think that this theory has any credibility?

Photo/Video credit: AMC
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