Last week's episode, "Alone," ended with Beth being kidnapped and Maggie, Sasha, Bob and Glenn heading towards Terminus.
Let me start off with the good part of the review, Brighton Sharbino as Lizzie and Kyla Kenedy as Mika were simply incredible in this episode. I'd say they were both born to act and man, did they show off their chops this week. But this episode pissed me off like no other TWD episode before it.
As the latest horrifying tragedy unfolded, I felt like the show jumped the shark into HBO's dark and morbid Oz territory. If you never saw it, Oz was ahead of its time in many ways. It was a saga about depicting life in prison that was spared no horrific detail, but after a few season of being pummeled with every depraved act in the book, Oz turned into prison porn for me, much the way Hostel is torture porn. I don't remember one single character in the series that ever got a reprieve from its depravity. Not ever. After a while, all you had to do was imagine the worst and that's exactly what would happen. To me, that destroys the overall effect of what the writers and showrunners were trying to say.
In The Walking Dead, main characters are sacrificed all the time, but in tonight's episode the writers took it too far. They've said the focus on this batch of episodes was to really delve into character development, but it would be nice to have a few of the young characters left to develop. I think we understand that this world is hell, but as viewers, what was the point of having these two kids dead and buried already in a bizarre display of psychosis? One courageous one killed by her insane sister, who was driven mad after the turn and then executed because of what she had become. I mean, WTF? The writers didn't develop these characters, they dumbed them down to a single trait. All you need to know is that Mika just doesn't want to be mean to anyone and Lizzie really wants everyone to understand that walkers are still people.
The episode opening focuses on the Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika and baby Judith group. Is this the episode that Carol tells Tyreese that she killed Karen? It starts with Lizzie playing tag with a walker in a backyard of a house, if I'm not mistaken. That kid is in serious mental trouble.
Carol is chatting with Lizzie about survival when Lizzie tells her that she can really help her because she saved Tyreese from the people that were shooting at him. She shot them instead.
Lizzie wonders if there are kids in Terminus so they can play together and Carol tells her about her daughter.
Do you miss her?
Would you miss me?
Carol is the matriarchal figure and the two girls long for her affection. Tyreese is talking in his sleep. The next day, Carol treats Tyreese's arm wound with tree sap. She tells him that Lizzie doesn't understand what the walkers are, but Mika is worse off because she's like her daughter.
She doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
Looks like the group is making good time walking the tracks. Carol and Mika go for water and Tyreese and Lizzie rest with baby Judith. A one-legged walker gets stuck on the tracks behind then and just before Tyreese bashes his brains in, Lizzie begs him not to kill it. That appears it will be an ongoing theme.
Carol has another survival chat with Mika as they walk in the woods looking for a deer. Carol admits that still hurts because her own daughter wasn't tough enough yet to survive in zombie-hell and she wants Mika to toughen up.
I don't have to be tough. I can run. I'm good at that.
No. My daughter ran and it wasn't enough. That's why I taught the kids at the prison to do more than that.
Mika explains that she's not as deranged as her sister; she can kill walkers, but never people. She admits that when the Governor's group attacked the prison, she couldn't pull the trigger on the residents. And then she brings up Carol's original sin.
Killing people is wrong. Someone killed Karen and David. They just killed them. They were nice.
Carol tries to explain to her that people can be just as deadly as zombies in Walkerville, but Mika refuses to see the logic in it.
Carol: People came in and killed our friends.
Mika: I feel sorry for them.
Mika: Because they probably weren't like that before.
Out of the mouth of babes. Mika understands very well how people have changed because of the turn. But she's not ready to become a monster just yet. As Carol explains how Mika will have to adapt to these more desperate circumstances, they come across a house with fresh water, pecans and roaming deer.
They also see smoke from a fire someplace in the distance.
As Carol and Tyreese go in to clear it out of zombies, Lizzie and Mika sit with baby Judith. Lizzie is worried not for their lives, but because they will kill more walkers. Her delusion is in full bloom now.
Lizzie: They are going to find them in there and they are going to..
Mika: Stop it, they aren't people.
Lizzie: But you're wrong, all of you.
Mika: They aren't people Lizzie, they're just dead.
Suddenly a walker falls out of the house and almost on top of them. Baby Judith starts screaming in Lizzie's arms, who is paralyzed on the ground. Mika pulls out a gun and shoots it in the head after missing with a couple of shots. Carol and Tyreese come running out.
Carol: Mika, lower the gun. You did it, you saved them. Why are you upset, Lizzie? Are you scared?
Carol: Then why are you crying?
Lizzie: I don't want to say.
Lizzie sits down and Mika tells her she's sorry she yelled at her and then comforts her. Mika is the strong one out of all of them. Later they are all in the living room. It's a comforting tableau: a fire is burning and Mika is in her childhood glory because she finds a doll. (The writers really laid it on thick with Mika, to punish the viewer with it later.) Tyreese is weirded out because they are in a situation that looks like the good old days.
The next scene is the same scene we saw in the opening of the show. Lizzie is playing with a walker out back. Carol runs out, screaming at her. Lizzie begs her not to do anything to it, but Carol knocks her down and brain kills the zombie, which makes Lizzie freak out.
Lizzie: She was playing with me, she wanted a friend.
Carol: She wanted to kill you.
Lizzie: I was gonna lead her away.
Carol: You could have died.
Lizzie: It's the same thing. You killed her. YOU KILLED HER. IT'S THE SAME THING. WHAT IF I KILLED YOU? YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.
Lizzie: She's my friend and you killed her.
Carol silently just looks at her. Lizzie's delusions are in full bloom.
Carol walks with Mika again, trying to explain to her that she is smart and now needs to take to take care of her crazy sister. As they are walking, they come across a deer. Mika raises the rifle, but can't kill it.
Tyreese is pumping water and tells Carol that he thinks maybe they should stay and live in this little house instead of going to Terminus.
I know Lizzie and Mika. I know Judith, I know you. I trust you and I don't know if I can get that anywhere else. We can stay. We can live here.
He only trusts her because he doesn't know what Carol did.
Mika sees Lizzie sneak out the back of the house and follows her to the railroad tracks where she's feeding a rat to the crippled zombie they left there.
Don't worry, I'll get you more.
Mika knows her sister is not well and takes on Carol's persona.
Mika: They want to kill you.
Lizzie: They just want me to change. To make me be like them. Maybe I should change.
Mika: Stop it.
Lizzie: I can make you all understand.
As Lizzie sticks her hand in front of the zombie's face, tempting it, a bunch of scary looking zombies descend upon them. Smoke comes off their bodies, as if they just escaped a bonfire. The girls run screaming and though Lizzie climbs over the small wire fence, Mika gets caught. As a zombie grabs at her legs, Lizzie tries to pull her free, but can't. That's when Carol comes up and shoots it in the head, freeing Mika. Tyreese and Carol continue shooting them and for the first time, Lizzie takes a gun and starts shooting at them too.
Carol to Lizzie: It's okay, you did it.
Later in front of the fireplace, Lizzie says she knows what she has to do now. I doubt that means what Carol thinks it means. When someone freaks out like she did when Carol killed her walker friend, she's a long way from being cured. As they wind down from the incident, Mika says she still doesn't want to hurt anybody or be mean, but Lizzie says you have to be mean, but only sometimes. Tyreese is still mumbling in his sleep about Karen.
The next day, Carol is hunting for deer with Tyreese and tells him that this place could work out for them and maybe they shouldn't go to Terminus. He agrees and says he's not ready to be with people just yet and then drops a bombshell on her.
I dream about Karen. I see her every night and every time, I forget she's dead. Sometimes, we just talk. Sometimes, I see her in a crowd in a city I've never been to and it's back before everything happened. And then some nights--the bad ones--I see someone kill her. Some stranger. Then I lose her all over again. But that's the deal, right? The people living are haunted by the dead? We are who we are. And we do what we do 'cause they are still here. The whole world is haunted now and there's no getting out of that until we're dead.
Carol looks at him, tears welling up and she says "Tyreese,....." She's going to tell him now.
Carol: Maybe they're not haunting us. Maybe they're just teaching us. Helping remind us so that we can live with what we have to do.
Tyreese: Don't you ever be ashamed of who you are, Carol. You did right by those girls. You did right by everyone.
No, she didn't. As Tyreese and Carol head back to the house, they see an odd sight and strain to make it out. Lizzie has a knife and her hands are covered in blood. Mika is laying on the ground, motionless.
Lizzie: Don't worry. She'll come back. I didn't hurt her brain.
Carol is looking at Mika on the ground and then at a smiling Lizzie in frozen horror. Baby Judith looks up from a blanket on the grass and Tyreese's eyes are bulging out of his head. As Carol reaches for the knife, Lizzie pulls her gun on her.
No, no, no we have to wait. I need to show you; you'll finally get it. We have to wait.
Carol: We can wait. We can wait, just give me the gun. We can wait, I swear.
Lizzie reluctantly hands over the gun.
Carol: You and Tyreese should take Judith back. It's not safe for her.
Lizzie: But Judith can change too, I was just about to...
Carol: She can't even walk yet.
Lizzie: Yeah, you're right.
Tyreese picks up the baby and leads Lizzie away with him. Carol breaks down, knowing what she has to do to Mika.
Tyreese says he found a box of mice with her and realizes that she was the one feeding the zombies back at the prison, which cause them to crash through the gates.
Tyreese: At the tombs, we found this rabbit pulled apart and nailed to a board. That was her too, Said she was just having fun. I was thinking, maybe she killed Karen and David, but I don't know how she could have dragged them away.
Carol: She would have let them turn. It wasn't her.
Tyreese: So what do we do?
Carol: I could leave with her.
Carol: We can't sleep with Judith and her under the same roof.
Tyreese: You wouldn't make it. Not on your own.
Carol: She can't be around other people. That's how she is. I didn't see it. I should have seen it. She can't be around other people.
The guilt Carol has over Karen and David's deaths is crushing her, but she knows what Tyreese will do if he finds out. Taking Lizzie away with her isn't a bad idea in theory, except for the fact that Lizzie is insane and is dangerous. Will Carol execute her now?
Lizzie is outside walking with Carol, picking flowers for Mika when she realizes that Carol is upset and she starts crying, apologizing for pointing her gun at her.
Lizzie: Please don't be mad at me.
Carol: Just look at the flowers.
Carol is crying as she pulls the gun up, cocks the hammer and then pulls the trigger.
Tyreese stares out from the window and turns away.
Carol stumbles away and sees the deer grazing on the grass.
Carol digs the graves as Tyreese lays the bodies to rest.
At night, as Tyreese and Carol are sitting at the table in front of puzzle pieces, she passes her gun over to him and finally confesses. After what happened today, what does anything matter?
I killed Karen and David. I had to stop the illness from breaking out. I had to stop other people from dying. It wasn't Lizzie, it wasn't a stranger. Tyreese, it was me.
He breaks down.
Carol: You do what you have to do.
Tyreese: Did she know what was happening? Was she scared?
She shakes her head no.
Tyreese: It was quick?
He squeezes the gun in his left hand.
Carol: Do what you have to do.
He lets go of the pistol. After what he witnessed Carol go through today, he can't avenge Karen's death.
Tyreese: I forgive you. I'm never going to forget it happened. You did it. You feel it. I know you do. It's part of you know. Me, too. But, I forgive you.
Carol: Thank you.
Tyreese: We don't need to stay. We can't stay.
And they leave the house, walking away in silence.
The way Tyreese and Carol came together at the end worked out well, but damn.
After I write my recaps, I usually turn on the Talking Dead for a few minutes to get some other reactions and usually there's a lot of commotion behind Chris Hardwick, as he excitedly tries to draw you into his show. That didn't happen tonight. His intro was somber and depressing, which was exactly how I felt. I felt like the writers found a cheap way to stun their audience tonight and it did not work out at all.
For some reason I chose to write out a lot of dialogue tonight. I hope it helped you capture the episode.