In last week’s episode, some uncomfortable sexual tension formed between Beth and Daryl while Bob spit some strong game. This week, we catch up with Tyrese, Carol, baby Judith and a blond version of the little girls from The Shining.

Boarding the Crazy Train

After one of the most bizarre cold opens ever, we join our group still on the road to Terminus. Lizzie, you as might expect, manages to be as unsettling as ever. When Carol describes (her deceased daughter) Sophia as not having a mean bone in her body, the little psycho asks if that’s why she died. Later, she somehow convinces Tyrese not to kill a zombie who is stuck on the train tracks.

Her sister Mika, on the other hand, seems to be adorably normal. Both she and Carol recognize that something isn’t right with Lizzie, but they don’t seem to be aware of the girl’s baby killing level of crazy that lurks beneath the surface. About the only clue they have is that Lizzie seems to think of the walkers as real people.

After trudging along for a few more miles, the group finds a beautiful old house that’s still managed to have landscapers come out every week during the zombie apocalypse. Tyrese and Carol decide to stop there for a rest…

Crazy White Chicks

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…but not before clearing it out. As the adults go inside, however, one of the walkers jumps out and attacks the girls. Lizzie completely freezes up, but Mika manages to take the zombie down after a few Storm Trooper-quality misfires with her gun. As Lizzie begins to have a panic attack, her younger sister manages to get to her to calm down by reminding her to count flowers.

You would think that incident (and Lizzie’s subsequent reaction) would be enough to make the girl stop liking walkers. But while Mika does normal little girl things, like finding/naming a doll inside the house, the older/psycho sister finds and “befriends” a zombie. She gives it a name and even tries to play an incredibly lethal game of tag with it out in the backyard (calling back to the eerie cold open). Carol comes out and hacks Lizzie’s new friend in the head, causing the girl to fall into another round of hysterics over the extermination of her new playmate.

Later, Lizzie is discovered feeding rats to a walker that was on the train tracks. Mika tries to talk some sense into her, but this just leads the little blond psycho to consider letting the walker bite her so she could show everyone that the zombies were normal people (Please note: alive or undead, Lizzie is a horrible spokesperson for any state “normal”).

Before she can do that, however, a group of walkers that had traveled through a nearby forest fire (probably started by Bethyl a few episodes ago) attacks. Lizzie instantly decides to join the human race and runs away while the rest of the group takes down the Smoke Zombies.

Steinbeck, Ya’ll

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Later on that evening, Carol attempts to explain to Lizzie why walkers are bad. This leads to her declaring that she “knows what she has to do.”

The next day, Tyrese tries to talk to Carol about how much he misses Karen. To say this conversation was awkward would be a gross understatement. That feeling pales in comparison, however, to what we see next: Lizzie standing over the dead body of her sister while saying she left her brain intact to “prove” that zombies were still real people.

In case that wasn’t horrifying enough, Lizzie also the suggests that baby Judith can “change” as well while pulling a gun on the adults as they try to stop her. Fortunately, Carol uses her uncanny ability to deceive people to get the psycho girl to stand down. Later, Lizzie breaks down and cries, but not because she killed her sister. She’s actually upset over the possibility that Carol might be mad about the whole “pulling a gun on her” thing. Finally realizing that she’s not at all right in the head, Carol goes the Old Yeller/Of Mice and Men route, telling Lizzie to count the flowers while putting her down.

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Clean Slate, Broken Heart

That evening, Carol finally confesses to Tyrese that she killed Karen and that other guy. Tyrese looks like he’s about make Carol “count flowers” as before calming down and forgiving her… but also reminding her that despite her good reasons for doing it, the act would never be forgotten.

The pair then leave the house, unable to stay in a place where so much death and heartache had occurred (and that’s saying something in this world).

The Verdict

After four seasons, it can get pretty hard for a show to keep finding new ways to remind you of how dangerous the world can be. Even a new “breed” of zombies, despite their cool appearance, doesn’t feel like too big of a threat.

But instead of going the usual “humans are the real monsters” route a lot of post apocalyptic shows do, The Walking Dead deftly nails the point home. Poor Mika was about the sweetest girl you could imagine…and she wasn’t even safe from her own sister.

Add in some a believable resolution to the lingering Carol-Karen-Tyrese conflict, and you have a very good episode that also works as an incredibly effective advertisement for birth control.

The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 14 “The Grove” Review
Very cool new zombie designTyrese and Carol finally talks about the charred, undead elephant in the room.
Episode took a while to get goingTyrese may have forgiven Carol a bit too easily
9Overall Score
Reader Rating 4 Votes
8.9
  • occasionallylucid

    What is your numerical rating of this dark, emotion-draining episode, Nick?
    It has been clear for awhile that Lizzie was progressing toward insanity. But, as soon as we saw that 11 year old holding the bloody knife, you knew that the only “reasonable” option was to end her life as well. That is what passes for sanity in this new world now.
    Carol was prophetic when, during their walk in the woods, she explained to Mika that being too good means you won’t last. In that sense, Mika and Hershel had something in common.

    • Patrick Ross

      Whoops, this editor forgot to put Nick’s score at the bottom. Fixed 🙂

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