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‘The Walking Dead’ Season 4 Episode 14 Recap: “The Grove”

Well, that certainly was the dose of extreme morbidness and tragedy that we all needed on a Sunday night.

Let’s just say that the past couple of episodes were pretty much filler episodes, building up to this hell of an episode. The Walking Dead is BACK in business.

The episode returns focus on Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie, Mikah, and baby Judith, as they continue on their way to Terminus. There’s a ton of subtle hints and foreshadowing about what might happen later in the episode. Mikah asks Carol about what happened to her daughter, and Carol responds that she didn’t survive because she didn’t have a mean bone in her body. More to come later.

Now the situation with Lizzie is so intriguing because it’s honestly super creepy. We slowly learn throughout the episode that Lizzie genuinely believes that behind their decaying skin, sinking eyes, and decapitated bodies, walkers are actually just some nice guys on the inside. In her perspective, she thinks that they’re still just people underneath it all, and that they still retain some level of humanity. What a messed up, deranged child.

Anyhow, the little family of sorts ends up at a grove, in which they find a quaint little home, complete with a garden and everything reminiscent of what their lives may have used to be. The small encounters that Lizzie and Mikah share with the walkers only underline the main motto here that Lizzie is a freak. On one such occasion, she ventures out to find a walker they had crossed paths with earlier, and proceeds to feed it with a mouse she captured. Mikah is there with her, and tries to reason with her that walkers are indeed walkers, and definitely not human. As Carol noted before, Mikah is the smarter of the two, but unfortunately “doesn’t have a mean bone in her body”. Hmm (foreshadowing??).

They are suddenly ambushed by a bunch of walkers that have meandered from a huge smokestack in the distance over to their grove. Mikah barely escapes a walker, and once they are all together safely, they bring down their guests (including Lizzie). Carol is surprised by Lizzie’s involvement, and seems to think that maybe Lizzie has cast aside her foolish ideas that walkers aren’t harmless. Poor Carol couldn’t be more wrong.

To all the parents/guardians of The Walking Dead: I think it’s high time that we recognize this as the new golden rule: DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED. In case anyone’s forgotten, I’m gonna throw out a couple of names: Megan, Sophia, Carl on countless occasions. They are pretty stupid things that do stupid things. Just like the adults, but honestly. Why. Just don’t leave them alone.

So Carol and Tyreese decide to ignore my golden rule as they enjoy a nice walk into the forest. They talk about how maybe they should stay in their quaint little home instead of going to Terminus. After all, everything seems to be going ok for their family. When they return back to the home, they catch Lizzie red-handed (literally).

It turns out that while they were on their walk, Lizzie was so convinced of her philosophy on walkers that she decided to try an experiment: killing her own sister, with baby Judith watching on.

Tyreese and Carol look at Lizzie with shock, horror, and everything else that you’d expect. Carol does react smoothly to the situation and tells Lizzie and Tyreese to bring baby Judith back into the home. Lizzie is genuinely happy about her actions and can’t wait to see her sister “resurface”. In fact, she was gonna do the same thing to baby Judith, but Carol and Tyreese intercepted her just in time. After everyone has left, we see Carol breaking down beside Mikah’s body.

Carol and Tyreese reach a mutual understanding of what needs to be done, and Carol ends up leading Lizzie away from the home and towards the center of the grove. Lizzie suspects that maybe Carol is gonna shout at her for what she did, and starts hysterically crying. Carol too begins to cry, as she raises a shaky hand with the gun pointed at the back of Lizzie’s head, and fires.

Later that night, Tyreese tells Carol that he knows Lizzie was the one who fed the walkers rats at the prison, nailed the rabbit to the board, and potentially killed Karen and David. Carol confesses to Tyreese that it was she, and not Lizzie, who killed Karen and David at the prison. It looks like Tyreese might just explode but he ends up calming down and tells her that he’s never gonna forget, but he can forgive her.

Seeing as staying at the home is probably not the best decision, Tyreese and Carol decide to continue on their journey to Terminus. We see snippets of the home, flashbacks to a happier time, and are reminded of the fact that things will truly never be the same, no matter how hard our characters try. Domesticated life? Yeah, not gonna happen. As Carol says, people constantly change given their circumstances. There’s no way to predict this, but it happens.

Alright, let’s take a breather and examine this episode. WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK. First off, I’d like to think that “The Grove” is the best episode in this season so far. The intrigue, terror, and general anxiety that comes with plot twists are the best combination for this show, and this specific storyline delivered all three. Especially considering the fact that this specific group wasn’t exactly the most interesting bunch of people that came out of the prison. TWD seriously decided to amp up on the adrenaline and generally creepiness that the show was lacking (and definitely needed).

I also really need to commend the acting in this episode. Perhaps the most traumatic scene to watch was when Carol shoots Lizzie, especially considering how hysteric Lizzie was at the end. Even more sad to think about is that Lizzie wasn’t pleading for her life (which is how a lot of people usually go). She was bawling because she didn’t want Carol to be mad at her. Little did she know how things would turn in her favor. It’s honestly so tragic because we know that Lizzie isn’t intentionally like this: at the end of the day, she’s a child trying to cope with this apocalyptic world with her sociopathic mind. Melissa McBride (Carol) and Brighton Sharbino (Lizzie) really gave the storyline and this scene the morbid undertones and melancholy that it deserved.

So you know my two-cents on Lizzie: creepy child, perhaps she deserved to go. I mean, it was all such a sudden turn of events that I honestly don’t really know what to think right now. I’m not sure if Carol did the right thing, but to be honest, Lizzie definitely was a liability, and Carol knew what she had to do in order to keep primarily Baby Judith safe. The loss of two characters (minor, nonetheless) is pretty staggering, considering that they’re also children. This show has definitely taught me that nothings actually off limits (including completely ignoring the golden rule–in case anyone has forgotten: for god’s sake don’t leave kids alone)

And lets talk about Carol, shall we? Everyone loves hating on her because she was really annoying in the first two seasons. And let’s be honest, she’s still pretty stupid in this season (coughgoldenrulecough). But because she’s had to deal with so much and internalize so many different things, she may honestly be the strongest character on this show. I have so much respect for her, especially with how she is able to deal with these stressful conditions.

So all in all, great episode. Tragic, but great. The loss of these two children (especially tiny, innocent , and adorable Mikah) is really gonna be felt in upcoming episodes. If the show keeps up this theme for the final two episodes, we’re looking at a great storyline coming up.

Rating: A