Hello, Nerd Readers. Due to an unexpected error within the fabric of time and space, your normal Walking Dead reviewer can not be here today. Therefore, I am taking over. And given the sheer madness of tonight’s episode, I seem to have come at an apt time. For I can honestly say that ‘The Grove’ is one of the best, if not the best episode this series has put out thus far.
The Recap (spoilers, bitch):
This time the camera shifts to Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie and Mika (and baby Judith, of course) as they make their way toward the mysterious Terminus. Though Tyreese was likely more than capable of protecting the younger kids on his own, Carol is a welcome addition to the party. Mainly because the girls aren’t handling things as good as they might. Apparently, kids don’t hold together well during the zombie apocalypse.
As they make their journey, Carol gives her evaluative eye to the girls, trying to figure out what each one is capable of should the need arise. She also tries to convince them that they need to think a little colder and be a little meaner if they’re going to survive. Of course, your typical pre-teen girls aren’t exactly built to take on zombies, either mentally or physically. Still, Carol struggles on, trying to make them as strong as possible.
When the crew finds an abandoned house, they decide to stop in for a while. Things look good there and they’re considering sticking around but, like all things in The Walking Dead, good shit just doesn’t last. As it turns out, Lizzie doesn’t have her head on straight. She thinks that the walkers are actually people and that she needs to figure out some way to communicate with them so that everyone understands.
This leads to Lizzie trying to convince the rest of the group that she’s correct – via the killing of her sister Mika. When Mika returns from the dead, she’ll be able to explain everything, right? After a brief debate, Carol and Tyreese come to the conclusion that it’s not safe for Lizzie to be around baby Judith given her unstable and murderous nature. So Carol does what Carol does best – she takes Lizzie off and ends her.
The entire affair culminates in Carol’s confession to Tyreese that she was the one responsible for killing the guy’s girlfriend (and the other character we don’t care about). Considering what they both just went through, Tyreese has at least a fair amount of understanding of the kind of shit that gets shoveled on Carol’s shoulders. So he forgives her. And what’s left of this happy family strolls off down the road toward Terminus.
The Review (still spoilers):
This was one dark episode. Once again, the new showrunner Scott Gimple proves that he can write and that pretty much every time he puts his pen to paper we get something dynamic and gripping. ‘The Grove’ took the show to one of the darkest places it’s ever been and they’d probably have to throw baby Judith in a woodchipper to push it any further.
I was pleased we finally had the chance to see how the end of the world affects the mind of the children involved. This season has been all about delving into the psychology of the characters given the shitty situation they’re in and this was one place they needed to visit. It also allowed for a more in-depth look at Carol and how her philosophy of survival operates. Anyone that was pissed at her for killing Tyreese’s lady during the early part of the season has likely reconsidered their position.
It was also a nice exploration of the madness that can infect people given the stress of the situation. We’ve seen some of that with the characters of Shane and The Governor, but it manifested very differently in the adult mind. Here we saw its birthplace, the first cracks in sanity that eventually lead to complete sociopathy.
Again, this was probably my favorite episode of The Walking Dead ever. I’m glad they had the balls to go this route and I wouldn’t be surprised if they receive more than one angry letter for having Carol shoot a child in the back of the head.
Just two more episodes to go before the season is complete. I have to ask myself – how the hell are they going to top this one? Kill everybody at once? Check back next week when your regular reviewer, Regina, shall return to give you the lowdown on ‘Us’. And check out the preview of said episode below.