THE WALKING DEAD Recap: “The Grove”

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So far on season four of AMC’s The Walking Dead, every plot point has been driving our heroes on toward the mysterious Terminus.  Some travel there in search of their missing loved ones, others seek the promised safety and security of the gathering place at the end of the line.  Still others, like the unlucky travelers of tonight’s episode, head toward the unknown entity of Terminus because everything else is already horrific by comparison, and the desire to leave these nightmares behind them propel them forward to the promised land.  We’ll have to wait another couple of episodes to see if that promise is made good, but for now, we’ll reflect on “The Grove”.  Hit the jump.

the-walking-dead-the-grove-tyreese-judith-lizzieTonight’s opening sequence was a great microcosm of the episode as a whole.  It featured a quaint little country kitchen that could have been from before the time of the apocalypse.  As the camera pans to look out the window, we see a child running circles around a lunging Walker, seemingly toying with it, or even playing with it.  Before we can be entirely sure, the opening credits roll.

What a great setup to a creepy hour of television that relied much more on the psychological trauma of its characters rather than gruesome special effects.  We spend the entire sixty minutes with Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), who are watching over the Samuels sisters, Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy), as well as Baby Judith.  Fans will remember that Carol previously confessed to the murder of former friends, Karen (Tyreese’s then-girlfriend) and David, but Tyreese is unaware of this truth.  If you think this is the only source of tension among the group, you’d be dead wrong.

To say that the Samuels sisters have some issues is to put it lightly.  Mika seems to have come to grips with the reality of the world they’re living in, and that it’s necessary to put Walkers down for good, but she has a hard time killing any living thing, even if it’s for her own survival.  Lizzie, on the other hand, has numerous psychological issues in attempting to understand the Walkers; she claims to hear them talking to her, saying they want to play with her and be their friend, or even wanting her to become like them.  Lots more on her in a bit.

I rather liked the dysfunctional family unit in this episode, and part of me wished they could have made a home in the pecan grove.  I mean, for once they had a solid shelter, clean water, plenty of food and game, and even a working stove!  Unfortunately, that’s not the way things work out in this world.  Not only do they have a mysterious fire to contend with (or completely ignore, except to make casual comments about it), but there’s a pint-sized psychopath in their midst.

the-walking-dead-the-groveLizzie has been showing signs of being a bit cracked pretty much since her introduction.  In this episode, we’re reminded of how she views the Walkers as merely different, rather than dangerous.  She gets upset when Mika shoots one in the head before it can devour them (and probably traumatized the actor portraying baby Judith).  She screams in Carol’s face when she saves Lizzie from a friendly neighborhood Walker.  And she nearly becomes a Walker herself when found feeding rats, and almost her fingers, to the Walker trapped on the railroad tracks.  We’re positioned to think, for only a few moments, that Lizzie has come to the realization that the Walkers are truly dangerous and beyond reasoning when a horde of the smoking monstrosities just about eat her and her sister alive.  But Lizzie is too far gone.

In one of the most distressing scenes of the entire series, Carol and Tyreese return from a deer-hunting trip (let’s not even bother asking why they left that little psychopath alone with her sister and a baby…unless they were fooled as well) to find Lizzie covered in blood and holding a bloody knife.  Mika lays behind her, quite dead; Judith crawls on a blanket by her side.  McBride turns in a great performance of reserved subtlety as she manipulates Lizzie into dropping the knife and handing over the gun, saying she’ll tie Mika up for when she turns.  Coleman turns in an equally fine performance, stunned into submission, even for all his strength.  It’s a truly powerful scene that offers commentary on the psychological effects of this world: even if Lizzie was never quite right to begin with, this new reality certainly doesn’t help anything.  (And yes, it was Lizzie that fed the Walkers the rats at the prison, and left flayed corpses everywhere.)  Thankfully, even The Walking Dead isn’t so dark as to show a live child being executed on camera, but the pain in Carol’s eyes was more than enough to get the message across.

Now’s a good time for Carol to clear the air about Karen and David, right?  I mean, after Carol kills Lizzie, and the pair buries the Samuels sisters, Tyreese was probably all out of fight.  It was hairy there for a minute, but I think the two are stronger for their honesty.  If nothing else, it’ll keep them more alert on their journey to Terminus, in search of better memories.

the-walking-dead-the-grove-tyreeseGrade: A

Walkers killed: 10

Casualties: Mika and Lizzie Samuels

Best Zombie Kill: Has to be Carol’s kill of Mika, even if it is off screen. The only more difficult kill was that of Lizzie herself.

Best Zombie Effect: A tie for feeding the Rail Walker, and the group of Smoking Walkers

Odd & Entrails:

Carol: “Yeah, I’m just like the Widow Douglas.”

Carol: “People came into the prison and killed our friends.” Mika: “Well I feel sorry for them.” Carol: “Why?” Mika: “Because they probably weren’t like that before.”

Mika: “Lizzie, I’m sorry I yelled at you. Just look at the flowers like you’re supposed to. Count 1, 2, 3.”

Mika: “Look what I found! I’m gonna name her … Griselda Gunderson.”

Mika: “I miss science class. Except when we had to do gross stuff like cut up planaria worms.”

Tyreese to Carol: “I trust you. And I don’t know if I can get that anywhere else.”

Tyreese: “The whole world is haunted now, and there’s no gettin’ out of that. Not until we’re dead.” Carol: “Maybe they’re not haunting us. Maybe they’re teaching us, reminding us we can live with doing what we have to do.” Tyreese: “Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are, Carol. You did right by those girls. You did right by everyone.”

Carol: “What’s the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts? Beer nuts are around $1.79, and deer nuts are just under a buck.”

Myka: “Don’t worry. She’ll come back. I didn’t hurt her brain.”

Tyreese: “She has a shoebox full of mice.”

Lizzie: “You know everything ma’am.” Carol: “No, I don’t.”

Carol: “Just look at the flowers, Lizzie.”

Carol to Tyreese: “I killed Karen and David. I had to keep 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. You do what you have to do.”

Tyreese: “I forgive you. Never gonna forget.”

Watch a promo for next week’s penultimate episode of season four of AMC’s The Walking Dead:




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  • Ur name here

    They just need to kill off Carl, Maggie, Glenn and the show will be rid of annoying characters

    • Steven

      Really ?

      I don’t mind Maggie and Glenn. Carl, Tyrese and Lizzy are the worst characters.

  • i AN LEGEND

    this show is retarded

    • pinkincide

      Yep. I’m holding out hope for the Stake Land series to do it right.

  • Shawn Micheal Madden

    Bravo to whoever directed this one.

  • LL

    The more the children attempted to act the more I wanted their characters to die. An unexpected relief that it panned out. Now if only Carl…

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    I feel a little bit like a sociopath when I watch this show. I really do not care about what happens to anyone. The events of this particular episode were predicted weeks ago right here on this very recap. They were the right events, given the setup, but they simply weren’t very surprising.

    What’s funny (or sad, depending your perspective) is to watch Talking Dead, and see Christ Hardwicke and co. treat the episode as though it was The Rains of Castamere. Mika and Lizzie debuted this season, and were only focused on a handful of times. We never really had much time to care for them. For good writers, that would still have been more than enough, (it worked with Andrea and Amy back in the first season), but for these writers, no amount of episodes would have helped.

    • LEM

      It was fairly predictable for anyone aware of the comic but I think the biggest problem was that kid actors are usually awful especially when trying to portray some heavy emotions. I do think that the writers seem to rely on stupidity or the lack of common sense in order to move the story where they want it to go and this can be frustrating to watch.

      • mattinacan

        in the comics it was done really well, with Carl sneaking into the van to kill Ben to protect the group. wtf is this show trying to do, it’s hard to believe Kirkman is involved in this.

      • LEM

        Every time I compare the shows execution of one of the books stories I end up wishing they had just done an exact copy of the book.

      • Kondorr

        Just reread the book… I stoped watching the show half way last year… and it feels good to not watch this trainwreck of a show… it’s just the wait for compendium number three is a major pain!

        I hope they do not “ef” up The Preacher like they did with this…

  • hockablah

    while i still want the everyone else to die (yes, EVERYONE), i REEEAAALLLY wanted that little bitch Lizzie to die a long time ago and glad it finally happened. now, if only everyone else will die and they can reboot the show. properly.

  • mattinacan

    An ‘A’?! this show is painful now. having the group broken apart like this and telling lame individual stories each episodes doesn’t allow them to build a cohesive story. What, even separated everyone just happened to see this Terminus sign and decide to head there? This show peaked in season two and has been a let down ever since. Anyone can write a shock episode like last night, it takes real story telling skills to piece together a six episode build up to that little girl walking out of the barn, or another six episodes leading up to the Rick/Shane stand off. What happened to this show?

    • LEM

      Six episodes for Rick and Shane? I remember it taking 20.

      • mattinacan

        i meant between the Sophia reveal in episode 7 and the finale episode 13 i think it was. But yea, you could say it was building right from the start.

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  • Mike R.

    This half of the season has been a complete waste. I’m all for character development and what not, but they have dragged it to an extreme with nothing essential to the plot even happening since the prison. I like this show but the writers must be running out of ideas or something. The aftermath of the prison could have been condensed into 2 episodes, 3 tops.

    • Grayden

      Yeah, it feels like they just used this season to finish the governors arc, and then set up the Terminus arc.

  • FoonZeeS

    Scott Gimple has found his calling, child murder.

    The first twenty minutes or so were hell to watch. The acting by the girls was just terrible.

    I think most people knew it was Lizzie that was feeding/tormenting the rats in the prison so that wasn’t much of a reveal.

    Why Carol and Cutty (sorry, I will always call him Cutty) left the girls alone, especially with Judith, was another error in the writing of this show. There’s no way a rational person would leave that little psychopath alone with other people.

    The second half of the episode gives me hope that Gimple might have finally worked out all the muck left over from his predecessors, for at least one more week.

  • Marlboroliteman

    This show is just spinning it wheels, and those zomb…opps I mean “deaders” or whatever they call them are really annoying with that stupid sound they make. Can’t they have zomb… I mean “hissers” that make no sound for a change. I give this whole season a solid C- and the zom….i mean the “smellers” a freakin F.

  • doctor_robot

    great episode. very dark.

  • Oolie zool

    expected a Carol and Kids episode to be a big turd, but I was pleased. Mostly because they finally tied up two dangling loose threads, those girls. If only they had let her also kill the baby too, but no, they’ll have to keep the baby around to cry at the worst possible time at some point down the road.

  • diazfan209

    i can’t help but brainstorm different directions this show should go while watching each of these drawn out “lets go to Terminus” episodes. The story is so bland right now that I just can’t get into it. Remember when this show had legitimate heart-pounding tension?

  • diazfan209

    i can’t help but brainstorm different directions this show should go while watching each of these drawn out “lets go to Terminus” episodes. The story is so bland right now that I just can’t get into it. Remember when this show had legitimate heart-pounding tension?

  • Emmet

    AMC presents Of Mice and Men featuring the Walking Dead cast.

  • Emmet

    AMC presents Of Mice and Men featuring the Walking Dead cast.

  • RecoveR

    The Walking Dead has been so frustrating to watch lately, like others have said. I’m still waiting for a reason as to why they didn’t keep Judith dead, she’s just- there at the moment, i just can’t see them keeping her for the rest of the show, they had their chance with her. and, jesus christ, these two girls, i just hate every scene they are in, not because of their acting ability, but just because of the things they say, do or even talk about. I have never cared for the girls and (the way the episode ended) it was like it was telling me to be sad for them, but i just couldn’t do it. The only person i felt sad for was Carol, because of what she’s been put through, and what she had to do. I am glad the girls are off the show. I’m sad to say that The Governor arc was probably one of the best stories in the comics, and this show has squandered its potential.

    This show should have 10 episode (well planned out) seasons, with NO mid-season breaks. Then it might just get back on track.

  • RecoveR

    The Walking Dead has been so frustrating to watch lately, like others have said. I’m still waiting for a reason as to why they didn’t keep Judith dead, she’s just- there at the moment, i just can’t see them keeping her for the rest of the show, they had their chance with her. and, jesus christ, these two girls, i just hate every scene they are in, not because of their acting ability, but just because of the things they say, do or even talk about. I have never cared for the girls and (the way the episode ended) it was like it was telling me to be sad for them, but i just couldn’t do it. The only person i felt sad for was Carol, because of what she’s been put through, and what she had to do. I am glad the girls are off the show. I’m sad to say that The Governor arc was probably one of the best stories in the comics, and this show has squandered its potential.

    This show should have 10 episode (well planned out) seasons, with NO mid-season breaks. Then it might just get back on track.

  • Guest

    JUST WOW!!!
    Melissa McBride made look Bryan Cranston, Micheal C. Hall, Mads Mikkelsen, James Gandolfini and Steve Buscemi SAINTS…

    This season is just exceptional when it comes to acting.
    This show use to be my guilty pressure because of all the zombie shit. ( NO BRAINER ). But, this season has the best acting, writing and making, of all the seasons. I’m glad that they all got seperated and got their time and chance to show their acting skills. THIS SEASON ROCKS IN ALL DEPARTMENT.

  • Guest

    JUST WOW!!!
    Melissa McBride made look Bryan Cranston, Micheal C. Hall, Mads Mikkelsen, James Gandolfini and Steve Buscemi SAINTS…

    This season is just exceptional when it comes to acting.
    This show use to be my guilty pressure because of all the zombie shit. ( NO BRAINER ). But, this season has the best acting, writing and making, of all the seasons. I’m glad that they all got seperated and got their time and chance to show their acting skills. THIS SEASON ROCKS IN ALL DEPARTMENT.

  • Jenn

    I’m one of the few that believe the show can do no wrong and I absolutely loved this episode. One of the best they’ve done so far. Beautiful and Horrific episode. Took me a second to realize it was the Billy/Ben story from the comics. I thought it was going the serial killer plot from the prison… I wonder if they’ll ever touch that.

  • George

    Gotta love people bitching about the child acting, who also happen to be adults and could have done no better. Being a child actor is really hard, especially with dark drama. It tells a lot about where we’re at as people that we love to rag on children for trying their best with material, such as having mental breakdowns and dying. Good on you all.

  • Cicero85

    Well first off it should be noted that this whole episode is built around John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” What one thinks of that is up to them. As for myself, I thought it was, in perspective, necessary. This is the nature of this show, it must continue to grow darker and the choices must become more difficult while simultaneously and paradoxically easier for the characters to make; they’ve come to a point where they know what must be done, and they do it.
    From a different perspective, however, the death of Lizzie, and both of the girls for that matter, seemed only to serve the purpose of facilitating a reconciliation between Carol and Tyreese, and that is a problem. For it makes the girls’ lives worth less since their death serves some greater purpose rather than forcing the viewer to come to terms with what just happened, namely that two young girls have just been murdered. The lives of the Samuels sisters seem to be worth less than Tyreese’s and Carol’s. The truth is that those two girls were the future and in killing them Tyreese and Carol have forsaken their own future. I would not be surprised if Carol dies this season. I refuse to believe that she is this strong that she can murder a child and walk away from it like it was nothing. Furthermore, I am beginning to fail to see how Carol is a good guy anymore. She has become judge, jury, and executioner. She takes human lives with a only slightly more difficulty than she does Walkers.

    • Chuck

      in a zombie apocalypse, there is no future. if I was in that situation I would have done the same. u come to a reckoning when a child has gone section 8 and killed her own sister and has been putting others in danger. not a matter of right or wrong at this point. just something brutally necessary. survival.

  • MovieB

    Since when did being objective translate into being a “hater” (tween speak)?
    Sheep will be sheep

  • RecoveR

    I don’t mind it when they stray from the comics, as a matter of fact, those two Governor episodes were my favourite of the series. But i really don’t think they should’ve have him be redeemed, doing “twists” based off of comics just don’t work. ala Iron Man 3. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, stick to what IS good.

  • RecoveR

    Yeah that was my first initial thought, i was pretty annoyed that they didn’t bookend the governor in season 3, that would’ve been a more “solid” season. I was a little disappointed with how they treated Andrea’s character like some dumb blonde, especially considering how great and interesting a character she is in the comics. In the scheme of things the two Governor episodes are redundant considering how it all turned out, but objectively, they are good episodes of television. I’ll still be watching this show weekly, but i don’t think i’ll miss it as much come Game Of Thrones season.

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