“I feel sorry for them….They weren’t like that before.” ~Mika, on killing the living.
As a mother, watching this week’s episode has stirred up a lot of emotions in me. As a die hard Carol fan, I have to applaud the writers, as well as Melissa McBride, for the continued development of her character. I’m working on this post laying alone in a hotel room (Cystic Fibrosis clinic in the morning) and I’m having a little trouble with the Kindle. Bear with me. Since I’m working without the aid of my DVR, screen captures will have to be added in when I get home Monday night. And, please forgive the continuity issues, as my brain is entirely overwhelmed by this episode.
For those of you who need to catch up, click here for a detailed and spoiler filled recap of The Grove.
All set? Good. Here we go…
You’d have to be an idiot to not know that Lizzie was the one feeding the rats at the prison when this season began. For months, we’ve waited patiently to see just how far they would go with this character. Kudos to Brighton Sharbino for doing such a heartbreaking job. Never did I imagine what she would do to her sister.
“The whole world is haunted now.”~Tyreese
Forgiveness; a continued weekly lesson, along with acceptance, portrayed beautifully. Once again, though, I have to say that Tyreese is such an underutilized character. Yes, we did hear from him a little more, but not to the extent that I’d like. He was only with Karen a short time, a few months at best. Why is he still obsessing over her? Dude…remember your sister, Sasha? While I’m glad you finally know the truth, sir, based on your weeks of moaning and demands for vengeance, I guess I expected a different reaction from you. I did love the line, “I forgive you…I can’t ever forget.” It really speaks to the understanding of how this world works. There are tough decisions that have to be made, and some will have repercussions.
“Sometimes we have to kill them and sometimes we don’t.”~Lizzie
Lizzie’s claims that she can “hear” the walkers wrecked me. What happened to them? What happened to their mother? At the start of the ZA, what atrocities did they witness that damaged these girls so? Remember, they came with their father to the prison via Woodbury. Is Lizzie’s behavior a reflection on what the Governor was hoping to create with his gladiator arena? After all, he did tell Andrea it was to make people less afraid of the walkers. Their were so many hints there that Carol couldn’t–or wouldn’t–see. For example, at the start of the episode when they’re talking, Lizzie says, “I didn’t mean to shoot her in the head.” Carol neglects to hear Lizzie’s true regret of that situation. It’s not until Lizzie brings up Sophia that Carol shuts down the conversation.
“You’re little and sweet; two things that can get you killed.”~Carol
When Carol tells Tyreese that Mika is worse than Lizzie because she “doesn’t have a mean bone in her body” we begin to see the guilt over Sophia come to a head. Obviously, she had just compared the two girls, but it goes deeper. Somewhere between losing Sophia and getting to the prison, Carol steeled herself against the painful memories of her daughter. As a mother, there is no guilt worse than feeling like you failed your child. Carol and Sophia were abused by Ed. Carol has previously expressed guilt over not being able to protect Sophia then. We’ve witnessed a transformation in this woman, for better or for worse. “And then, one day you just change. We all change.”
It’s been so long since Carol has even spoken about Sophia. From the time she “adopted” Lizzie and Mika, Carol has been trying to right the wrongs of her past. From the weapons classes to the words of wisdom, Carol is trying to make up for the loss of Sophia. Maybe by doing things differently she felt she could protect them from a similar fate. But as the show has proven time and again, nothing is in their control. You can have the best of intentions and do everything right, yet still end with the same outcome. And at some point you have to accept that.
“Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.”~Mika
In one of the hardest delivered realities of the night, Carol repeats Mika’s words (their mother’s actually) to Lizzie before killing her. The way it’s supposed to….Such a bitter pill to swallow. In a world that has been ravaged, to accept that old adage that everything happens for a reason seems pretty frustrating, wouldn’t you agree? But, I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Say, a puzzle picture, perhaps? (The jigsaw puzzle was an image of Sophia in her rainbow shirt, a clever move by the episode’s director.)
I loved the symbolism with the smoke from Daryl’s burning cabin. When Carol said, “Smoke’s white…it’s out” I took that to mean this epoch is over, the chapter has ended. It’s finished. Time’s up. Like an hourglass that has run out of sand. It’s good that Carol waited to confess to Tyreese until after she’d taken care y Lizzie. Had she confessed sooner, he may not have been so understanding. Tyreese needed to witness the horrors of Lizzie, (“She would have let them turn”~Carol explaining how Lizzie didn’t kill Karen), to see Carol exhaust all other efforts before taking on the burden of doing what had to be done. He gets it. He doesn’t have to like what Carol did, but he understands now, how it can be a necessary evil. As Lizzie said, sometimes we have to kill them.
Poor Carol. To see her in that place. It was an idyllic country cottage hidden amongst a pecan grove. It had a rocker and a recliner, a tea kettle, a knitting basket…it was perfect. This was the home Carol deserved. It was the home she’d been denied in her life with Ed before the ZA. Yet, it was tainted. The grave of a baby in the yard served as a constant reminder of the child she lost. Mika and Lizzie doing the same. The smell of the fire burning in the distance, a reminder of her actions at the prison. When Tyreese said the world was haunted, we clearly understand that it’s Carol who is haunted. She, like the others, has changed and grown so much since season one. But, Carol has carried burden after burden, without any chance to heal. Season 3, she thrust herself into this newer, stronger role. But from the moment those little girls entered into her life, Carol was weighted. She couldn’t move on from all that she’d lost. And in season 4, she has paid dearly. In her efforts to correct her past by molding her future, she failed others, herself, and her daughter’s memory. Not only did she not free herself from self-imposed guilt, she added more. Where characters like Bob and Daryl have had cathartic moments to free themselves from who they were before, Carol must now go on living the rest of her days knowing that she has killed the living. For whatever the reasons, the woman lost a daughter just killed someone else’s. This was so hard to watch. We’ve discussed how the ZA ‘saved’ many characters. But it’s so unfair that, given the chance to finally come into her own and embrace her strength has come at such a great cost to Carol. Watching her journey unfold, as a woman and a mother, has been inspiring. Melissa McBride portrays her with such dignity and grace. There aren’t enough words….
I thought the use of the deer was inspiring. The deer was used to great effect in season 2, symbolizing the last of Carl’s innocence as he stared in wonder. Sweet Mika couldn’t shoot the deer. And at the end, after Carol has shot Lizzie, the deer looks back at her before slowly taking its leave. The innocence, the beauty, the hope… is gone.
There are a thousand other things that I can say about the episode, but it’s very late and clinic comes early. Besides, I’m still too emotional to put it all into words at this point. Feel free to comment with your thoughts or questions about the episode. Surely I’ll be able to put my thoughts into words for a proper reply and discussion tomorrow.
Until next week’s episode…