Any therapist worth a minimum of $50 an hour will say that talking through it helps you heal, but the stone cold truth is, I don’t think I have the right words to describe what The Walking Dead did to me last night with their episode “The Grove”. It’s like they punched me in the stomach and stole my lunch money. It’s been fifteen hours since the greatest show ever about the zombie apocalypse went off the air and I’m still winded. The rules of the internets dictate that I start this with *SPOILER ALERT*, because I didn’t watch last week’s show until right before this week’s so some of you are gripping your DVR controller. So, here we go, dudes, plot points are contained within.
all photos courtesy of AMC
Let’s wash off the blood off our eyes and hearts of what the writers and producers put us through. The hour centered on Carol and Tyrese with their adopted brood of 3 girls, pre-teens, Lizzie and Mika, and baby Judith. They come along a Grove, it looks like Covington, Georgia, but I could be wrong. It was beautiful, the kind of place I played at one of my relative’s old farms growing up. I live right outside of Atlanta, where the show is filmed. Anyway, the place they find has it all, a place to cook, garden, plenty of water, and little to no walkers aka zombies. But there’s a killer in their midst and well, okay, let’s not be coy, it’s bat crap crazy Lizzie.
Throughout the four seasons of The Walking Dead, man’s humanity among mass inhumanity and vice versa is the theme explored over and over. But in the past few episodes we’ve watched more about what being on the run and beheading the re-animated dead can do to kids, like Carl, Lizzie, Mika, and will one day do to baby Judith. Mika and Carl have turned into warriors, perfectly capable of icing, axing, shooting, stabbing, and killing things that are dead, while maintaining some civility toward the living. But Lizzie, as we say in the south, bless her heart, her wired got smoked. She doesn’t seem to mind killing the living and her affinity for the zombies is straight up creepy and completely wrong.
Carol is the most complex character on The Walking Dead. Her Facebook relationship profile has “it’s complicated” in every column. She appeared to us for the first time in season 1 a battered wife, so timid she could barely speak. Her brutish, abusive husband eventually dies. Then supposedly the real Carol shows up. But not really. Her stark realism of “I do what has to be done” isn’t appreciated by anyone other than Daryl. They almost get a romance started when a flu overtakes the prison everyone calls home. To save hundreds of lives, including Tyrese’s kinda sorta girlfriend, Karen, she kills Karen and another infected with the super flu person. She’s banished from the zombiepocalypse cool kids despite teaching the children how to read, write, make dinner, and kill walkers like there’s no tomorrow, because, most of the time, there isn’t one. But ol’ Carol gets redemption but not really, yet. She meets back up with Tyrese and the youngins and what happens? Crazy Lizzie and in progress Mika.
What happened in the last 15 minutes will be talked about for years. The Walking Dead has been setting bars, leaping over them, and resetting more for a while. Every mistake has consequences on The Walking Dead. Carol and Tyrese left Lizzie, Mika, and Judith alone. They come back and Lizzie is covered in Mika’s blood with a harangue of “see, it’s going to be okay when she comes back”, meaning reanimated as a pre-teen walker. Uh, no, Lizzie. That won’t happen. Carol and Tyrese know what has to go down. Carol’s words, “she can’t be around people” are the new “soylent green is people” of this generation. Well, that and when Carol takes Lizzie out back to “pick flowers” for now dead Mika’s memorial.
“Just look at the flowers.”
That’s what Carol says to Lizzie. Try saying that to your kids this weekend at the park if your knees buckle and your stomach knots.
The good news is they spared Judith, for now.
Let’s be straight about one thing. If Melissa McBride, the actress who plays Carol, isn’t on the red carpet in Los Angeles in the fall with an Emmy nomination, they should cancel acting awards, forever.
What did The Walking Dead do to us last night? They showed us that anything is possible when a TV show isn’t JUST a TV show. I can’t wait for next week. If I can recover.
Just listen to this song that’s not really about flowers.
Here’s the Nirvana.
I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, next month.
The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com