The Walking Dead 4.14 – “The Grove” Review

rating: 4.5

With episode fourteen of season four now in the books, the Walking Dead is steaming towards a dramatic finale with only two episodes left. There's been a lot of fan opinions that this season has not lived up to the last and also the first half of season four which culminated in the Governor's attack on the prison. Events have without a doubt taken on a dramatic turn from the safety of the prison to everyone split up and heading towards the ultimate reunification at the mysterious Terminus sanctuary. Tonight's episode brought fans even closer to that reunion with one of the heaviest of the entire show. If you haven't noticed by now, little Lizzie is a little bit screwed up. One of the first scenes of the episode happens to be a flash forward of sorts, one of her playing an apparent game of tag with a walker. Her character arc, though minor, has been quite interesting as it represents how a child might be effected by the events of a violent zombie apocalypse and how some sociopathic tendencies could be triggered as a result. She's been forced to witness and do terrible things that no child her age should ever have to experience. Contrasting Lizzie is Carol, telling her that to survive in this new world, you have to do whatever it takes. Gone is the Carol of season one and two - The Carol with no personality that appeared to lack the ability to grieve the loss of her daughter Sophia when she had gone missing. Her character has done a complete turn around from the early episodes of the show and is now one of the tougher individuals that show has to offer. She is a true survivor in a world that has gone bad and she's trying to prepare Lizzie and her sister Mika to be the same way. Carol was a weak person at one point and she doesn't want them to be the same way.
As the group of Carol, Tyreese and the girls continue on their travels to Terminus following the train tracks, things get interesting when they see a large cloud of smoke in the distance. The group splits up in a search of water with Carol trying to convince Mika that she needs to adapt and learn how to kill in order to survive. The contrast between the two sister is clear as Lizzie is sliding down a slippery slop while Mika continues to hold on to a innocent and moral perspective of the world. It's pretty clear that Carol knows Mika won't survive unless she learns how to live this horrific changed world much like her daughter Sophia. One point Mika mentions that if things get dicey, she can always just run away. Carol is kick to clarify that her daughter tried to run and it wasn't good enough to save her. When the group stumbles upon a house and encounters a walker, it's clear that Lizzie has some real deep rooted issues. Mika helps Lizzie focus on flowers and count in order to calm down after their close encounter. The opening scene of the show then appears again and audiences see how the scene ends with Carol killing the walker and sending Lizzie into a frenzy as she screams about the walker being her friend. Lizzie is a child that is struggling to cope and understand the world she lives in and fails to grasp the reality of the danger that lurk everywhere. As much as Carol tries to talk to her and make her understand, it never sinks in with her. A lot of old plot questions that have been hanging out there were answered with this episode as well. As if there were any doubt, the mystery over who was feeding rats to the walkers at the prison is solved when Lizzie is seen by Mika giving a mouse to a trapped walker from earlier in the episode. While Lizzie is trying to feed a mouse to a walker, a group of crispy walkers come stumbling out of the bush towards them. It's clear that these walkers are from whatever fire that is putting the smoke into the air. As Tyreese and Carol were discussing whether or the not their current location is safe for them and the girls, it's made apparent that their current location is not as safe sanctuary as they would like the believe.
Some of the more interesting dialogue in the episode comes when Tyreese opens up to Carol about his feelings about Karen and how he still dreams about her. As Tyreese goes into detail about his dreams, it's easy to see the weight that Carol carries in regards to what she did. Although Carol doesn't come out and tell Tyreese right then and there that she was the one who killed Karen, it's clear that the tension is continuing to build. At this point, you thing that the episode will end carrying this matter into future episodes. That's not the true jaw dropper of the episode though. That occurs when the two are making their way back when they stumble across a bloodied Lizzie that has just murdered her sister Mika and is waiting for her to come back. The last fifteen minutes of this episode have followed the trend of many of the previous episodes since coming back from the break and have been full of some of the most interesting television that the entire run of the show has had to offer. It goes without saying that this episode of the Walking Dead was heavy. As a big time fan of the comic book, a small part of me knew what direction the show was taking with Lizzie and Mika. Even after Lizzie killed Mika and Carol was holding the gun at Lizzie, I was still shocked by what transpired. The true weight of the situation hits home when Lizzie breaks down and starts crying to Carol because she thinks Carol is mad at her for pulling a gun on her, not for killing her sister. It proves that even at that point poor Lizzie still didn't grasp what she had done and how wrong that it was. This episode wasn't done there after the decision that Carol had to make as it even delivered more of a blow when Carol finally tells Tyreese it was her that killed Karen. For fans that have been wanting more zombie action on the show this season, they'll probably call foul on this episode. But for those of us that just love the continuing character development and growth of the main cast, this episode was tremendous. With only two episodes left, I can't wait to see how this season ends. Look at the flowers because all roads lead to Terminus. Where is the large cloud of smoke coming from? Will Rick accept Carol back after what she did to Lizzie? What did you think of the episode "The Grove"? Follow @BrentDiNunzio on Twitter and join us each week for a discussion during the episode at #whatculturedeadtalk
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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” - George Bernard Shaw