The Walking Dead Review – Episode 414: The Grove

The Walking Dead is full of pecans, charred walkers, flowers, sorrow and death.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen The Grove yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd414_01Last night’s episode, The Grove, was probably one of the most sorrowful and depressing episodes of all seasons of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and by far the most stressful of season 4. This is something expected when you put together some characters with deep psychological issues (including two children), the heavy burden of carrying a little baby girl with absolutely no decent conditions to take care of her, and of course, some hungry charred zombies. However, I’m pretty sure the message is clear now for all of us and especially for most of the characters in the show: nowhere is safe, and even more important than that, the living are the real danger, not the dead.

First of all, kudos to the superb job done by Chad Coleman, Melissa McBride, Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy, especially to Melissa and Brighton for playing respectively the roles of an even more sorrowful Carol and a truly troubled Lizzie so brightly. The group of Tyreese, Carol, the two girls Lizzie and Mika and the baby Judith has been a great surprise so far: when everybody thought they were going to play a secondary part in the whole story, they deliver us a rollercoaster of emotions mixed with some desperate measures that made us forget this was the third episode in a row without Rick, Carl and Michonne, that Beth was kidnapped or even who Sgt. Abraham Ford is. We all knew Lizzie was some sort of lunatic, but what happened yesterday was really jaw-dropping, and it was something Tyreese and Carol will never ever forget in their painful post-apocalyptical journey.

Despite being sisters, Lizzie and Mika revealed themselves as complete opposites: while one cannot kill walkers, the other is truly afraid of having to kill someone alive; while one enjoys feeding rats to walkers, killing bunnies and playing catch-up with zombie “Griselda”, the other prefers playing with regular harmless dolls and eating pecans. Mika was so innocent and convinced that things were going to be just fine, that Carol got really mad at her for not being tougher nor ready to fight the dangers of that new world (which reminded Carol of her little Sofia when she was alive), but in the end it was Mika who was ready to face the new reality, not psycho Lizzie, and when Carol realized that it was too late for both of them.

All the sadness in this episode was so strong that not even the attack to their new “home” by those totally amazing charred walkers, some of the best zombies we’ve ever seen in the show, was able to make things more fun and easier to watch. That scene with the “crispy” zombies was awesome (and just after the episode was over I realized they were coming from the house Daryl and Beth set on fire, proving once again they’re all in the same place, but at a different time) and if it had happened at a different time, in another episode, it would have been epic. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a regular episode with some zombies just being killed; it was much deeper than that.

twd414_02Anyway, it seems that Carol is the character selected by the producers to do all the dirty work in the show: the moment she saw Lizzie with a knife and blood on her hands, and poor Mika dead on the ground, she already knew what needed to be done and that it was going to be her again. “She can’t be around other people.”, Carol said to Tyreese, and knowing that was the only thing they could do to avoid the same destiny for baby Judith, he sadly allowed Carol to end Lizzie’s life.  “Look to the flowers, Lizzie!”, were her last words (the ones always used when Lizzie had any type of psychological issues) to that poor disturbed kid, so disturbed she didn’t even think she was being punished for killing her own sister and for being a huge threat to any living person.

Not only that, after all that melancholy with the deaths of Lizzie and Mika, Carol had the guts to tell Tyreese she was the one who killed Karen. Maybe she knew he was going to forgive her, or maybe he already knew it was her after seeing her shooting Lizzie in cold blood, but she had to let him hear that from her own mouth in order to ease some of her suffering. Now maybe Tyreese’s nightmares with Karen will be over and he’ll get stronger to protect baby Judith and even Carol, or maybe their path to Terminus will be even more excruciating.

Finally, I don’t know how Carol has been able to handle all that pain until today, but I’m pretty sure things will just get worse for her, if that’s humanly possible. Because after losing all she’s already lost and doing all she’s already done, what’s left inside her that’s worth living for? Is Judith now her only reason to stay alive? What will happen when (or if) they find Rick?

The Grove (FULL EPISODE)

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 411: Claimed

Will Rick ever have a true moment of peace again in his painful life?

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Claimed yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd411_01This was one of those episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead that it’s hard to reach a consensus if it was good or bad. There was a lot of tension in some moments, some jokes that were not funny at all and could have been left out of the episode, and a detail that might change the whole course of the show but no one really cared about. Anyway, the biggest question in my mind after the first three episodes of the second half of season 4 is: when will our anti-hero/sheriff Rick Grimes have a single moment of peace again?

Before we get to Rick, let’s talk about the evolving friendship between Michonne and Carl. Although there were some really stupid moments, like Michonne trying to make Carl laugh by filling her mouth with Crazy Cheese, it’s nice to see Michonne is finally opening herself to someone, even if it’s a kid. Revealing the name of her long gone baby (Andre Anthony) to Carl was kind of a bold move for our katana girl, as well as protecting Carl from seeing the disturbing scene of the deceased family in that pink room. I’m not sure if getting too close to other people is the right thing to do in a zombie apocalypse (we’ve already seen plenty of examples that it’s not), but to me it seems Michonne is desperate for that, she can’t carry that burden inside her anymore, and Carl might be the best choice in her mind because she will never look less strong or less tough to him as she would to guys like Daryl and Rick. Let’s just hope she doesn’t let her guard down because of that, otherwise we’ll lose one of the best characters in the show.

Then come Rick and, consequently one more time in the show, tons and tons of tension and danger. Is he cursed somehow? It’s unbelievable the amount of pressure the sheriff has to face every single day now. When he finally finds a quiet and relatively safe place to heal his wounds, relax and even read a book, some dreadful assassins, psychopaths and rapists end up finding the exact same place! That was for me the highlight of the episode, even without a single walker involved, which again showed us who are the real threats in this new world. Rick might not have had his moment of peace yet, but his survival instincts are stronger than ever: even when surrounded by merciless killers, he managed to escape without even being noticed. Hiding under the bed, holding his breath and crawling to the other room without making any noise were awesome moves that saved not only Rick himself, but also Michonne and Carl in the end, especially when he decided to run away with them instead of starting a mini-war with those guys. Well, there was that guy in the toilet with his pants up, which makes no sense, but who cares? Killing him almost silently and setting up a “zombie trap” for when he got back as a walker seemed a smart move to distract those assassins, at least for a while.

twd411_02A few hours from where they were in the last moments of the previous episode, Glenn and Tara get to learn a little more about Sgt. Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa and Dr. Eugene Porter. No one can blame Tara for trusting Sgt. Ford (like she trusted the Governor) and hopping on the back of his truck, because anything would have been better than being alone in the middle of nowhere with a knocked-off Glenn, even without knowing if those people were good or bad. Talking about difficult decisions, Glenn’s semi-stupid idea of getting back for Maggie cost them the truck! I understand he’s desperate to find his wife, but fighting with the sergeant while the weird Dr. Eugene was all by himself with a machine gun trying to shoot the “zombies of the corn” was not a good idea at all. Glenn didn’t care that much about the truck and started his way back to “somewhere”: the truth is he doesn’t even know where to start, which means it’s just going to be another “trial and error” mission in the show. At least Glenn and Tara will have some backup, as the sergeant and his team decided to follow him, especially after Dr. Eugene said “Trust me.” to the sergeant when he decided to join Glenn in his quest. And the most important thing here, which was completely ignored by Glenn and Tara after all, is the fact that Dr. Eugene claims to know the reason for the zombie outbreak and also to have the solution for it. All they have to do is get to Washington with the doctor alive and well. But is it really worth a try? I mean, is the doctor telling the truth? Is there a cure, or is he just a complete lunatic? We’ll have to wait until they find Maggie (if they do so), and then see if they’ll get back on track to Washington.

Last but not least, Carl seemed really sad for “losing” Judith back in the prison, judging by his reaction after mentioning the name of his little sister while having breakfast with Michonne in the beginning of the episode, right? But it seems Rick, Carl and Michonne will soon find Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie, Mika and especially Judith at Terminus! Will that be one of the best moments of Rick and Carl’s post-apocalyptical lives, as we all expect? Maybe not if we think about what happened during Rick’s dramatic escape: was that guy in the bedroom really dead or had he just passed out? Because if they meet again somewhere, maybe (just maybe?) it will be at Terminus, and they won’t feel happy at all to see the sheriff after what he has done in that house. In my opinion, our sheriff’s well-deserved “vacations” are not going to happen so soon.

Claimed (FULL EPISODE)