Category: TV Reviews
Written by Steve Pattee
Published on Sunday, 23 March 2014 19:07
The Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 14: “The Grove" TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee and Daniel Benson
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Scott M. Gimple
2014, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on March 16th, 2014
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese
Brighton Sharbino as Lizzie Samuels
Kyla Kenedy as Mika Samuels
If you’ve been enjoying all the walking around that both characters and zombies alike have been doing since the mid-season return, this episode will please you. It’s more of the same in The Grove, the latest episode of The Walking Dead; only this time with dashes of crazy, confessions, and forgiveness.
Warning! This discussion contains spoilers!
Steve: Let’s just get right into it because aside from the death of Mika at the hands of Lizzie and Carol’s subsequent reaction, nothing of importance happens in this episode. Let me start with was this really that big of a surprise to anyone? Don’t get me wrong, I liked the actual shot of Lizzie’s bloody hand, as well as dialogue following, but the whole thing just feels so pedestrian. Hey! They killed two children! SHOCKING! No, it’s really not. If you want to pretend to have balls, kill Judith. Or kill a character that we are invested in (like they did with Herschel).
There’s this ridiculous fake rivalry that seems to have started lately between The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones fans. I don’t know how it started, but it’s silly because they are completely different shows. Anyway, it’s been speculated that the reason the two girls were killed off was to show that The Walking Dead can be as badass as Game of Thrones. But here’s the thing, No one is safe on HBO’s hit. No. One. You know that Rick is safe. As is Daryl, Carl, Michonne, and possibly Maggie and Glenn. Big deal if Lizzie and Mika ate dirt this episode. I’m not impressed. I was when they zombified Sophia, but killing two non-characters, kids or not, isn’t going to save this lackluster season.
Dan: For the first time in these recaps I totally disagree with you. I thought the killing of the two kids was a bold move and something we definitely needed to shake things up a bit and show us that the writers can have some balls when they need to. Granted, there wasn’t much emotional investment in the two girls because they hadn’t really been fleshed out as characters, but think about it: how many movies and TV shows will pull back from seeing a child come to any harm, let alone being killed outright? Mika’s death was the sucker punch to the knockout blow of Carol offing Lizzie. During that scene I was thinking, “This is so stupid, she’s just going to carry on like Lizzie’s done nothing. Oh look, she’s trying the ‘Look at the flowers’ thing to calm her down. Oh yeah, she’s got a gun, but she’s not going to have the balls for it. Look at the flowers Lizzie. Oh shit.”
It was unexpected and it was a shock, I’d never have expected a mainstream TV show to go that far with not just one, but two child deaths. On the flipside I was never that shocked by Sophia’s demise, partly because I saw a spoiler, but mostly because she disappeared then turned up later as a walker.
The one thing I really didn’t like about this episode was the wrapping up of the “Who was feeding the walkers?” issue. It felt like a real Scooby Doo spoon-feeding exercise. With the performance that Brighton Sharbino brought to Lizzie, showing her psychosis, it was blindingly obvious that she was the one doing it, we didn’t need it so obviously signposted.
Steve: The problem I have is I had absolutely nothing vested in these kids, so that just makes it a big pile of “meh”. I’ll concede that it takes a step into trying to shake things up, but there is just so much wrong with the execution (no pun intended) of it all. First, it comes 45 minutes into an incredibly bland episode whose only purpose is to desperately wedge in some character development for these girls and setting up for the Carol/Tyrese end confrontation. I was bored to tears watching it, and if it weren’t for the ending, this may have received a half star for those sweet burnt zombies (instead it gets two, one for each dead kid). This whole thing just stinks of desperation. When I saw Sophia come out of the barn, my heart stopped. I figured she’d be in there, I think we all did. But even knowing in the back of my head didn’t ruin the impact of actually seeing her walk out, and her re-death due to a bullet in the head was much more powerful than what we saw here. Perhaps it’s because that even though we didn’t really know Sophia, we knew she had a shit life because of her awful father. With Lizzie and Mika, we didn’t have that luxury. We knew nothing about them at all aside from the fact one was sugar and one was salt.
Steve: Were you really surprised Carol punched Lizzie’s clock? I knew the very moment Carol saw what the girl had done that she was going to take care of business. This isn’t the same lady who let her husband smack her around in season one. This is a woman who does what needs to be done, morality be damned. Her popping Lizzie was no shock to me, my only surprise is she didn’t do it as soon as the child handed her the weapon.
Dan: Yeah, genuinely surprised. I know Carol has no problems doing dirty deeds, I just didn’t expect them to go so far in a TV show.
Steve: One thing I found interesting is virtually no mention of Lizzie and Mika’s deaths were on my Twitter or Facebook feed, and I made no attempt to avoid either after the show aired (as the show is becoming more and more unmotivated). I honestly can’t tell you if it’s because a lot less of my friends are watching, they just didn’t care, or if they are actually being cool and not posting up spoilers anymore.
Dan: I have to admit I do make a conscious effort to avoid anything that might be spoilery (including memes) so it’s difficult for me to pass judgement, except to say I do think people are becoming a little more aware of not spoiling major plot points for people.
Steve: That very well could be it, since I (as well as many others) are quick to call out people posting spoilers the moment they happen.
As an aside, the death of Lizzie bothered me a lot. Not for the same reasons as yours, though. More for the fact that so much more could have been gotten from that character. It’s unfortunate they killed her off so soon.
One thing we both agree on is the “feeding the walkers” mystery. I’m with you on that.
Dan: I definitely would’ve liked to see Lizzie character develop for sure, maybe they just made her too crazy too early and there was nowhere to go with her story?
Steve: That’s an excellent point, and I would not be surprised in the least if that were the case. This makes it all the more frustrating because there has been so much time wasted on a lot of nothing lately, and that could have been time spent fleshing out those girls.
Steve: On an unrelated-but-related note, what the fuck, Tyrese! You’ve been pining your dead girlfriend and looking for revenge the entire season, Carol tells you to your face that she’s the one that killed her and your response is, “I forgive you”? Unbelievable. I could not have been more let down. I have to be honest here, I don’t know what I expected to happen, but that sure as hell wasn’t it, and it disgusted me. He wasn’t even angry. If he had shot Carol in the mouth, that would have been the shocking scene I’d be talking about because I actually care about Carol.
This is exactly what bothers me about The Walking Dead right now. On one hand it attempts to be edgy, and the other it drops the ball because it’s too scared to be edgy enough. I don’t get it.
Dan: It played out like I thought it would. We’re not ready to lose Carol yet, so there’s no real reason she would have gone out in this episode. I don’t feel anything about the way Tyrese handled it, based on two things: first, emotions would be all over the place in their world. Love, affection, attachment, loss and life would all hold different values in the land of The Walking Dead, so it’s very difficult to predict how people would act. Sure, Tyrese has been pining the loss of Karen, but he also seemed to be extremely empathetic to Carol’s loss of her girls (who she’d also expressed love for earlier in the episode). He’d seen she’d suffered enough, he knows she not only carries the burden of the girls, but also Karen and David and that was a bigger punishment for her than a bullet to the head. Whether he’ll now carry on with a grudging respect for her because of Lizzie, or a growing resentment due to Karen remains to be seen. I’m fairly sure Tyrese will see the Pearly Gates before Carol does though.
Steve: Oh, I certainly agree that Tyrese will buy it before the core cast. It’s unfortunate too, because it’s clear the writers have no idea what to do with his character. It’s as if they brought him in to appease the fans, then were in a bind because they had no plans beyond his introduction. The character has so much potential, but like everything else right now, the writers are not just dropping the ball, they are throwing it out of the stadium.
I can also see your point about how Tyrese handled the situation, but I disagree with it. Maybe it’s that I prefer vengeance over forgiveness or maybe it’s that I expected more of a reaction out of Tyrese, but either way I think he’s a pussy. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love Carol’s character, but at the same time she deserved a crack to the jaw at the very least. There should have been some sort of punishment. To be honest, I don’t even think those deaths weigh on her that much. She’s a hard woman now. Maybe I would have agreed with you if Tyrese hadn’t been moping about it since Karen died, but the way he’s carried on, and for him to just back down immediately once he learned the truth...whatever.
At least I still have the music to look forward to each week.
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