Ever since the mid-season finale the various groups from the prison have tried to find shelter. They’ve come across houses to clear and many a time they’ve been tempted to stay there, to build a new steady life and put an end to their travels. But usually either walkers or looters would complicate these seemingly simple desires, and drive our protagonists to Terminus once again, where, in the end, everyone who has survived will meet up. That’s not what happened this week. Yes, eventually Carol, Tyreese and Judith were back on the road, headed for the elusive sanctuary, but this time the cause was much more dire.
At the start of ‘The Grove’ Carol, Tyreese, Judith, Lizzie and Mika arrived at an abandoned forest house. There was food there, they could hunt for deer, and there was a fence around the place that offered the group some safety. It was a place that could make for a fine home, they thought, and they talked about staying there for a while, before they continued their trip to Terminus, if they would at all. All of this obviously was too good to be true. Little Lizzie, not the most sane of individuals, was again drawn to walkers, empathized with them and saw them as her friends. Her fascination with the undead put Mika and Judith in danger, but in the end the walkers weren’t the ones Carol and company should’ve been afraid of. They should have been more aware of Lizzie herself: she killed her sister to show everyone Mika would come back and be as lovely as ever, and Judith was next on her list. Tyreese and Carol handled the situation as best they could: they talked Lizzie back into the house, after which a grief-stricken Carol collapsed, confronted with this horrific loss. “She can’t be around other people,” Carol repeated to Tyreese over and over again, who then finally understood what needed to be done. Carol walked Lizzie into the garden and then shot her in the back of her head, a terrible act in the name of survival. Lizzie would’ve been a danger for Judith.
It was incredibly dark subject matter but sold so well by Melissa McBride’s incredible acting. With Carol the writers’ have handed her one of the most fascinating The Walking Dead characters who has really went through a lot of changes. McBride finds the humanity in each act her character commits and especially during ‘The Grove’ her acting made for some heartwrenching moments. She also sold Carol’s moment of truth, in which she confessed to Tyreese that she was the one responsible for the death of his beloved Karen. After what happened that day, which was even more baggage for her to bear, she would’ve probably been okay with Tyreese shooting her then and there, but he didn’t. Because of what happened with the girls Tyreese understood that sometimes tough decisions needed to be made in order for others to survive. He forgave Carol, but also told her he would never forget what she did.
‘The Grove’ was a dark but well-written and -acted episode, one of the season’s best. 8/10