This is what I estimate will be the least sensitive response to a Walking Dead episode personally, and probably the least sensitive response to this episode. Yes, it was depressing, but thoroughly logical. So, let’s not only “look at the flowers”, but look at what’s growing and dying.
So, let’s approach this with what might have been, because that’s what lead to the sorrow, when we saw what was. Not to disregard Tyrese’s hopes for normalcy and peace, especially after he witnessed first hand what Carol was talking about, with Lizzie not being ok, but no one wanted those girls to be the best little apocalypse survivors and human beings than Carol. Carol, over the course of this series has lost everything that mattered, and the biggest loss was most definitely Sophia. As she has come to terms with her losses, she’s had to change. For example, when she lost her husband, she became more independent, when she lost Sophia she became more resolved at preparing the children, and now with Lizzie… well I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is, Carol knew that you have to have the right balance between surviving and living, something that the whole season has been about, and unfortunately unbalanced, is the best way to describe either Lizzie or Mika.
Everything she did all episode was to either reason with and soften Lizzie, or prepare Mika for having to become harder. In the end it wasn’t enough. This isn’t in my opinion a reflection on Carol, but merely of the hopelessness of the situation.
Either way regardless of how they exhibited it, neither girl was capable of understanding, or dealing with the reality that they lived in. For whatever reason, Mika refused to see the potential of danger or evil in humans, probably because she wanted to believe that humans could stay pure. Lizzie, on the other hand, her perspective on “goodness” was applied to walkers. Even after the scene with the charred walkers (such great effects), I assumed that things wouldn’t start coming up roses in this episode, and it was with sad expectations that I continued to watch. That being said, I had no idea how dark it would to get, for my expectations to be met.
I mean really, who thought that when Lizzie said “I know what I have to do”, that she was planning to murder her sister in cold blood, to try to prove that walkers could be good?
After the incident though, if you’d thought that Carol would know exactly how to respond (both in terms of reminding Lizzie that Judith “can barely walk” to make sure that Lizzie didn’t kill Judith too, and then in discussing things with Tyrese), you’d have been spot on… and here’s where I start to get to my point.
Both Carol and Tyrese had to accept that it was impossible for Lizzie to be safe around people, for the opposite reasons as Mika (and let’s face it, if Lizzie hadn’t killed her, even if she got good at surviving walkers, she never would have survived humans, if she wasn’t willing to take a life to save her own). The deaths of these two girls illustrates what I mean with my title “culling the flock”. Both nature and humanity have very effective ways of keeping undesirables from existing and damaging the herds of living species. Remember where I said that I was not going to be sensitive, yeah this is what I meant. Is it sad that two children died in this episode? Definitely. No question. Am I advocating for elimination of those deemed “undesirable”? Absolutely not. Just follow me here.
What I’m doing is pointing out that their deaths were inevitable in the constructed universe and environment that is The Walking Dead. If these girls were like this in real life, *maybe* Mika would have survived, if she were never in the presence of someone who would do her harm, and *maybe* Lizzie would have survived if she was never caught (and convicted) for the murders that a girl with such a disregard for human life and a loose grasp on reality would have definitely committed. In the real world could Lizzie have gotten counseling, and could Mika have taken a self defense course? Sure, but why would either of them? Neither of their issues were too problematic until they were, if that makes sense. No one caught Lizzie on the path to taking a life, and no one thought that Mika would be unsafe with her own sister.
In The Walking Dead universe, as people survive you start with three groups, and we’ve already seen all of them, and out of those three only two survive. The first group is like the family that committed suicide in the house that Michonne and Carl went into. The second two groups can handle things, and I’d categorize those groups as violent, and less violent or perhaps the reverse would be the humane (Rick’s separated group) and inhumane (the group that Darryl ended up with). As a side note I’d actually put the Governor in the humane/less violent group. Lizzie and Mika were fit for neither of the two surviving groups, and again would have died at some point no matter what.
We now of course know which group Tyrese would be in. For all his rage he understood a few things with Carol’s confession that deemed her fit for forgiveness. The first was the she gave Karen a quick and painless death, which in hindsight was merciful knowing that she never would have survived the brutal virus. Second, he saw with her confession her regret. Finally he understood that there’s a fine line with loving and protecting humanity, and Carol walks that better than most people in this world.
Now that they’re on the way to Terminus, I can’t wait to see everyone there (if they all make it… I’m assuming they will, but we’ll see). I’m also assuming that part of the problems with Mika and Lizzie was coming into the environment when they did. There are certain ages when children can handle trauma better than others, and I think that Judith (should the series ever go on long enough) will turn out just fine.
What are your thoughts after the episode? Let us know in the comments!