Walking Dead Recap: Keep Looking At The Flowers
This week, “The Walking Dead” excels and provides an episode that manages to answer questions, provide character depth, and shock the viewer to the point of exhaustion, which is what we want from our shambling zombie teevee shows. We find out who was feeding rats to the walkers on the fence, Carol reveals her dark secret to Tyreese, and not everyone makes it out alive.
We rejoin Carol, Tyreese and the girls on their way to Terminus and everyone is just living life as normal. You will remember that Carol appeared out of the blue the last time we were with this group, returning from her exile earlier in the season and directly into some dramatic tension with Tyreese. As soon as they met on those train tracks a few episodes back, a clock began to tick down and luckily the show wasted no time in letting it get to zero.
On “Talking Dead” last night, a small graphic noted that this is the third episode we’ve had without an appearance from Rick and the other group members. Whether this is a hindrance or a curse will be something we’ll need to do in hindsight, but this is the first episode where it felt like the actual stories mattered to the viewing audience. Something they’ll mess up next week when they murder Daryl in a fury of arrows and flames.
The core of this episode is about Lizzie and Mika and how they exist within the apocalyptic world of the show. Lizzie is fascinated by the undead, so much so that she doesn’t fully understand their intentions and can’t navigate the danger involved. On the flip side, Mika is well aware of the terrifying world she inhabits, but can’t understand why living people are dangerous too. A conundrum that eventually solves itself, but until then, it is up to Carol and Tyreese to try and teach these girls the ways of the world.
And of course baby Judith is there too. If there was ever a chance of baby Judith coming out of this normal, this is the episode that nixes that idea.
Carol tries to talk some sense into Mike and Lizzie, heart to heart, and believes she makes some headway for a moment. Then a scene or two later, we see Lizzie playing with zombies in the yard and later feeding an immobile zombie a mouse.
But really, we all saw it coming. Lizzie tried to smother Judith a few episodes ago and her entire outlook at the prison was skewed and cracked at best. Not to mention the rat feeding, an event that was connected to wild theories and left many puzzled as the prison burned and everyone scattered. The girl ain’t right and if you don’t believe it, give it a moment.
After a smoldering zombie rumble in the backyard, Tyreese and Carol go off for some supplies and return to the horrifying scene of Mika’s murder. Lizzie has finally gone over the edge and killed her sister in some wayward attempt to understand the undead and fix the problems she exhibited earlier in the episode. BOOM.
Lizzie’s not evil or heartless in the way Merle or The Governor turned out to be for a moment, even if she’s been affected by this apocalyptic world in a negative manner. Instead, she’s the damaged goods of society that have lost a safety net when everything collapsed and she doesn’t know any better. That’s what happens when your social safety net is eaten by zombies.
Carol and Tyreese have some deciding to do, something that weighs heavy on Carol even with her past experiences. Do they continue on like nothing has happened or do they have to take care of Lizzie? And how do you take care of her?
The decision here is that Lizzie can’t be around other people. She’s got to be removed or cut out. It’s a sad moment that calls back to earlier in the season when Lizzie and Mika lost their father and basically hits you over the head with Steinbeck references. “Look at the flowers” is an attempt to calm and quell the pain, but it an impossible situation to get past.
The entire episode is another chapter in the season’s war against returning to the past. Just as Carol and Tyreese think they are safe and are ready to put down roots, the world shakes its head and rips it away from them. You can’t go back and they should know that by the end of this season. If you were able to return to your old way of life, there wouldn’t be hellspawn walking the Earth and eating people.
Following their final judgment on Lizzie, Carol decides to admit to Tyreese that she was the who murdered Karen and burned the bodies at the prison. Tyreese manages to forgive it all.
They leave the grove and hit the train tracks again, on the road to Terminus and the supposed sanctuary within. Hard to believe that we just spent an hour in the same location.
Will baby Judith grow up wishing she could make jokes about needing therapy? Is Carol the Dr. Kevorkian of “The Walking Dead” universe? Are rats like candy to zombies and would they sneak it into movie theaters? What happens when we meet Terminus’ crack neurologist and barber, Phineas J. Winklevoss? Find out in the final two episodes of “The Walking Dead” season four, Sundays at 9pm on AMC.