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The Walking Dead “The Grove” Review (4×14)

17 Mar

ty11Well, that was brutal, wasn’t it?

After a series of meandering episodes ranging from average to bad, The Walking Dead delivers a gut punch with “The Grove”, an emotionally resonant hour of television with some truly unsettling moments.

In a show about a post-apocalyptic world, you expect death. It’s all about survival, and that mindset can warp and harden, turning people into killers and forcing maturity on kids way before they’re due. Yet, what happens when the person transformed is a child, someone who isn’t able to see the error of her ways and truly believes in her view of the world? In effect, Lizzie’s dead without even turning into a walker; she’s become an infection herself, someone who, to put it very bluntly, needs to be amputated. Note how she apologizes to Carol for pointing the gun at her, not killing Mika. We’re at the point of no return.

Carol and Tyreese recognize this, and Carol puts her down in a truly devastating scene; this leads to an absolutely brilliantly acted scene for Chad Coleman and Melissa McBride. It’s almost like a form of catharsis here, as Carol finally gets the Karen and David murders off her chest. It’s not that she necessarily wanted to hide the killings prior to this, but rather she wanted to wait until the others could truly understand why she did what she did, and why she does what she does. Well, Tyreese finally understands, and he forgives her.

So, Carol and Tyreese will make their way to Terminus, moving on along the tracks past the crawling walker and past the grove where Lizzie and Mika lay. Death has come and death will follow them–haunt them–but it’ll also teach them.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Scott Gimple’s now had a hand in some of the series’ best episodes: Clear, 18 Miles Out, Pretty Much Dead Already, and now this. He’s the only writer who’s come close to capturing the magic of the pilot.

-I knocked the grade down a few notches due to the first half of the episode. Yes, it all pays off spectacularly in the end, but things are a bit too on the nose and saccharine for me. Still, strongest episode in a fairly weak season thus far.

-Some really nice cinematography in this episode.

-The child actresses are shaky at best; the episode truly belongs to Chad Coleman and Melissa McBride.

Photo credit: AMC, The Walking Dead

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