Not one single episode in all of the four seasons made me feel the kind of emotion I felt watching The Grove.
I think we can all agree that, zombie apocalypse or no, killing children on television is (or has been) kind of taboo. As a writer, it’s never a fun thing to write, let alone act out, and as a viewer it can be just as difficult.
Yet….somehow we understand. Somehow, we feel that Carol did the right thing. We knew something was going to have to be done (in episode 4.10, Inmates, Lizzie tries to silence Judith by holding her hand over her mouth, only she does it for far longer than necessary); we knew eventually Lizzie was going to cause some kind of trouble. In our context, of course what Carol did is never the right thing. From our sofas, we can safely judge a fictional character in a fictional show for actions taken during a fictional zombie apocalypse, without fear of being judged ourselves. And yet, we’re not; at least, I wasn’t.
She spent a lot of time trying to teach Lizzie and Mika about how to live in that world, and they, with all the hubris of youth, didn’t seem to hear her, or rather, they decided she was wrong and they were right. But after watching the whole episode, I realize that it was for our benefit, these teachings; Carol was helping us get ready to rationalize the killing of Lizzie.
And, as you can tell already, rationalize it I did. What I felt more was all the pain Carol felt at having to do it. I said early on in the episode ‘Oh my god, she is going to kill Lizzie.” It was in Carol’s eyes…she knew, and that’s when her pain started. And when she slid the gun across the table to Tyrese, I felt her hopelessness, her acquiescence to her life as it would be, and as it could be ended, in that moment.
To see her face as Tyrese forgave her, for a split second I thought I saw a flicker of disappointment that he didn’t kill her; that she would have to continue on. And for Tyrese, it was kill her and be alone with Judith, or forgive her and move on. I kind of feel that this might be more of a lesson for us, too – not every decision we make in regards to other people’s actions has to be complicated. In the context of the show, decisions are made – big ones – without a second thought based on the here and now, and the immediacy of that situation. We could learn a lot from making decisions without all of the background noise we make them with. But, I digress.
I am a sap, admittedly. Don’t even talk to me during the winning runs of the Olympics, or even during the commercials showing familial sacrifices made for said winning run; I am too busy sobbing. I didn’t sob during this episode, but I shed a tear and my heart hurt for Carol. Not for Lizzie….that was a shock, but it’s amazing what incredible writing can do to help you rationalize a horrific act.
Share your thoughts below, I would love to hear what you think.