First up, thanks to all of you who made our Walking Dead Live Blog such a big success last night. I'm glad I experienced the shock of the episode in your company. I'll be doing the same again next week, so come by for more undead chat.
The following recap contains spoilers for Sunday's episode, 'The Grove'. Back away slowly if you haven't yet seen it.
The Grove did the iconic comic book storyline justice
So, they actually went there.
In much the same way that readers of the Game of Thrones novels had been dreading the arrival of The Red Wedding, those who've read The Walking Dead comic series have been waiting with nervous anticipation since May 2009 for the 'child murder' storyline. It was a story arc that shocked me when I first read it a few years ago, but it still didn't prepare me for the shocking events of last night's episode.
Carol and Tyreese discovering a bloodied and bladed Lizzie sitting next to the corpse of her recently murdered sister chilled me to the bone. Lizzie's insistence that Mika would 'come back' because she hadn't destroyed the brain further confirmed she'd checked into Looneyville.
But it was Carol leading the distraught kid out into the garden and urging her to 'look at the flowers' before putting a bullet in the back of her head that elevated the whole thing to a "holy f--ck-balls I need a stiff drink" level. (On a side note, I watched the episode with a friend who had no idea what was coming. His reaction was priceless.)
So how close did the Lizzie storyline follow the one from the comic?
In some ways, it was almost beat-for-beat.
For Lizzie, use Ben; for Mika substiture Billy. Both sets of siblings were orphaned after losing their parents to the undead, with Lizzie/Ben taking the loss the hardest. Much like Lizzie, Ben also developed a fascination with the undead, and was found to have mutilated and killed a cat in much the same way that Lizzie had tortured the rats.
They set out on a journey north after the prison fell to the Governor, but none of them would ever make it their destination. Both Billy and Mika were found brutally murdered, insides turned out by a sharp knife and psychotic mind.
However, the one big difference between the comic and the show is the 'resolution' of the situation. As we saw last night, Carol went all Of Mice and Men and put Lizzie out of her misery, whereas in the comic - as the adults argued over what to do with deranged Ben - Carl takes it upon himself to execute him at point-blank range as he lay sleeping.
Neither story had a happy ending.
Smoke on the Water
The survivors of the prison attack are still wandering the Georgian countryside in search of each other and 'The Grove' gave us more evidence they're getting closer to a reunion.
The smoke that could be seen billowing over the treeline near Carol and Tyreese's temporary charnel house almost certainly comes from the hut that Daryl and Beth burned to the ground during their drunken protest.
When you factor in that Daryl and Beth walked past the log where Lizzie butchered the bunnies, and evidence of Carl's sweet wrappers were on the ground, the separate groups are a lot closer to each other than you think.
It's a puzzle
The credit for spotting this one goes to Melissa McBride and the guys over on The Talking Dead, who revealed the true nature of the puzzle Carol, Tyreese and the girls were working on throughout the episode.
Turns out the image on the puzzle was Carol's dead daughter Sophia. I'll let McBride explain:
We were shooting the confession there and it was the last day. And the whole time, this puzzle was on the table, the whole time we were shooting the episode, it was on the table. The children were playing with it and putting pieces together of it. And then Mike Satrazemis came out, who directed the episode with the box cover, and said ‘This is what the puzzle looks like when you put it together,’ and we looked at it and it was Sophia in her rainbow t-shirt.
Sophia's presence permeated every pore of "The Grove", so it was fitting that she was represented physically as well -- even if she was broken into little tiny pieces.
Points for further discussion
- Carol finally admitted to Tyreese she was responsible for killing Karen and David. I have to admit I thought it was Lizzie. I like that The Walking Dead still throws up big surprises.
- Carol killing Lizzie is probably the only reason Tyreese was able to forgive her so quickly. But like he said, he'll never forget.
- Flame-grilled zombies are totally badass.
What were you thoughts on "The Grove"? Use the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter.