WARNING: Spoilers for 'The Walking Dead' Episode 14 ahead. Proceed with caution.
This week's episode of the The Walking Dead was a pretty slow builder for the first half. After we watched a kind of Groundhod Day at Alexandria, two groups set off on different missions, including Daryl, Rosita and Denise, who had hopes of scoring medicine for the infirmary. However, once the group got to their destination, it was immediately obvious that something bad had happened there. Did you notice all the clues in this heartbreaking tale of apocalyptic desperation?
Our first hint that something bad had gone on at Edison's Apothecary came as soon as we saw the building. Notice how all the panels over the windows on the other shops were clean, but the ones at Edison's are covered in handprints? This showed signs that a herd of walkers wanted to get something inside the store.
Once the trio walked in, it was obvious that something rotten was inside after Denise retched and Daryl asked her, "We gonna find out what you had for breakfast?" Then, after managing to get a hold of her stomach, Denise looked in one of the display cabinets and saw faded pictures of a little boy underneath the glass.
While Daryl and Rosita set about taking all the medication, Denise then investigates a knocking sound she hears in a backroom. When she goes inside, she immediately sees children's books strewn on the ground.
And against the wall there was also a portacot set up.
After being startled by a loud thud, Denise swings around and notices a very decomposed walker on the ground. Thankfully, though, the walker is in a pretty bad state and doesn't pose a threat.
However, as Denise looks over the walker, it seems obvious why she might have been hiding in the back room of the apothecary: Her leg is in a cast. With an injury and a small child, this poor lady probably wasn't very quick on her feet and likely decided to hole up in the back room when the apocalypse took over. But where is the child that we've seen so much evidence of? Was The Walking Dead about to show us a toddler-sized walker?
Sadly, as Denise shines her flashlight around the room, we see evidence that the mama walker slowly went insane as she repeatedly wrote "hush" on the walls of the room.
And then, as Denise follows the words on the wall, she sees a toddler-sized shoe floating out of very, very dirty-looking water. Uh-oh.
So what it seems might have happened is that the injured owner of Edison's ended up at the store, holed up there with her young son. While the pair were initially safe, as time went on supplies probably ran out, but the mother was unable to leave in search of more.
The cries of the young child drew walkers to the storefront, and they clawed and hit the front of the building, trying to get inside, probably making the child only cry more, and drawing more walkers. As the mother grew more and more desperate to find a way to mute her son so the walkers would leave, she slowly descended into madness, scrawling "HUSH HUSH HUSH" on the walls. Finally, in a last mad and desperate attempt to stifle all the noise once and for all, she ended up drowning her son in the sink. Unable to live with the guilt of what she had done, she killed herself as well, probably shooting herself in the face with a gun, which is why the walker was missing her lower jaw.
It's been a while since The Walking Dead has shown us one of these subplots, but it's certainly not the first time. Back in earlier seasons we saw similar stories, such as the camper who hanged himself in Season 2, Episode 3 after being bitten, and also the dead couple on the farm who died after a murder-suicide (the husband killed his wife and scrawled "GOD FORGIVE US" on the walls in blood) way back in Season 1, Episode 1 (this was the farmhouse that Rick took his horse from).
There have been many more examples, and all of them go to show that while The Walking Dead is a show about zombies, it's primarily about showing the human reaction to such a catastrophic event.
'The Walking Dead' returns with Episode 15, 'East' on Sunday, March 27 on AMC.
Do you agree with this theory? What do you think happened in Edison's?