Tonight's episode of The Walking Dead begins rather eerily, with a copper kettle boiling in an unfamiliar kitchen, old-timey music playing on a gramaphone and a child (who we later find out to be Lizzie) playing 'tag' with a walker.
We've been suspicious of Lizzie for quite some time now, and in this episode, we get the answers we've been waiting for since even before the prison attack.
Carol's unorthodox teachings to the children back at the prison were questionable, and Mika and Lizzie are the perfect 'pros and cons' for this arguement. One so sweet and innocent that they couldn't possibly survive such a hard world, and one so damaged that her right to an existence is also up for debate.
It's clear from the start that Carol identifies Lizzie as a strong young girl, able to defend herself and survive the harsh environment that they are in. And Mika on the other hand, is in need of toughening up, lest she fall victim to her own naivity. Carol says as much to Tyrese, as they are both discussing the girls whilst she bandages up his arm. However, she will soon realise the error of her judgement.
As Tyrese smells smoke, they decide that there must be a large fire near by. They stop and Carol takes Mika off in search of water, leaving Tyrese with Lizzie and the baby Judith.
On their search, Carol takes it upon herself to talk to Mika about her 'softness', and tells her how she needs to toughen up if she's to survive the trials and tribulations that come with living in an apocalyptic world. Deeper still, Carol explains to Mika that she will have to learn to kill, or risk being killed herself. Mika continues to fight her own pascifist corner, until they come across a small holding in the middle of the forest.
Meanwhile, Tyrese spots a walker shuffling down the track. He makes off to kill it, before it trips and falls - helpless on the ground. As he is about to kill the struggling re-animated corpse, Lizzie stops him, saying that sometimes they don't have to kill them.
They all arrive safely at the farm, with Carol and Tyrese discussing the possbility of staying a while to see how the land lies, before continuing to search for the Terminus.
While the two adults are searching the buildings, Mika and Lizzie are discussing walkers, with Lizzie sticking to her beliefs that the walkers are more than just dead humans. As they discussion gets more heated, a walker creeps out from behind a door, and attempts to attack the girls. Mika puts the walker down, saving the three of them.
The group forget about the incident by enjoy the comforts of being in an actual home, with safety, security, warm and food, pondering the possiblity of staying there a while longer.
The morning after, Carol spots Lizzie playing with the walker that we saw at the beginning of the episode. Carol runs out to save Lizzie, driving the walker to the floor and stabbing it in the head. Lizzie is hysterical at the loss of her 'friend', screaming "You don't understand!" at a confused Carol.
As the two return to the farm, they make a shocking discovery - possibly the most shocking moment of the show so far!
Lizzie stands alone besides the baby Judith on her play-mat, with a blood stained knife in her hand. Soon, the realisation sinks in, as we still Mika's still body laying behind her.
As the two approach, Lizzie holds up her gun, telling them they must wait to see what she's been trying to tell them. Carol diffuses the situation, and Tyrese takes Lizzie inside.
Carol and Tyrese discuss the situaton alone, as he reveals that Lizzie was responsible for the mice at the prison as well as the rabbit pinned to the board. He suggests that she may have also been responsible for the deaths of Karen and David, to which Carol disagrees, but does not give her true reasoning as to why.
They ponder their options, and they both come to the conclusion that she can't be trusted around the baby Judith, and that the reality is she can't be around other people at all. Then the moment comes, when they both realise what must be done.
Carol takes Lizzie out to pick flowers for Mika, and Lizzie starts to sense that there's something wrong. Lizzie apologises to Carol, not for shooting Mika, but for point her gun at them! As she continues to apologise, with tears in her eyes, she walks over to the flowers. And, in homage to John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men', Carol says those words, "everything works out the way it's supposed to" before telling her to "look at the flowers." She pulls her gun - Lizzie still crying - and shoots the young girl in the back of the head, as Tyrese watches from the window.
After burying the bodies, Carol and Tyrese sit down by candlelight, where she finally tells him that she was the one who killed Karen and David. She slides her pistol across the table, telling him to 'do what he's got to do'. He asks her if she was scared, if it was quick, to which Carol replies 'yes', and he forgives her for what she had done.
They both decide that they can't stay there, and they set out on the road once more, seeking the Terminus as three, where there once was five.
The Walking Dead never fails to shock or surprise us, just like the Sophia and Lori storylines from previous seasons. And, although we may have had our suspicions that Lizzie was behind the rats at the prison, we did not expect it to play out this way. But it did, and to brilliant effect.
The Walking Dead is seldom known for it's mystery. Most unanswered questions are usually solved within at least the same episode. However, the business with the rats were, unlike the Sophia scenario (which was pretty much the focus of an entire season) all but forgotten about, in the midst of chaos caused by the prison attack and the events to follow. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to finally get some closure on the matter.
The acting in this episode was superb, particularly from Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy) who we are sad to see leave the cast. The episode itself played out very well, keeping us caught between intruige and suspense, before hitting us with the hard stuff. It was almost as if they compressed the entire of season two into on episode, and to great effect. The events of the episode were perfectly timed in terms of this season, a few episodes before the finale, when all the groups are potentially looking to meet up again, possibly a safe place. Just as all we see ahead of us is hope, The Walking Dead once again takes that hope, and turns it into utter sadness.
"My mom used to say, everything works out the way it's supposed to." ~ Mika to Carol
"I know you. I trust you. And I don't know if I can get that anywhere else" ~ Tyrese to Carol
"Maybe they're not haunting us. Maybe they're teaching us." ~ Carol to Tyrese
This week, saw nine deaths on The Walking Dead. Seven walker shootings, and two sad, sad human deaths.
Okay, we'll level with you. We lost count at about thirty, this week. There was a little bit too much zombie killing chaos to keep up! But sometimes we measure in quality, not quantity, and there were certainly lots of beautifully executed zombie kills this week. So well done to everyone involved!
Zombie Kill of the Week
If there's one thing that this week's episode lacked, it was zombie killing. However, there was one that stuck out for us, and that was the last ever shot fired by young Mika, and the glorious, head exploding result. R.I.P. Mika, you could've gone on to do great things.. in the zombie killing department at least!
Next Week on The Walking Dead
The clip of next week's episode suggests the return of Daryl and his new friends, and it appears they have taken a prisoner, to whom they are about to 'teach a lesson'. Perhaps fans of the comics will have an idea of who that might be?
The clip also promises lots more zombie killing action at the hands of Abraham, as well as more from Glenn and company.
Did Carol do the right thing? Do you think it's better to be tough or smart, when it comes to surviving the zombie apocalypse? Perhaps you knew it was Lizzie who was feeding the walkers all along! If so, what other theories do you have?
Drop your comments in the box below, and don't forget to tune in at 9pm next Monday on Fox TV for more of The Walking Dead!