I honestly don't even know where to begin recapping this episode of The Walking Dead. I feel like my head is still spinning, my heart hurts and it's all just SAD. Death is a given on this show. Lots of it. And it's cool to see the zombies that we know and care nothing about meet the true death by one of our peeps. Watching Herschel die, watching the implosion of Shane and Rick's relationship/Shane's death, Lori's death and seeing zombie Sophia running out of the barn top my list of truly sad and hard moments on this show. But when it comes to children, you expect that the writers would not go there. And a child with mental illness especially...you just kind of expect that they will reference it, maybe see the aftermath but not show it. But oh no, they went there. And it's changed everything.
The entire show is Carol, Tyrese, Lizzie, Mika and Judith (yes now those girl's names are burned in my memory!). Carol has become the adoptive mom to the girls and they are both showing their true selves to her. Mika is extremely good hearted, kind and seems to have a general understanding that her sister Lizzie is batshit crazy. Lizzie cannot grasp that zombies are bad and that she has to kill them (NOT play with them) in order to stay alive. Carol takes the girls individually to drive home the point that this is a new world and that kindness and the inability to see zombies/some humans as the threat they are WILL kill you. Mika is receptive to a point but stresses that she cannot kill humans-because it's wrong. Zombiepocalypse or not, Mika is not a killer. And this scares Carol as she compares her to Sophia who "didn't have a mean bone in her body". Sophia didn't make it and Carol wants to make sure that these girls learn from that. As Carol says, things are different now and people have to change in order to survive. In walking with Mika and trying to explain this all to her, they discover a clearing with a huge house that doesn't appear to be zombie infested. Mika says sweetly "See? My mom always said things work out for the best". If only girlfriend, if only. (Side note: All my True Detective peeps: Did this house not remind you of the house of the Lawnmower Spaghetti man??? It was so creepy! OK, end side note). So they get Tyrese, Lizzie and Judith and decide to make this their temporary home. Tyrese even toys with staying there and not going to Terminus. Carol agrees to this as they just want to feel safe and feel at home for a while. Meanwhile Lizzie, Mika and Judith (every single time that baby is left with Lizzie I want to puke) are back at the homestead and Mika is trying to explain to Lizzie that zombies are not your friend, they want to eat your face. Lizzie cannot grasp that concept and when a zombie comes out of nowhere, neither girl can kill it. Carol and Tyrese come by to save the day and Lizzie has a panic attack. Mika tells her sister to "look at the flowers like you're suppose to". This isn't Mika's first time at the rodeo with her sister and her issues. Carol takes Mika and wants her to kill a deer. They haven't had real meat in weeks and Carol feels that Mika should do this, this is the stuff she will have to do to survive. Mika is adamant that she cannot kill anything but a zombie. The next day, Carol sees Lizzie playing tag with a zombie. You read that right: LIZZIE WAS PLAYING TAG WITH A ZOMBIE. Carol freaks out and kills it. Lizzie then has a full on melt down that Carol killed her "friend". "How could you kill her? We were playing! What if I killed you???" That last part still gives me chills. It's dawning on Carol that Lizzie needs help in more ways than she can give her, but Carol loves her. They are her girls. Later on, Lizzie runs off with something in her hands (never a good idea) and Mika follows her. She was going to the train tracks to feed a legless zombie some mice. So its now confirmed that Lizzie had been doing that all along as far back as the prison. Lizzie says she can understand the zombies and they want her to change too. She sticks her hand out in front of the zombie but then a herd of burned up zombies come out of the woods. Mika gets caught while trying to run and Lizzie saves her. They run back to the house and all four of them kill the zombies. Later in the house, Carol has a sweet scene with the girls showing them how to bake pecans. Carol asks Lizzie if she now understands that she has to kill the zombies-Lizzie replies with "I know what I have to do now". Carol assumes that Lizzie knows she has to kill the zombies-Carol should never, ever assume anything.
The next day Carol and Tyrese go for a walk leaving the girls with Judith (again, wanted to vomit). Tyrese opens up to Carol about how Karen's death affected him, he lost his love at the hands of someone he doesn't know. Did she suffer? Was she scared? At one point it looked like Carol would confess but then she didn't. She couldn't do it. Tyrese is so sweet and sad-she couldn't face hurting him. You can see how much Carol struggles with that. They return to the homestead where they discover the most chilling scene in The Walking Dead history-sweet little Mika is laying in a pool of her own blood, her sister's bloody hand is holding a knife and is dripping Mika's blood. Baby Judith is crawling around on a blanket innocently oblivious. It was horrific. Lizzie says "Don't worry, I didn't kill her brain. She will change. Judith can change too". Carol and Tyrese are trying to compose themselves enough to get the knife out of Lizzie's hand. Lizzie then aims a gun at Carol-Carol tells her that they will clean Mika up and wait for her to change. Carol tells Lizzie to head back in the house and she will meet them there where they will all wait for Mika to change. She tells Tyrese to take Judith (THANK YOU LORD!) and get Lizzie away. When they are out of sight, Carol breaks down a bit and takes out her knife to truly end Mika. It was horrible, just horrible. When Carol returns, she and Tyrese discuss Lizzie and what they have to do. She can't be around Judith (or people in general) and Carol will be the one to kill her. She takes Lizzie outside to the field to "pick flowers for Mika's return". Lizzie starts crying because she thinks that Carol is mad at her for aiming the gun at her-Lizzie does not understand that she KILLED HER OWN SISTER. Carol, fighting back tears, tells Lizzie to "look at the flowers" and she takes her gun out and shoots her. Carol and Tyrese dig two little graves for the girls. They go back into the house and Carol gives Tyrese the gun and admits to killing Karen. She tells Tyrese he can do as he will. Tyrese, seeing as how Carol has lost THREE daughters and can see the emotional toll all of this has taken on her, tells her that he forgives her but will never forget. He can see it haunts her as it haunts him...and for that he is able to forgive. Carol is not a killer for the sake of killing-he knows that. They agree that too much happened in this house of horrors and that they will carry on to Terminus, just Carol, Tyrese and Judith now.
So now Carol is left with the only "daughter" she has left-Judith. She has now lost THREE girls. How do you keep going? How will this change her? It was unthinkable when she lost Sophia. But to lose Mika (who reminded her so much of Sophia) as horrifically violent as she did, then had to kill her third daughter for doing it? How does she keep going? This episode left me so sad and as the writers continue to point out, it's not the zombies that you have to just worry about. I know a few of us talked about it during and after the show but I'm curious to see where you stand the day after. I am left with the knowledge that I love Carol more now than ever and that I cannot see her get hurt anymore. She is so strong, so brave and has come so far from the meek, defeated, abused woman of Season 1. But I am profoundly sad still that we witnessed two children die this episode and neither of them died from a zombie attack. Each girl died at the hands of a person they loved the most...and that's the most chilling part.