Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead was, sadly, nothing special. Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie and Mika had found a possible home, faced some hard decisions, and decided to move on. (Spoilers below.)
I’m not going to lie, I have zero sympathy for Lizzie, or the fact that she was put down. If this were the modern functioning world, with therapists and no walkers roaming around trying to kill everyone, I’d want her to get the years of therapy required to break her of the belief that the zombies (or, y’know, ‘Walking Dead’) were still people.
That’s not the world these characters live in. It’s not the world Lizzie lives in, anymore. She’s dead. And rightly so. She wasn’t just a liability, she was a danger to the people around her– the actual people, still having thoughts and not craving human flesh.
The utmost need these characters have is survival. They have to eke out a living, however they can, wherever they can. They literally do not have time to deal with delusional ten-year-olds who feed mice to zombies, or wrongly sense a deep personal connection to a walking corpse in a wedding dress.
The adults get that. Carol confessed to killing to sick inmates co-habiting with the larger group at the prison. She did what she felt she had to: she drew them out, and she executed them. And Tyreese did the intelligent thing and forgave her. He saw why she did what she did, and let go of his feelings on the matter. Will he still harbor some resentment? Probably. But it was a huge emotional step for both of them, and they came out stronger on the other side.
They just… came out on the other side with two fewer party members. Because Lizzie murdered Mika, thinking “She’ll come back”, and Carol did the responsible thing and put Lizzie down.
I get that in a post-zombie outbreak world, the adults want to coddle the children. They have innocence left (maybe), and innocence should be preserved. When it’s safe and convenient to do so.
It’s not so convenient when Mika refuses to shoot a deer, she’s too kind. A soft heart is great, unless your group is hungry and needs protein. Venison’s a great source of protein. Survival is not a negotiable need. But Carol didn’t have the heart to disappoint Mika. So they went without.
The world of The Walking Dead is full of harsh lessons. That much is clear. The lesson was reinforced when Carol and Tyreese returned from a scouting trip to find Lizzie, wrist-deep in Mika’s blood, with the knife still in her hands. “Don’t worry. She’ll come back. I didn’t hurt her brain.”
Darwin teaches us that only the strong survive. Carol rightly refused to sleep in the same house with an infant and Lizzie, who might decide at any point to ‘convert’ others to their second life.
Lizzie was stupid, or crazy, or both. These are not good qualities for survival.
And so, Carol took Lizzie out to the field outside the house, and put a bullet in her brain. Comparisons to Of Mice and Men are obvious, and no less meaningful.
Lizzie was a danger to herself and others. She murdered Mika, because of misguided ideas of rebirth… as a rotting, flesh-hungry monster. She was wrong. Fatally wrong. Carol did the right and good thing.
I really, really hope that Carol isn’t consumed my guilt in future episodes. She doesn’t deserve to be.
What do you think?