TWD S4E14, “The Grove” by Dusty

What I’m drinking: Southern Tier Porter.  I thought the days of ice and snow were behind us for the year.  I was mistaken.  Luckily, I had a few of these in the house.  A dark, textured flavor, perfect for the winter.

Seven things that annoyed me:

1. The forced parallels Carol draws between Mika and Sophia.  I get it.  I don’t need it shoved in my face repeatedly.
Just once I’d like to see the writers use a bit of subtlety to get their point across.  But I think that’s asking too much at this point.  From what I can gather, the writers think their viewers are not intelligent.

2. Carol and Mika stomping through the woods and talking loudly.  It’s every week with these people.  There are zombies everywhere.  Save your loud conversations for more secure locations.
I hate that I bring this up every week.  I’ll stop talking about it when they stop doing it.

3. The set-up to Mika and Lizzie getting attacked.  Why would Lizzie be holding Judith?  Why wouldn’t that be Mika?  Lizzie’s cold heart wouldn’t allow her to care for a baby.  A zombie baby, maybe, but not a living baby.  Bad news for Judith, but Luda and Andre would have a babysitter at their beck-and-call.

4. How much they played up the differences between Lizzie and Mika.  I understand that they’re showing how different the kids are, but they don’t have to be polar opposites.  “Hey.  This one plays with zombies.  This one plays with dolls.  See how different they are?  Here are a dozen more examples within 20 minutes.”

5. Lizzie freaking out with every zombie being killed.  She’s clearly insane, and that’s fine.  But the acting was terrible.  Just terrible.
In fact, her whole storyline in this episode was awful.  I understand that they had to push us in that direction to get us to the inevitable conclusion, but they brought the full-fledged crazy the entire episode.  She had been showing these trends, but not this obviously, and not in front of everyone.  It’s a huge leap of logic to accept that she would suddenly be full-out crazy in front of everyone.  Her mind wasn’t right, and she didn’t see what she was doing as wrong.  I understand that part.  But she had done a pretty good job of masking it so far, so why did her mind pick this exact minute to let slip the dogs/hogs/whichever-farm-animal of war?
Her little freak-outs and speeches grated on me more and more as the episode progressed.

6. The “Oh shit” reveal of Lizzie killing Mika.  With the dark music and length of the scene, I get the feeling it was supposed to be shocking.  It wasn’t.  It’s something I could see coming from a mile away.  It was a well-done scene, but I get the feeling they thought it was better than it was, and decided to milk it for all it was worth.
Kudos to Carol for her handling of the incident, though.  She was barely holding it together, yet she was able to tell Lizzie exactly what she needed to hear.

7.  The voiceover at the end.  I feel like they were going for poignant, but it ended up feeling like they were really trying to force tears out of the audience.  If you make something good, that sentiment will make its way out organically.  I don’t like it when things are thrown in just to try to bring people to tears.  It’s cheap and lazy.

Five things I liked:

1. The Ink Spots’ “Maybe” playing as Lizzie played with a walker outside the window.  It was an eerie way to open the episode.  Though this season has been subpar, they’ve been using more scenes that would fit perfectly into a horror movie.  This was my favorite scene of the season.

2. Mouse-chomping zombie.  His leg may be trapped, but he can still enjoy the finer things in life.

3. Charred zombies emerging from the woods.  That’s some top-notch nightmare fuel.  I wonder if that came from Daryl and his new gang, or the moonshine shack Daryl and Beth burned to the ground.

4. Tyreese breaking out a bit in this episode.  Up to this point, he’s been nothing but unbridled rage.  It was good to see his character fleshed out a bit more.  His scene when Carol tells him she was the one who killed Karen was tremendous.  Between Tyresse this week and Bob last week, it’s been a good couple of weeks for alumnus of The Wire.

5.  Carol being forced to treat Lizzie like Old Yeller.  Melissa McBride absolutely knocked this episode out of the park.

Random thought:

When Lizzie was firing into the crowd of crispy zombies, I firmly believe she was picking a spot with no zombies and firing all her bullets, so as not to harm any of them.

Final thoughts:

I’m a bit torn on this episode.  While it certainly had some good moments, there were a ton of moments that I absolutely hated.  I’m glad to be done with Lizzie.  That was a win.
As mentioned above, Melissa McBride was sensational in this episode.  I’m glad to have her back.

What I listened to while writing this: Ours – Ballet the Boxer 1. A more stripped-down sound than I was used to from them, but I really like it.  Gnecco’s voice is still in top form, like if Jeff Buckley skewed a bit more towards straight rock.  It’s a very stompy album.  Big, big fan.  I kind of lost track of them after 2002’s Precious, so it’s nice to hear them still putting out good music.  (Thanks to Lisa for this album.)