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I think it’s safe to say that we’ve stumbled upon the best episode of season four, possibly longer.  “The Grove” starts off with a feeling of hope.  Carol, the girls, and Tyreese find a virtually undisturbed pecan grove and it almost promises a new start.  Unfortunately, the short stay proves to be a very harrowing experience.  Here’s what we learned:

Carol is Secretly the Most Interesting Character on the Show

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You may not realize it yet, but the best story arc in the entire series is Carol’s.  A character that went from a doting wife to a grieving mother is now a take-charge leader and has been ever since Rick went on a little brain vacation in the prison.  Carol knew what had to be done and prepared the children for what the realities of the outside world had in store for them.  Rather than give them a lesson in reading and writing, Carol gave them valuable survival lessons, including how to shoot a gun.

I can’t say enough how amazing a job actress Melissa McBride did in this episode.  Her emotions ran the gamut: from a soft-spoken adult bent on teaching the girls what they need to fear and how they need to act to a heartbroken surrogate mother that must make one of the toughest decisions any character has had to make.  It’s the stuff Emmy nominations are made of.

Mika Wants Everyone to Have Ridiculous Names (Just Like Her)

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Seriously, Mika: Griselda Gunderson?  That’s what you come up with?  Are we naming background characters from Fargo?

In general, the fact Mika chooses to name the doll she just found (fat girl name or otherwise) just adds to how devastating the episode becomes.  Mika has still managed to separate herself from the harsh realities of the world around her, and maintains her innocence as if nothing horrible is going on around them.  She’s a sweetheart, and unfortunately, that fact leads to her destruction; it’s just a shame how it happens.

Lizzie is the Worst Babysitter Ever

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Honestly, I don’t care if it is the zombie apocalypse: if your babysitting skills lead to a 50% survival rate, you are not a good babysitter.  In fact, if the job lasted a minute longer, it may have been a complete loss of life.  At this point, shouldn’t we just let Tyreese take care of the baby?  It doesn’t seem like he’s ready to make any important decisions, anyway.  Just let him be Mr. Mom for every episode.

It’s chilling how bad Lizzie got right up until Carol made her look at the flowers.  In the exact opposite direction in which Mika went, so went Lizzie.  The zombie apocalypse broke her; more specifically, the death of her father seems to have taken her away from a realm of understanding that was present before.  We saw it in her attachment to the walkers outside the prison.  We saw it in her sadistic glint in the eye as she tried to snuff out Judith.  In the same way that walkers couldn’t be saved, neither could Lizzie.

It’s interesting to me how different the effect his in this development versus the parallel storyline of the comic.  This one is much more emotional and one of the most devastating moments the show has featured.

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