(Spoilers for The Walking Dead episode “Inmates”)
I don’t know about you, but the character of Lizzie on The Walking Dead freaks me out. It’s not a Carol Ann-Poltergeist-type freak out. It’s more of an Esther-Orphan or Gage-Pet Sematary type freak out. Or even a “Come play with us” girls-from-The Shining type freak out.
Kids, man. They’re scary.
Here’s the thing. These kids have been through more than anyone can imagine in this show. They’re not even old enough to go to PG-13 movies but they have had to deal with a zombie apocalypse and the death of their parents and their friends. They have no safe haven. They have no place to run and hide. They’re wandering through a forest.
But Lizzie was always a little different, wasn’t she? Back in the season premiere, “30 Days Without an Accident,” Lizzie stood at the fence and told Carl that her Walker friend, Nick, was just like other people, only he was “different.” This made Carl angry. Walkers kill people. “People kill people,” she countered. Lizzie was beside herself when Walker Nick was killed during one of the fence pile-ups. In fact, it seemed like she was more upset about him than she was about the death of her father. Lizzie’s sister, Mika, has been a Jiminy Crickett-conscience throughout the ordeal, telling Carol and the others that Lizzie is strong and brave, but just in her own way.
Everything seems to be changing with the girls. In “Inmates” we see Tyreese caring for Mika, Lizzie and Baby Judith. When a noise startles the group, Mika takes off running. Lizzie yells at Tyreese for yelling at her sister. Later, Tyreese leaves the girls alone. He leaves Lizzie with the baby and he leaves Mika with the gun. Lizzie tells Mika to put her knife in her belt over her shirt for easier access. But when Tyreese leaves, and when Judith starts crying, the girls can’t hear if Walkers are approaching and Lizzie changes. Lizzie’s eyes darken and she covers Judith’s mouth to stifle the cries. (I’ve read that this is similar to a scene from the series finale of M.A.S.H) When Lizzie is unresponsive, Mika fires the gun. Later she proudly tells Tyreese that she didn’t run. But no one talks about what Lizzie was doing to Judith, or what she might have done if Carol hadn’t shown up. Could Lizzie kill a baby? I actually think she could. Actress Brighton Sharbino plays Lizzie, and she brings so much emotion to a character who is looking more and more like a young member of Psychopaths and Sociopaths Anonymous.
There’s a distinct shift between the girls and how they act. Their actions are not consistent. They ebb and flow as you watch the episodes play out. Mika is not dark like her sister. Mika is brave and she sees things differently, but she has more optimism and a grasp of the innate goodness in people. Lizzie was one of Carol’s acolytes. Lizzie didn’t have a problem learning to fight. She almost stabbed her own father (albeit dead father) in the head to prevent him from turning into a Walker. The problem is that she also defended Walker Nick.
Here’s the thing. The world has been turned upside down. I don’t think that Lizzie’s reactions are necessarily unusual given the circumstances, but I do feel that there is something larger going on. She sees things differently. I know that the producers don’t leave things to chance, so I firmly believe that Lizzie’s actions are part of a bigger picture.
Here’s to finding out more as the season goes on….