Yowzers. Heavy episode. If you read our Robert Kirkman Post-Mortem, or if you’re one of the comic fans that called this months ago, then you know that tonight’s episode, “The Grove,” used events from issues 60 and 61 of the comic (found in Volumes 10 and 11, respectively).
In the comics, Billy finds his twin brother Ben poking at a dead cat. Ben tells a concerned Billy not to tell Dale (who is taking care of them, along with Andrea). In the show, if you’ll recall WAY back in episode 408, “Too Far Gone,” Tyreese shows Daryl and Rick a flayed and dissected rabbit nailed to a board. He tells them that there’s a psychopath living amongst them. Nothing comes of it because the Governor attacks just then, but a ton of comic fans felt that the scene was awfully familiar.
We jump forward a bit, in the comics just one issue, in the show a full six episodes. In the comic, Andrea goes looking for Ben and Billy only to find an unapologetic and emotionless Ben has killed his brother. “Don’t worry. He’s going to come back. I didn’t hurt his brains.” It’s very similar in the show. We see that Lizzie and Mika have replaced Ben and Billy. Carol (surrogate mother to the girls, like Andrea was to the boys in the comic), finds Lizzie, bloody knife in hand, and her dead sister behind her. She says almost the exact same thing as Ben.
The reaction in both cases is complete shock. In the comic, Ben walks over to Andrea and hugs her. In the show, we see more of the interaction between Carol and Lizzie, as Carol treats the situation delicately to keep Judith safe. Tyreese just looks on in horror.
These events play out with the whole group present in the comic, and no one is able to come to a decision about what to do about Ben. Andrea and Dale are adamant that he’s not to be harmed, even though Abraham has suggested it. Rick doesn’t disagree and Morgan wonders who would even be able to do that, and no one says a word. That night Carl sneaks out of bed and kills Ben.
In the show, Carol and Tyreese discuss what must be done, and they decide that they have to kill Lizzie. Carol carries out the execution.
The books are closed on these events with a shot of their graves*.
In our Post-Mortem with Robert, we specifically discuss the change of Ben to Lizzie, how this was teased in advance, and why it was ok that it was Carol and not Carl that had to do the unthinkable. For what it’s worth, I think a teenage Carl killing Lizzie would be a much different situation than a naive 7 year old Carl doing the same to Ben. Agree? Disagree?
*Yes, I’m aware that the grave with the baby shoes was there when they arrived but’s a better shot than the one previous that shows all three graves and it matches up better.