If you tuned in to watch “The Walking Dead” Sunday night, you probably weren’t expecting what you saw on screen.
For those who haven’t watched the latest episode yet, you’ll want to stop reading.
The controversial episode showed the killing of one young child, Mika (Kyla Kennedy), by another child, Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino). As a result, Carol (Melissa McBride) ended up killing Lizzie in order to protect herself, another group member Tyrese, and baby Judith.
Reactions to the episode were mixed.
It left a lot of viewers speechless and in awe of both Melissa McBride’s and the girls’ performances.
While the episode certainly gained a lot of views (it was viewed by 12.9 million) and conversation — something series creator Robert Kirkman predicted — this was a scene that has been coming for a long time on the AMC drama.
Unlike most, I wasn’t surprised when I tuned in Sunday. I had seen this play out previously quite some time ago in the comics just in a different, more brutal fashion.
Instead of Lizzie and Mika, the two are envisioned as younger twin boys, Ben and Billy, early on in the comic series. At this point and time, the crew isn’t separated as they are on the current season of “The Walking Dead.” There’s a large group with many characters including some who are long gone on the show (Andrea / Dale).
In issue 60, we first see that Ben, like Lizzie, had a knack for dissecting animals.
In the following issue, Ben kills his brother and (again similar to Lizzie) believes he’ll be OK once he returns as a zombie.
After much debate on what to do with Ben between the group, it’s Carl — who’s a younger kid at this point — who ends up offing Ben while everyone else is sleeping.
In the comics, this entire scene came out of left field. There were no signs Ben may kill his brother. The show did a much better job of set up and execution by giving Lizzie’s character (some) background. (The series added that Lizzie really believed the zombies weren’t completely dangerous but that they were just misunderstood.)
As well, when audiences are introduced to the idea of taking Lizzie’s life, it’s a tad more gentle in Sunday night’s episode. Carol delivers a pretty sound argument to convince the audience why this killing would be justified. In the comics, Carl is pretty blunt on why he murders another.
Some critics suggested Lizzie didn’t need to be killed and that maybe she should be locked up. That route was tried in the comics. Moreso, there was actually a giant argument about the ethics of taking a child’s life if they were a danger to the entire group.
So why change it up?
On “The Talking Dead,” the after show to “The Walking Dead,” it’s previously been said the series often gives comic creator Robert Kirkman a second chance to reimagine specific scenes in different scenarios.
We’ve seen this before and the scene we saw played out Sunday night is one example of that.
Did the two young girls need to be killed off in “The Walking Dead”? Maybe not, but fans will know it did fall in line with the comics and that it wasn’t a random act for ratings.
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