Telediction: The cult of authenticity

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Another week another Telediction. Both shows are coming to an end with “Girls” season 3 ending tonight and the penultimate episode of “The Walking Dead” season 4 airing tonight as well. If you’re wondering what’s next for Telediction, fear not winter is coming. Er, not really because it’s officially spring, but I’ll be covering “Game of Thrones” weekly starting April 6. What else should I cover? Let me know.

I thought this week I’d surprise you with a little song Kyla Kennedy and Brighton Sharbino, the actresses who played sisters Lizzie and Mika in “The Walking Dead,” wrote for their characters after their last episode.


The Walking Dead

I’m the first to admit I wouldn’t stand a chance surviving in a Zombie Apocalypse. As an obsessive hypochondriac writer who just cut off part of her nail while trying to slice open a month-old rock lemon, my skills in using a knife are clearly not up to par. I’m able to successfully stab a cantaloupe though, which I imagine “The Walking Dead” writers compare Zombie heads to. (Seriously are their skulls made of marshmallow?) The hardest decision I have to make is whether I want the melon cubed or sliced. What if I had to decide between my life and that of an insane child?

Whoa plot twist, but yeah, that’s what it felt like this week on “The Walking Dead.”

As I’ve said before, I really like the direction the show is heading in, focusing on the segmented groups and treating them with as much importance as they would treat Rick and Co.

So far, Daryl and Beth have gotten more airtime than Rick, Carl and Michonne – resident VIPs. But this week was all about Carol, Tyreese and the girls (that’s Lizzie, Mika and baby Judith) as the past comes back to haunt everyone until it surfaces and unavoidable decisions have to be made.

The episode titled “The Grove,” shows a peaceful scene in a southern country house, appropriately settled in the midst of a pecan grove. It’s a Pinterest-worthy scene with pecans roasting in an oven (Remind me how ovens work in a post-apocalyptic world with no electricity?) and water boiling in a kettle. The camera pans over to the window where you see two little girls playing – but wait there’s that damn kettle. The tone changes from sleepy and sweet to thriller scarefest as you realize only one little girl is alive and the other is walking dead. DUN DUN DUN.

Spoiler much? Not really. This episode was great and completely unexpected. We get to explore psychological depth in children as well as in the normally guarded Carol. Carol is disturbed that Lizzie and Mika don’t understand the danger of zombies, but Mika reminds her “I’m not messed up like my sister.” Oh that’s just a figure of speech right? Wrong, in thrillers there are no coincidental statements (except in the case of Glenn ‘n’ Maggie 4 ever). The whole subtle “I’m-going-to-suffocate-Judith”-thing was actually Lizzie displaying her history of psychotic issues. We can guess that the problem has been around even before the world turned upside down when Mika calms her sister down and tells her to look at the flowers like she’s supposed to.

We learn that Lizzie was actually the person responsible for the rat experiments in the prison earlier in the season, and she’s obsessed with having other people become zombies so they can see that they’re not evil like everyone says.

The zombie at the opening scene of the episode, in Lizzie’s eyes, just wanted to paly with her and when Carol goes outside and shoots it, Lizzie flips and threatens to kill Carol. “What if I killed you?” she screams repeatedly while crying.
She cries a lot in the episode, mostly over zombies. We have the makings of a budding psychopath here. I know I’ve said that about Carl (and I still hold that to be true, even if the show seems to be switching his direction in a positive way now) but this one’s for real. She’s able to manipulate her feelings and trick others. She tells Tyreese she understands that sometimes they need to kill zombies out of necessity, but other times they don’t. Tyreese thinks she’s right, except when Lizzie classifies an instance as not-OK to kill zombies one in which her and her sister’s lives are directly at risk.
We already see how deeply disturbed little Lizzie is but there’s still hope that she’ll come to her senses. Though there’s not much room for hope once she says that she knows the zombies just want her to be like them.

Even then, we think she might just sacrifice herself to show Carol and Tyreese what she believes so strongly to be true – that being a zombie isn’t bad, it’s just different.

But what really happens is Lizzie waiting for the adults in the pecan grove with blood on her hands after killing her sister.
“Don’t worry, she’ll come back,” Lizzie says assuring them this was all calculated. “I didn’t hurt her brain.”

Then she reveals she was just about to kill Judith. This is probably one of the most horrifying scenes in a show that exists in the horror genre. Carol is reduced to bargaining because she’s afraid for Judith’s life and her life as well when Lizzie drops her knife and points her gun at Carol.

“No, no, no. We have to wait,” she says.

When Carol convinces her to go inside with Tyreese and Judith, she pulls out her knife to stop Mika from coming back but is clearly afraid that the insane Lizzie will snap and go on a rampage.

Carol has had the biggest character progression from the beginning of the series. Not to dwell on her former submissiveness or current-calculated thoroughness, this episode was a great refresher to see some emotional depth displayed through fear in her character. Still, make no mistake her character has grown, “The Walking Dead,” just had to prove how committed she was to the change she spoke so ardently about earlier in the episode.

Carol hardened after the death of her own daughter Sophia and found the strength to survive. Now she’s faced with the decision of letting Lizzie live and be an increasing threat to the safety of her group or kill a child, who for all intents and purposes is still considered an innocent because of her child-status or mental illness. But Carol commits and does what needs to be done. She doesn’t shy away from it either, bringing Lizzie to the forest under the guise of picking wildflowers for Mika when she wakes up.

Out in the distance, the smoke from an earlier fire has turned white. This fire is the same one Daryl and Beth started at Daryl’s “totally-not-my-house” house.

Lizzie immediately starts crying when she sees Carol welling up, worried that Carol is mad at her. It emotionally tears Carol apart to make a decision she really doesn’t want to make, but all she can tell Lizzie is to “look at the flowers,” before she quickly shoots her in the back of the head.

Later at the house the typical guilt-trip happens. It’s no longer avoidable, especially after Tyreese’s episode long assurances to never be ashamed of who you are. Carol admits she is, and I think to a degree it scares her to be so robotic in her determination to survive. She tells Tyreese the truth about Karen and David, and in light of the recent events, Tyreese changes himself and tells her he forgives her, but that doesn’t mean he’ll forget. What does forgetting mean in a post-apocalyptic world anyway? It’s all inconsequential as long as you survive at the end of the day. No one really forgets.

Lizzie and Mika were Carol’s surrogate daughters. She wanted them to survive, and she wanted to protect them and teach them ways to be stronger in ways she couldn’t save her own daughter, but she couldn’t save them. Dealing with a case of mental illness in a loved one is a heart-wrenching situation. There’s always the belief that you can get through to them, that you can save them. This is what Tyreese thought, but Carol knew there was no talking Lizzie out of it – there was no saving her, and that lack of choice surprisingly turned Carol’s world upside down.

Coming from the woman who killed Tyreese’s girlfriend because she was infected and the disease needed to stop spreading, tough decisions were internally made easier by a lack of choice. It was something done for the greater good. Ultimately, Carol stuck with her belief, but in the case of a child, her argument became a thousand times more difficult to understand or to live with.

We all change, but is it always for the better, and is survival still black and white?


Girls

Stupid me to think that Hannah could keep a job – stupid, stupid me for thinking “Girls” was progressing on to the real world. After this week’s episode, it’s all too evident that we’ll forever be stuck in “Girls” world vortex of blah.

I’m very good with words today.

In all seriousness, it’s an all too familiar pattern to see everything progressing, even slightly, on “Girls,” and then have it revert to the chaos the show feeds off. In part, it’s exciting because tonight is the season finale and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. However, the ending will most likely be a huge cliffhanger, or multiple cliffhangers in small doses.

This season, Marnie hasn’t gotten her life together. Shoshanna has largely remained in the background – her main romantic plot with Ray untouched except for a brief conversation. Jessa went to rehab, got out of rehab and now needs rehab more than ever. Hannah and Adam got new jobs and actually seemed to be happy, but Patti LuPone messed that up when she frazzled Hannah’s brain over Adam getting sick of her because he’s on the verge of becoming a huge Broadway star.

“Girls” is nothing if not cyclical, and while I understand the power of characters retorting to old habits, after three seasons of fragmented glimpses at the lives of unhappy New Yorkers, it gets a bit stale at times.

In “I Saw You,” the best thing to happen was slow crawl towards doom that is Hannah and Adam’s relationship. I’m not being a pessimist (you guys are all upchucking your milk right now), it’s just that I truly enjoy complicated writing and scenarios that are fearless in presenting emotions in unconventional ways. This is where “Girls” excels.

In the opening scene, Hannah and Adam are “making love,” (NOT fucking) but as soon as Adam finishes, he ditches his girlfriend to go back to Ray’s to concentrate. OK, something fishy is happening. I get that Adam needs to concentrate, but making Hannah feel bad about wanting some sort of real explanation is very uncool. She’s so anxious about the state of their relationship and what the separate living situation means that she walks over to Ray’s place in the middle of the night worrying whether Ray had one and a half bananas for Adam in the morning, just how he likes it.

“So, where are the bananas?” Adam says.

We can see Hannah’s neuroticism tear this relationship at its seams, but there’s undeniably something going on with Adam too. Does his emotional withdrawal mean Patti was right? Not likely, but there is a reason that whole fake-engagement scene happened in the episode “Flo.”

Adam is scared to move on and get serious outside of what he deems to be serious now. He’s committed to Hannah but as soon as the conventionality of marriage comes up, everything is made more serious and it’s no wonder why Adam is unsure. He might not be ready to make this decision, but since Hannah’s mother brought it up, Hannah feels some sort of pressure in getting older and ideally doesn’t want to imagine her perfect relationship ending up as just a happy, wild, carefree time in her life. She wants it to mean something, as much as she’s desperately trying to find meaning in her work.
She quits her job at GQ, for real this time. She was kind of a jerk to everyone there – the worst burn had to be “When are you going to go from calling yourself a poet to a calling yourself a former poet? Which is what you actually are.”

It’s back at square-one for Hannah whose obsession for authenticity is in itself becoming more and more inauthentic as the seasons progress.

Deep down I think Hannah wants to be famous and I think fame will mitigate her fears of falling into oblivion. Even Marnie, who couldn’t manage to get her life together all season was able to put on a great performance at an open mic night. In Shoshanna’s words: “Are you going to be OK? I mean, like, Adam is about to be on Broadway and Marnie’s clearly about to be a pop star, and I don’t know, you were like supposed to be the famous artist and now you’re just working in advertising.”

At an awkward dinner with Adam and his theatre friends and their respective partners, Hannah brings up that she quit her job. Wherever she goes she needs to create a platform for herself

But enough about Hannah for one moment, and let’s talk about Marnie. I was hoping she’d make Elijah’s dreams come true with that whole “Am I a pretty girl?” shtick. Instead, she gives a great performance but you could see her romanticizing her professional relationship even after her partner told her flat out he had a girlfriend. It’s refreshing to see a male character be strong in his emotions regarding interest instead of just pulling out one of those “We can’t, we mustn’t, but it feels SO right” scenarios. What a bore.

On that end of the spectrum we introduce Ray to the episode, who sleeps with Marnie because she doesn’t really give him a choice. She shows up at his house and even though he says no, she writes his response off as stupid and tells him she’ll be waiting for him in his room … naked.

It all comes falling apart when Hannah and Adam make it back to Ray’s home and hear the sounds of le SEKS emerging from Ray’s room.

Hannah being nosy Hannah walks in on Ray and Marnie doin’ it and freaks out like a little girl. Note how Marnie hides behind the bed in shame. Girl, don’t pretend you don’t want it. Work that crush, even if he wasn’t on “One Tree Hill.”

I started to wonder after this scene why Marnie’s love life is the center of her drama and the drama with everybody else regarding her. Why does “Girls” make who Marnie is currently sleeping with Hannah’s problem? That’s a little food for thought as I leave you to watch tonight’s season finale.

As always, you can live-tweet me during episodes or during life, otherwise, @claudiacmarina to talk all things “Girls,” “The Walking Dead” and/or whether you’re still confused if “True Detective” was really a good show or just had good acting.

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Author: Claudia Marina View all posts by
Journalism student at the University of Florida. Sally Draper is my spirit animal. I love writing about TV and how it affects culture. Occasionally I watch bad TV, but reviews make it better.

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