[Spoiler Alert!] Showrunner Scott M. Gimple has details on Lizzie and Carol's confrontation

By Dalton Ross
Updated March 21, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

Fans of The Walking Dead may have thought they had seen it all after kindly Hershel was beheaded execution-style in December, but the AMC drama took it to a whole new level with the March 16 episode. First, emotionally disturbed youngster Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) stabbed and killed her sister, Mika (Kyla Kenedy), in a misguided attempt to prove that she would indeed come back from the dead. This led Carol (Melissa McBride) to make the heart-wrenching decision to kill little Lizzie, telling her to “just look at the flowers” while firing a bullet into her brain.

The result was shocking, but showrunner Scott M. Gimple says the intent of the arc — which is based on similar events in the comic-book series — was not gratuitous violence. “This was not a story that was sensational,” says Gimple. “It was something that was very much a part of Carol’s story and very much these girls’ story and very much a story of this world. I felt that from the jump we had a very sensitive approach to it. No matter how extreme the end was, we weren’t just doing it for shock.” Gimple adds that they did consider multiple edits of Lizzie’s death scene and tried out “a variety of iterations.”

While fans have since been debating whether Carol did the right thing by offing Lizzie to protect the others (especially baby Judith, whom Lizzie had almost smothered), the woman who plays the killer says the entire matter was a case of necessity. “I think there is no way to say it’s right or wrong,” opines McBride. “It’s unfortunate, but what she did had to be done in her mind…. I think she just did what needed to be done.”