There is no doubt that Carol has become one of the most beloved characters of The Walking Dead. If you follow her trajectory from season one, you realize that the person she has become is nothing like the person she was when she was first introduced to us. In fact, I sometimes forget that season one is even related to this show, because it feels like another time in another place. The woman that was devoted to her abusive husband and submissively subjected herself to his beatings, is a born again survivor, who doesn’t take crap from anyone.
This weeks episode of The Walking Dead fleshes out what Carol was doing after she was thrown out of Rick’s group, gives a little insight on her current situation with Daryl, and shows us how she ends up in Beth’s hospital.
As boldly as Carol drove away from Rick when he told her to leave for her crimes, she was emotionally shattered over the consequences of her decision. She cried about it, yelled at a disruptive walker, got over it, and settled into a empty law office. Before she could fully set up her new home, she saw the smoke coming from a fire in the distance. Carol went flying towards the prison, only to find it ablaze after the Governor had paid his final visit. And that’s who she is- someone who would drop it all to help those she cares about, even if one of them threw her out.
Beth and Daryl took off in their car after what they believe is the same car, with the big white cross in the back, that took Beth. We are on our way back to where it all started, Atlanta. On the I-85, heading north, we see the remains of the pretty city that adorned all The Walking Dead previews, back in season one. But it’s different. Much gloomier. The white crossed car leads us to an intersection, where the car pauses for a few. A few feet away Daryl and Carol wait to see what it is that these people are doing on this lonely road.
One of the hospital cops gets out and begins to move things around on the side of the street. Unfortunately, another disruptive walker begins to fling itself against Carol and Daryl’s car, blowing their cover. The hospital cop burns rubber, and before Daryl could go ahead behind them, the car sputters to a halt. No gas. I was actually thinking about the lack of gas after all the car scenes. When are they refueling?
Luckily for the both of them, they’re back home in Atlanta, and Carol has a safe place for the night. A woman’s shelter that Carol had stayed in with her daughter, when her husband had been at his worst. The only walkers in this place are locked behind a frosted glass door. A woman zombie and a child zombie. We haven’t seen a child zombie since the very beginning. We never even got to see Mika turn. Carol is brave enough to take initiative in killing these two zombies, but Daryl lets her know that she doesn’t have to. She lost her daughter, Mika, and Lizzie, thats enough child zombie hunting for a lifetime.
When Carol wakes up in the morning, Daryl has disposed of the two bodies, in a makeshift bonfire. So there is no need for Carol to have to take another burden on her own, although she was prepared to.
Flashback to the past: Carol’s digging the graves for Mika and Lizzie, as Tyrese carries the bodies to the hole. In the distance, there is smoke, possibly from Daryl and Beth burning down the little place that reminded Daryl of his home life with drunken abusive parents.
So what’s Carol and Daryl’s plan? To go up one of the tall buildings in the heart of Atlanta and look for clues on Beth’s whereabouts or the car with the white cross. Only, they don’t realize that they are being followed.
In the corridor of the building they have entered, there is a camp out of zombies. Literally. Apparently, some folks must have put together some camping gear and made a life in that corridor. Washed clothes are hanging around, and sleeping bags and tents are set up. But for whatever reason, these people didn’t make it through the night. There’s nothing but zombies closed up in tents and sleeping bags, trying to scramble for Carol and Darryl.
After getting through those camp zombies, Carol and Darryl look out from the expansive windows of a fancy executive room. Daryl spots a van stuck on the bridge, with crosses in its window. This is their lead. On their way out, Daryl complains about the expensive artwork hanging in the room: Looks like a dog sat in paint and wiped his ass all over the place.
Noah, who had been following them, gets a hold of Carol’s gun and tries to take Daryl’s crossbow at gunpoint. He says all he needs is weapons. Which is true. He releases the zombies that were inside the tents to give him a head start. Carol pulls out a spare gun but she’s blocked by Daryl when she tries to shoot Noah. And Carol and Daryl lose him. A little argument begins between the two. Carol claims she just wanted to maim Noah and Daryl just sees him as a kid trying to survive. Carol grabs Daryl’s bag to leave, and a book on handling child abuse falls out. It had been sitting on the desk at the women’s shelter they had stayed at. Daryl is a victim of child abuse and might have wanted to read up on the subject. He is still struggling with the after effects of his childhood. Feeling a little embarrassed, he grabs his bag from her and keeps walking.
Flashback: Carol has dragged the bodies of the two infected inmates and is watching, with a cloth over her mouth, as the bodies burns in the back lot of the prison. She’s someone that does what needs to be done, even if it means facing the ugly. In this case, she’s in front of the fire watching the smoke rise.
Carol and Daryl reach the white van that is teetering off the side of a bridge. A swarm of zombies has already spotted them and are on their way. Problem is, they have no weapons, thanks to Noah. Carol uses the last few bullets in her hand gun, before they realize they are outnumbered. They lock themselves in the van, to protect themselves. There is only one way to go and its down. They buckle up and allow their weight to bring the van to a crash, below the bridge. Zombies follow behind them, crashing into the hood of the van, spreading blood across the windshield.
Carol is slightly hurt and has a bruise across her collar bone. But now they know who that van belonged to: Grady hospital. They find a building across from the hospital and watch for a bit, but don’t find any new info. Just a saddened Carol confused by the person she has become. She was a timid thing that became a purposeful educator in the prison, and now, she doesn’t know what she is. And that’s fine. Two years in the zombie apocalypse would take a toll on anyone. And not everyone can be strong all the time.
Before they head out to scope out the hospital, they find one of Daryl’s arrow’s lodged in the throat of a walker. Noah is in the building using Daryl’s crossbow. In a panic over some zombie, Noah uses Carol’s automatic rifle, that could be heard from far. Especially, in a deserted city.
Noah is moving a bookcase in front of a door and Daryl pushes him so that Noah is trapped underneath the bookcase. A walker is halfway scrambling through the door. Will they save Noah? Now Carol and Darryl bump heads again. This time they have switched sides. (As Noah begs for forgiveness) Daryl has no remorse because Carol could have died during their van stunt and it only happened because they had no weapons to protect themselves with. (Noah’s fault) Having the final word, Daryl says NO and walks away with a lighted cigarette. Right when the zombie escapes and reaches for Noah, Daryl shoots an arrow at the zombies head and saves him.
Flashback: Carol has just left Terminus in her blood-soaked poncho. She takes it off and cleans her face, the smoke from Terminus billowing in the background.
All of Carol’s flashbacks involved smoke. Her running towards the fire and away from it. What does this mean for her? Is it a reflection of who she’s become or is it foreshadowing something more?
After Noah is saved from the bookcase, he begins to panic. he realizes that Grady hospital police must have heard the gunshots and they may find him. That’s when they all discover that they all know Beth. Noah agrees to help them find her. But he guides them to hide in a nearby basement in the meantime. Carol runs ahead, as limping Noah needs help from Daryl to walk. She runs into the street outside the building and the hospital cop car crashes into her and places her on a gurney on the way to the hospital. It seems that Grady hospital makes their own patients.
Daryl fights hard to try to intervene, but Noah holds him down and reminds him that they can care for her medically at the hospital. They will just have to go for her later. What will it take? people and guns. Noah and Daryl promptly steal a truck and head towards Rick’s camp. Daryl is pissed off beyond anything, that he lost Carol to the same people that have Beth. But once Rick gets word of the plan to save them both, there will be a reckoning!
Rick is back into bad cop mode and he’s probably going to leave Grady hospital in shambles.
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source: AMC The Walking Dead