Last night on The Walking Dead, we finally caught back up with our beloved, crossbow-slinging non-couple Carol and Daryl, as they continue their quest for Beth while avoiding obvious sexual tension. Carol and Daryl: On The Run.
Walking Dead likes to play with the idea (and perception) of strength and weakness, and much of that is reflected in the women characters (and Tyreese). The post-Apocalypse version of Carol was forced to access a toughness that was dormant during her years with an abusive husband. This mental reboot was good for her. "At the prison I got to be who I always thought I should be, thought I should've been," she says in one of her tête-à-têtes with Daryl, mid-Beth-Search. Getting a do-over is a weird, welcomed side effect in this world, where everyone's morality evolves by necessity.
"Consumed" also fills in the blanks of how Carol survived alone after Rick banished her from the prison. It's all about the power of a second chance, which Carol earned after her Terminus stunt and which she passes onto the likable-then-hateable-then-likeable Noah, who's the third wheel in this episode. Here's What Would Jezebel Do?
1) Would we shoot (to kill) Noah as he's trying to escape?
Yes. Our first instinct, like Carol's, would be to shoot at him. Before we get there, though, the cliffhanger from a few episodes ago picks up with Carol and Daryl pursuing the car that kidnapped Beth. It turns out to be cops from Grady Memorial (aka the Hospital From Hell). While Caryl is spying on the cops at a stop, the car breaks down but Carol knows a safe place nearby.
That place is a shelter, where she once stayed for temporary refuge from her husband. After scoping it out, Carol and Daryl end up in an office full of tufted chairs and get to talking about, you know, life and how much they've changed. "How did we get here?" Daryl asks. It's another bonding moment. There's talk of starting over and Carol mentions "burning" her former selves. After the episode, I listened to Sam Smith's "Restart" twice.
In the morning, as they're heading out a narrow door, Carol puts her gun on the floor outside the crevice and crawls out. I sigh. There to greet them with a gun in their face is Noah, who jacks Daryl for his precious crossbow. Carol, a G, tries to shoot at Noah as he's fleeing. She claims she was aiming for his leg, not to kill. But I don't underestimate Carol's kid-killing potential. She would've done whatever was necessary. It's a good thing she didn't. "He's just a damn kid," says Daryl. "Without weapons, we could die," she reasons.
Very interesting here that Daryl refuses to harm a teenager, while unaware that Carol already did the unthinkable when she killed Lizzie. There's another key moment when she says, "Look, you're not who you were, and neither am I." She also tells Daryl she "doesn't know if she believes in God anymore." Under those circumstances, Same.
2) Would we help Noah who's trapped under the bookcase?
Sure. After losing Noah and their weapons, Caryl leave the building to check out the van they spotted inside from a window. It's hanging off the side of a highway ready to plummet. A van is hanging off the side of a road. Let's go check it out. Naturally, a herd of walkers comes through. Carol starts shooting, which only attracts more of them. It looks like the only way out is to go inside the van… Wait, couldn't they have run away on foot? I couldn't tell. I dunno about this.
Daryl tells Carol to "buckle up" because the van's about to tip over. They survive the drop, miraculously. (Still suspended in the air is our belief.) Daryl, having discovered that the van belongs to Grady Memorial, makes a smart decision to observe the hospital before making a move. Back in the office building, he asks Carol: "You said I ain't how I was before? How was I?" She says, "It's like you were a kid. Now you're a man."
Had this been a Shonda Rhimes production, "Sexual Healing" would start playing.
Walker-snarling interrupts their deep convo. Noah is still there, apparently unable to handle an attack. Daryl takes advantage of seeing him cornered in a room. He gets his crossbow back. Now trapped under a bookshelf, Noah needs a second chance. Daryl is willing to let him die. "Nah, let him be," says Daryl.
DARYL SAID, "OR NAH."
Carol shows more compassion, and it's a nice role reversal from earlier. It's clear that these two balance each other out. Daryl saves Noah from a looming walker, after which Noah reveals the valuable information that the hospital people have Beth.
3) Would we let the cops take Carol away?
No, but here's where it gets unusual. Since we already saw Carol on the gurney in the previous Beth-centric episode, it's still possible at this point that Carol, Noah and Daryl planned to infiltrate the hospital all along. Instead, something dumb happens. A normally cautious Carol runs out of the building (where there could be walkers right outside) and gets run over by the cops.
Noah stops Daryl from chasing after her, assuring him that the hospital folks will take care of her and that they'll get Carol and Beth back. Okay. It's hard to believe Daryl would let Carol out of his sight yet again and that he's going by the word of this young man who he just wanted to kill. The good news is that this sets up an epic face-off between Rick and Dawn's crews. Like Noah says, "They got guns. People." Daryl: "So do we." And I screamed.
Image via AMC