The Walking Dead has gone through a host of characters (about 35 with at least seven episodes) as the fifth season winds down, some that we love, others we hate, like or not care very much about, but when we do care for a character/s it ups the stakes on the episode tremendously. Daryl and Carol are as loved as much as anyone in the Zombie Apocalypse and even if there's not much action in the hour, just the time we get to spend with them is precious since the group was forced to split up and Carol was pressured to leave.
Episode 506 tells us what led Carol to end up in Grady Memorial on a gurney. "Consumed" follows Carol and Daryl as they track the vehicle that most probably abducted Beth, but it's also much more than that. I wish I had more time to digest what I just saw, but those are the breaks. It might have been titled 'Carol's Lament," but "consumed " works just as well because it deals with so much of the tremendous grief and sorrow she's suffering through. Of the torture she faced before the world changed at the hands of her husband, how she's changed into someone she felt proud of, but now? There's a couple of very powerful scenes between the two as they try to make sense of their lives now. Can they be given a clean slate after the horrible things they've done in and out of the prison and at Terminus later on?
Carol asks him if they really do get to have a fresh start now and Daryl says yes, because he's trying. She replies that she doesn't know if we get to save people anymore. Does she mean in the context of freeing Beth or saving people's souls? Daryl then asks her why she's here with him now looking for Beth, if she doesn't believe in it. She replies "because I'm trying." The act of trying to become a better person is paramount to this fresh start they are talking about and not giving up and even though they are holding on by a thread, they still are holding on to something.
Was she trying to be a better person when she killed Tyreese's girlfriend after she contacted that nasty virus in the prison, or was Carol acting out on another impulse completely?
The episode opens up with a montage of Carol being forced to leave by Rick to the song "Bad Blood," by Alison Mosshart and Eric Arjes. I remember being angry at him for making that decision on his own after he withdrew as leader and became glued to his garden, but because of his decision, she became alone and terrified.
Daryl and Carol follow a car from the hospital into Atlanta, but run out of gas so they ditch it and Carol leads them to find refuge in an office building. It holds significant value to Carol because she confides to Daryl that this was a shelter she stayed in with her daughter for a short time trying to get away from her abusive husband. As they try to get some sleep they hear a noise and we see what looks like the outline of a momma walker behind a door with her child walker beside her. She immediatley goes to kill them, but Daryl stops her, not letting her get her hands bloody on something as powerful as that because he knows the emotional toll it would take on her. He's the knight in white armor and his actions were incredibly beautiful. They return to a room to catch some sleep and she passes out from exhaustion, wakes up to see Daryl burning both bodies outside. She thanks him. Their relationship is so tight knit that it kind of transcends sex. The writers have never had them be together, but emotionally they are as entwined as humanly possible.
Carol has a flashback burying the bodies of Lizzie and Mika Samuel's after Lizzie killed her sister in a psychotic break, which forced Carol to do the same to her in "The Grove." It was a horrific moment in the series and for Carol, which has changed her again. She had become a teacher to a group of children at the prison on how to survive, including those two precious girls and to have to become Lizzie's executioner was abominable.
They enter another building and oddly find walkers trapped in sleeping bags and tents. Carol asks Daryl why he hadn't asked her what happened when she met up with Tyreese and the girls.
Yea, I know what happened, they aren't here.
It was worse than that.
The reason I said we get to start over is because we got to. The way it is.
She made a remark in the episode that he had changed from a boy into a man and you can see the evidence of his growth right in these few words and his earlier actions.
Guess what happens next? They get shanghaied by Noah, who steals their weapons and let's some walkers loose on them to cover his tracks. Carol has a pistol still on her and is about to shoot him when Daryl stops her. I believe Daryl knows intuitively what she had to do to the girls and so he stops her from killing another living person, (Noah) even though she denies wanting him dead. Starting anew shouldn't include killing a living person to begin with.
Carol flashes back on the two burning bodies back at the prison, one of them was Karen, Tyreese's girlfriend. She looks on at the fire bellowing upward, consuming the rest of her humanity in the process.
Later they see an abandoned van with the same symbols on it that the vehicle they followed had so they head straight for it. It's teetering off the edge of a twenty foot on ramp. They scope it out for clues and find that it's from the nearby hospital, but Walkers coming on both sides of the overpass have surrounded them. Since they lost their weapons to Noah, they have no choice but to sit in the front seats of the van and flip over off the ramp down below. It saves their lives, but hurts Carol's shoulder badly.
They make it to another building that is nearby the hospital, but then then they hear gun shots close by and it turns out that Noah has been following them. Now he's in a jam with a zombie trapped behind a door and a shelf. Daryl lashes out at him, knocking him over and trapping him under the shelf while the zombie is still stuck behind a door, but is getting loose. Carol wants to free him, but Daryl has had enough of him and turns his back on him.
Carol finally convinces Daryl to save Noah as the zombie is ready to ponce and he shoots it in the head with an arrow. After thanking them and apologizing, Noah is frightened because he knows the crazy hospital staff would've heard the shots by now and they need to get out of there. They ask him about a blonde haired girl and he tells them he knows Beth, but they can't save her now. Suddenly, they see a hospital car pass outside the window so they make a dash to get out of the building, but Carol gets hit by the car head on. Noah and Daryl were right behind her and Noah restrains Daryl from trying to rescue her since she's badly injured now and really needs hospital care immediately, but they can save her later.
After a few beats Daryl calms down enough to know that he's right.
* Do you think the hospital will be prepared for Rick and the gang when they come to save Carol and Beth?
* There's got to much more creepiness that we aren't privy to yet at Grady Memorial Hospital. What could it be?
(Please forgive all typos and errors and discuss in the comment section below)