If Walking Dead fans thought Carol (Melissa McBride) was going a little soft in the last episode, showing some remorse for her ever-growing list of kills, guess again. The woman who single-handedly MacGyver-ed everybody out of Terminus is the toughest survivor on the show, even with remorse making her a little shaky.
In case you didn’t catch that “recap” part of the headline, the rest of this article is loaded with spoilers summing up The Walking Dead episode “The Same Boat.”
A lot of stuff happened in this episode of The Walking Dead, but let’s face it, Carol stole the show again. Not only by being the toughest person in the group, male or female, but her mad skills at playing possum. No one can play weak and vulnerable like Carol. (Remember that coy look Carol gave when she handed over her assault rifle when the group first entered Alexandria, as if to say, I didn’t really want that big old ugly thing anyway? Yeah, that was Oscar-worthy.)
Then, Carol mastered the art of wearing khaki slacks and soccer mom sweaters, while baking casseroles and cookies to blend into the post-apocalypse Utopia of Alexandria. Tonight on The Walking Dead, she played possum with Negan’s people so good even Maggie wasn’t sure whether she was faking it or not. Actually, Walking Dead fans weren’t so sure, either.
First, Carol worked herself up into a hyperventilation episode after she and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) were taken back to the Saviors’ safe house, so they would remove her gag. Then she started working this whole “Oh, I’m so weak, let me cling to my rosary and please don’t kill me” shtick. The Saviors may have bought it, but many Walking Dead fans likely thought it was all an act, at least at first. Negan gang meanie Molls, aka Smoking Woman, taunted Carol, oblivious to the force of nature lying at her feet.
“You need to take some yoga breaths and calm your ass down.”
Most of this episode focused on the women in the two different groups, going into the back story of Paula (Alicia Witt) the leader of Negan’s band holding Carol and Maggie hostage. In many ways, Paula’s story paralleled Carol’s, having spent the pre-apocalypse world as victims trapped in miserable lives, then finding their power and strength after the zombie apocalypse.
There was also a sort of bonding moment between Maggie and another captor over Maggie’s pregnancy, which Carol revealed to them in one of her pitiful pleas begging them not to hurt “the baby.” That was a risky move that could have backfired, if Negan’s gang had decided to use that as leverage in the hostage negotiation. That revelation led this Walking Dead episode into a whole discussion about the perils of pregnancy and childbirth in this new world, and indeed whether it was a world worth bringing children into, as Maggie and Glenn (Steven Yeun) themselves discussed. But Paula didn’t think one should be thinking about babies in a world where every day is a fight for survival.
“Bite-size snacks for the dead. The point is to stay standing.”
And Carol and Maggie stayed standing, indeed, taking out the entire group that took them hostage, plus a couple of backups that arrived to give them reinforcements. Those last couple of Saviors were dispatched in a particularly gruesome way by Carol, who threw a lit cigarette in a room filled with gasoline as she slammed the door behind them, burning them alive.
Yet what struck Walking Dead fans was the fine line between Carol acting weak and possibly still having serious regrets about the fierce and violent path she’s chosen. She hesitated on a couple of kills and tried to get Paula to run instead of having to kill her, to no avail. In the post-episode wrap up, Talking Dead, Melissa McBride was a guest along with Witt and confirmed that the fine line between acting weak and feeling weak in Carol was intentional.
Maggie, on the other hand, showed a far more brutal side Walking Dead fans hadn’t seen before, insisting that they had to kill their captors when Carol simply wanted to leave without confrontation. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones?
In the end, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) killed the last survivor of Negan’s compound with a gunshot to the head after a reunion between Maggie and Glenn, which also found Daryl (Norman Reedus) comforting a shaken Carol.
Uh-oh, here we go again — the Carol and Daryl shippers will be out in full force. But you can’t blame them. Alexandria boyfriend aside, Daryl and Carol were meant to be.
Check out the preview video of next week’s episode, and yes, Carol and Daryl spend some quality time together in it.
[Photo by Gene Page/AMC]