One frustrating part of Walking Dead and many other shows with multiple characters separated (looking at you Lost), is that weeks can literally go by before we go back to a specific character storyline. Almost three weeks ago we saw Daryl and Carol chase after the car with the cross on it (that Daryl saw Beth taken from last season). This episode finally picks up that storyline as we spend the entire episode with Carol and Daryl as they venture into Atlanta to look for Beth.
The episode begins with a flashback, where we are filled in with what happened to Carol after Rick banished her murdering two flu-ridden people last season at the prison. She has been living on her own pretty close to the prison sleeping with her gun in her hand. She wakes up one morning and looks out the window only to see a cloud of smoke. When she drives by the prison, she sees the aftermath of The Governor’s assault on the prison from last season.
After the opening scene, we are brought back to the present with Carol and Daryl following the car that Daryl says captured Beth. As the “dynamic duo” continues to follow the car, they realize that they are going towards downtown Atlanta. This is problematic because Atlanta was a heavily populated city before the apocalypse, but is now a heavily populated city filled with Walkers. As they follow the car, Daryl notes that they are low on gas (finally they actually run out of gas in a world where gas is no longer being refined). As they continue to follow into the city the car they are following stops on the side o the road. The driver exits the car where the two of them discover that the person is in a police uniform, which means they could possibly be dealing with heavily armed police officers (which we know they will eventually). As the cop goes back into the car, Daryl tries to start the car, only for it to be completely out of gas. The two dispatch a few Walkers near them, but realize that they are about to be overrun. Carol then tells Daryl that she knows a place nearby that they can escape to until morning.
As they enter the building, we realize that this is an abused woman shelter, and Carol was once a patient there. At first Carol tells Daryl that she will take first watch, but eventually the two of them lay down on the same bed for a quiet chat. Before they can go in depth, they hear a noise coming from the other room. As they investigate, they realize that the noise is from a mother and her children, not Walkers locked in their rooms probably to escape abuse. Carol goes to put them out of their misery, but Daryl knows this is a soft subject for Carol, being a domestic abuse victim. He tells her she doesn’t have to do this. The next morning Carol wakes up and Daryl has already killed the Walker mom and child and is on the roof burning their bodies.
The next flashback is when Carol and Tyreese are digging graves for kids Lizzie and Mika last season.
As Daryl and Carol continue venturing through Atlanta, they distract walkers with fire and are able to escape a large confrontation. They go into an office building to get to a good vantage point, where the audience is shown they are being followed by someone. As they walk through building bridge, they come across walkers trapped in sleeping bags and sleeping tents. After dispatching with a few of them they squeeze through a chained door and go into a nearby corporate office that is relatively untouched by the apocalypse. There Carol tries to explain what happened to Lizzie and Mika, but Daryl is not really interested in the details. He knows they died, and that’s all he really wanted to hear. As they look out the window Daryl takes Carol’s gun and uses the scope to spot a van with the similar cross markings, which could be a clue to Beth. As they then go back through the chain linked door, Noah (who escaped two episodes ago thanks to Beth) who takes their weapons and leaves them to on their own without any weapons. Carol tries to shoot Noah with her spare gun, but Daryl stops her telling her “He was just a kid.” The two escape through the parking lot below the building where they both remark on the fact the they have changed. Daryl’s bag drops and a self-help child abuse book pops out of his bag.
The next flashback is when Carol is burning the two people from the prison she killed during the flu epidemic.
As the two of them reach the van, it is almost hanging off of a bridge. They enter the van to look for clues, where they find a clue pointing to Grady Memorial. The two are soon surrounded by Walkers. Because Noah has taken their weapons, they jump into the van and close the doors. With no other options, they go towards the front of the van, buckle the seatbelts and lean forward. The van takes a nose dive over the bridge and surprisingly lands on its wheels.
After the try and get out of the van, it’s clear that Carol is hurt from the crash. The two escape into another building to hide out. The two realize they are close to the hospital, and try to rest a little. Carol comments to Daryl that he has “grown up” as a result of the apocalypse. Carol talks about her experience before the apocalypse being an abused wife. The two then hear a door slam. As they go investigate, they see a walker pinned to the wall with Daryl arrow. They then hear a gunshot. As they investigate they find Noah fighting off a Walker. Daryl quickly rustles him to the ground and then crashes a bookcase on him. Noah then pleads with them, as a Walker is trying to come through the door to attack him and he is pinned down. Daryl refuses and then smokes a cigarette he took from Noah. Carol pleads with him to help Noah. The Walker bursts into the room and is shot with an arrow by Daryl last minute.
The next flashback is Carol cleaning off after she single-handedly took out the Terminus people and rescued Rick and Company. After she takes off the Walker soaked poncho, she cleans off her face and keeps on moving.
After freeing Noah, he then tells them they have to go as soon as possible, for the police officers probably hear the shots. Daryl then comes to the conclusion that Noah has been near the hospital. Daryl asks him about Beth, which Noah tells him that she helped him escape. Soon enough the three are being pursued by the hospital cops. As the three make it to the bottom floor they try and escape out the front door of the building, where Carol is hit by their car. As Daryl goes to help her, Noah holds him back telling him that she’ll be taken to the hospital and they will at least heal her. After they heal Carol, then they can go and get her and Beth. Noah warns Daryl that the hospital people have guns. “So do we," Daryl, responds. Daryl and Noah then escape in a truck they found out of Atlanta.
While this was a good standalone episode, this did not have a great deal of action or even move the story forward. The most interesting part of it is the back and forth that Daryl and Carol had. They both are the same type of person. They both are abused survivors who lost the ones they loved. Carol lost her daughter Sophia, and Daryl lost his brother Merle. Both have grown into stronger people as a result of the apocalypse. With so much in common and the two seem to care for each other: why haven’t they gotten together?
Finally someone runs out of gas! Finally a little realism on the show. They drive for miles and miles, and there are no longer any working gas stations for them to go to in order to fill up.
It was assumed that Noah was the hidden person in the bushes when Daryl gets back to the church. This episode pretty much confirms that for the audience. He will provide Rick and Company with intelligence on the Grady Memorial group, as well as let them know that he has family in Virginia, so he will be a welcome addition as they go towards DC. Remember they don’t know that Eugene is a fraud and will continue to go north toward DC, now Noah will help them along the way.
The purpose of the flashback was to show Carol’s sorrow while away from the core group or in isolation. However, some of the flashbacks did not feel necessary. Her cleaning up after the Terminus flight seemed unnecessary. The same goes for burying the children with Tyreese. Other scenes helped the audience see her pain, and show that she continues no matter what.
Why did Daryl and Carol completely change character in the middle of the episode? Daryl stops Carol from killing Noah after they take their weapons, yet later on is content with leaving him to be eaten by a Walker as Carol has to please for him to save Noah. It seems like a quick change of character for both of them.
This episode reminded the audience that there is an apocalypse going on. We are constantly being shown the human monsters of the show: The Governor, The Grady Memorial Group, The Terminus Group, etc. However this is a show about the undead as well. Going back to Atlanta was a strong reminder that society has collapsed due to the dead. Overlooking such a large metropolis in ruins was a great reminder of that.
Comics Vs Show:
Because the Grady Memorial arc did not happen in the comic book, this is all uncharted territory. Because none of this was in the comic, it allows the writers to not be predictable with the story.
Carol once again is unlike her comic book counterpart.
In the comic book her character had already had a nervous breakdown and committed “suicide by walker”
At this point on the show she has transformed into the female Daryl: a stone cold Walker-killing machine. So once again, why haven’t they gotten together?
Is Daryl Gay?
On the show he has been pretty asexual. He has softly flirted with Michonne, Carol, and Beth, but the audience has yet to see any intimacy on the show. It is rumored that comic character Aaron is the comic book’s version of Daryl. Aaron becomes Rick’s right hand man when they reach Alexandria, Virginia and does a lot of the grunt work when it comes to killing Walkers.
It also turns out that Aaron is gay:
If that’s the case, Daryl may actually be the first gay character to be introduced on the show. However the producers have made no confirmation or denial to these rumors.
Until Next Week!
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