Warning: Huge Walking Dead spoilers coming up, proceed at your own risk.
In keeping with the theme of the previous two episodes, we were treated to a Carol and Daryl extravaganza in this weeks episode of [The Walking Dead](series:201193), "Consumed."
We joined our two favorite action heroes on their journey to Atlanta to find out more about the cars with the white crosses. While the episode may not have had the action packed settings that we're accustomed to seeing Carol and Daryl in, it did reveal a lot about them both as characters, as well as finally tying in just how Carol ended up being wheeled into Grady Memorial Hospital.
Check out some finer details you may have missed in "Consumed:"
1. The return of child zombies
In "Consumed" we saw the the return of the child walker, and it was as jarring as ever. Despite not actually seeing the child walker's face (only the shadow, followed by a shrouded body) the effect was pretty dramatic. Having the walker appear in the temporary housing center really hit home for Carol, and served as a brilliant way to show how profoundly the deaths of the three children closest to her (Sophia, Mika and Lizzie), had affected her.
Child walkers are not an unfamiliar sight on the show (though they have been absent since Penny's death back in Season 3), but The Walking Dead has resisted using them for the most part, except when they can be used for total dramatic effect, which they totally nailed in "Consumed."
2. There were TV show references galore!
There were some great references to a couple of great TV shows in this episode. Firstly a reference to Lost, when Daryl and Carol set off to investigate the white van teetering on the end of the bridge. They climbed in the van to look for clues but were then forced to tip the van over the edge of the bridge to escape a small hoard of walkers. On the dashboard of the van was a statue of Mary, much like the ones used to smuggle heroin in the show Lost. Like this episode , the statues in Lost were in a vehicle (a plane) that was tipped over, though not off a bridge, but a cliff.
The second reference was to The X-Files. When Daryl and Carol reencounter Noah, Daryl swiftly traps him under a bookcase, and he then sparks up a cigarette as he begs for them to help him. The brand Daryl smokes, Morley's, is the same brand famously chain-smoked by the big baddie in The X-Files, The Cigarette-Smoking Man.
3. There were some sinister call backs
There were a couple of scenes in "Consumed," that were a very nice tip of the Tennessee top hat to the very first episode of the whole show.
First we were treated to a recreation of one of the most dramatic shots of the whole series, when sheriff Rick first rode into Atlanta. In "Consumed" the highway looked a little worse for wear after it was bombed, though it is undeniably a nice tribute to the pilot episode. The dark and gloomy cover of night in this shot stands in stark contrast to the positive, yellow pall that was cast over Atlanta when Rick arrived in the first episode. It's also worth a mention that though in both shots the people are arriving in Atlanta to look for loved ones (Rick for his family, Daryl and Carol for Beth), the city looked a lot more inviting four seasons ago, whereas now it looks extremely foreboding.
The second nod was to the tank Rick was trapped in, in episode 1. Though the tank may not be the exact same one that Rick was trapped in (I'm sure there was more than one tank in Atlanta after the outbreak), it is most certainly a direct reference to that moment. Lucky for us, Carol and Daryl didn't get themselves in a situation where they needed to barricade themselves inside.
EDIT: Eagle eyed viewer and commenter, Kenneth IV Paulsen has also just pointed out another episode 1 callback: When Carol and Daryl get out of the crashed white van they walk past a walker on the ground who grabs at them both. The camera lingers on the walker and you can see that it's missing its entire lower body- a definite reference to the infamous bicycle lady walker Rick comes across and later puts down in the first episode.
4. Daryl is trying to move on from his past
Early in the episode we learned that Carol had fled to a shelter with Sophia at some point in their past, trying to escape abuse. When the two are looking for a place to stay in the temporary housing, we briefly see a copy of 'Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse' lying on a table. Later in the episode the book falls out of Daryl's bag when Carol picks it up.
This is probably the first moment we've seen Daryl really try to make a move past his childhood. We know that as a kid, Daryl and Merle's mother died and later Merle left him to be raised by their abusive father. His childhood has obviously profoundly affected his entire life, though now it looks like he's trying to start healing the wounds of his past.
5. The fire motif was hugely significant
Throughout the series Daryl and Carol have continually been surrounded by fire: we know Daryl's mother died in a fire, the CDC exploded in season 1, the farm, the prison, Beth and Daryl's cabin all burned, and lastly Terminus also went up in flames.
During their stay at the temporary housing center, Carol spoke to Daryl about her past and mentioned the person who she was with, Ed, "got burned away" and she became happier. Carol was surrounded by smoke a lot: smoke from the prison, and the plume of smoke from the still burning Terminus. Carol has obviously grown a lot through the series and like a phoenix, has rising from the ashes to become this new, stronger, happier person.
On the other hand, Daryl isn't quite done shedding his past, though we see him trying to move on throughout the episode, especially when he takes the copy of 'Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse.' Despite this, he still has a long way to go, and in contrast with Carol being surrounded by smoke, Daryl was surrounded by flames; the notebook and dumpster he sets on fire to ditract the walkers, the cigarette lighter he uses, and he was also the one to make the funeral pyre to burn the body of the child walker. Even though Daryl has a while to go before he can get "burned away" like Carol, he did note, quite poignantly "we ain't ashes."