Don’t even act like that’s not funny.
Last week, Rick found out from Carol that she’s the one who killed Karen and David. Now what? Well, a lot, actually. After a lot of careful evaluating, of course. (And a silent observation of Rick’s Three Questions, which is awesome. And helped me understand why the ending had to be the way it was.) Guys, I have a LOT to say about this episode, so strap in.
Rick, looking pretty worn down – a red herring to make us think he’s contracted the Eye Bleeds? – wraps his busted hand and thinks on thangs. (And stuff.) He then flashes back to when Karen and David were moved into isolation as he fills a gas tank. (Not gonna lie, I totally thought they were going to reveal that he was the one who set Karen and David on fire.)
Carol has her knuckle-knife prominently displayed when Lizzie comes by (this is pre-infection. The timeline was wonky here, probably to throw us off). Lizzie proves that her sister Mika knew what she was about when she called Lizzie “so stupid.” Lizzie thinks it’s neato-cool that people come back as something, because then it’s like you live on forever. You’re like an angel, but more bitey and drippy. [pops gum, twirls hair]
Carol is probably wondering what the hell she got herself into with this white girl, and starts explaining how she can’t be afraid to kill. (Cut to Rick watching her soothe Karen before stabbing her in the back of the head. Damn.) You have to buck up, little soldier, and do the hard things. (Cut to Rick seeing someone dragging a bloody body out of the prison. Presumably this is also Carol. Question one: how many Walkers have you killed? The answer here is none.)
Lizzie tries to wrap her head around this lesson, and says, “Okay, Mom. I mean, Ma’am.” Uh, Carol is not okay with being called Mom and gets really upset with her.
“Don’t. Don’t do that again.” Wow, Carol, her dad just died and you’ve been Knife Whisperer, so give the kid a break. She’s afraid, okay?
Well, that’s not okay. What Lizzie needs to do is to fight being afraid. “You fight. Fight it. And then one day…you change.”
Guys, if you’ve watched the episode through, then this scene just told you everything about Carol. This is not the Carol who cringed while washing Ed’s dirty shorts in the quarry’s lake. (Note: I like this Carol. I am not even going to get into the anger the Caryl shippers must be feeling, okay?) This is a shell who happens to look like Carol. Bear with me.
Out on the road, Tyreese zones out while washing his clothes in the river as Daryl and Michonne try and figure out where they are.
Protip: To find True North in the Northern Hemisphere with a working watch, first, undo Daylight Savings on your watch. (Go back an hour in summer, up an hour in winter. Unless it’s been a year in the apocalypse and you haven’t bothered with it in the first place.) Turn so the hour hand is pointing in the direction of the sun. Half the distance between the hour and 12 on your watch face, and that’s Due South. The opposite on your watch is True North. Is it 4PM? The trajectory from the 8 is True North, 2 pointing Due South. You’re welcome. (The opposite would be true for Southern Hemisphere folk: 2 is North, 8 is South.)
Bob tries to reach Tyreese through his anger and grief, but Tyreese is pretty happy right now feeling dead inside, so save your “it helps to keep moving” bullshit, Bob. Tyreese isn’t a dummy and your psuedo-therapy helpfulness …isn’t.
So remember how Rick has those three questions? The first: how many Walkers have you killed. In this case with Carol, they weren’t Walkers, so the answer is none. The second question is how many humans, and the answer is obviously two. The rest of the episode is going to be Carol’s answer for the third question: why? She tells Rick as they head out on a run that it was to save everyone. She saw them as a threat and was trying to save lives.
Rick quietly says, “Maybe.”
Ty’s group find a dilapidated gas station – they need to get some wheels and keep moving. Daryl happens to find a bit of jasper on the ground and says that it will adorn someone’s gravesite. He knows everyone in the prison, it seems, knows them knows them. He takes the rock with him. And our hearts. (More on the similarities and differences between Carol and Daryl at the end.)
Meanwhile, Rick and Carol pull up to a ‘burb with the hopes of finding medications in case something happens to the other group. There’s a car with graffiti written into the dust. People there? A sign for another group? Then they leave the door open, after seeing keys inside. It’s clearly new, and they’ve just left a clear indicator to any other Raiders that they’re on the scene, and that was piss-poor thinking, Sheriff.
Daryl finds a car he can hot wire, except for the battery being dead. Well, there’s an auto shop at the gas station, so maybe there’s still one on the shelf that works. There’s a garage that’s full-up with Walkers, though, so best keep looking. They have to whack a path through the kudzu to get into the adjoining building, and Ty has gone a little nutso, getting out his anger and aggression on some poor, defenseless kudzu (Ha! Kudzu is the WORST INVASIVE SPECIES, omg. However…
Protip: it’s edible, is excellent forage for livestock, and you can use the vines to make baskets, etc. Also: in traditional Eastern Medicine, it’s found to be useful to treat alcoholism and hangovers. I’m just mentioning that, because wow, does that tie in nicely with ol’ Army Medic Bob’s story.).
Where was I? Right, Ty going bananas on the plants. And hey there, here come some Walkers pouring out of the shrubbery. Michonne beheads two, the others fight off a few as well, and Ty pulls one out and on top of himself. NOT HOW WE DO THINGS, TY. Daryl pulls it free and Bob shoots it. And now everyone is aware of Ty’s death wish. Should make the rest of the trip a lot of fun.
Rick and Carol move through the houses looking for supplies. (I noted that a lot of that should be expired by now, and was happy to see them point that out. Still, they would still be efficacious.) A Walker comes down the stairs, surprising them. Carol does nothing (more on this!) and Rick gets it with a look at her. They hear more sounds upstairs, but it turns out to be two scared kids with a basket of fruit they’re willing to share. Friend or foe?
We learn that the two kids are Sam and Ana, Ana has a compass tattooed on her ankle, and they were with a larger group, but now it’s just them and they basically have no idea what they’re doing. They did find some fruit and are willing to share, though? Sam has a dislocated shoulder that Carol cleverly fixes. The holding a counterweight trick was really smart, and something I’ve never seem them do on TV. These two kids are grateful and a pair of sweet idjits. They may not have survival skills, but they do have love! Aww, they won’t last. And Rick starts asking them the Three Questions with a weary face.
Daryl checks the Bait-n-Sip for a battery, finds one with dry cells.
Protip: Check your battery! A typical 12V car battery will have two posts, one positive, one negative, and possibly a long plastic cap between the two. Pry that up and you’ll see 3 holes. See liquid in there? No? It’s dry. You have to put distilled, filtered water down in there, give it a jump to recharge, and then it’s good to go. Which is exactly what Daryl does.
Michonne pulls Ty aside to have a little conversation about anger making you do stupid things. And stupid gets you killed. And she’s not angry anymore, not like Ty believes. She knows now that the trail to the Governor has gone cold. Sure, she’d kill him given the chance, because that’s what right – this is important to know how she views rightful execution. But her anger is gone. (And she doesn’t know why. Best not to examine those feelings of safety and comfort that the group at the prison provides too closely, because Michonne doesn’t do emotions anymore.)
Daryl notes inside the Bait-n-Sip that the survivors did themselves in Jim Jones-style with some antifreeze. Bunch of dummies. It’s best to ride it out to the end, in his opinion – DING DING, NOTE THIS – which Bob doesn’t agree with. Hmm, Bob. Really? They find a trapped Walker and Daryl leaves it. Bob does the smart thing and ends it with the business end of the Bathroom Key, lol. Gah, can you imagine how filthy that thing was?
The two sweet kids ask Rick if they passed his test. With a heavy sigh that bodes no good, Rick says they’re at a prison, but there’s a flu (NO, IT ISN’T. OR STOP GOING FOR ANTIBIOTICS. Virus ? Bacteria, which is for what you use ANTI-bacteria/biotics.). At the prison, people are dying.Kidsare dying, so take that into consideration, Sam and Ana. They ask Carol if her kids got it, and she pffts! and scoffs, and is all, “As if!” which continues to answer the “Why?” question Rick is secretly asking her.
Rick agrees to let them continue helping them search – Carol knows they’ll be extra hands and shorten the trip, but Rick doesn’t look like he believes that – and with a sigh, hands over two guns. My first thought was that this was stupid, those kids are playing with them, and they’re going to be killed. I’m happy that I was wrong about that.
Back on the road, we learn Bob’s story. He was found walking and brought to the prison. He’d been with two different groups before, and was the sole survivor each time. Oh, so he’s not a Red Shirt, he’s a Red Shirt Generator. Got it. He started drinking to sleep, to get the images out of his head. And he knows that picking up and slamming down that wine bottle was what brought those Walkers onto them and led to Zack’s death. Daryl says, “Nah,” but I say, “Uh, yeah.” Daryl is all about being a good leader, but sneaky-style. He doesn’t tell folks what to do, he just feeds them enough positive reinforcement so that they’ll wantto do the right thing. …have I mentioned that I love Daryl Dixon yet?
The car works (see previous question posed if you’re still unsure on my Daryl-feels) and the push on.
While digging through mostly expired medications (they’ll still take them, because that stuff still is effective for up to five years past expiration date but do not take penicillin/etc willy nilly, omg, just DO NOT) Rick asks Carol if taking the kids back with them is the right thing to do – not the humane thing, omg, Rick you are showing your hand and I like it, but the right thing.
Rick: [not buying it – not buying her, her casual attitude, nada y pues nada]
Carol: So are we ever going to address the smoking elephant in the room? Because look. I did what I thought needed to be done and just handled up on mah bidness. You can be a farmer, Rick. You just can’t only be a farmer. Sometimes you gotta kill and smoke out some potential Walkers, yo.
Rick: Uh huh. Say, I never murdered two of our own.
Carol: Nope. Just the one.
Oh you did NOT pull the Shane card! Shane was not right in the head and Shane was bad news with a capital Merle and Gov. I would take Merle Dixon over Shane, if you compared them both in their last week.
Rick: He was going to kill me.
Carol: So were they.
Here’s the difference: when someone is a Walker, they aren’t themselves. They have no humanity left. When someone is a human, I think they have the right to die as they see fit, if they’re not actively a danger to others. Karen and David were not actively a danger to others. They were isolated and locked away.
Dr. S, with his switchblade of righteousness to the brain for patients who were goners, only took that final anti-Walker step when Doc Hershel indicated they had just died. I did get the impression from Carol, however, that she wasn’t happy that she had to do it, but that she felt she needed to do it. That’s important to me, because I don’t want to dislike Carol. And I don’t. And Rick isn’t finished collecting answers to his Third Question.
Ty’s group moves through the Veterinarian Hospital quietly, because they are freaking warriors. Bob finds a wee nest with books (Enter A New Dawn and Fear: Pathology) and something blue that I immediately thought was an explosive device and began searching for the trip wire. He shoves something in his bag and they push on.
Carol and Rick find some tomatoes, and if ever we needed proof that Andrew Lincoln is not from the south, it’s that he doesn’t take those green tomatoes. Son, you slice them up thick, salt and pepper them, roll ’em in corn meal and fry them babies up! Mmm. While they pick, Rick praises her for the shoulder thing. Well, that was a trick she learned the third time Ed dislocated her shoulder, so. Yeah. Thanks. I love this reminder of her past, and it’s important, because I think this is the first time I’ve realized that she’s just swapped out her old abusive life for a new abusive one. More on this in a bit.
Rick brings up the fact that Carol won’t ever say “her” name. “Who, Sophia? Sophia Sophia Sophia, and she’s dead, eh. That’s someone else’s slideshow.”
Wow. Rick then talks about how Lori would make pancakes on Sunday, and how she was a terrible cook. But she made them, because she wanted them to be a family that did that: had pancakes on Sunday. The point wasn’t that they were good, it was that she was striving for something she felt was good – that wholesome family life. That was what was important, the trying to do better. Carol is still in survival mode, I realized. Not that it’s a problem, they need to survive. But they also need to maintain their humanity. (In Rick’s eyes, that is. Certainly Lori felt this way. I think Rick was just like Carol, and his eight months as a farmer post-Governor has made him see that they have to evolve from just surviving, like Lori was trying to get them all to do. And I do believe his Third Question has been satisfied at this point.)
They find the basket of fruit the girl Ana had been carrying, some blood, and then…her leg. Beyond that, she’s being eaten by two Walkers. Carol quietly says, “Come on. We should get back.” Rick looks sad and resigned. And I’m wondering why the hell they don’t take out those two biters, put a bullet in Ana’s head, and then get the gun back. Jeez, they went through a lot with Morgan to get those guns!
Bob and Michonne find loads of meds, and Michonne follows instructions to put everything in her bag. Ty and Daryl found everything on their list, which is awesome, and it’s time to roll out and get back. They smartly move through on tip toes, Daryl on point, when they stumble into Walkers. They bolt, but get forced off their return path by more Walkers – these with the Eye Bleeds. Bob tries to jam cages up against the door to keep them from coming in (fail) when a Walker gets at Ty and he’s all, “STOP. HAMMER TIME.”
They have two choices: go through the Walkers with the Eye Bleeds and possibly risk infection from the blood spray, or take their chance with the Walkers on the stairs who may not have the Eye Bleeds. They choose the stairs.
Rick and Carol hole up in a house, quietly waiting to see if the boy, Sam, made it. Carol pragmatically says he might be fine, but it doesn’t matter. We have to go. “Sorry about the watch.”
Rick is all, “Dis bitch?” Something to note: I’ve seen how people in fandom bitched at Rick and said that Sophia was his fault because he knew they couldn’t stop and look for her back in Season 2. He knew he had to think of everyone’s safety and keep moving because of that herd. Which is bullshit, he wasn’t responsible for Sophia then, she took off in fear. And what is Carol doing right here? Exactly what Rick did – keeping them moving for the safety of the others. If that’s wrong, then Rick was wrong, and I don’t think either of them is wrong in either of these situations. They need to go.
Daryl’s group gets pinned in at a stairwell with Walkers on both sides coming at them. They break a window, jump across to an adjoining ledge, and Bob falls, almost dropping his bag over the side. But all three have bags of meds, it’s okay to let it go. It’ll suck, but… Bob won’t drop it, and Walkers swarm below, grabbing it and almost tugging him off the ledge. Finally he wrenches the bag out of their grip, and the rest are all, “This guy is dedicated to medicine! Wait a minute…”
Daryl opens the bag and see a bottle of whiskey. (The blue label. It was a trip wire for an explosion, just metaphorically.) You dirty liar! After all the building up Daryl did, you lie to him like this? Daryl takes the gun from Bob and gets in his face. He’ll go back to the prison, administer meds, and then Daryl is going to administer a beat down.
“You should have kept walking.” Ouch.
Rick and Carol wait by the car until Carol decides it’s long enough. Time to go. Rick agrees and locks Carol out of the car.
Rick: They might have lived. It wasn’t your decision to make. Ty will kill you – he almost killed me just for not doing enough. If everyone finds out…
Carol: No one has to know. (WRONG. Wrong thing to say.) I thought you were done making decisions?
Rick: I’m making this decision for me. If everyone dies and it’s just us, Carl and Judith… I can’t have you there.
Carol: I stepped up. I had to do something.
Rick: No you didn’t.
So…Rick is kicking her out?? He explains that she won’t be taking the girls, they’ll be looked after. And Carol is strong, he says. She’ll survive.
How many times do you think Rick – in his former life – had to remove kids from abusive homes? I think he’s drawing on those experiences here, honestly. Those girls aren’t loved by Carol, she’s giving them the basics: shelter, food, water. And knife training. And not much else. (No nurturing.)
Daryl is looking at his bit of jasper. He knows everyone. He cares about everyone. He doesn’t show it in mushy ways, but in ways like this: knowing that putting that rock on someone’s grave will make another person feel appreciated, and like their loved one was not forgotten. So when people let him down like Bob did…
Michonne cuts into his thoughts saying that she knows he was right about letting the Gov go. “I don’t need to go out no more.”
Carol hands Rick her watch (no! How will you know where you’re going?), saying it was a gift from Ed. “I should have given it away a long time ago.” She’s clearly talking about more than the watch – it’s everything to do with her former life. Being a mouse, being beaten, making excuses, doing things she wasn’t proud of, but doing it because she had to survive, and anything is acceptable in that situation. But I think she’s not left that. She should have given that away a long time ago, and I think she’s finally acknowledging here that she hasn’t. Ed was replaced by Walkers, and she can’t see past that. She’s still putting on foundation to cover a black eye. She’s still wearing long sleeves in summer to cover bruises.
As a woman who was in an abusive marriage, let me say this all from experience. She wanted people to ask her about those long sleeves. She just couldn’t bring it up herself. She wanted Rick to ask her about Karen and David, she just couldn’t bring it up herself. And she was always going to have an excuse for why that was okay, just like she always had an excuse for Ed. But when she showed how indifferent to Sophia she’s become, how indifferent to Lizzie and Mika she was (Don’t call me Mom. None of my kids are sick, thank god. …Um, Lizzie is in the infirmary, Carol.), that shows Rick how emotionless she is and will be for some time.
She’s letting herself die inside, and he can’t have that at the prison where they’re trying to do more than just survive. They have to stop putting foundation on black eyes. They have to stop the black eyes from happening.
She gets in the car from earlier and drives off. He watches her go before climbing in his own vehicle to head back to the prison. The song “Serpents” by Sharon Van Etten begins playing (with a few changes from the original to make it fit the episode.)
“It was a close call. Sitting in the back of the room with a bowl I had thrown at you. And you didn’t know. Looking at my black eye, I feel safe at times. Certain emblems tell me it’s time. Serpents in my mind, looking for your crimes. Everything changes. I don’t want life. Everything changes.”
Carol’s a potential snake in the grass (metaphorically speaking. I don’t think Carol is evil, please understand. I just think she can’t be trusted in the way Rick needs to trust her).
I mean, there is a parable in Aesop’s Fables called “The Farmer and The Viper,” for heaven’s sake, summed up perfectly in Natural Born Killers: A woman finds a half-frozen snake and holds it to her breast for warm. It wakes and bites her. “Why did you do this to me?” The snake says, “Look, bitch. You knew I was a snake.” (I love that movie, sorry.)
Carol said herself that you have to change, you have to stop being afraid. But do you want to live with someone who can’t feel fear? I do think that’s dangerous. (I also think that with some therapeutic work Carol will be fine. She’s just still in that abusive mindset. She’s still a snake: it’s in her nature to survive.) Carol said that Ed could be charming in his way, and it wasn’t bad. She’s willing to put up with a lot of bad to just get by. She’s not fighting, just dealing.
Last season Rick said to everyone, “We can stay and fight, or we can go.” Carol stopped fighting right here. Hell, she didn’t fight Rick on this decision. Instead, she left.
Daryl had a sort of similar abusive background, let’s not forget. It’s what helped their friendship grow. But instead of seeing everything as half-empty, Daryl continues to try. He continues to connect with people, to care. He leads, he doesn’t just act. He wants what’s best for the group.
Carol acted alone, and worse (to Daryl’s thinking, is my thought), she lied. She lied to Tyreese, she watched Tyreese get all up in Daryl’s grill, watched him hit Rick, watched Rick beat him. And kept that lie. She tried to make Carl lie to his dad. If she came back and Rick told everyone – which he would – then either Tyreese would kill her, dividing the group horribly and leaving her, you know, dead, or it would divide the group irreversibly. I think Hershel would side with her, leaving them down a doctor. I think Maggie and Glenn would be torn with how to think. I actually think Carl would support her, not Rick. And Daryl would choose Rick and feel sick about it. (And I don’t think Michonne would support her, because they hadn’t turned.)
So what are your thoughts here? GIVE THEM ALL TO ME, nom nom! (And will she be back? I think so. I hope so!!)
And a quick reminder to anyone new (which, hello!): we are SPOILER FREE here. Feel free to talk about anything leading up to this episode, but nothing from the graphic novels or future eps, please and thank you! Speaking of Future Eps, the next one is RIGHT HERE.