Previously: CAROL DEALT WITH COUGHS BY BURNINATION. <3 If you watched this episode and didn’t delight in these two grizzled, self-made heroes, then you might be broken inside. This season continues to be amazing.
Fun stuff to put in your mind before we get into it: biblical references were also in this particular ep, but not in the way we’re used to finding them. A reoccurring theme in the Bible is “the refiner’s fire” and how you’re tested and made stronger. Specifically mentioned is silver, which goes through refining fire six times to be coin, and an additional time to be turned into, say a sword or dagger. A weapon. I think you see where I’m going here. Also, this is fun:
Psalm 66:10-12: For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
HEY ALL OF THAT HAPPENED IN THIS EPISODE.
We open on Carol pulling away from Rick way back when she was kicked out early in last season. She’s stone-faced until she’s out in the middle of nowhere, sobbing. [Song playing: Bad Blood.] A Walker, dumb and hungry, slams against the window until she screams at it to go away, then oh, right! Remembers that she can drive off. As she pulls up to a relatively intact building (one she seems familiar with), the song continues on with portents of a woman not ‘making it out tonight.’ Uh oh.
She checks it for Walkers, settles in, and after blowing out a makeshift light from a birthday candle [Fire with Carol: ONE] finally lets herself sleep with a gun in her hand.
Once again, the music is on point: “Don’t trust a word I say, I’m not who I thought I was anyway.”
The next day (or at some point later) she can see the prison burning, and races out in her car to help. She pulls up to see it burning [FWC: TWO] and destroyed, her group nowhere to be found. I love that we’re getting this flashback. Didn’t we all want to know what she’d been up to?!
NOW: she and Daryl are where we left them, driving after the white cross car. He’s talking about how strong Beth is as the car in front knocks over a Walker, then they drive over it, smushing its head. [“You let men ride over our heads.”] Daryl notes that Rick doesn’t know where they are,the tank is low, they got a half a pack of cigarettes, it’s night time, and they’re wearing sunglasses. HIT IT. They’re on a mission from God.
They keep tailing the white cross car to see where it’s headed. And then, Daryl promises, they’ll get Beth back.
PROTIP: when tailing a car, it’s important to have a Chewbacca taking note of where you’re going. (Carol is acting perfectly as the Chewbacca/navigational controls, I’m happy to report.)
They follow along into the destroyed city of Atlanta, not quite getting to where we know they’re going, the Hospital. We can hear Walkers on every street. The city is seriously overrun. The car in front stops; one cop gets out, walks where we can’t see and our duo is on guard. They see a cop drop something, dragging what looks like a leg. And now it looks like the cop has seen them in the car where a Walker is pounding. But nope, he’s just eyeing the Walker. The cop drives on. And now Carol & Daryl’s car is out of gas. Great. And Walkers are coming. More and more. Super great.
The cops are dragging out warm bodies to lure the Walkers that plague the hospital, don’t you think? But they weren’t close to the hospital… I need a map.
With their car out of commission, they head out on foot; Daryl cuts their way into an office/apartment building as Carol watches his six. Mostly she’s watching the dark, shadowy streets of Atlanta come to life with more and more Walkers. It’s actually terrifying, long, jerky shadows growing closer and closer as the sounds of death escalates. That was an awesome moment.
Inside they find keys on a dead body, allowing them to go deeper into a more secure place. It’s where Carol went after Rick kicked her out. They have bunk beds. Nice. Hey, now! I bet those Carol/Daryl shippers are happy with that!
Carol: You said we get to start over. Did you?
Daryl: I’m trying.
Me: You ARE, bae!
Daryl: Why don’t you say what’s really on your mind?
Carol: …I don’t think we get to save people anymore.
Daryl: Then why are you here?
Carol: …I’m trying. (NICE. I’m a huge fan of bookends in conversations like this.)
Making shippers’ hearts flutter everywhere, she flops next to him on his pink-blanket bunk bed, answering his question about whether she would have run off if Daryl hadn’t shown up: Maybe.
They hear banging, load up, and go looking. It’s a Walker at a glass front door. And a Walker kid. EEESH.
Carol moves to put them down when Daryl tells her “You don’t have to. You don’t.”
THERE WERE NO FLOWERS, CAROL, YOU’RE OKAY. NO ONE COUGHED.
She wakes up the next day, sees a fire burning. It’s Daryl dragging those two bodies to a rooftop fire, incinerating them [Daryl With Fire: ONE]. She thanks him for doing it, from saving her from having to kill another child, Walker though it may be. OKAY SO IT WASN’T BETH LIKE LAST WEEK’S TEASER HAD US THINKING. WHEW.
Flashback to Carol digging graves for Mika and Lizzie. Carol’s had to do a lot of ugly things, things she’s had to do, true, but that doesn’t take away from their ugliness, you know?
Now: She’s shoving a copy of Tom Sawyer—one Hershel gave to Lizzie—into her backpack. THERE ARE FRAMED PRINTS OF YELLOW FLOWERS RIGHT THERE, OH MY GOD. Nice. She and Daryl make plans to scope out the city, see if they can figure out from a bird’s eye view where the White Cross Cars are, get in, get Beth, and get out. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
The shots of Atlanta, wrecked and deserted, are amazing. They make their way around the city center, able to do so because Daryl lights up a legal pad and gets the Walkers’ attention, freeing them up to get to a bridge. [DWF: TWO]
Side note, I love that Daryl always reclaims his bolts when he has to fire his crossbow. Someone in the parking garage is watching them. SHIT.
But in a scene that I found hilarious, we find on the walkway connecting the buildings a bunch of campers trapped in their mummy bags, OMG. It’s funny because those really are hard to get out of. And man, those must be some North Face bags, because they still haven’t torn? Damn! They start dispatching the ones on the floor, leaving the hungry trapped-and-zipped-in-the-tent Walkers, and I’m sorry but it’s so freaking funny that they’re trapped in a cloth tent. Anyone who has had to hit the head at 2 AM knows how hard it can be to get out of a tent with cold fingers.
There’s a barricaded door requiring them to drop their gear and shimmy through, and we see again that someone is watching them. Gah! Another door leads them into a high dollar house. WATER. THERE IS AN OZARKA WATER DISPENSER RIGHT THERE.
Protip: Always stop and drink fresh water when available. Load your canteens/plastic water bottles. DO IT RIGHT THEN. Because who knows what could happen? You could be driven out! That is pure, fresh water there. GET IT.
They look out on the city; Carol wonders how they got there.
Daryl: Uh. That car you hotwired?
Carol: No, I meant metaphorically. Also, don’t you love me enough to want to know all of what I was up to while we were separated?
Daryl: Don’t need to. You’re here with me now.
Audience: AWWWWW! NOW KISS.
Carol: I would have asked you about Merle…
Daryl: The reason I said we get to start over is because we gotta.
And who knows that better than Daryl, brother of Merle, Dixon? And of course she knows a few things about it, too.
He sees something, gets his scope and spies a van with white crosses on the back windows. Oho! It’s hanging off a bridge, so it’s out of commission. Carol notes they should fill up their canteens. WHEW. THANK YOU, CAROL.
They comment on an avant garde painting. Daryl thinks it’s ridiculous, Carol says she happens to like paintings that look like a dog wiped their butts off on it, okay? “You don’t know me.”
Daryl: You keep telling yourself that.
It’s the Apocalypse version of pig-tail pulling, I swear. They are so cute, and I’m not really a shipper for anyone on this show. But I ship these two with happiness, so.
They go back the way they came, shimmying through the door without their gear, and FREAKING NOAH gets the drop on them. He’s got Carol’s high-powered rifle and wants Daryl’s crossbow because he’s trying to survive, and it seems pretty damn impossible to survive without one.
Daryl’s pissed, hands it over, and then grimaces when Noah thanks them politely before slicing open the tents and releasing the camper Walker hounds. Dude. It was bad enough, okay? Noah takes off, Daryl stabs the undead campers’ brains, and Carol pulls her hidden handgun up and almost shoots Noah before Daryl knocks her hands down. COME ON. STARTING OVER, REMEMBER?
Also: please note that Carol has brass knuckles hanging off her belt. If her small guns DMR drops, she can always rely on Melee. That’s a planner, right there. (And you know she’s got an additional hunting knife in her bra or something.)
They give chase, but Noah shakes them. Carol insists that she was aiming for his leg, though. And why shouldn’t she have shot him? They need weapons. Uh, Daryl has the Scrounger Perk and will always find more weapons and ammo, Carol. FINE. But if you get killed by a Walker, don’t go crying to her about it, because she’ll just set you on fire.
Daryl isn’t liking this defeatist, anti-social Carol at all. He knows she’s got a big heart; it’s one thing he loves about her. That, her dry sense of humor, and her dead aim. Me, too, buddy. Me, too.
Her bag falls, and the book from the place they camped out the night before about surviving child abuse is there. Which is interesting because Tom Sawyer was on top before, but QUIBBLES. WAIT. This was HIS bag. Right? I don’t think it’s clear. Anyone? Help a gal with thick glasses out.
Flashback: Carol lighting Karen and David on fire [CWF: THREE], and HOW WAS THAT EVER IN QUESTION, well, it’s not anymore!
They make their way to the overpass where that van is hanging in order to Scooby Doo some clues. I mean, the city is HUGE, how can this work? This isn’t the best plan. (but they have no other recourse.) Daryl hops in to look and Carol hops in the unstable van precariously perched halfway off a birdge to stand on the back as several Walkers approach. CAROL DON’T GO TO THE FRONT, WHAT THE HELL, ahhhh!! They see a stretcher, figure out it’s Grady Hospital’s (that was pretty freaking lucky, rooby rooby roo!, are surrounded, get out of the van to maybe make a break for it, but Carol immediately uses her last three bullets, Daryl is overpowered, so they get back inside the van. They have Jesus on their dash, though!
BUT IT IS A LIE, because the jingle went, “With Jesus on your dash: your car will never crash!” Oh, you’ll see!
They buckle up, the van is leaning forward from the weight of the Walkers, they hold hands oh my goooood and fall, doing a perfect 360 flip, because the van lands right side up. But! They’re alive. A few Walkers fall on top of them, because they’re little undead lemmings, and it’s SO GROSS AND AWESOME, ahahaha. Awesome FX with split bodies littering the ground, by the way.
They find refuge in an alley, drinking water and nursing their wounds. Carol’s shoulder looks pretty banged up. But they’re only three blocks away from Grady, so they’ll find a place to hole up and watch. Inside a building, Daryl’s Scavenger perk proves its worth: machete! Nice! Carol stares at the hospital out the window. How beautiful are these post-apocalypitc matte shots? SO BEAUTIFUL.
They settle in with some Fancy Lad potato crisps and continue to flirt. I mean, talk through things.
Daryl: You know how you said I wasn’t like I was before? Did you not find old me cute? I mean, how was I?
Carol: Like you were a kid. [bats eyelashes as a funky bass line with a saxophone solo plays] Now you’re a man.
Daryl: Gulp! [wonders what Rick would say, heavens!]
Carol reveals that their earlier location was a women’s shelter where she and Sophia stayed before she inevitably went back to her abusive husband. She just endured what life gave her. Didn’t do anything. She was dross floating. “Who I was with him, she got burned away. I’m happy about that. I got to be who I always thought I should be.” <3 I love this so much. So. Much. Except Carol’s not quite ready to like herself, still. “And then she got burned away. Everything now just consumes you.”
Daryl: Well, hey. We ain’t ashes. [I love him. I love them. No, you’re not. You’re both pure and who you should be, now.]
They hear a door, and get their gear, ready for fight or flight. It’s a Walker thudding against a wall where it’s been trapped. With a crossbow bolt. OHO! Daryl machetes its head, and then takes the bolt, because even though he has a never-ending ammo perk, it’s still just the smart thing to do. They can hear semi-automatic fire up ahead, and go running. Noah is trapped by a Walker, who gets tossed onto wounded Carol, hurting her more. You did NOT hurt Daryl’s boo!
He kills it, pulls her to standing, then takes off after Noah, who is trying to barricade a door with a massive book shelf to keep Walkers out. Instead, Noah gets knocked down, the bookshelf falling on him with the Walker almost inside. [“You laid a crushing burden on our backs”]
The two men play the “you were following me! I’m just trying to survive” game for a moment. Daryl grabs Noah’s carton of smokes, lights up, [DWF: THREE] and tells Noah, “I already helped you once. I ain’t helping you again,” as Carol watches him, shocked. “Have fun with Hoss over there.” Daryl was just getting on her about saving people, right?
Carol begs for him to help the kid, but nope, let him be. Oh, Daryl’s good. He’s triggering her need to help kids out, and lookee here:
Carol Daryl* arrows the Walker before it can kill Noah. There she is, the girl he saved and who saved him, too. <3
* Guys, I don’t get paid for this. Sometimes I miss stuff. Ahaha.
Flashback: Carol, covered in blood, headed for Terminus. She drops and removes her bloody poncho. Gunfire sounds in the background. She cleans herself up (which explains why she didn’t have it on her face when we saw her after she took on the complex single-handedly) and pushes on. Terminus burns in the background. She’s leaving behind ash. [“We ain’t ashes.”]
They get Noah out from under the heavy bookcase. Carol smiles, but Noah is freaking out. He knows the cops at the hospital would have heard the gunshots. OHO THEY BOTH KNOW BETH, they all realize. Out the window, they see a car on patrol. They have to get out, which is totally hamstringed by Noah having a busted leg. He falls, Daryl gets an arm around him, and sends Carol on to get out to the basement across the way. WHOOPS LOOK BOTH WAYS, CAROL, who is blindsided, struck over the hood of the car as Daryl watches her helplessly as the cops load her on a gurney. [“You brought us into the net.”]
Noah makes Daryl stay put, saying she’ll get medical attention at the hospital. Plus, they’ll need people to get her and Beth out. Lots. Because the cops have guns.
“So do we.” [“yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”]
A fire burns in a trashcan [DWF: Four–weaponized!], distracting the Walkers so that Daryl and Noah can get out. They make their way through hidden little spots until finding a truck that works, pelting out of the city and back to the church as fast as they can. Daryl is freaking out, because he cannot lose Carol again.
Ooh, and you will know my name is tha LO-ARD when I lay my vengeance upon you. It’s gonna get biblical and medieval up in that hospital, and I cannot wait. Literally. I need it right now. Please note we started and ended this episode with them both crying over what they’ve lost. PLEASE NOTE THAT..
Also thinking about: refining fire six times to be as pure as can be, and the seventh time is the final weapon. I take this to mean Daryl is about to kick. Ass.
GUYS. ARE YOU HAPPY. I WANNA KNOW. And CLICK HERE for the next episode, CROSSED.
(and on a personal note, this is up late because I’ve been doing minor PR stuff for my first novel, hey-hey!, hitting bookstores tomorrow. Feel free to check out my personal website for more info!)