Warning: This post contains spoilers about season six of The Walking Dead. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and don’t read this.
This year, for the first time, I streamed The Walking Dead instead of waiting for the DVD/BD release. I couldn’t stand the thought of waiting a whole year to find out what happened after Rick killed Pete, just as Morgan shows up at Alexandria with Aaron and Darryl, so I streamed it through Amazon Video. Now that the season is over, it’s time for some nitpicking. Not every episode… I’ll be nitpicking by character.
What the hell happened to Carol this year? In episode 602, “JSS”, Wolves invade Alexandria and start killing people. Carol immediately arms herself and takes several of them out before disguising herself as one of them and taking more of them out on her way to secure the armory. She gets weapons for everyone, and is her usual bad ass self that we’ve gotten used to seeing.
But after she and Maggie are taken by a small group of the Saviors, it’s a different story. In episode 613, “The Same Boat”, I thought Carol was pretending to be frightened. After the way she tried so hard not to kill anyone, I wasn’t so sure. And then she leaves Alexandria, because she’s decided she doesn’t want to have to kill anyone else to protect the people she cares about.
Naturally, she runs into a group of Saviors after leaving Alexandria, and they want to use her to get into the community. As weird as Carol had been acting, I expected her to be killed, so I was surprised when she started shooting at the group with a gun she’d concealed inside her coat sleeve. (So much for that not killing thing she was trying to do, right?) She kills all but one man who, despite having been shot, starts tracking her.
Morgan and Rick (and later, just Morgan) are searching for Carol, too. Morgan eventually finds her near a library, injured and bleeding. He tries to convince her to come back to Alexandria, but she refuses. Carol slips away when Morgan goes out to silence a walker, and Morgan has to track her down once again. But the surviving Savior finds her first, and after a brief and pitiful struggle (both of them are injured) he manages to get Carol’s gun, essentially saying he’s about to die, but he’s going to make sure he kills her slowly first. He shoots Carol in the arm, then the leg, and is infuriated to realize that she wants to die. He starts to leave, but Carol taunts him and gets him to come back, wanting him to finish it and kill her. Before he can, Morgan appears, gun in hand, and tells him there is a way out of this, he didn’t have to die. When the Savior moves to shoot Carol, Morgan shoots him several times, killing him and saving Carol.
So it’s like Morgan and Carol have traded places now. Carol keeps saying she doesn’t want to kill anyone, and Morgan has decided that all life isn’t precious after all, and killed a man in order to protect a woman with a death wish. Wait! Didn’t Morgan have a death wish once, himself?
Maybe this was a long time coming for Carol. Lots of things have happened to make her feel guilt, regret, or just traumatized her in general so far:
- She prayed for Ed’s death, and a walker got him
- Sophia died, and became a walker
- T-Dog died a horrible death in order to save her when walkers flooded the prison
- Axel was suddenly killed while they were talking and laughing together
- She killed Karen & David in a failed attempt to stop the deadly flu from spreading
- She was exiled from the prison by Rick
- Lizzie killed Mika (and was planning to kill Judith), proving herself a danger to others, and Carol was forced to kill her.
- She left Mary to be eaten by walkers when she brought Terminus down and saved her friends (Not sure on this one, but it could be she felt guilt over it, later)
- She saw Beth die
- She pretended to be something she wasn’t from the moment they arrived at Alexandria, and plotted with Rick and Darryl to steal guns from the armory
- When Sam caught her in the armory, she threatened him
- Whether she meant to or not, she instigated the confrontation between Rick and Pete
- She threatened to kill Pete, saying no one would believe she killed him because she didn’t like him, but would believe he tried to hurt her. Pete had a meltdown afterwards, stealing Michonne’s sword and inadvertently killing Reg while trying to get at Rick
- When Sam tries to talk to her about Pete’s death, she tells him to “get over it”
- Sam dies, eaten alive by walkers, as Carol had once threatened him with
- She kills several of Negen’s group when she and Maggie are being held by them
- She fell in love with Tobin… and realized she didn’t want to have to kill in order to protect him. Or was it loving a man that frightened her, given her history with Ed?
Clearly, Carol has a lot of issues to deal with. But what annoys me is how sudden this change in her attitude felt. It was like one day she was Carol, doing what she had to do… and the next she was falling apart, running away, and wanting to die when she was overpowered by the Savior she shot on the road.
I don’t mind characters having little breakdowns, or having a period of time where they are trying to deal with PTSD. In that world, it’s to be expected. But for such a strong character to suddenly and (as far as I can remember) without warning become a completely different person? That’s stretching my ability to suspend disbelief and go with the flow of the story. I just can’t buy that Carol would change so drastically, so quickly.
Kudos to Melissa McBride for the fabulous work she did in season six! Anytime Carol made me feel angry or frustrated or whatever, it was due to Melissa’s skill as an actor. I enjoyed her performance very much.
For those who watched season six of The Walking Dead, what did you think about Carol’s journey this season? Believable? Or just a convenient switcheroo of ethics between Carol and Morgan?