(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)
The opening scene of The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 6, “Consumed” takes us back to Season 4’s “Indifference,” in the moments right after Rick banishes Carol from the prison community for her decision to preemptively kill Karen and David, who were sick with the Explodey Flu (which bore frightening similarities to Ebola hemorrhagic fever) in a misguided, one-woman effort of staunch the spread of the disease throughout the prison community. We see a close up of Carol’s shell-shocked face, as she starts the car, a parting gift that Rick has given her, and begins to drive off, alone.
Set to the haunting “Bad Blood,” by Alison Mosshart & Erick Arjes, the sequence shows us the final banishment scene from Carol’s perspective. We see, for the first time, Carol’s isolation and anguish at being cast out of her community, and it is truly wrenching to watch. We WD fans have gotten so used to seeing Carol the way she is around others, fronting tough and rarely letting anybody see her cry, or lose her composure. But alone, in the car, when she gets far enough down the road, away from Rick, Carol pulls the car over and dissolves into tears.
During the commercial break, my WD buddy and I topped off our mimosas with some more champagne and shared our thoughts on this opening. We agreed that neither of us really expected, as the viewer, to be taken back that far, to see firsthand, flashes of Carol’s experience and process. We also agreed that it was a fitting, powerful, and effective way to begin this episode.
I personally needed to see, and feel, things from Carol’s side…we all did, I think.. I love that this episode, “Consumed,” delves more deeply into both Carol and Daryl’s psyche…they both have developed their tough exteriors and their game faces, but it’s time for us to get a deeper insight into both of these two beloved and iconic characters.
In the next scene, it’s night. We see a lone woman walker on the side of the road. and at the sight of headlights approaching, the walker walks into the road, just as one of the black cars from Grady Memorial speeds past, clipping the walker and sending her face down into the asphalt.
We hear Carol’s voice, asking Daryl, “So it was just you and Beth, after?”
“Yeah,” replies Daryl.
“You saved her?” Carol asks him.
“She’s tough…she saved herself,” Daryl says. He continues, “We were out there for a while…we were cornered…she got out in front of me…and, I dunno, she’s gone.” Daryl tells Carol about how he saw a black car, with a cross painted in the back window, pull away at the moment of Beth’s disappearance. “Just like that one,” Carol says, referring to the black car they are currently following in Carol’s almost-getaway car, the one she found on the side of the road. Before they jumped in and began tailing the black car, Daryl quickly smashed the headlights of the Carol car, so they are hanging back, and travelling in darkness, and remaining undetected by the car from Grady Memorial as it speeds along the road.
As they talk, Daryl mows down the walker in the road, not slowing down, flattening the walker’s head into the asphalt.
Daryl remarks that the others are going to wonder where they’re at, and the tank’s getting low…New Carol’s take on it is pretty awesome, in my opinion…she suggests they “end it quick, just run them off the road.” Daryl replies that they’ll be good for a bit, and New Carol replies that they can find out where Beth is, just “get it out of the driver.” Ha! In the end, they go with Daryl’s plan, but man, would I have loved to see New Carol’s method for “getting it out of” two members of Dawn Lerner’s Douchesquad.
(And, in retrospect, maybe they should have gone with New Carol’s idea…but then, they may not have run into Noah…and, love him or hate him at this point, I believe Noah is going to be a significant part of whatever comes down the line.)
Daryl, however, has a good take as well…the driver may not talk, and right now, they have the advantage, as the black car does not know they are being followed. Daryl suggests they see who these people are, see if they’re a group, scope it out, and figure out what they’ll need to do to get Beth back. Carol sees that the black car is going north, on I-85…
Daryl and Carol follow the black car into the city, and on a lonely street, the black car stops…and Daryl and Carol kill the engine, a block behind…and wait.
The cop returns to the black car, after dragging a couple of bodies, seemingly, out of the road, clearing the black car’s way. He turns and looks over at Daryl and Carol’s car, as Lemme At ‘Em Walker paws and hisses as the car’s window…after a moment, the cop gets back into the black car, and it starts, makes a right turn down the side road. Daryl tries to start their car, but the tank’s out of gas..At the sound of more walkers approaching, Daryl says they need to get out of there and find a place to hole up…Carol tells him she knows a place just a couple of blocks away, that they can make it there.
Once inside the building, Daryl takes a ring of keys from the dead janitor’s belt and opens the door to the office. He asks Carol, “You used to work here or somethin’?”
“Something…” Carol replies. As they move through the rooms, unlocking doors as they go from the janitor’s key ring, they come to a small room that has bunk beds, and a desk, with a large book resting on top of it…
Daryl follows Carol into the room, shining the flashlight around, taking it all in. “What is this place?” he asks. “Temporary housing,” replies Carol.
“We didn’t stay,” replies Carol. As Daryl shucks off his crossbow, bag, and jacket (Yes! Take it off! Take it off!), Carol goes over the bunk beds, tells Daryl she’ll take the top bunk, as the bottom bunk seems “more your style.” As she moves over to the window, she tells Daryl to get some sleep, that she’ll take “first watch.” Daryl points out that the place is locked up pretty tight…
Daryl looks at Carol’s back, says, “I’m good, then…” leaves it open, a little question at the end…(Me and my WD buddy were perched on the edge of our seats, gulping mimosas at this point…I mean, OMG, weren’t you just dying, watching this?)
Carol does turn, for a moment, sneaks a peek (right, Carol, what did I tell you? He’s putting it out there, so now all you gotta do is put one boot in front of the other, walk over to him, and get it, girl! You know you want to!)
After sneaking a peek, Carol’s voice falters a bit as she assures him she’s ok, she’ll take first watch, it’s fine.
“Suit yourself,” Daryl says
Carol’s resolve begins to weaken…
At this point in the watching, my WD buddy and I were freaking the fuck out (quietly, you know, so as not to wake the children), guzzling mimosas.to quench our suddenly parched throats…was it getting super hot in here, or what?
Carol tells Daryl that, “I don’t think we get to save people anymore.” After a moment, Daryl asks her, “Why are you here?”
So, while we WD fans didn’t quite get the Daryl/Carol night we were hoping for in the bottom bunk, we got something else…something a little more real, a little more gut-wrenching, a little more poignant and beautiful…to paraphrase a Tweet that one WD fan sent to Talking Dead, later, who knew that burning bodies could be such a romantic gesture? Daryl Dixon, such a beautiful, sweet, tough and tender man…how we love him!
Heart of gold, that one.
Later, Carol is having a flashback of she and Tyrese burying the bodies of Lizzy and Mika, as she and Daryl pack up their things. Daryl says that it looked like the black car was headed downtown, and that they should get high up in one of the tall buildings, get a good look around, see what they see. Carol agrees, saying that if they stay close to the buildings, stay quiet, and wait, it will be just a matter of time before they see something that will give them some more information, or a location.
Upon entering the walkway bridge, Daryl and Carol see a rather confounding sight…writhing, reanimated bodies shrouded in sleeping bags, and walkers pawing from inside zipped up tents…people who had been taking shelter in the walkway, camping in there, seemingly killed as they slept in their sleeping bags and tents..how did they die?.
Later, on Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick and guests CM Punk, Yvette Nicole Brown (who was armed with her own legal pad of copious, highlighted notes from her viewing of Episode 506, which I, and the entire TD audience, loved…the audience broke into applause every time she referred down to it…girl’s a WD tweaker on a level all her own…definitely my kind of woman!) and Tyler James Williams speculated on what happened to the people in the walkway, killing them and turning them into the Urban Camper Walkers. Yvette Nicole Brown’s guess mirrored my own thoughts, that maybe when Atlanta was bombed & napalmed, that maybe poisonous gases from the bombing killed the urban campers in their sleep.
As they rekill the Urban Camper Walkers, Daryl remarks, “Some days, I don’t know what to think.” For a man of few words, Daryl Dixon really has a knack for summing it all up in these crazy times.
Daryl and Carol make their way gingerly past the writhing tents, rekilling the walkers bound up in the sleeping bags as they cross to the other side of the walkway…they squeeze through the small opening of a set of double doors that have been chained and padlocked closed, but not all the way. Carol pushes the rifles through the opening, then squeezes through, followed by Daryl, whose larger frame makes it harder to get through the small opening. He jokes that it’s a good thing they skipped breakfast..
Daryl and Carol enter through another set of doors, and find themselves in a clean, upscale office, with modern paintings, water cooler, and large windows, overlooking what was once an impressive view of downtown Atlanta. As Carol and Daryl approach the window and take in the grim, blasted skyline, Carol asks, “How did we get here?” Daryl replies that he doesn’t know..they just did.
Daryl spots something, grabs the rifle with the scope, peers through, and sees:
Carol looks through the scope, says that it looks like the van has been there for a while…Daryl says that it’s a lead. Carol suggests they stock up before leaving the office. While Carol fills her canteen with water from the water cooler and takes a long drink, Daryl stops and looks at one of the abstract paintings on the wall, remarking that it must have “cost some rich prick a whole lot of money.”
As Carol squeezes back through the chained doors of the walkway bridge, she does as she did before and pushes her bag and assault rifle through first, but this time, as Daryl begins to squeeze himself through, Carol quickly says:
While Noah is apologetic, he is clear that he needs their weapons. “Sorry about this,” he says, “but you look tough..you’ll be alright.” And with that, Noah takes his knife and slices open the tents, releasing the trapped Urban Camper Walkers, and giving himself time to get out of there as Daryl and Carol fight them off.
They make quick work of the walkers, Carol capping one in the center of the forehead with her handgun, then aiming the next shot at Noah’s retreating form. As she fires, Daryl pushes her arm, skewing her shot so she misses. As they stride quickly across the parking lot, Daryl leading the way, Carol justifies herself, and her actions.
“We have three bullets…we’re in the middle of a city and he was stealing our weapons. Did you think I was gonna kill him? I was aiming for his leg…could that have killed him? Maybe, I don’t know, but he was stealing our weapons”
As Carol says this, Daryl does not respond, just strides quickly in front of her…they come to a door, which is locked. Daryl curses under his breath, reaching into his bag for something to jimmy the lock. “He’s just a damn kid,” he replies. Carol retorts that without weapons, they could die, Beth could die…as Daryl works the lock, he says, to this, “We’ll find more weapons.”
Carol stands there, behind Daryl as he pushes at the door. :”I don’t want you to die…I don’t want Beth to die…I don’t want anyone at the church to die, but I can’t stand around and watch it happen, either. I can’t…that’s why I left, I just had to be somewhere else.”
Daryl finally gets the door open, and Carol begins snatching up their belongings from the floor, saying that Daryl isn’t who he was before, and neither is she, and she doesn’t know if she believes in God anymore, or if she’s going to Hell, but if she is, then she damn sure is going to hold off on going there as long as she can.
As Carol reaches for Daryl’s bag, a book falls out of it, onto the floor…
On the bridge, Carol and Daryl approach the white van, which has gone through the guard rail and is teetering precariously half on, half off the overpass. It is a fairly steep drop below, about three or four stories.
Daryl says “let’s get this done,” and quickly, and Carol volunteers to go in the van, as she’s lighter. In response, Daryl looks at her and hoists himself in the van…after a moment, Carol follows suit. In the front seat, they quickly sift through maps, papers, finding nothing that gives them a clue as to where the van came from.
On the shotgun side, Carol spies a large group of walkers approaching from her side as well…it looks like some trouble is coming fast, closing in on them from both directions.
Carol tells Daryl that they’ll have to fight through them, although they are seriously outnumbered, and without most of their weaponry (thanks to Noah, you little shit, you…while I do like Noah, and realize that pretty much all of our favorite characters have had their questionable moments, Noah’s stock with me definitely dropped a few points during this scene…but I have not given up on him.)
As they file out of the van and prepare to do battle with the rapidly growing horde of walkers, Daryl spies the initials “GMH” on a stretcher in the back of the van. Carol guesses it stands for “Grady Memorial Hospital,” and then, it’s time to stop talking, because there are a shit-ton of walkers to fight through…
Carol tells Daryl that there are only three blocks between them and Grady Memorial…Daryl agrees that they will find a place nearby, scope out the hospital, and see what they see. Carol asks him if he thinks they are really going to be able to find out what they need to know just by watching…Daryl tells her, “Well, it’s a place to start.”
Daryl and Carol set up a stake out in a nearby building that offers a clear view of Grady Memorial. Daryl scores both a machete and a bag with a cache of potato chips from an incapacitated walker…Daryl relieves the walker of his machete and chips, and rewards the walker with a rekill to the head with the machete. Thanks, dude. As they watch the hospital through the window, munching chips, Daryl turns to Carol, asks her about what she said before, about him not being like he was, before…he asks her what she means by that…”How was I?” he asks. (Cute! It’s Share Time.)
Daryl ups his hotness meter even further by turning the focus on Carol, now… “And what about you?”
Carol replies that she and Sophia stayed at the temporary housing shelter for a day and a half before she went running back to Ed….at home, she got beat up, life went on, and she just went through her days like that, praying for something to happen…“I didn’t do anything…not a damn thing.” Carol looks out the window as she talks, her voice carrying the anger that she feels towards herself for taking Ed’s abuse, and not taking a stand, not doing anything, for so long.
(Really explains a lot, why Carol has made some of the overly agro, questionable decisions she has…it’s like after not doing anything for so long, the Carol pendulum had to swing too far the other way, before coming to some sort of balance, in the middle.)
Carol continues her story, “Who I was, with him, she got burned away..and I was happy about that, I mean, not happy, but…and at the prison, I got to be who I always thought I should be, who I should have been…”
Oc course, after this amazing moment, there is a thud or slamming noise, startling them…there is always a fucking noise to interrupt Daryl and Carol’s beautiful sharing and caring sessions in this episode…damn you, cockblocking walker apocalypse!
As Daryl and Carol head down the hallway, they find a walker impaled to the wall, with one of Daryl’s arrows speared through its throat.
Suddenly, the sound of assault rifle shots pepper the silence…Daryl and Carol know who that’s coming from…they go to investigate, and are met by a woman walker…Carol would usually be able to handle this, and goes for the knife kill upside the walker woman’s head, but her shoulder injury makes it harder, and the walker ends up on top of Carol, who is unable to fight her off. Daryl slices the walker’s head with his machete, pulls Carol up, looks at her, concerned…Carol, barely able to speak, assures him she’s ok, to go. Daryl rushes down the hall in pursuit of Noah.
He finds Noah, trying to barricade a door that another walker is pushing its way through with a wooden bookcase. In one quick maneuver, Daryl strikes at Noah’s lower spine, toppling him with the bookcase on top of him. Noah, pinned under the bookcase, pleads for Daryl to help him, apologizing for taking their weapons, saying that he needed to defend himself.
Carol, alarmed at Daryl’s callous, uncaring attitude, calls to Daryl, looks at him questioningly to help Noah…Daryl looks at her, angry, says, “You almost died because of him!” “But I didn’t,” Carol counters, her eyes soft and pleading. Daryl looks at Carol, Noah, says, “Nah,” and resumes walking towards the door. The walker gets free and falls on top of the bookcase, grabs at Noah…
The next scene, Rambo Carol flashback…Carol in the poncho, in the woods, after killing Terminus…she sinks to her knees, shrugs off the bloody poncho, and uses it to wipe her face free of the dirt and walker blood she had smeared on it to camouflage herself, and mask her smell. She holsters her gun over her shoulder and walks off, leaving the black smoke plume of burning Terminus, rising above the treeline, and the sound of gunfire, in her wake.
The scene shifts back to the present, with Carol pulling the walker off the bookcase, and Carol and Daryl pulling the bookcase off Noah, who scrambles out from under it, thanking them. I tell you, I am impressed with Noah’s good manners, even when he was jacking Daryl and Carol’s weapons…he was definitely taught his “please and thank you’s.” Noah hurries to the window, looking out, saying that he has to go, that “they” will be coming, as they probably heard the gunshots…Daryl asks, “Who?” and Noah tells them, as he, panicked, turns to go, “The people from the hospital.”
Carol looks out the window, sees a white van with a cross painted on the back windshield cruising by, slowly…she tells them they’re here…Noah tells them they need to go, and in his haste to run away, stumbles on his hurt leg, and falls. As Daryl reaches down to help him up, Carol rushes ahead of them, out the doors, into the street…and gets hit, hard, by a wood-paneled station wagon speeding down the street. The station wagon stops, abruptly, and Carol’s body rolls off the front hood, onto the street, where she lay, unconscious, unresponsive.
The final scene shows Daryl, and Noah, sneaking past a large group of ATL Street Walkers which have been diverted, once again, by Daryl, who has lobbed a flame into a dumpster, setting the contents in it on fire. As the walkers gather, hissing, around the flaming dumpster, Daryl and Noah sneak past them, and then, moments later, come bursting through a chain link fence in a truck that has surely been hotwired by Daryl.
A few final thoughts…first, I need to apologize if some of you got a premature notification that I had published my post on “Consumed,” the night of the episode, and were served with 385 words of my primary notes of my initial watching…in a total spaz maneuver, most probably due to my manic excitement over seeing Daryl and Carol’s insane chemistry and fire together, combined with my champagne buzz, I hit “Publish” instead of “Save Draft” during a commercial break…d’oh!
Next, I have some Deadies to award for Episode 506, “Consumed.” Of course, the first two go to our favorite FWB’s, Daryl and Carol, for walking so honestly and fearlessly through the fires of transformation, and the fires of chemistry, and the fires of love…I do not know what the future has in store for these two iconic characters, individually, or as a couple, but I can say that my love for each of them, and for them together, has deepened to a new level with this masterful episode. Daryl and Carol, I love you so hard. You are my total heroes right now.
Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride are such incredible actors…from the very first, their performances and portrayals of Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier have catapulted these two iconic characters to cult status, both within the realm of WD fandom and beyond, into the pop culture stratosphere. Much love, mad props. ❤
Deadie #3 goes to Yvette Nicole Brown, WD superfan…girl, if I ever get a chance to meet you, one day, we will have hours and hours of glorious WD to talk about! (I am def going to find Yvette’s Twitter account, and follow her, as soon as I publish this post..)
And, finally, Deadie #4 goes to our young up-and-comer, Noah (played by the supremely talented Tyler James Williams). Noah didn’t make the best first impression with Daryl and Carol, jacking their weapons and all that, but he did have impeccable manners while doing it, Gentleman Bandit-style. I, for one, welcome him into the fold, as I feel he will have much to offer, and contribute. Welcome aboard, young padawan. May the force be with you, and with Daryl, Carol, Beth, and Rick, and Team Eugene, and the entire gang, wherever they may be at this point in time. Amen.
So, much love, dear readers. Until next week, and enjoy the playlist:
Stone Temple Pilots, “Sex Type Thing”
Jucifer, “When She Goes Out” (Was wanting to include a chick-fronted rager for Carol on this playlist, and then Norman Reedus posted a clip of Jucifer on his Instagram account, playing live in front of their trademark wall of amps, sending forth their trademark wall of sound into the farthest reaches of the universe…And once again, I was like, “Thank U Norman Reedus!“)
The White Stripes, “Blue Orchid”
The xx, “Heart Skipped A Beat”
Young Prisms, “Friends For Now” (Initially, I saw that I had six songs on the playlist, and I added this spare, beautiful track from Young Prisms to round it up to Lucky 7…it’s the Big Game,people, lots at stake here. I’m not taking any chances…Just get your ladies out of Grady Memorial Debt Castle, Daryl Dixon, and you can all figure out this whole love triangle thing later.)
The Shins, “Caring Is Creepy”
Bittersweet, “Bittersweet Faith”