“The reason I said we get to start over is cuz we gotta.” – Daryl Dixon
This week’s episode of The Walking Dead was a little slower than normal, but a wonderful introspection on two fan favorites: Daryl and Carol. We got some insight into Carol, and she was able to analyze herself as well. And Daryl got his fair share of reflection time as well. But most importantly, the shipping Tumblr wars continued to rage in the land of the internet, and “Consumed” fueled the fires.
Carol’s first flashback sets a trend for the rest of the episode. The smoke meant something! We get to follow her moves where there were a lot of blank spots. Where did she go after her falling out with Rick? How did she get back to the prison? What was done with Lizzie’s body? How did her face get so clean after the Terminus incident?!
Nevertheless, the questions many of us had about Carol’s whereabouts after the prison incident were answered. Carol is a survivor plain and simple. She survived her husband’s beatings. She survived the horrific death of her daughter. Twice. Then she holed herself up in a law office and survived ALONE for days. And she has continued to morph into the B.A.M.F. she is today. Also, we learned that ziplock baggies are a great way to catch rain water. Perhaps Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, et. al. should take note instead of their nasty toilet water from last week.
The juxtaposition between Carol and Daryl was more fully explored this week. It was something I haven’t thought about much, but they have had a very similar path. Perhaps it is because we have gaps in Carol’s timeline, whereas we know much more about Daryl’s transformation, it is easy to look past. Caryler’s will tell you that Daryl and Carol have the same wavelength going on. Whether it was the little girl walker in the women’s shelter that Daryl took care, or the nod in the van before they went down, it is clear to see that those two, they just get each other. “Consumed” finally showed us why.
Daryl has deal with his own strife a plenty. His issues with his brother are vast. Merle was the man he looked up to, but Merle also abused him and used him. And from different conversations he has had, we gather that Daryl was also abused by his dad. And seemingly, his mom was not in the picture. The writers did a great job of showing how far Daryl has come when his bag fell and out dropped the book on child abuse. I love when a T.V. series shows us and knows the audience is smart enough to get it without having to tell us.
Alright, enough with the feelings, this episode also featured some really awesome and frightening moments. Road-Kill walker was disgusting! The use of silence when Daryl and Carol were watching the people from the hospital was really well played, especially when a walker came to the window of the car. There isn’t a need a for cheesy music in The Walking Dead when it comes to scaring the viewers. And then was the van scene. The likely hood of survival was nil. Not only were they surrounded by walkers with virtually no weapons (I’ll get to that in a sec), they were launched hood first off a highway bridge. There are sites that say they wouldn’t have survived that crash, and I believe them, but it was still freaking cool! And having the walkers jump off the bridge after the van was such a good use of gore. One of the best scenes of the episode for sure.
Now let’s get to the loss of Carol and Daryl’s weapons. Noah, the kid from the hospital who escaped, robs them. I find a lot of flaws with this, and is the only downfall of the episode. While it was neat to see what would happen to Daryl Dixon sans crossbow, we already know that Daryl is the guy to beat in the apocalypse. Noah being the one to rob them seemed desperate. His personality in the hospital never proved him to be a robber. Yes, he wants revenge, or to get Beth back, or something. And yes, he has serious trust issues because of what happened to him in the hospital. But wouldn’t it make more sense to try to reason with the man with the crossbow and the woman with the gun instead of just straight up robbing them? The rest of the episode probably would have played out the same if the three of them were together instead. The only difference was that we got to see Daryl smoke a Morley cigarette while he balanced whether Noah should live or die, and that my friends, was the ultimate Daryl Dixon moment.
So what was the meaning of the episode, the quote about starting over, and all the smoke? You could say that Carol has done some pretty bad things. So has Daryl. But they aren’t bad people. And unlike many of the other characters in The Walking Dead they are gaining more humanity and courage than they had before the world went to shit. With Daryl’s wings on his back, and Carol refusing to become ashes, it is clear that these two are phoenixes. If I must say so myself, as far as taking from literary technique, this episode was one of the best.
- Carol screaming at the walker to “GO AWAY!” while crying in her station wagon was hilarious. To be fair, anyone would do that.
- Daryl told Carol that Beth saved herself. Bethyl’s shrieked.
- There were two “video game” moments: entering the skybridge, and Daryl finding that machete after they were robbed. It felt like their should have been video game sounds to go with it.
- Carol, you were not aiming at Noah’s legs. Let’s be honest.
- The line, “If I’m going to hell, I’m making sure I hold off as long as I can” was one of the best lines of the series.
- Finding bottled water is so much better than toilet water. I am never going to get over the toilet water.
- That dog butt painting is why we love Daryl.
- When Carol says that Daryl doesn’t know her and he says, “Yeah, keep tellin’ yourself that” Caryler’s shrieked.
Hush Comics gives “Consumed” an A- for great use of symbolism (the fire in the present is Daryl’s, the fire in the past is Carol’s), character growth, and getting the core group back together faster than they did in season 4.
All images belong to AMC. They are credited to Gene Page.