On The Walking Dead recap this week, it’s a flashback to Daryl and Carol on the search for Beth and the perilous road back to Atlanta…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The back and forth puzzle for season five of “The Walking Dead” continued to move pieces into place with this week’s episode titled “Consumed” as we followed the journey of Daryl and Carol as they pursued a lead to find out who took Beth.
It was a trip first started several weeks ago when the season just got going when Carol looked like she was ready to get back on the road by her lonesome until Daryl happened upon her about to take a car and drive off before anyone knew she was missing. Before he had the chance to question her much about what was happening, Daryl spotted a car driving close by that had a white cross on the back window — the same white cross that decorated the car he saw driving away with Beth when they escaped from a golf country club amidst a herd of walkers.
As this week’s episode picks up, Daryl and Carol are on the prowl while we also catch flashbacks of Carol’s time away from the prison and the other survivors. The title “Consumed” comes from the perspective that Carol has lived and died quite a few times since the zombie apocalypse started. The person she was when living under Ed’s abusive thumb. She’s gone. Burned away. The person who had to put down a little girl, whose mind was clearly twisted by the world around her. She’s gone. Burned away.
“Everything just consumes you now”
Thankfully, Carol’s partner in crime Daryl is there to pull her back from the ledge and then literally drive a van over it. More on that later. For now, lets get into “The Walking Dead” this week.
Daryl and Carol are tracking the car with the white cross on the window as it drives closer and closer back towards Atlanta. Last time we saw the city, it was in ruins and not a friendly place to go, but this is where they’re going so Daryl and Carol are heading that way as well. In the car, Daryl reveals that Beth became her own person, strong and self reliant, in the time since leaving the prison. Maybe that’s why he’s so positive she’s still alive somewhere out there.
They trail the car close to Atlanta, but when it stops to salvage whatever is nearby, Daryl shuts his car off to make sure he doesn’t alert them. Unfortunately, when he goes to restart the engine, the gas tank is bone dry and they either find shelter or wait for the walkers to break through the glass.
The pair fight their way free and Carol says she knows a place only a few blocks away where they can batten down the hatches for the night to be safe. Upon arrival, the building Carol led them to is a place she discovered in her former life while she was suffering from abuse thanks to her husband. The offices were set up as a shelter for battered women and their children and Carol was here before — for a day and a half before going back to Ed because that’s what she did in those days. She didn’t know how to fight back. That person is gone. Burned away.
Inside before jumping on a set of bunk beds to get some sleep for the night, they hear something from inside the building and when they go to investigate, Daryl and Carol spot a mother and child both dead, clawing at a closed door trying to get through. The zombie plague doesn’t discriminate. It takes those deserving and not just alike. Daryl tells Carol she doesn’t have to do it, he’ll handle it for her.
In the morning when she wakes, Carol spots a fire and smoke where Daryl has taken it upon himself to kill the mother and child and burn them like they would the survivors who teamed up with them throughout this entire ordeal. The episode bounces back and forth several times to Carol’s many visions of the past.
She sees the day she burned Karen and David’s bodies after killing them for being infected with a virus that was spreading like wildfire through the prison. She bounces to the day she was banished from the prison by Rick only to see smoke over the horizon and finding the prison she once inhabited now up in flames. Her friends and loved ones, gone.
She then remembers the day she was burying Lizzie and Mika and spotted smoke from overhead. She remembers the day she put destroyed Terminus, torched the entire town, and after it was gone she was born again. At one point in the present day, Carol waxes about Daryl’s proclamation that this situation they’re in allows everybody to start over again. Daryl’s trying to do it, but it’s not easy.
“I don’t think we get to save people anymore”
But then why is she going along with Daryl on this quest to save Beth? Because she’s trying, too.
Daryl decides that the best course of action to track where that car with the cross would have gone is to get to higher ground so they can spot things across the cityscape a little easier. He sees a skybridge between two buildings that’s easy enough to get to, so off they go trying to make their way there.
Inside, there are sleeping bags and tents filled with walkers who were once people that obviously died while deep in slumber. How did they and end up still trapped in sleeping bags or tents you ask? Good question, but there’s no sign of how they expired. A guess might be some kind of nerve gas rolled out when the zombie war first started as the military tried to see what might work against the undead but clearly just made more regular people dead. Either way, Daryl and Carol make it and then slip through a chained door one-by-one until they find an office building that’s virtually untouched.
It seems the chained doors did a good job of keeping other people out, so this gives Daryl and Carol a brief moment of peace. While upstairs, Daryl uses the scope on Carol’s rifle to spot a van dangling over the edge of an embankment with the same white crosses pained on the back windows. It’s a clue and he wants to explore. Before they go, Carol stops and asks why Daryl has never bothered to inquire about what happened to Lizzie and Mika.
“I know what happened — they ain’t here”
Carol tries to tell him that it was way worse than all that, but Daryl has words of wisdom for his best friend for the end of the world.
“The reason I said we get to start over is ’cause we gotta, the way it was”
On the way back to find the van dangling from a ledge, Carol scoots back out the same door she came in but this time there’s someone waiting for her. The entire time Daryl and Carol have been slipping in and out of buildings, they’ve had someone following them.
The boy who was in the hospital with Beth that escaped just seconds before she was captured and hauled back inside has found Daryl and Carol, but he’s not there to make friends. Noah grabs Carol’s gun as she’s on her way out and when Daryl slips through, he takes the crossbow for good measure. He apologizes for taking their weapons, but he’s doing what he has to do to survive. That includes slashing open the tents to allow the walkers to get loose, thus blocking Daryl and Carol from following him for at least a few minutes. And then a rather odd thing happens. As Noah makes his escape, Carol reveals her small revolver and takes aim at him but Daryl stops her from shooting. Maybe he was reminded of her speech about how they don’t get to save anyone anymore, but he sees the thief as nothing more than a scared kid.
Carol assures him she was just going to wound the leg, but he doesn’t exactly sound convinced.
Living On a Ledge
On the way out of the office building, Carol notices that Daryl kept a souvenir from the battered women’s shelter — a book titled “Treating Survivors of Child Abuse: Psychotherapy for the Interrupted Life” (which is an actual book). Maybe he’s doing some light reading to get through issues of his own or maybe he’s thinking of someone else? Regardless, they are off to find the van spotted from the window that will hopefully contain clues on where to find Beth.
When they find the van, Daryl and Carol decide to climb inside to look for anything that notes where it came from. Why they both opted to climb into a perilously dangling van just a couple of feet from falling over the edge, I’ll never know, but as it turns out it doesn’t matter anyways. Because while finding that the van was from Grady Memorial Hospital, the walkers from both sides of the street have discovered there’s fresh meat walking around and they want a taste. When Daryl and Carol realize there’s too many of them and not enough bullets to survive, they opt for plan B — which involves pushing the van over the edge and hoping they don’t go splat in the process.
Well the van goes over, they go over, a whole bunch of walkers also tumble over but they’re still alive. It seems a 30-foot drop doesn’t result in the van rolling over or squashing like a tin can so Daryl and Carol are mostly alright. They make a dash to another building nearby and Carol notes they are only a few blocks away from Grady Memorial.
They go inside looking for anything to help them go forward and Daryl finds a machete, which is a nice bonus, but then they spot an arrow through a walker’s throat that has the creature dangling like a fish on a hook. It’s one of Daryl’s arrows. Seconds later, shots ring out and that’s clearly Carol’s machine gun.
It seems Noah survived the zombie apocalypse thanks to his father before he died because this kid has no hope of making it on his own. He’s 10 minutes into the trip and he’s already wasted an arrow and he’s firing off rounds like there’s no tomorrow.
Daryl gets the drop on him (literally) and a bookcase falls over on Noah as a walker starts pushing through a blocked door, inching closer and closer towards dinner. Noah begs for help, but Daryl already helped him once today, that’s more than enough. It’s Carol who decides that maybe someone is worth saving. They kill the walker, lift the bookcase off Noah and then head back towards the hospital.
That’s when it all comes together.
Watch Out for That Car
Noah’s in a panic because he’s sure the gunfire probably alerted the psycho squad from Grady Memorial that he’s close by. Daryl’s ears perk up when he hears those words and he immediately shifts from dropping the kid at the next bus stop to needing his help. When they all realize they know the same cute little blonde named Beth, it’s game time.
The only problem is when they are running to make their escape, Carol is the first one out of the door and she gets plowed into by a station wagon with a white cross on the back windshield. Daryl is ready to go Rambo and save her, but Noah stops him. He reminds Daryl that Carol was already banged up for the van drop, but now she’s been hit by a car as well and the place they are taking her has a doctor and medical supplies. The better idea is to go regroup and find a way inside the hospital to save Beth and Carol at the same time.
But to get past the fortress built inside Grady Memorial by Dawn and her troops, Daryl’s going to need guns and reinforcements. He’s got all that and now it’s time to safe the fucking day.
A couple of notes about this episode — it’s now abundantly clear that Carol didn’t sacrifice herself to be captured as I originally theorized. She’s such a one-woman wrecking machine, I didn’t imagine she’d ACTUALLY get captured. Goes to show me.
The episode was a slow burn without a ton of action outside of some zombie kills, but it was a therapeutic hour in many ways as Daryl and Carol got back together and found away to talk again. If you notice, when Daryl was with Beth, every word out of his mouth until they finally shared some moonshine and painful memories was like pulling teeth. He talked down to her because she couldn’t carry her own weight in the beginning. It wasn’t like that with Carol. She was Daryl’s equal just like Rick. He knows Carol is the truest meaning of the word survivor. That’s something Daryl really respects and honors.
The song featured in this week’s opening montage was a track titled “Bad Blood” by Alison Mosshart and Eric Ajres, which you can pick up on iTunes. If you recognized the voice and you’re a regular TV watcher, you’ll note Alison Mosshart is also a regular vocal contributor to some of the songs on “Sons of Anarchy” as well.
Next week on The Walking Dead — it’s clear Noah was the person hiding in the woods with Daryl and he gets Rick and the rest of the crew to help him go after Grady Memorial to get Beth and Carol back pronto. Daryl needs his ladies by his side.