There are a lot of windows in episode 4.06, Consumed, of The Walking Dead. Our friends (Daryl and Carol, mostly) gaze through them; their zombie tormentors bang on them; we even see some pretty good gallows humor written on them.
PARDON OUR DUST – message on the windows of Carol’s post-prison station wagon
It’s fitting, as this is where we start: With Carol, alone, after Rick banished her from the prison. She doesn’t seem to mind her isolation much, until she sees smoke rising in the distance outside her window.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. No one knows this better than Carol. So she drives toward it, to the place where her story with the rest of the group picked up again, near the end of last season. Because this too is true of Carol: She’s braver than just about anyone in the world right now — save for her partner in this week’s escapade, Daryl.
A Daryl-and Carol-episode is always promising, and this one was quite solid. I love the easy silences between these two, their shared aversion to bullshit, their willingness to face danger rather than try to outrun it.
At the same time, I have to wonder about the kind of interpersonal chemistry that makes two people strap themselves into the front sets of a cargo van and Thelma & Louise the thing right off an overpass. You know that van’s not insured!
Do what we have to do to get ‘er back. – Daryl
So what if “what they have to do” includes hurtling off a bridge onto hard ground, minus airbags or anything like that? YOLO, right?
Both Daryl and Carol manage to walk away from the crash. (HOLLYWOOD!) And then they have a little time before they have to move in on the hospital: tine to hang out, eat some snacks, do some catching up, and stare out a floor-to-ceiling window at the wrecked Atlanta cityscape.
The reason why I said we could start over … is because we gotta. – Daryl
They’re also waiting, and watching, of course. Grady Memorial is nearby, and once our friends
save Noah’s bacon catch up with Noah again, they realize that Beth’s captors are rather sophisticated — and malicious — opponents.
They got guns. People. – Noah
So do we. – Daryl
There is absolutely a showdown coming. (In about two weeks, I would guess.) And while I do have questions about this imminent showdown, and those involved in it — see below — I want to end by saying that I like the symmetry of Daryl’s and Carol’s back stories. Daryl, the abused child, is a kind of natural partner for abused-spouse Carol; there are things she can tell him that she won’t bother telling anyone else.
At the prison, I got to be who I thought I always should have been. – Carol
Carol describes her pre-apocalypse life as a hellish sleepwalk between “temporary shelter,” and the terror of her husband’s brutality. Having lost both her faith and the child she loved, Apocalypse Carol got a clean slate: a chance to be the strong person she longed to be while she had a child to love, and a world still alive to enjoy.
There’s something familial between Carol and Daryl, and I think it comes down to this: She needs to know she can capably care for someone, and he needs someone who loves him unconditionally. Neither of them is a perfect fit for these roles; but in the zombie apocalypse, close is good enough.
Final episode thoughts:
- Do we trust Noah? He took Daryl’s crossbow, for crying out loud. Isn’t that the zombie-apocalypse equivalent of capital murder? At the very least it’s bad apocalypse karma.
- Whether we trust Noah or not, the Internet has already decided.
- Let’s talk about the camping zombies. The sleeping-bag zombies, the tent zombies: Were they or were they not camped out in some sort of enclosed corporate structure? And what would we call that lifestyle choice? Zombie Glamping? Occupy Atlanta?
- Daryl’s tenderness continues to impress his legion of female fans. Sighed my sister Mary, while watching the sleeveless hunk carry the bodies of Zombie Mother and Child to the fire: “This is why we love Daryl.”
- Speaking of fire: There was a lot of it in this episode. The fire reflected in Carol’s windshield, Daryl’s funeral pyre, the decoy fire our friends set for the walkers — this episode had significant things to tell us about the uses of fire. It warns, warms, attracts, signals, and destroys.
- I have many questions about zombie physiology. That’s a whole other post, though. Stay tuned!