The Walking Dead Recap: Pardon Our Dust

 Posted by on November 17, 2014 at 9:00 am  The Walking Dead
Nov 172014

the-walking-dead-episode-506-carol-mcbride-pre-980-1There 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!

  7 Responses to “The Walking Dead Recap: Pardon Our Dust”

  1. Actually, the van airbags did deploy, which was comedic, but also explains their survival of the fall a little bit.

    The camping zombies baffle me. I mean, I get this is post-apocalyptic camping. But, did they die and then turn? If so, how and why did someone die in a sealed tent? If they got bit and then died gradually, why go into the tent? If they got eaten, how did a zombie get into the tent?

    I think the whole thing was someone’s elaborate joke about camping, and on that level, yes, we laughed.

    • My sister believes that someone staged the Sleeping-Bag Zombies. She sees them as part of a trap, set by whoever’s watching for intruders — someone at Grady Memorial, probably.

      I honestly did not see the airbags deploy. Here comes the rewatch!

    • Of course, the would-be campers could have been bitten and decided to die in the tents so they wouldn’t be a danger to anybody else. Or some survivors could have decided to set up tents as an extra layer of protection in case zombies invaded the building, then died of the flu and turned. It’s not as silly as the Gov and his last two minions sleeping in mummy tents out in the middle of the forest.

  2. The entire van scene was stupid from the moment they opened the doors. Carol wants to go inside because she’s lighter and won’t tip the van forward. Two seconds later, they’re both at the front of the van. Did she try to put some weight on the bumper before she hopped in behind Daryl? Did that make her believe it was more stable than she assumed? I’ll have to check that. And with all that fumbling in the visors by both of them, the van doesn’t move. At that point, they’ve established the van is pretty damn stable. Forget how ridiculous it is that two people can drop 50ft in a 2-ton van and maybe only walk away with a broken collar bone or arm from the seatbelt, but what force is making the van go over the edge? Are the zombies leaning on it hard enough to move it forward enough to imbalance it? It has to be. If not that, all the hands on the back end of that van would ADD weight to the rear end, making it more stable and not able to tip forward. The physics aren’t quite adding up to me. The whole scene was crap, and it was unnecessary. There wasn’t anything cool about it visually. It serves little purpose other than to look ridiculous.

    Rather, how about Daryl grabbing some rope at some earlier moment when grabbing supplies and then the two of them repelling off that bridge and away from the coming horde?

    And let’s not talk about the sleeping bag and tent scene. Is that someone’s commentary on how claustrophobic and disabling a mummy bag can be? This was a bad week for zombie situations. The creative team failed.

    • My 15-year-old nephew, on the van scene: “I’m not a physicist, but no.”


    • One almost wonders if the people who planned out the camping scene didn’t know it would be set inside a building. Of course simply dying in the tents (suicide? starvation?) would lead to zombification. No walkers need have been involved.
      I assume the walkers around the van would have been pushing forward to get to the people inside who were positioned ahead of them (like walking repeatedly into plate glass). It probably seemed in advance and on paper that it would be a spectacular set-piece.
      On the subject of Hollywood effects did anyone notice that the machete made a sound like metal on metal when it cleaved through the walker’s head? Hollywood swords make that sound when simply swung though the air. It was originally the sound of a sword being drawn from a metal scabbard (which would ruin the blade).

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