The Walking Dead episode The Same Boat is apparently subtitled “Girl Power”. There are no men of any significance in this episode. Carol and Maggie, separated from the rest of the Alexandria crew, are the focus of the episode. Rick and Glenn are barely visible, and Daryl has one important moment, but all three are in service to the women’s stories. On the Saviors side, Donnie does nothing but complain about his injury and die, and Primo might be effective, maybe, if he was around, which he isn’t. The only important male is the invisible one—Negan.
Are you actually afraid to die?
Paula, played by Alicia Witt, has a great single-episode guest turn, dominating the situation while still conveying the vulnerability of her former self. The strong members of her crew are Molly and ‘Chelle, dragging Donnie along—at one point he’s explicitly referenced as a sex toy. I think it’s no coincidence that this episode obliquely explores a lot of stereotypes of women—Paula was a “secretary” who brought coffee, not an administrative assistant. You hardly ever hear women called secretaries anymore—way back when I was one, it was already going out of style. Carol, in order to appear weak and get the Saviors to let their guard down, reverted to abused housewife mode—a past all too real for her. Both Paula and Carol talked about their daughters, both Maggie and ‘Chelle talked about their pregnancies. Molly, coughing up blood, rounds out the Maiden, Mother, Crone picture (‘Chelle, whose pregnancy ended prematurely, gets the Maiden role).
The point is to stay standing. –‘Chelle
No. Walkers do that. –Maggie
Paula and Carol, two once-helpless wives who became badass after the world ended, are explicitly contrasted here, as are Maggie and ‘Chelle.
But here’s the thing. Executing humans in cold blood is taking a toll on all of them. Maggie says she can’t do this anymore. Carol goes to Daryl for the best hug ever. I’m not a Carol-Daryl ‘shipper, because I think there’s something different there, something very special. I’m not a Carol-Daryl ‘shipper for the same reason I was never a Don-Peggy ‘shipper—sometimes it’s very important to treasure a friendship, to nurture it, and not to throw it away for the sake of nookie. Daryl and Carol are special, and she was not okay, and she trusted him to know that. That was beautiful.
You’re not the good guys. You should know that.
Carol worked herself into a hyperventilated state so that she could keep that rosary, and have everyone think it was just a rosary, not a weapon. Ironic, what with them being called Saviors and all. But Carol is also having serious self-doubt about the amount of death she’s had to deliver. For Michonne, it was the amount of death and destruction she saw that destroyed her, and she eventually found her way back from that. For Father Gabriel, it was the lives he refused to save that destroyed him, and he’s on the road back. But for Carol, she was destroyed at the beginning—I mean, she was living with domestic abuse every day before the walkers came. And just as she was beginning to turn the corner on that, she lost Sophie. And through all of it, she just kept getting tougher, and stronger, and finding a self she never knew she had. Like Paula, the end of the world was an opportunity for her. (Like Glenn, too, for that matter—he was a pizza delivery boy before, after all.) And like Paula, the end of the world was an opportunity to kill.
Now she’s wondering if it’s anything else. She’s wondering if there’s any Carol left.
- The Same Boat introduced two new terms for our “they’re not zombies” collection—growlers and cold bloods.
- The Saviors have back-up plans and secondary locations. Our folks need that shit.
- Rick doesn’t know they haven’t yet met Negan. I’m still scared of Negan. But they killed a lot of people. If Negan still has an army at this point, I’m blown away by how many people he has.