'Consumed' Review: The Walking Dead Spins Its Wheels for the First Time This Season
Last night, on The Walking Dead, we made zero progress, and everyone was bored. Except for Carol and Daryl shippers that is, who were, of course, overjoyed to see the unrequited lovers in bed together, however briefly.
I DONT WANT THIS EPISODE TO END EVER #TheWalkingDead— The Walking Dead (@TWDFamilyy) November 17, 2014
Realistically....Caryl should have done it twice already in this episode. #CarolandDaryl— Jennifer Melton (@jenmelton1976) November 17, 2014
As a non-Carol and Daryl shipper, I was in this camp:
Thank you for watching this week's episode of "The Expository Flashbacks". Watch next week to see where we were 3weeks ago. #TheWalkingDead— Bryce Nolen (@RennyOfYore) November 17, 2014
What feels like forever ago now, Daryl and Carol went to rescue Beth. A few weeks ago, a horrified Beth saw Carol being carried into the hospital on a stretcher. This week filled in the blanks between those two events in the most linear, mundane way possible, as we saw Daryl and Carol follow the hospital car into Atlanta with minimal disruptions, get disarmed by Everybody Hates Chris, talk a little, and end up right where we started. Even when the few "exciting" things happened, it didn't feel like anything was happening. It reminded me of Gilmore Girls's description of the Donna Reed Show: "Then, the husband comes home late for work, and nothing happens." "I like the one where the daughter gets an after school job, and nothing happens." In this case, it was: "Carol gets banished and goes to live on her own, and nothing happens." "Carol and Daryl nearly kill Everybody Hates Chris twice, but nothing ultimately happens." "Their van falls off a freaking bridge, but still nothing really happens." I'm a huge advocate for the episodes that slow down and do interesting character work, but this character work wasn't interesting enough to justify slowing down that much, and the fact that we knew exactly where the episode was going to end up sucked all the dramatic tension out of it. Granted, I'm pretty biased since I'm a Daryl and Beth shipper and I'm not as big a fan of Carol as everyone else is at this point, but I stand by the assessment that only die-hard Caryl shippers would be 100% satisfied with this episode.
There was some character work done in the episode, although it didn't really bring out any new facets of the characters, rather it just sort of reaffirmed what we already knew about them. Carol has become disillusioned and fairly ruthless, as she was willing to kill a scared kid for disarming them and Daryl had to stop her. She's not even really on board with their rescue mission, as she laments that they "don't really get to save people anymore." They do a bit of a reversal in the end, as Daryl is willing to let Noah die after he sees Carol endangered by his actions, but Carol is consumed by guilt over the other children in her life and convinces Daryl to save him. This rankled me a little, as it seemed like a fairly sudden switch on Daryl's part, but it likely made sense, as he's always been driven by his fierce loyalty to the people he loves.
Where the episode that featured Daryl and Beth highlighted their differences, this episode highlighted the ways in which Carol and Daryl are very much the same. They both became the people they were supposed to be in the apocalypse; Daryl, who was essentially an angry abused child when the series started, became a "man," and a resilient leader, while Carol transformed from a meek and battered woman into a strong, self-sufficient survivor. They both have a large capacity for empathy (Daryl more than Carol, in my opinion), but they're both willing to do what needs to be done, even when others aren't. Their relationship (romantic or not) feels very real, and they had some nice moments, but again, this episode told us nothing that we didn't already know.
-The walkers raining down on the roof of the van was gross, but great.
-Daryl took a book from the women's shelter called "Treating Victims of Childhood Abuse," which was heartbreaking, and only further highlights the similarities between Daryl and Carol.
-"If I'm going to Hell, I'm making damn sure I'm putting it off as long as I can." Great line, and adds another dimension to the title, "Consumed."
-It looks like Noah is Daryl's companion in the woods. True to the rest of this episode, this is the least exciting reveal ever, as most fans guessed this following Slabtown, and even more fans were hoping it was Morgan instead.
-Many are predicting that Carol is going to die next episode, particularly since we don't know the extent of her injuries. For my part, I doubt she'll die of those injuries, but I think she'll die trying to save Beth as a form of redemption. Beth may not be a child, but she's young and innocent enough that it would be a fitting coda for the Carol character and her guilt about Sophia, Mika, and Lizzie. Although I'd rather Carol die than Beth, I would still be sorry to see her go, especially since the show is so long overdue in crafting strong and complex female characters.