AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 6: “Consumed”
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Matthew Negrete & Corey Reed
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Self Help” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Crossed” – click here
We watch when Rick (Andrew Lincoln) sent Carol (Melissa McBride) off on her own. She stopped on the road, weeping. She couldn’t escape the dead, just like she couldn’t accept her guilt. This put her out there surviving without anybody else to have her back. She’s a tough woman. Survival came easy to her, because she’d long been a survivor— even before the zombie apocalypse.
Then she noticed smoke on the horizon. She saw a fire burning back at the prison.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol follow the car with the white cross to Atlanta. They see a cop get out when it stops. Their car won’t start when they need to follow again. This leaves them looking for somewhere to spend the night. They get into a building Carol knows, right as the streets start crawling with the dead. It’s a temp housing shelter, likely where she went once as a battered wife to escape her husband for a time. A tough place to return for her.
Carol thinks of what it means to “start over.” She wonders if it’s really possible, if we can leave our pasts behind. “I don‘t think we get to save people anymore,” she tells Daryl. He wonders why she bothers to stick around. Carol’s attempting to change from who she was— or, who she had to become. Their heart-to-heart is interrupted by the sounds of walkers. Daryl tries helping his friend, telling Carol she doesn’t need to kill every last zombie, at least not herself.
In the morning, Carol wakes to the image of a fire burning. She sees Daryl humanely disposing of the corpses of those they found in the building, one of which looks to be very young. It’s jarring, as Carol still remembers the people she killed and burned, all in the name of the greater good. She also remembers having to bury the two girls with Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman). All of this weighs heavy on her psyche.
The duo make their way through the destroyed streets, distracting a horde of walkers to pass into a parking garage and making their way up towards a bridge. They come across a spot where people were camped, now a bunch of living corpses, stuck in tents and sleeping bags. They don’t know there’s somebody watching them closely.
In an office, they get a look at the city from a height. “How did we get here?” Carol wonders, both on their personal level and a more objective one. She mentions a rough time on the road before they all got back together. Daryl urges there’s no choice but starting over: “Fuck the way it was.”
Daryl eyes an ambulance on the freeway, bringing them closer to finding Beth (Emily Kinney). He also gives his opinion on a piece of modern art he thinks looks like the product of dog’s ass + paint, whereas Carol enjoys it. When the two go back through the hallway they’re confronted by Noah (Tyler James Williams). He takes all their gear, not wanting to hurt them. He makes sure they don’t follow too quick, letting zombies out of the tents. He gets out before they’re able to catch up.
Daryl stops Carol from shooting him. He doesn’t want a kid to die for them to get their weapons back. She’s disillusioned by the world, believing the ends justify the means. He won’t let her keep living in that mindset. There’s a moment here when a book spills out of Daryl’s things, giving us further insight into his past— a book on survivors of childhood abuse. He and Carol are kindred spirits, both survivors.
Daryl and Carol get to the rundown ambulance hanging over the edge of the freeway. They move inside slowly, looking for any clues. The name of the hospital gives them a potential lead. Zombies are fast gathering. They’ve got to get out and start killing, eventually forced to get back into the vehicle. Only one option: tip the ambulance off the freeway. It’s a rough landing, but they survive.
They make it to safety and rest. Carol talks about who she was being “burnt away.” She’s unsure of who / what she’s meant to be, especially in the new post-zombie apocalypse landscape. Daryl knows there’s a path forward for them both, and won’t let her accept there’s no way to change for the better.
“We ain’t ashes.”
They soon come across Noah again, and Daryl charges, knocking him down under a bookcase. They take their weapons back. Daryl decides this time he’s not helping the kid. It’s Carol who won’t let anything happen to Noah, forcing Daryl to save him. They get the young guy free. He starts talking about the hospital, confirming Beth’s alive.
And people from the hospital are coming to look for him.
When they go outside, Carol gets run down, then taken to the hospital. Noah and Daryl have to go get both Carol and Beth now. The two of them find another vehicle, then head back for Daryl’s people, to get help so they can rescue his friends.
Fantastic and super emotional episode. Dives deep into Carol, plus touches on why she and Daryl have developed such a close relationship. It’s all about survival.
“Crossed” is next.