S05xE06 “Consumed” & S05xE07 “Crossed”
As the Tribe continues to establish their unity and strength, we also begin to see cracks in the chassis (so to speak) in regards to leadership, and the question of a values hierarchy is once again addressed in terms of who deserves to survive and what determines one’s worth. We return to Slabtown, and now that we have seen what goes on inside and the dual roles of the hospital (haven and hell), it is not difficult to gauge what the Tribe will be willing to do to keep themselves and the ones they care for safe.
Since I missed a post and this is going up rather late, we will take a quick and dirty look at the themes in both episodes by focusing on one particular person–Carol.
Spoilers ahead, Sweetie!
These two episodes remind us that Tribe members are not the same people we met in Season 1 and the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. They have each changed radically–Daryl has developed a softness, a desire to understand his past and a reluctance to kill without provocation, just as Beth has proven her strength through consistent perseverance and care for the Tribe. Rick has shifted from the naive and helpful cop to a leader willing to kill just to keep things quiet and easy, as Carol has revealed an ability to participate in violence and calculated strategies to keep safe those she loves. It is this complex character development that has kept Tribe members alive and allowed them to survive in a post-apocalyptic society.
For Carol, this means maintaining a level of vulnerability while developing into a strong leader and fighter, which she didn’t believe herself capable of pre-apocalypse. She tells Daryl that, while her abusive husband beat her, she prayed for something to happen to separate her from Ed because she kept running back to him. Whether she truly believes God answered her prayers with a zombie apocalypse or not is left unsaid, but it is a poignant statement that even Carol understands she has thrived in a world of the undead. She also admits that the person she was at the prison was who she felt meant to be. We must remember, it was at the prison that Carol killed Karen. It was there that she took in Lizzie and Mika when their father died and where she taught the children how to use weapons. She also became a Tribe leader and member of the short-lived Council at the Prison. Even after being exiled from the Tribe at the prison, she immediately does what she can to help the fractured group after they are attacked by the Governor and eventually saving them from the canibals at Terminus. Time and time again, Carol reveals herself to be an important member of the Tribe and an intricate part of the show mythology.
Which is why I think they’re going to kill her off in the mid-season finale.
I hate to say it, but isn’t that how it goes in the apocalypse? We become attached, find value in those around us and then, suddenly, the people we care about are ripped violently from our grasp by the most mundane and troublesome normalities we can imagine? A flu, a hit and run, a blow to the head? It’s all deadly and everyday in a post-apocalyptic society. For Carol to die is not out of the ordinary, because that is what people do–they die. If Carol had died in season one instead of Andrea’s sister, would we have cared? It is only after the intricate development of her character and heart-wrenching truths found in her experiences that we find value in Carol.
Since season one, Carol has continued to grow stronger, braver and more fierce since the initial break from Ed and even after the disappearance and zombification of Sofia. Who would Carol be without the apocalypse? It is this question we are forced to ask of not only her, but each survivor within the Tribe and outside of it. The answer? In all seriousness, who these people–Rick, Dawn, Carol, Daryl, Beth, even Preacher Gabriel–were before the end of the world doesn’t matter anymore. It is what they do now, who they have become and what they are capable that will ensure their continued survival or impending doom. Even then, we would be well-pressed to remember tomorrow is not promised. The people we love die everyday and if we care, we should continue to fight until we can’t fight anymore.
xoxo The Collectiva Diva