May 1, 2020
The Walking Dead RECAP: Don't go to the hospital! (S5:E6)
The Walking Dead took a bit of a lover’s getaway this week with Carol and Daryl. Nothing like a nice pursuit and zombie horde to bring a couple together. The episode picks up soon after Daryl hops in the car Carol was ready to use for escape, giving chase to one of the cross cars we now know belong to the folks at Slabtown. Daryl is dying to get Beth back, and he’s like a bloodhound on her trail. The only problem is all the zombies.
This is an episode a lot of folks have been calling a character builder. The kind of slow burner that doesn’t progress the plot forward too much more than we already know, but it does expand our relationship with the characters. Something I don’t think The Walking Dead does well. It’s a show that constantly skims the line between quality TV and full-on genre porn, a wolf in a good show’s clothing. I guess I’m just a bit spoiled having read the comics. I know these characters (the ones that were present), and I just never felt like there was a lot there to begin with. Daryl has already grown quite a bit on the screen, and we’re well aware that Carol is different than when she first started on the show. She’s an actual character now, dammit. That means something.
I just don’t feel like this episode adds anything new to their characters the way some other folks have seen in the past. For Daryl, last season’s jaunt into playing house with Beth was a bigger leap forward than this one. And for Carol, it basically served as a way to show what she was doing away from the group while the cameras weren’t looking. It’d be great if we didn’t already know it all. I know that makes me an asshole, but I think we’ve seen enough character-building on this show to allow them to do some shit that doesn’t involve anticipation. Not to mention Carol takes one big step backward in my opinion.
This is all heading to some sort of confrontation with Slabtown. I don’t know if it is going to be at the mid-season finale or at the full end of the season in the spring; I just know it’s coming. It has to come. Rick is too much of a prick after Terminus to let this go idle, and he’s already proven to be brutal when his people are threatened. Not to mention that the mid-season finale will allegedly be “pretty deadly.”
But we have a few episodes before that, and this recap is only for episode six. The problem with recapping the events of this episode is that nothing happens to warrant a full recap. Daryl and Carol end up on foot in Atlanta, stumble upon Noah from Slabtown, end up discovering the hospital crew are the ones in the cross vehicles, and Carol ends up getting caught/hit with a fucking car. With all of that, we’re caught up with the moment that Daryl walks out of the woods a few episodes back. It’s a good bet that Noah is the person Daryl talks to in the bushes, and it is also a good bet that all hell is ready to break loose.
The nicer moments between Daryl and Carol involve their choices together. They both follow a similar path of redemption, but coming from different directions. Daryl was the strong and tough character that had love for his brother early on in the series and has now grown into the more understanding brother-from-another-mother type of guy in the later parts. He’s still tough, but his role has expanded as the apocalypse wears on.
Carol also has to find that “redemption” of character because she was weak for so long in the series. Two whole seasons were devoted to her being a sagging link in Rick’s group. A link that got more than one member killed due to her missing daughter. But she grew from that, and she changed into this person that isn’t afraid. She’s still sensitive Carol from the early seasons, but there is a hardened crust on top of her. A bit of grit thrown into her machinations that make her this formidable entity on the show. That’s how both of them can hold an entire episode on their own.
A key scene in the show involves a van toppling off of a highway and landing safely below. It’s a wild ride, but one could look at it as representative of their character arcs. There is no reason that either of these characters should have survived. Sure, Daryl was tough and loyal. At the same time he was stubborn and untrusting of those around him. It wasn’t until later that he opened up and landed on his feet, despite those obvious flaws early on.
Carol is the better example, from the weak servant into a bad ass killer. There were many times when she should’ve been killed, but toppled down to survive.
In the scene, this van should’ve crashed. Landed on its roof, killing everyone inside. By sheer luck (and production wizardry), the van lands back on its wheels, and the duo survives to carry on their hunt for the Slabtown denizens. It’s an awkward scene, but it allows you soak in what these characters are like for the show. They make foolish decisions, they do things that would probably get them killed, yet here they are.
Like I said above, Daryl and Carol meet up with Noah during their search for Beth, and it is their differing views on how to deal with him that eventually lead to Carol ending up in the wrong hands. He’s introduced to them at the end of a gun barrel, taking their weapons from them and leaving them for the zombies.
The tables are turned later on, and a choice is thrown out: save this kid and let him tag along or let him die and walk away. Daryl is fine doing the latter after their earlier encounter, but Carol makes a mistake. She wants Daryl to help, supposedly out of some sort of moral desire for Daryl. I’m not so convinced. I think it’s that inner weakness shining through.
I say this due to what happens to her in the end of the episode. Hit with a car, captured, helpless at the hands of fate. If she would’ve let Noah die, she might’ve lived. She had no problem killing earlier in the season. Killing innocent people to save others. I guess saving yourself doesn’t count as a proper act, even in the zombie apocalypse.