The Walking Dead – ‘Consumed’ Plot:
With his first solid lead on Beth’s (Emily Kinney) whereabouts, Daryl (Norman Reedus) rushes off with Carol (Melissa McBride) to get some answers. Their journey hits a major snag though once they hit the walker invested Atlanta.
There was a lot of anticipation going into this episode. First and foremost, it was clear since the promo last week that we would finally find out what happened to Carol and Daryl during “Four Walls and a Roof.” We would see what they dealt with when Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was fighting Gareth (Andrew J. West), how Carol appeared in the hospital near the end of “Slabtown,” and who Daryl had with him once he returned to the church. These were all burning questions and it was definitely time for some answers. Secondly, “Consumed” focused exclusively on everyone’s two favorite characters. Both Daryl and Carol have grown a lot in terms of popularity and I’m surprised it took this long to give them a solo episode. So it was awesome to finally have one which, combined with answering all of our questions, gave us one excellent hour.
Carol easily stole the show this week. Seeing as she’s now the most enigmatic character of the entire bunch, it’s only appropriate that we got flashbacks to what she did when she was separated. And let me tell you, these were much better than what we got with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) last week. The flashbacks were quick, but they all succeeded in presenting Carol as this woman who is prepared to make the really difficult decisions. We see her burning Karen’s body, burying Lizzie and Mika, and recovering after decimating Terminus, three events that would definitely cause someone to have a mental break. It was appropriate to pair this up with shots of her losing it too, like when she was exiled by Rick. Behind every tough decision is a woman who is suffering, immensely, with every call. Carol is by far the most hardcore and damaged person on this show, which obviously makes Daryl’s decision to burn the bodies they found to give her a break that much better. Carol doesn’t have to carry that weight on her own anymore.
Speaking of Daryl, I can’t think of a better duo on this show. These two are perfect together. What really makes the Daryl/Carol pairing work is their soft spoken desire to just do good. They will willingly walk into the fire if it means protecting those closest to them. They’re selfless individuals who very rarely ask for anything in return. And when they get something back, like Rick repeatedly thanking Carol for saving them, it’s always met with modesty. Very few words were spoken throughout this hour too. Carol mentioned a few times that she’s open to talk about Lizzie and Mika’s absence, but Daryl simply brushes it off saying that they “have to start over.” You can’t get hung up on all the terrible things you need to do to keep living. It’s obviously not easy to just “move on,” but it’s the way that world is. Both Carol and Daryl willingly carry burdens, but only one isn’t weighed down by them.
Their journey into Atlanta was appropriately intense. This is the first time we’ve dealt with this city since Season 1 and I absolutely loved how it’s fallen into this horrible state. Walkers are everywhere, buildings have become dilapidated, and no place is safe. There’s a reason why people should flee populated urban zones during an outbreak. Watching Daryl and Carol survive was especially exciting too and it really showed just how resourceful they are. Trapped in a van surrounded by walkers? Buckle up and let that van plummet. It was just great, even though it took a good while before we actually got to the action. Oh, and that recreation of the seminal Season 1 shot of Rick riding into Atlanta was an amazing added touch. The road and location is the same, but the dark cityscape is just so ominous this time around. Definitely fits the mood.
My big issue with the night though was how predictable it was. That’s one of the drawbacks behind showing what happens after these events before we actually see what the events were. We knew Daryl was going to come back with his crossbow, meaning Noah (Tyler James Williams) wasn’t going to escape with them. We already saw Carol in the hospital, though why she was there was still in question. It was pretty obvious after “Slabtown” that Noah would be the one to tell Carol and Daryl about what’s going on with beth. And I really think everyone was already convinced Noah was in the bushes when Daryl returned to the church. It’s just so obvious!
After this week’s episode, we’re definitely all caught up with the divided timelines. The only logical decision now is to bring the groups back together. Daryl has already returned to Rick’s group with Noah, but Abraham’s group is definitely on its way and everyone is planning to hit Grady Memorial to take Carol and Beth back. There are only two episodes left this year too so I fully expect plenty of action to end this first half with a bang. At the very least, we seemingly have ended this divided focus among smaller groups with a great episode. The Daryl/Carol story was compelling, I loved the action, and we’re set up beautifully for a killer conclusion. I only wish the story wasn’t so expected from the start. There was only one clear path to take after all and it played out exactly as people thought it would. But that’s merely a bump though. It doesn’t bring the quality down that significantly.
The Walking Dead airs every Sunday night on AMC
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.