Talking Out The Dead: “Consumed”

Thomas Crawford: So, Daryl and Carol go on a road trip, they track down the vehicle that took Beth, get some alone time together, and meet Noah.  Sounds like it should be a pretty good ride right?  I have to admit, I do have some problems with this episode.  I’m not saying it was bad, I’m just saying it felt strained, even for a world dominated by the walking dead.

The whole underlying premise of the show was Carol dealing with her demons it seems.  I know Kelen is in love with this bad ass warrior woman, but she seems to be cracking.  The only reason they are having this episode is because she was about to leave the group.  Daryl sort of pointed this out because he caught her as she was planning on leaving the family once she found that car.

I will admit, I love this part of the episode.  Carol has been doing so much over the past season or two that should give her doubts, give pause, or at least make her a little vulnerable.  Until this episode, she has always seemed solid, stone cold, and resolute in her desire to survive and thrive.  This episode showed that the exterior is not as solid as we all thought.  She is human, and the people she has lost and had to kill has left wounds open that are festering.  Her battle wounds from TWD world have almost, “Consumed” her if you will.  I do like the title.

I am not happy though because once again, the writers really didn’t flesh out the relationship between Carol and Daryl.  There have been hints. Remember “pookie”? But no clear definition of what their relationship is about.  Come on, there have been several episodes spent outlining relationships that didn’t last long.  Anyone remember Bob and Sasha?

These two characters have had a relationship since the first season.  Yes, at first it wasn’t much and really didn’t need to be highlighted.  Then it was about Carol’s missing daughter and Daryl’s quest to reunite them.  Then it was sort of a close friendship that seemed to develop, perhaps even Daryl becoming almost like a son to her.  Perhaps they were more a couple, who knows?  What is clear that these two individuals really do care about each other.  I’m not saying I think they should hook up and become the next Maggie and Glenn.  However, I think there should be some definite lines put down as to what they are to each other.  At the very least, they could talk to each other like they are friends.

That is something else that bothered me about this episode.  These two, whatever the relationship, have always been close.  However, during this time together, Carol can’t talk to Daryl about her feelings?  Daryl can’t talk to Carol about what is bothering him?  Carol took Daryl to a battered women’s shelter for them to spend the night.  All she said was she went there once, and left the next day to go back to Ed.  That was her abusive husband if you all forgot.  The whole scene of Daryl dropping the book on surviving an abusive upbringing was a nice touch.  However, all of it felt more like a plot device than an organic moment that the show was going for.  The whole scene sort of felt contrived.

Maybe I am bashing a little too much.  I would like to point out I didn’t hate the episode, it was mostly the back and forth and relationship building, or lack of both, between Daryl and Carol.  That was sort of what I was expecting from the trailers.  Again, this show doesn’t need another Maggie and Glenn, I’m not saying that.  However, these two characters have been on the show since the beginning.  They have been through so much with the fans.  Daryl is arguably the most popular character on the show, at any give point, in any season.  Carol has gone from a meek, once in awhile character, to having her own following of fans.  Don’t the writers think that we sort of deserve some more from these two?

There is an old saying that my grandma used to tell me.  If I remember right, it was shit or get off the pot.  Basically, it meant do your business or leave it and forget about it.  This is sort of how I feel about the teasing of something between Carol and Daryl, putting their relationship, whatever it is, out in the open, then putting it on the back burner.  The show has come too far at this point for this type of playing between two such long time characters.  They need to lay down the law: what are Carol and Daryl?  These sort of cute, back and forth, almost saying something but not really episodes… leave them to the romance genre.  This is TWD, there isn’t time for that bull.

In the end, it took me a lot of time to wrestle with these thoughts because I did like this episode for other reasons.  However, at this point in the show, the back and forth, the still playing at how they feel or what they are to each other, almost ruined it for me.  I’m going to pass it off to Kelen, feel free to disagree but that really knocked this episode down in my opinion.

Kelen Conley: And this is where one of themes I was talking about in “Self Help” comes back into play. TWD is an episodic television show that makes tons and tons of money. There is a certain interest in keeping the show running as long as they can. They cannot resolve the outbreak. No one wants to watch a show where Rick and his misfit family try to adapt back into the “new civilization”.

They also cannot tell you exactly what Carol and Daryl are to each other. Not yet anyway.

One of the first things Heather said to me after this show aired was how C&D; should have kissed if not gotten it on at the women’s shelter and how mad she was they didn’t. Hook, line, and sinker. As long as C&D; breathe life on TWD, it’s in the best interest of the show to drag out their relationship as much as possible. While I never see a “ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF THE WALKING DEAD, CAROL AND DARYL HAVE BEEN PLAYING THE DANCE FOR EIGHT SEASONS NOW. NEXT WEEK, WE FINALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR… ARE THEY LOVERS OR FRIENDS?” headline in the future, that’s exactly what you’re getting. While this one loose plot thread isn’t enough to keep the show going, it’s one of many that will bring viewers like you, like Heather, and like me back every season.

With the obvious stated, let me address your other C&D; concerns. You mentioned that there wasn’t time for the writers not to tell us what C&D; are to each other… um, yes there is. There is absolutely nothing to do when the group isn’t on the move or being hunted by cannibals or having to go on a run. What makes you mad is that we don’t see the quiet moments that could answer this burning question for you and it drives you nuts. There is no time if you’re thinking about the fact that there are no promised tomorrows on this show (there aren’t really in IRL either). But as fan favorites, I have a feeling C&D; have a lot more days ahead of them to sort this out.

Sidebar: I know there’s the whole “if Daryl dies we riot” thing with TWD and according to Heather, Carol might be approaching that status too. But what if in the next episode or so, or even in the midseason premiere in February, with no warning or anything, Daryl did die? I still don’t think the Carol lives movement is strong enough, but do you think TWD lives and dies with Daryl Dixon that much? Because without getting into it too deeply, I really think Rick could die in the opening minutes of the next episode and the ratings would be fine, if not go up with Daryl the definitive leader from there on out. Get back to me.

I loved this entire episode start to finish, no hate on this side. Season 4 made me a pro at character driven episodes and “Consumed” was no exception in that area. The plot was driven, C&D; went through some things, there were walker kills, Daryl found some cigarettes, this was a damn good episode. And again, the lack of C&D; relationship building didn’t bother me.

I don’t think the fact that C&D; didn’t want to talk to each other bothered me either. In fact, it made sense. They were out trying to find Beth, so it’s not like they were on a routine run. The stakes were a bit higher here, so I can understand them not wanting to spill their guts. Carol hasn’t made any mention of Lizzie and Mika to anyone since it happened; I doubt Daryl’s told anyone he got drunk with Beth and burned a cabin down. They’ve both done things they’re ashamed of since they were last together. In fact, the time that passed from when she killed Karen and David to when Rick exiled her, wasn’t that long. She probably hasn’t even discussed that with him.

You have to remember that from the end of season 3 to the start of season 4, C&D; spent a lot of time in the prison and it was without any threats hanging over them. Maybe in those months that passed, they grew close enough for Carol to call him Pookie. Maybe there was a physical relationship. Maybe they just had both been through so much shit in their lives that they were able to truly bond. But the moment Patrick dropped dead in “30 Days Without An Accident”, peace time was over. So if you look at C&D; as having not had any relationship for several months from the time Karen and David died, the awkwardness makes sense.

And you can’t compare C&D; to Bob and Sasha. We said from the start that Bob and Sasha getting together was a means to an end, with that ultimately being Bob getting to die as “normally” as possible in TWD world (and to give Sasha scars from the way she took down that guy from Terminus).

I want to leave off by pointing out how awesome of a couple they’d make when they were looking at that artwork in the abandoned office. Daryl playing the role of the uncultured country boy and Carol the city girl who loves him as much as she enjoys a fine wine. Sometimes living an apocalyptic world sucks, especially when you may have found your soulmate.

Anyone want to talk about something else in this episode now?

TC:  First off, I have to respond to the Carol and Daryl thing.  As I said, I don’t want another Maggie and Glenn.  However, just a hint would be nice.  I’m a simple man.  I don’t need words.  I don’t need a big make out scene, and honestly it would seem out of place at this point.  How about a simple gesture, them holding hands when laying in bed together?  Would that have rocked the world?  I would just like a confirmation of what they mean to each other, as the trailers showed this was a big episode for these two together.

I would like to also point out that I was not comparing them to Bob and Sasha.  That would be asinine.  What I was comparing was how one couple got several episodes and had a great several moments to show what they meant to each other.  Carol and Daryl, well they have had multiple seasons together.  They seemed uncomfortable to the point of strangers at times in this episode.  Feel free to disagree, but he is supposed to be the closest thing she has at this point to a friend, a family member, a brother, a lover, again, whatever, we don’t KNOW what they are.

It does burn and drives me to love the subplot, I will concede that.  However, there is something to be said for dragging things out a bit too much.  There is another long running episodic show, dare I say the longest running episodic show on television that we both are familiar with, that tends to start subplots and leave them hanging… until no one cares anymore.  Word to the writers, subplots are great, cliffhangers are great, but in the end, viewers need some resolution.  As I said, a simple gesture of holding hands in bed would have sufficed.  Sorry, Daryl burning the walker mom and kid, her telling him about the painting, those were close, but not close enough in my book.

Moving on, as I know you want to talk about other things than Carol and Daryl.  Wait a second, didn’t this episode feature them?  Who else could we possibly talk about in this episode?  Oh yes, a favorite of Kelen’s, the man simply known as Noah.  Kelen, I know you love this guy, you don’t have to pretend.

Noah went from a strange character helping Beth that a lot of people didn’t trust, to a character stealing Daryl and Carol’s guns and leaving them at the mercy of walkers.  What an asshole.  Actually, I still have a weird liking for this kid.  I know you are going to chastise me, but he doesn’t seem wholly malevolent.  Its more of a scared, wanting to stay alive, and most of all staying away from the prison… oh sorry, I meant hospital thing.

Are Noah’s actions malicious?  Well, he did steal Daryl and Carol’s weapons.  Or did he?  I mean, anyone else find it strange he left their knives and Carol’s small sidearm?  He just wanted a gun.  The fact is he was hurt, had just escaped, and wanted protection.  I don’t even think he wanted protection from the walkers… he wanted protection from the so called police officers that were after him.

Is it possible he knew Daryl and Carol would be okay?  Carol had a shot at him as he left after they killed the walkers he let loose.  This tends to point out he stayed long enough to be sure that they could handle the walkers, or at least not be completely at the mercy of the tent walkers (were they hippies?).  The naysayers might just say he was injured and limping.  However, there was just a look as he cut open the tent, it just seemed as if he was giving them a warning and trying to let them get ready.  I may be wrong but Daryl and Carol both had their knives out as he was letting the walkers go.

Was it wrong?  Yes it was.  However, this is TWD.  Daryl and Carol were strangers.  He had a chance at a firearm that he could use to protect himself.  He left them with some protection.  I don’t even think he took anything else from them.  If Noah were really a hardened bad ass, wouldn’t he have stripped them of weapons, asked about food, water, taken their packs?  I’m not defending him, I’m just saying it was more a moment of opportunity for a scared kid who didn’t want them hurt, yet wanted their gun.  I’m still giving Noah the benefit of the doubt until he does something really stupid or hurtful.  In his shoes, what he had gone through, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have acted the same way.

Could Rick be killed off and the ratings be fine?  That is a tough question.  The fact is that the show has, no matter the subplots, been about Rick and him surviving and making sure his family is safe.  Would it be different?  Yes it would.  I’m not sure that it would completely destroy the show, as several characters have evolved to being true fan favorites in their own right.  I think it would be a big risk that I don’t see the writers taking.  At the same time, I think there is a large contingent of fans that would still love the show, and many that would be completely fine with it.  A more likely scenario, is Rick would fade out from the main storyline.  He would still be in episodes, however would not be the main protagonist of any given episode.

Overall, I did like this episode.  My dislikes aside, it was an episode that showed a new character, had two personal favorites as its basis, plus it gave some needed answers such as who was with Daryl when he made it back to the church, was Carol really hurt, and will the gang get to Beth soon.  It was also a character based episode, even if the building wasn’t up to what I had hoped.

KC: As always, I’ll work my way backwards through your comments.

I’m really pissed off it was Noah that was with Daryl. I liked all of our answers way better than that gimpy kid. It does make the most sense considering that the group will need to find a way into the hospital and Noah will be able to give them inside information but I don’t have to like it.

I definitely don’t see them ever killing Rick as he’s the main character. It was just a random scenario I thought up while answering all your Harlequin Romance questions about C&D.; Moving him to a background player would probably turn people off as well, just considering all the people who whined last season when an episode didn’t show him. I guess we’ll find out how TWD spinoff does since Rick shouldn’t be in it at all.

I really hope having two TWD shows doesn’t turn into a Raw and SmackDown thing, just to keep up the wrestling references.

My feelings on Noah haven’t changed one bit. I hate him and I was really hoping Daryl was going to let that walker eat him. I really wished he would’ve let Carol shoot him after he stole their weapons initially. Clearly, we can tell he didn’t abandon Beth because he’s a jerk like I originally thought but he’s such a throwaway character. He’s there just to move the story along, they’re going to end up killing a character I care about, and then the group will be stuck with boring, ol’ Noah.

I want to say that I am a fan of Tyler James Williams, the actor who plays Noah. I was late to the party but I love Everybody Hates Chris and he just did a hilarious spot as Jaleel White on a sketch from Key & Peele. I just hate that he’s saddled with such a pointless character. I know a paycheck is a paycheck, but damn.

So good for Noah, he knew that C&D; could take care of themselves with the walkers in the tents. Good for Noah. He only left them defenseless to go check out that van on the bridge that they had to lock themselves into and oh yeah, FALL OFF SAID BRIDGE IN SAID VAN TO AVOID THAT HERD OF WALKERS because good for Noah, he left Carol one pistol. Good for Noah. He’s just a scared kid who didn’t know these two people who are clearly looking for something. People don’t come back into Atlanta thinking they’ll be safe, that’s not logical at this point in the game. But good for Noah because he’s just a scared kid who wants to go back to his family. Good for Noah that he seems like he wants to save Beth, except he makes no mention of her until Daryl does. Good for Noah because he should’ve just approached C&D; and tried talking instead of making the Billy Bad Ass play for the weapons. Good for Noah because he’s so smooth, he got trapped under a bookcase and almost got killed.


But good for Noah, he’s just a kid. He’s scared. He is making due with what he can think of from moment to moment.

In lieu of stronger language… I hate Noah.

And my last C&D; comment: I think you’ll have your answer by the end of season 5. Because Carol Peletier isn’t going to survive much longer.

But good for Noah.

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