The Walking Dead delivers some nice little character moments in an otherwise tense standoff, proving this show can accomplish great things when it isn't trying to convince us that Glenn is dead.

Her Cross to Bear

In what is essentially a bottle episode, The Walking Dead delivered an excellent blend of heart and action, proving that whatever they are doing this season is working. In an episode where so many things were done right, we have a perfect example of what this show can really do when it isn’t trying to convince us that Glenn is dead.

Maggie and Carol are being held prisoner by Negan’s goons, while Rick and friends are elsewhere, theoretically figuring out how to rescue the two. Right off the bat, Carol begins to feign weakness to lower her captors’s expectations. She hyperventilates and begs for her crucifix, causing the guards to roll their eyes. She then, too, reveals that Maggie is pregnant, so now both of these characters have a pity card on the table. It’s a smart move by Carol, but things aren’t as they seem.

While the crucifix and hyperventilation is superfluous, Carol is truly bothered by the brutality surrounding her. Maybe it’s the life-that-was back in Alexandria, or maybe it’s the musings on survival and fighting with her captors, but Carol is growing to be rather kill-averse. I’m not quite sure if the episode is going for full Stockholm Syndrome, or just…common humanity, but either way, it was clear that there were some uneasy feelings between the two groups.

It’s worth noting, too, that this is not backtracking for the characters. She’s not reverting to the Carol of season one who couldn’t kill; she’s evolving into a Carol who won’t kill. It’s an evolution…a new Carol that hopes that human beings can be above this kind of thing. After all, she saw a village be reborn, so why not a city? A state? The species?

During their escape, it’s Maggie who does most of the killing, with Carol only doing the deed after begging the others to just run away. When she does kill, it’s either to defend Maggie’s life or indirectly via zombie bite. This desire to spare life is immediately undercut by Rick, who doesn’t hesitate to shoot the man he believes to be Negan. Carol is visibly disturbed by this and the others don’t even notice.

It’s an excellent episode in a stretch of excellent episodes, so let’s compliment the writers who are clearly doing something differently, because it’s paying off, whatever it is.

Odds and Ends

-The lack of zombies is great. People should be the antagonists, and now they finally are.
-Why did these people sound extra southern tonight?
-Also worth noting that at the end of the episode, Carol was gripping the crucifix so tightly she was bleeding, grasping ever tighter for her dwindling humanity.
-I don’t like the term “bun in the oven.”

Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.

Alex Russo

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