Well, the wait is over. Last week, San Angelo fans of The Walking Dead were curious as to whom set off the horn at the end of the season premier. We now know, as many of you predicted, the Wolves were the culprit behind the incident. The group finally made themselves known in the worst way, and man were they a scary looking bunch. The group looked like they walked right of a set of Mad Max—the 1979 version of course. Also, as Rick prophesied in the last episode, the weak don’t last in the new world, and this episode proved that. At this point in the game, it’s either kill or be killed, and that seemed to be the top theme of the show this week.
Carol The Killing Machine
Next to Daryl, Carol is another favorite of mine. She gives a whole new meaning to the cliché Suzy Homemaker. In the beginning of the show, I remember thinking her weak and not lasting long, especially after she lost Sophia; however, she has really transformed into an “I’ll kill you if you mess with me or the people I care about” kind of woman; and where some people in the current group might balk at killing the living, she has no problem doing what has to be done without flinching.
When it comes to illusion, Carol is the queen. She has that innocent motherly face and uses her expressive blue eyes in a way that makes people believe she’s nothing more than a warm, loving woman who loves to bake and help others. Her clothes help to solidify that facade. Of course, we know Carol uses her Suzy Homemaker façade in Alexandria to be the eyes and ears for the group, and if people knew she was capable of killing a psychotic girl, burning sick people who threatened the safety of her family, or threatening one of Alexandria’s own, they would deem her more of a threat than Rick.
I have to admit, I find it interesting this boy keeps coming back to Carol for more, as if she will somehow turn into that warm caring mother figure he can associate the great cookies with. Either that, or he knows she’s more than what she seems and can protect him. In this episode, it appears the first scenario is accurate because he goes and sulks on Carol’s steps after Rick kills his father. He appears to be looking for consolation, but the Suzy Homemaker-looking woman offers no words of comfort.
“Your dad beat you and now he’s dead,” Carol tells the boy. “Deal with it.”
That one statement represents Carol in so many ways, and it makes sense that she would say this to the boy. No matter how much she cried or gave into her despair over the loss of Sophia, nothing changed her reality, and no one in the group coddled her. That made her stronger, so she knows she has to do the same for this kid because he's weak, as are all the Alexandrians.
These people have lived behind a gated fence for too long and go about life as if nothing has changed in the world. They haven’t had to experience the tragedies and loss Carol and the group has. They still smoke their cigarettes, drink their wine and gossip, and Carol has no problem telling the people what they don’t want to hear. Their weakness puts them all in danger, and that weakness does just that when the Wolves enter the community and begin hacking the people to death with machetes and knives.
As the Alexandrians die painfully and in fear, Carol does what she does best and acts. She dons the clothes of the enemy and goes into super kill mode. Without emotion, she maneuvers through the compound to take down the enemy, and when Morgan comes to help save the day, he sees Carol for who she truly is, and her approach to dealing with the Wolves causes Morgan concern. To him, she’s become the savage who kills without reason. However, fails to witness Carol killing her neighbor out of mercy, and he fails to see the tears she sheds after everything hits her in the end. Those tears prove Carol has not lost her humanity. She simply knows what has to be done in the world she lives in.
Morgan the “I’m Gonna Beat You Down” Fighter
Now that Morgan has returned to the land of the living, it’s obvious he’s trying hard to maintain his humanity and avoid slipping back into his own savagery, which we witnessed a few seasons ago. Unfortunately for us, we don’t know exactly what the man did, but with all the ammo he amassed and how specific his booby-trapped environment was, we can assume he resorted to drastic measures.
Additionally, Morgan can really use that pole of his, and there's no doubt, he could kill a lot of people with it. However, he doesn't. He also doesn't fault the Alexandrians for their weaknesses, at least that's how it appears when Morgan returns to Alexandria to help Spencer, Deanna’s son, stop the horn that causes the zombies to veer off track. Spencer, who witnesses the violence for the first time, as many of the Alexandrians, freezes with fear after the 18-wheeler truck crashes into the wall, and he can’t kill the driver, one of the Wolves, who dies and turns into a zombie. Therefore, when Morgan shows up, he realizes the man’s fear, and kills the zombie.
As opposed to Rick or Carol who would have viewed Spencer’s reaction as weakness and may have forced him to do what he had to do, Morgan understands the man and has him watch over his mother when he leaves to go help the people in the community.
When Morgan enters the compound, he finds Carol, dressed as one of the Wolves, killing people, and he doesn't agree with it. He tells her, “We don’t have to kill.”
“Yes, we do,” Carol responds and proceeds to hand him a gun, which Morgan doesn’t use. He sets out to prove guns and killing aren't necessary.
So where Carol goes around killing the attacking Wolves, Morgan gives the group a chance to leave, even when several of them try to attack him at once. Morgan beats the shady men and women with his long pole, and that’s when he learns the Wolves have no guns. A few of them get away, but one man refuses to heed Morgan’s warning, so with an “I’m sorry,” Morgan kills him, or we assume he does because of the way the scene ends.
Overall, Morgan misses the savage killings perpetrated by the Wolves. All he sees are disheveled and dirty men and women without guns who can make a choice to leave. He doesn’t witness the way these people hack through the Alexandrians like Carol did. He didn't hold dying people in his arms the way she did.
To Rick's old friend, however, he did the right thing—the humane thing; however, he hasn't witnessed how many times Rick tried the humane route only to have that come back and haunt him in the end. Carol has. Chances are, with the savage look of that group, Morgan will also end up regretting his actions when the Wolves return to finish what they started.
The Connecting Scene
The most telling scene that represents the separation of violence served by Carol and Morgan occurs at the end when the two are walking toward each other. Carol still has her Wolves clothing on and the W on her forehead while Morgan carries his pole. The two stare at each other, but as they get close, they cross paths without touching or speaking and go in different directions. Carol is heading toward the community and Morgan heads away. It’s unclear if he’s leaving for good after witnessing what he sees as a “slaughter” of gunless men and women, or if he’s leaving to return to Rick’s side. I imagine we’ll find out next week.
That scene signifies the different paths in which Morgan and the group walk. He feels violence should only go so far and no more people need to die as a result of the fallen world; however, Carol and Rick both see that violence as a necessary evil to keep them alive. Whether that violence is cruel or terrible, it has to be done.
The Final Review and Discussion
Where Morgan views Carol and Rick as having lost their humanity, or in danger of it, we the viewers see something else. We get to witness their struggle and their internal fight. With all the group has experienced, I don’t blame Carol or Rick for doing what they have. They have taken a lot of chances, and each time they did so, they lost someone. They’re family now, and they have to do what it takes to protect that family. Morgan, on the other hand, is not family, and based on his judgment, it’s hard to tell if he will ever be. Although I understand the man's attempt to hold on to his humanity, Morgan is smart enough to know the dangers of people. It’s almost like we’re back to the beginning where he points the gun at his wife but can’t pull the trigger. That was his weakness that got his son killed, and that same weakness will possibly be his downfall, or the downfall of a one of Rick’s group. Again, only time will tell.
All in all, this week’s episode was full of action and gave me the clenched stomach muscles. I love seeing Carol in action. She made me want to go put a "Team Carol" T-shirt on after that episode. I was als surprised to see one Alexandrian stepping up her game, and that’s Rick’s love interest, Jessie. I feel now the woman will understand why Rick did what he did to her husband. He was protecting the Alexandrians and the people he loves. Jessie had no choice but to do the same, and boy did she do so with gusto. Admittedly, I’m curious to see how that changes her.
One thing though that had me confused about the episode is the zombies. At the end of the last episode, the zombies were heading toward the community pretty fast. I kept waiting for the zombies to come charging through the compound, especially after Morgan showed up. However, a lot of time seemed to pass after that appearance, so that left me a bit "perturbed." I guess we can assume everything happened within a matter of minutes, and that’s why no zombies bombarded the compound. Hopefully, next week's episode clears that up.
Again, because of my bias of the show, I would give this episode, along with every other episode, an A+. Therefore, like last time, I come to you, the readers, to tell me your thoughts. I want to thank you all for such an enlightening discussion last week, and I hope you’ll continue. With that being said, here are some discussion questions I’d like you to answer in the Rant section below or on Facebook.
- What did you think of this episode?
- Who do you think is in the right, Carol or Morgan? Why?
- What do you foresee happening with Morgan letting the Wolves go?
- What are your thoughts on JSS?
- What are your thoughts on the Wolves?
- How would you rate this episode and why?
As usual, I look forward to your responses and our discussion.