When “Consumed” opened with a flashback to Rick leaving Carol, I was immediately excited to see where they were going to take this episode. However, I was a bit surprised that nearly all of it was something of one long flashback to hers and Daryl’s search for Beth, interrupted only by very brief scenes from before she met back up with the group.
As we learned in “Slabtown“, the car that Daryl and Carol were following was eventually going to end up back in Atlanta, and that’s where “Consumed” picked up their storyline. Although it seemed a bit too convenient for them to immediately lose the vehicle that they’d followed so far (it led to the story being dragged out a bit more than was necessary), it was certainly interesting to follow them through the city.
Not only did this trip into Atlanta yield many common – and in this episode, pretty creepy – sites for those who have been to the city, but we also discovered a bit more about Carol’s past, particularly when they spent the night in what was presumably a battered women’s shelter that she’d fled to once in her “previous life”. The mother and daughter walkers were a bit obvious in terms of symbolism, but Daryl “killing” them and burning their corpses for Carol was a sweet gesture, though one that, to me, showed only friendship between them (in fact, the friendship – or perhaps brother/sister – side of their relationship was portrayed consistently throughout “Consumed”).
Unfortunately for them, though, Daryl and Carol weren’t alone in Atlanta. I’d conjectured that it was possible Daryl returned to the church with Noah, and when Noah showed up in this episode – even after he took their weapons and ran off – it was obvious that we still hadn’t seen the last of him.
After Noah steals Carol’s gun and Daryl’s crossbow, leaving them with no more than knives to defend themselves, their conversations become more like bickering than anything else. Although Daryl had insisted that they could “start over”, Carol was fighting against that – against him. It’s a testimony to the writing and the development of both their characters that whether it was Carol egging Daryl on or vice versa, it was natural and believable, even for their current predicament.
However, though “Consumed” was generally a well-played episode, the van scene was a bit over the top. Daryl may be determined to find Beth, but that van obviously wasn’t safe…and once the zombies started showing up, it was only a matter of time before they were strapping themselves in and just waiting for it to tip over the edge. I actually couldn’t help but laugh when the zombies followed them down; yes, it was funny, but it was also realistic enough that it didn’t feel ridiculous (which isn’t something I would say about the van situation as a whole, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there at this point).
Another thing that was portrayed well in this episode was the fire symbolism. Between flashbacks to Carol and the fires she witnessed (the prison, the house that Beth and Daryl burned, Terminus) to Daryl using fire several times to distract the zombies, “Consumed” was full of these small nods to its title – all of which were better allusions to it than Carol’s obvious line, “Everything now just consumes you.”
Thankfully Daryl was there to remind her, “We ain’t ashes”, and later he gave her another push by forcing her to fight for Noah’s life…only to have this backfire when all three of them weren’t able to escape. But at least we finally know how Carol got to the hospital (and were given more proof that the “cops” go out of their way to injure the people they “save”), as well as who was with Daryl when he returned to the church at the end of “Four Walls and a Roof“. (Noah, that is.)
As we close in on the mid-season finale, it seems clear that The Walking Dead won’t be bringing bring all of the factions of the group back together before going on hiatus, but I for one am ready for Dawn and her men to get their due. Considering that “Consumed” closed with a long look at Daryl’s determined expression, I have high hopes that this will happen sooner rather than later.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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