Each month HTFG will be posting about a specific woman whom we admire. These discussions are intended to be a way for us to come together and discuss who we love and why. The women are going to be either characters (from shows, movies, books, graphic novels) or actual real life women themselves. They will not always be heroines. HTFG does not discriminate. Flaws are good. We can learn from villains, too.
Woman of March
Carol Peletier as portrayed by Melissa McBride
**Spoilers** – If you haven’t watched The Walking Dead, you may want to skip this one.
(This post will be dedicated to TV Carol, not graphic novel Carol.)
Carol is THE most badass woman on TV currently. She is strong-willed, skilled, smart, and ballsy. She has saved the crew from many threats and, especially, from the cannibals at Terminus. Bye, Termites! Let it be known though, upon meeting Carol, she is not exactly likeable. She was weak, beaten-down, a coward. Both Carol and her daughter, Sophia, are being abused by her husband, Ed. Carol could not protect herself or Sophia.
Season 1, when we first meet Carol with the rest of the group (including Ed and Sophia) at the quarry outside Atlanta. We see her doing “typical” woman jobs assigned by Ed: washing clothes, cooking food, cleaning up tents, “knowing her place”, etc. We also see her dick husband hit her because Andrea questions Carol’s preexisting bruises. Sophia is being abused as well. Carol cannot stop any of it. Luckily, Ed gets munched on by Walkers and we get to see Carol annihilate his body to release her frustrations over how shitty he made her life. It’s all a bit too little, too late, though.
In Season 2, after the escape from Ed and the CDC, Carol is hit with another tough blow when a herd of Walkers separates Sophia from the rest of the group. We meet new characters this season when we stumble upon the Greene family farm. We also watch a friendship develop between Daryl and Carol. Daryl becomes an ally and the first real friend she allows herself to trust. Daryl understands family drama and takes Sophia’s disappearance personally, since his own brother, Merle, is also missing. Daryl really gets through to Carol when he presents her with a Cherokee Rose. And, for the first time, Carol is hopeful.
Unfortunately, we find that the Greene’s have a bunch of Walkers in the barn and have for the entire season. Glenn tells the group and we are shown a big bunch of dead ones stumbling out and getting shot in the face by our crew. Then we see the saddest Walker so far stumble out of the doors..
Carol’s hope, along with the Cherokee Rose, and Sophia, die.
Season 3 begins to show us our beloved Badass Carol. She begins speaking her mind. She becomes more proficient at working with weapons. She learns some invaluable first-aid skills from our Veterinarian, Hershel . She no longer allows herself feelings. We see her start to become an integral part of the group. She helps save Hershel’s life after he gets bit on his leg (by one of the Walkers he hoped could be cured eventually) and Rick cuts off the infected leg. Carol acts as nurse. Hershel is saved.
She also offs a female walker so she can practice a C-Section for Rick’s pregnant wife, Lori’s, upcoming delivery. On top of all of this.. Carol has a plan to END THE GOVERNOR. She gives Andrea a knife to slit The Governor’s throat in his sleep. Andrea, of course, pansies out (because she is the WORST EVER). If she had gone through with Carol’s plan, then we would still have Hershel AND the prison (and the show would probably be a lot more boring, but that’s not the point).
Season 4 begins six months after The Governor’s ‘Crap Fest’. We see the group (which now includes the dissolved Woodbury crew) flourishing safely inside the prison. Carol has started teaching the kids in a very basic school setting and also sneaks in lessons on survival and knives and weapons. She develops a bond with two young orphaned girls, Lizzie and Mika. A disease starts spreading through the prison, though, killing anyone infected. The result? Walkers inside the safe, happy prison. Carol makes a bold move and secretly mercy kills two sick people, Karen and David. Tyreese (a fellow prison dweller who was in love with Karen) discovers the bodies and demands Rick find the killer. Rick uses his sheriff skills to figure out that Carol is the killer and eventually exiles her from the group.
Before he is able to tell Tyreese, the prison falls.
After an unknown amount of time passes, a large trail of smoke is seen in the sky prompting Carol to return to the prison. She finds Tyreese hiding in the woods with Lizzie, Mika, and baby Judith. Instead of being hurt and angry, Carol saves the day. They travel together and come upon signs and maps for a place called Terminus. Tyreese is still oblivious to the fact that Carol killed and burned his girlfriend. Carol begins to worry about Lizzie who can’t tell the difference between a puppy and a Walker. Lizzie also starts exhibiting psychotic tendencies.
Carol still tries to nurture and train Mika and her looney sister Lizzie, though. She loves these girls and treats them like her own second chance at being a mother. As we’ve seen, Carol doesn’t have the BEST luck. She and Tyreese go out for a bit to hunt and return to a gruesome scene.
In an effort to convince the others that Walkers are just changed people, Lizzie stabs her little sister, Mika, and was on her way to do the same to sweet baby Judith. Yes. Girl done lost her damned mind! Carol and Tyreese discuss what to do. Since there are not many mental institutions available lately they are forced to make a tough decision. Carol, of course, must do the unthinkable.
After Carol (rightfully) executes Lizzie, she fesses up to the murders/mercy killings in the prison. Tyreese is livid but soon forgives her because he now understands that she has paid for those murders and then some. They decide to pack Judith and head to Terminus.
The season four finale was QUITE the cliffhanger. Terminus was, in fact, too good to be true. It ended with the groups stuck in train cars after meeting Gareth and the other Termites. Our crew was split up and pretty much screwed with no weapons and no way out since the Terminus gang had them pinned and stripped of weapons.
Enter Season 5 and our FAVORITE CAROL EVER!
In “No Sanctuary” the groups finally get out of those train cars. Unfortunately, we are introduced to the trough and the ole “crack and slash”…
We’re pretty sure there’s NO WAY even Rick and Daryl can get out of this one but, enter Carol. Our Queen of Bad Assery figures out that Terminus is no good. She also realizes Rick and the others are there so she leaves Judith with Tyreese and rushes off to save the day. She covers herself in Walker blood & guts to blend in with a herd that is about to reach Terminus and makes her way to the fence.
Then, in an act of pure fiction, she blows up a friggin’ propane tank with 1 shot from a gun at least a mile away. This, of course, distracts the Termites and allows the others to escape the trough. She meets Gareth’s mom, Mary, who tells her all about Terminus and how it started as a sanctuary and then turned into a “steal people’s things and then eat them” community. Carol is pissed, so she shoots Mary in the leg and leaves her for the Walkers. You go, Carol. She deserved it. Finally, we get to see our gang reunited for the first time since the prison fell. All thanks to Carol. Judith gets to see her father and brother. And of course, the sob worthy reunion of Carol and Daryl.
Shortly after, the group finds Father Gabriel and his church. We see Carol struggle to reintegrate after being on her own for so long and the Mika/Lizzie incident. Carol never lets her guard down and contemplates sneaking off on her own again. During an attempt to leave, Daryl finds Carol loading a car she found when they see the car Beth was kidnapped in and take off in pursuit. We then witness, through Beth, Carol being brought into a hospital on a stretcher. In a flashback episode, we learn how this happened. We see tons of awesomeness by both she and Daryl, including them escaping a herd of Walkers by tipping the van they are sitting in off of a bridge, and also some touching scenes in a battered women’s shelter.
Carol never truly dealt with her abusive marriage or the loss of Sophia. Daryl, once again, proves to be the one who understands her best when he mercifully kills Walker women and children who were stuck in the shelter when turned. They then meet Noah and find out Beth is at Grady Memorial Hospital. One thing leads to another and our favorite girl gets hit by a car and ends up as a patient at Grady Memorial. Because Rick knows he owes Carol his and the families’ lives, he busts his ass to save her and Beth.. Carol is rescued but unfortunately Beth wasn’t. (RIP Beth).
After Beth’s death the group is reeling but continues on and tries to help Noah, losing Tyreese in the process. The group is broken after the loss of two family members. They are running out of supplies and exhausted. At this point Carol couldn’t leave if she wanted to. Then after a freak storm comes and resolidifies the group, a stranger comes along. We meet Aaron who takes us to Alexandria, a family community with running water, electricity, and (strangely) friendly people. The last time we ran into this we ended up with The Governor. In order to live inside Alexandria, however, the group must be interviewed individually by Deanna (the leader of Alexandria). Carol, ever thinking, puts on an old face. She ‘becomes’ more of a den mother to the group who protects her. This works and she’s given a job cooking for old people. Of course we all know Carol is smarter than this and refuses to allow our group to be vulnerable. The group likes the town, they love showers and conveniences they have not been allowed in years, even if they do not trust its current inhabitants. So, she, Rick, and Daryl devise a plan to steal guns during an integration party (in honor of our group’s deciding to stay) to stash in case they need to take over the town. Carol tells Rick that with her new identity she can go into the armory alone and steal the weapons, unsuspected. A young boy finds her and tells her he has to tell his mom. She threatens to kidnap him, string him up, and leave him for the Walkers. Two choices, death or cookies.
Carol has gone from a scared, shy, helpless, battered wife to a ‘Take Shit From No One’ bad mother. Carol has her good and her bad attributes. If the zombie apocalypse happens (see our Flesh Eating Fridays post) I hope I’m half as ruthless and adaptable as Carol. In just five seasons she has seen some of the best character development on the show. Carol isn’t just awesome because she’s a woman. She’s awesome because she’s a survivor. Terrible things do happen to people, and Carol is proof that even when they do, you can turn those things into fuel to be a stronger person. Maybe it won’t be the ZA, maybe it will be a break up, or a job loss, or a family illness for you. But no matter what it is, if you take just a little piece of Carol, then you can push through and kick it in the ass even if it doesn’t make it go away. (We do not suggest stealing, killing, bullying, or bribery.)
Carol is a huge fan favorite. Melissa McBride has done an absolutely fantastic job portraying her so we (of course) have to give her a HUGE shout out.
And thank you Carol for inspiring us all to be like you when the Walkers take over!