I would watch Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) running around on their own every single week of The Walking Dead if I could. Their chemistry is the best of any of the characters thanks to the mad acting skillz of McBride and Reedus. They embody the minimalistic performance-oriented narrative approach to the season that I’ve praised over and over again this year. These are actors who have totally inhabited their characters and can express volumes with a single look or a quiet act. “Consumed” fills in the blanks between the moment when they took off in pursuit of the white-cross car and when Daryl arrived home in the night with a mysterious person in tow. Now we know that person was Noah (Tyler James Williams) — which has been the safe bet since the end of “Slabtown” — and that the last two episodes before the winter break will be centered entirely on getting Beth (Emily Kinney) and Carol back from the hospital. And I think we can safely assume that it’s not going to go down peacefully. But that’s the future. While “Consumed” was the Carol and Daryl show, the real focus of the episode was specifically Carol, with flashbacks to the burning of the infected in the prison, to when Rick (Andrew Lincoln) banished her, to her discovery of the prison in flames, and to the moments before she revealed herself to the group again after Terminus burned. In between these glimpses of her journey we follow Carol and Daryl as they return to a burnt out Atlanta and make their way to Grady Memorial Hospital. And while there’s not a lot of action or plot movement — which I’ve seen some fans complaining about online already — “Consumed” stands as another example of the sort of storytelling that has pushed The Walking Dead from the hit-or-miss melodrama it started as into the solidly scripted drama it’s become over the past two seasons. Sure, it still stumbles from time to time, but aside from “Claimed” and last week’s “Self Help” this has been the most consistent stretch of episodes of just about any show on television (maybe Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, or maybe Hannibal are its only rivals, if you ask me). We could talk a bit about the symbolism of the fire and the columns of smoke signaling transitions in Carol’s life, but she makes that pretty plain with her admission to Daryl that she keeps feeling like previous versions of herself are being burned away as she becomes more and more aligned with this post-apocalyptic world. One could even make some interesting symbolic interpretations about the pillars of smoke guiding her own personal Exodus, like the Lord guided the Israelites out of Egypt, but I’ll let that hang there and we can discuss it in the comments if anyone wants to take it up. I’m more impressed with the ways Carol and Daryl interact and how their emotional connection has become the deepest and most realistic on the show. The simple act of Daryl dispatching and burning the bodies of the woman and child they discovered in the women’s shelter said more than any monologuing declaration of friendship, as did Carol’s simple “Thank you” and the way she snagged the Treating Survivors of Child Abuse book. But the episode wasn’t all golden. To balance out the almost brilliant zombies in sleeping bags moment, we also had the bad old cliché of walkers simply appearing out of nowhere as our heroes tried to get info out of the crashed hospital van. And while it was a nice moment as they strapped in and fell from the overpass — with the van miraculously landing on its wheels (having apparently done a complete flip in the air?) — it was really the rain of walkers that made the scene work. The one moment that really bugged me though, and I know this is so nit-picky that it makes me look bad, was when Noah got the drop on them after they slipped through the chained door. There is no way that Carol would have gone through that doorway gap backwards, allowing Noah to grab her weapons and hold them at bay. I suppose one could argue that she was feeling safe and let her guard down, but it felt extremely out of character. As did her running out into the street and getting hit by the police car outside the hospital. So now we know that she’s not sneaking in as part of any plan, which is disappointing, but it sets up the baddest-assest moment of the night, as Noah tells Daryl that the Slabtown group has “guns and people,” which lets Daryl growl “So do we,” as they drive off into the night to rally the troops. The Walking Dead 5.06 “Consumed”4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.