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Over the past couple of years, fans of The Walking Dead have seen its characters go through some gigantic changes, thanks to the broadening of the outside world, which of course includes the prominent arrival of Negan and his Saviors. Few characters took the emotional leaps and bounds that Melissa McBride's Carol did, but it sounds like it was all for the greater good, as showrunner Scott Gimple teases the fan-favorite character's resurgence as a warrior in Season 8.
Her entire storyline has prepared her for this --- she's ready. The strength and bravery that she shows as a person this season, and the ingenuity that she employs... is very satisfying.
As a showrunner, especially one who gets cheeky about teasing the show's future, Scott Gimple would hopefully be into whatever happens with Carol in Season 8 anyway. But thankfully, his description made it sound like the trauma-conquering survivor won't spend the season running away from everyone and staying cooped up inside her new home outside The Kingdom. Rather, she appears to be heading for some exciting and dangerous moments when the All Out War between Team Family and Team Negan gets underway. And she'll be using her brains to make things happen.
Carol has been one of The Walking Dead's luckiest protagonists, in that she hasn't had much to deal with as far as Negan and his henchmen go. (She actually had more trouble with one of The Kingdom's own soldiers than any legitimate outside threats.) One of her last major moments of badassery came in Season 6 whenever she and Maggie went into beast mode while being held captive by Alicia Witt's Paula and other Saviors. But the first looks at Season 8 have already given us a more confidence-driven Carol, complete with large gun, so here's hoping she puts many more villains on ice as the season goes on.
Someone who might have problems adjusting to Carol's revised nature is her romantic foil, Kingdom leader Ezekiel, whose theatrical take on life doesn't exactly make him fit for a life of constant warring. Here's how Scott Gimple described that pairing.
There are some intense times ahead for Ezekiel. Carol is not going to be surprised about the difficulty and brutality that they're facing. Ezekiel is a little more new to this. The contrast [between the two] will be pretty stark.
Granted, Ezekiel has shown up and made some noteworthy noise when it counted, particularly when shit was going down in Alexandria in the Season 7 finale. If it wasn't for Shiva's big attack, who knows what Negan would have done to Rick and Carl? Negan, probably. And he likely won't forget about it as Season 8 goes on, either, since there won't be much time for peaceful ponderings.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC with all manner of explosions and tiger-riffic moments on Sunday, October 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see everything else hitting the small screen soon, head to our fall premiere guide.