Spoiler warning for Episode 2 of The Walking Dead Season 6.
Few on TV experience the kind of character arcs that Carol has gone through on The Walking Dead. Upon reaching Alexandria in Season 5, she was able to draw on her former days as a wife and mother to develop the matronly persona that almost everyone immediately attached to. (Even Sam did, as cookies always outweigh getting chastised and half-threatened with a knife.) We fully expected her to play happy homemaker for quite a while, but “JSS” changed all that, and it looks like Carol will be more like her “real” self moving forward.
When asked about how her position within the community will change after everyone saw that she was a wisely conniving hero with killer skills, actress Melissa McBride said that the jig is up.
Her cover is blown now and I think that's OK. We'll have to wait and see how the Alexandrians respond to her and we'll come to see how they respond to her — and also to having that normalcy that everybody looked forward to. It was so hopeful and wonderful but it only lasted for a few minutes and now that's been blown, too. That parallels her cover being blown and the idea of that normalcy being blown. That's now hit home that this is the world you're living in and the Alexandrians are seeing it firsthand. The illusion is coming down all around.
Like last week, when Alexandria’s herd-heeders got a taste of a random walker attack and failed to do much beyond cower in the process, the people inside of the formerly safe haven got their own proof of how horrifying the world is these days. To be fair, the Wolves were intentionally far deadlier than brainless packs of walkers, so their lesson was heightened, but still. Looking outside of a window and seeing someone get shanked with a machete is at the opposite end of the societal spectrum from lauding Carol for her baking achievements.
Losing Carol as the den mother is probably going to take a mental toll on some of these survivors who desperately need something from the “normal” world to cling to. It’s entirely possible that they could all sort of look past the buckets of blood on her hands and revert back to hitting her up for recipes. Of course, that’ll have to happen after they bury all the people who died in the Wolves’ attack, and as they’re repairing the walls, and as they’re anticipating the next big attack. Nothing makes casseroles look better than when everything else is a sign of fledgling mortality.
Here’s what McBride told THR about the effect of her lost persona.
It’s twofold – she was playing that disguise but I’m sure there’s a part of Carol that does want that normalcy. Everything she said about being in the kitchen when she was depressed and how it gave her something to think about besides everything that made her sad. There genuinely is a desire to have that feeling again. Then to have that wiped away … that kind of hope that maybe things could be normal — and then she's seeing the Alexandrians killed and having to put down [Alexandria residents] Erin and Neudermeyer. If she hadn't had to play this role, they could have been friends.
Personally, I’m most invested in seeing how Carol and Morgan get along from this point forward, since she messed with his “no kill” rule. But I’m generally interested to see if people start treating her with even more reverence now. What do you guys think?
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.