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Spoilers for The Walking Dead are below.
Season 6 of The Walking Dead has done a better-than-usual job with characters’ personality-driven subplots, and this has been a particularly strong season for Melissa McBride’s Carol, who has managed to go from a disguised warrior to, ultra-currently, a rosary-carrying quasi-pacifist. She reached a mental point of no return somewhere in there, and as next week’s preview shows us, her self-imposed disappearance will be bad news for somebody. Or somebodies.
“Twice as Far” ended with a distorted mirror image of the opening montage of Alexandrians doing their thang, with the main differences being a lack of Carol on the screen and an abundance of Carol in voiceover, where she dictated the effectively somber note left for Tobin. While she doesn’t spend paragraphs talking about how she’s kind of a hypocrite now for falling backwards into the Morgan-worldview she criticized so vehemently in the past that she nearly killed him, Carol goes on about how she can’t do this kind of thing anymore, since the presence of a thriving community necessarily means the continual presence of greedy threats. And those threats will definitely be a part of next week’s episode, as seen above.
The most obvious hint of a mini-disaster is the flat tire and bloody spear on that car, which we’re assumedly being led to believe is what Carol used to escape. It’s not clear if she would have taken one of the spike-equipped cars serving as walker-stoppers outside of the walls, or if that particular spear was the car’s only one, originating from an evil outside influence. Do I think this means she’s going to die? Not exactly. Considering all the heinousness that occurred during her and Maggie’s stint as hostages of the Saviors, TV karma isn’t likely to let her go without some form of poetic justice, but I don’t think her penance will be an eternal one. Might still hurt, though.
For all we know, though, Carol could have set that scene up like that to fool anyone who went looking for her, since she specifically told them not to, knowing full well that someone would. As if Daryl is going to let his last minutes with Carol come during a burial.
Speaking of Daryl, “East” doesn’t look like his personal safety is going to be secure at all times. Now that he’s reconnected with Dwight, who has once again left Daryl a victim of sorts, the rage-fueled redneck is likely more determined than ever to do right by the ones he knows are on his side. Which, of course, means avoiding all advice about tracking Carol down in favor of risking hair, hide and crossbow to see where she went. And if it was indeed the Saviors that recaptured Carol, it’s not improbable that the episode will end with Daryl also once again bound and helpless in the face of this highly-populated group.
Next week’s episode is the last one before the 90-minute finale, which is expected to dish out both big bad Negan’s introduction and his gut-wrenching first act as the show’s new villain, which is the subject of wild speculation among fans. This is some large-scale shit being set up here, and The Walking Dead has previously used these penultimate episodes to take out some major characters. With both Carol and Daryl potentially in the crosshairs, will we see Monday morning get here with both characters still alive and safe?
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.