The Walking Dead: Consumed (5×06)

Synopsis: Carol and Daryl head back into the heart of Atlanta in search of Beth.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

What little progress was made last week was brought to a grinding halt once again with this hospital side-plot. We last saw Daryl coming back to the church, roughed up and with an unknown individual, but this week we take a step back to find out what happened to Carol and Daryl after taking off after the mysterious people who took Beth.

At the beginning of the episode, we go even further back to when Rick forced Carol to leave the group in the first place. I’m all for giving Melissa McBride her time to shine, but it was definitely a step back and nothing really revelatory was brought to light with the montage of how she survived on her own. I guess if you had any doubts as to how much of a badass Carol is, here was your reminder that she can take care of herself outside of the Ricktatorship.

In the present, following slowly behind the car with the white cross in the back window, Carol and Daryl head back into Atlanta. They’re almost caught while observing the car stop at an intersection to clear the road. They get their first good look at the people in the vehicle and realize they may be cops as they pull away. Unfortunately, Carol and Daryl’s own car is tapped out and they have to proceed on foot to a place that Carol knows. When they arrive, Daryl realizes that this is the place Carol came to when she left the group.

Carol offers to take first watch, but they end up talking instead. She asks Daryl if he started over like he’s encouraging her to do and he lets her know that he’s trying – she just doesn’t think they get to save people anymore after all that’s happened. After following a banging noise, they find two zombies, a child and an adult, scrabbling against a glass door, but Daryl tells her she doesn’t have to kill them. In the morning, Carol wakes up to find that Daryl killed them and is burning the bodies.

After that business is complete, they pack up and continue to move through the streets of Atlanta. As they come upon walkers, Daryl makes quick work of a distraction and they make it unscathed into another building. They stumble upon some obviously murdered walkers who had been camping out in a hallway, leaving the ones trapped in tents, but taking care of the ones in sleeping bags before moving on.

They get into an office with a vantage point and manage to spot another vehicle with the white crosses on the back of it. As they leave to investigate, Noah finds them! And proceeds to take their weapons and release the tent-walkers on them. Daryl prevents Carol from shooting Noah in the back, allowing him to get away. They argue about the folly that was letting him escape, but it doesn’t stop them from getting to the van to investigate.

It’s leaning half off the bridge after an apparent crash, but Daryl climbs in to investigate anyway. Daryl finds a stretcher with the Grady Memorial name on it in the van, but they don’t have much time to think on it as a group of walkers closes in. With no other options, they buckle themselves in the van and fall over the edge – followed by more than a few walkers. Surprisingly, they survive the fall relatively intact, though Carol is hurt by the seat belt.

While holed up in another office building to observe the hospital, Daryl and Carol continue their bonding. Carol shares more of her past with Ed and Sophia, claiming that, at the prison, she got to be everything she thought she should’ve been. They hear the sounds of someone else in the building and come upon a walker that has been pinned with one of Daryl’s arrows. After hearing gunshots, they follow the sounds – Carol’s almost made into walker-food because of her injuries – and they catch up to Noah.

Daryl knocks into Noah, causing a heavy dresser to pin him down while a walker fights to get to him. He refuses to help Noah, leaving him to his fate as he begs for help, while Carol tries to reason with him. He’s angry that Carol almost died because of Noah’s actions and he walks away. However, he saves Noah at the last moment, seemingly having a change of heart.

Freeing Noah, he thanks them profusely and then heads to the window and starts muttering about needing to leave. He says the people at the hospital will be coming and Daryl asks if he saw a blonde girl there, revealing that he also knows Beth and knows that she’s still in the hospital. Daryl falls behind to help Noah with his escape and Carol is hit by their car as soon as she runs out into the road.

Noah stops Daryl from running out to help her, explaining that they can help her at the hospital right now and they can go in and get her later. He explains that they have guns and people, but Daryl informs him that they do as well. They escape out of Atlanta in a truck and it’s obviously Noah that Daryl brought back with him two weeks ago.

And… that’s it. This episode was character-development heavy, but failed to really move the plot along at all. We weren’t told anything new that we couldn’t have already figured out on our own – Carol survived being banished by Rick, the hospital is evil, they have Beth, Noah is with Daryl – and ultimately it was kind of a slow hour for The Walking Dead.

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