The Walking Dead: The Same Boat

"Meet us on the kill floor."

Five women in a "safe house". Doesn't sound like a plot that would descend into gut wrenching horror, does it?

The opening scenes made me snicker a bit. The audience is in on the joke that Carol is possibly the toughest and most brutal of our characters, and we knew that the Saviors would look at this small, innocuous woman with gray hair and seriously underestimate what she was capable of doing. I laughed again when Carol snagged that rosary from the walker they dragged past her to use as (1) a prop for her weakling religious hyperventilating act, and (2) a sharp object to get her out of her bonds at the first opportunity. Maggie's reaction to Carol's play acting was also amusing, although of course, she was too smart to give anything away.

And of course, Carol so knew what she was doing. She got their gags off. She established herself as a minimal threat, and did the same for Maggie by revealing her pregnancy to the Saviors. Then Carol got a dialogue going so that she could learn more about her captors, and about the imminent arrival of more Saviors. She did her best to talk their leader Paula into that trade with Rick, too.

Melissa McBride does such an amazing job with the complexities of Carol's character. While play acting, I think Carol was also revealing how she truly felt, what she always feels. She showed panic when she talked about the motorcycle gang, and cried when she told Paula that faith got her through the death of her daughter Sophia.

Later, when Maggie said that they had to kill everyone in the safe house (which of course, was actually a slaughterhouse), Carol wanted desperately to let them go, to let them live. Carol saw herself in Paula, a former wife and mother who lost everything and became a killer. I liked the little internet thing about change, about the carrot, the egg and the coffee grounds, since Paula, Carol and Maggie have all transformed into different, powerful people during the apocalypse. I also liked the bit about how Paula stopped counting her kills when they went into double digits because she stopped caring. Carol is still counting hers. Does that make Carol more human than Paula? Does Carol still care because she has people to love, who love her back? I haven't gotten the impression that there is a lot of love lost among the Saviors.

This might be a turning point for Carol as a character. She was able to light that cigarette and ignite the killing floor, but like Maggie, and Morgan, she might be done with killing. We shall see.

So Carol was Paula, and Chelle, who had lost a baby, looked a lot like Maggie. Fortunately for Maggie, Chelle wasn't much of an interrogator, but she was right when she told Maggie, "You're not the good guys. You should know that." Like Glenn in the previous episode, Maggie had committed to kill, so she killed. She and Carol finished off the incoming Saviors by luring them on to the kill floor and setting it on fire, which was just horrible and I'm glad they didn't show more of it.

Clearly, this episode should have been called "Kill Floor".
This is the third time our heroes have made puppy chow out of Negan's people. And yet, the fact that there are so many Saviors, that they're so well organized to the point of using Greek code words, the cultiness of "Sweetie, sweetie, we are all Negan" suggests that they're a formidable group. The storytelling is clearly pointing to our heroes suffering a resounding defeat at the Saviors' hands at some future point. Probably the season finale.

A couple more things. The feminist in me very much enjoyed that this episode centered on five strong women in conflict. Donny was eliminated early, and he reeked of sexism -- hitting Paula, kicking Carol, calling Maggie a "dumb uppity bitch". Paula in turn dismissively referred to Donny as a warm body and her sex object.

I also liked that Carol told only Daryl the truth about how she felt, and he hugged her. We haven't gotten enough Carol and Daryl lately. I don't ship them, but I love their closeness that goes back to the way he simply wouldn't stop searching for Sophia when everyone else had given up.


-- Carol's POV under a black hood. That was new. Also a clue that this episode was ultimately about Carol's, um, point of view.

-- There have been so many religious references lately as our heroes have been crossing the line into villainy. This week, we not only had the rosary that Carol used to fool the Saviors and free herself, but Paula told the incoming Saviors to meet her in the large field with the "God is Dead" sign.

-- And I should add, when Rick killed Primo, Carol squeezed the sharpened rosary in her hand, and blood dripped on the floor.

-- Chelle slashed at Maggie's stomach and I cringed. I think she just got Maggie's tee shirt, though. By the way, Maggie's pregnancy was established before the megaherd invasion, and two months have passed since then. Shouldn't she be further along than two months?

-- One thing I found particularly shuddery was that Chelle had had her finger amputated as punishment for stealing.

-- Chelle's boyfriend was in the motorcycle gang that Daryl, Abraham and Sasha took out, but she was going to name her baby 'Frank', after her father.

-- Molls, the character who didn't get the opportunity to die of cancer, didn't have an active parallel relationship with another character, like Paula and Chelle, but she did get some great lines. She even called a walker "Sugar".

-- Two new words for walkers: coldbloods, growlers.

-- Things I could do without: Paula's face-biting scene.

-- Gold acting stars for Melissa McBride (Carol) and Alicia Witt (Paula). It would have been nice to have more Paula. Too bad.

Notes from Talking Dead:

The guests were Melissa McBride (Carol), Alicia Witt (Paula), and Paul Feig (director of the new Ghostbusters movie). Witt, who was very bouncy and enthusiastic, had obviously enjoyed her role on TWD. She said that she didn't know anything about her part until she got there; that's not the first time I've heard that they don't tell guest stars what they'll be playing. Probably an attempt to control spoilers.

There were a couple clips of Lauren Cohan talking about (1) how she and Melissa had always wanted a Carol/Maggie episode, and (2) describing her favorite fan enounter. We learned that the slaughterhouse was a construct, not a location. And Paul Feig said that Carol is the best character on television, to many cheers.

Chris announced that The Walking Dead is getting its own attraction at Universal Studios, Hollywood, starting this summer. (Honestly, that is probably the last attraction I'd ever visit, even though I'm a fan of the show. I hate having things jump out at me.)


Molls: "You should be glad she doesn't have a sack of gonads to trip over."

Paula: "Omega, omega. Saviors down. Go to gamma, code 'fire'. Alpha channel is not clear. Follow the protocols."
So military.

Molls: (to Carol) "Honey, you need to take some yoga breaths and calm your ass down."

Paula: "Babies are the point. Children are our future. Making bite-sized snacks for the dead."

Molls: "You all are worse than a bunch of evangelical second graders."
Paula called religion "crap", too.

Chelle: "You're not the good guys. You should know that."

Paula: "You are weak. What are you so afraid of? So scared you can't even stick to your own principles."
Carol: "You don't want me to stick to my own principles."
That sounded like the old Incredible Hulk. You wouldn't like it when I'm angry.

Paula: "Are you going to kill me?"
Carol: "I hope not."

Intense. Four out of four yoga breaths. Or should it be bite-sized snacks for the dead?

Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.

1 comment:

Marianna said...

I didn't think Carol and Paula were that much alike. They had some similarities but some substantial differences. For one thing Paula jumped to killing very early on. It's like Paula was Bizarro Carol. Same goes for Maggie and Chelle.