(Spoiler alert: Please do not read if you haven’t seen this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead”)
“The Walking Dead” focused heavily on Melissa McBride’s character Carol on Sunday night’s episode, as the former battered housewife turned wasteland badass truly begins to feel the weight of all the people she has killed.
“Right now she’s struggling to understand what’s the right thing to do,” McBride told TheWrap. “She gets it. You have to kill to survive. But do we always have to kill? She’s taking stock of the people she’s had to kill and the circumstances around it. She’s second guessing herself and probably feeling like a monster.”
As we learned in last week’s episode, Carol and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) have been captured by a small group of Saviors led by Polly (Alicia Witt). Polly plans to negotiate with Rick, exchanging Carol and Maggie for a captured Savior.
But first, Polly takes the pair to an abandoned slaughterhouse, where Carol hides her survival skills by pretending to be frightened and helpless. She had previously used this ploy to stay under the radar in Alexandria. According to McBride, playing a character who herself has to act is very enjoyable.
“It’s been very fun for me as an actor,” she said. “I enjoy it so much what they’re giving me to do. It’s so fun, but I understand Carol. So it’s not that difficult. It’s just her going into whatever mode she needs to be in.”
Carol talks with Polly during her imprisonment, and learns that the two are very much alike. Polly serves as the perfect foil to Carol at this point, as she too has killed plenty of people in order to survive. The only difference is, Carol feels the weight of everyone she has killed.
“The whole Wolf attack, Denise with the Wolf, Morgan, Sam, all the way back to losing Sophia. It’s piling up,” McBride said. “She has just been on autopilot. No hesitation. Eliminating the threat. No questions about it. But now, that’s changing.”
Carol eventually cuts through the tape that binds her hands and frees Maggie as well. Together, they kill the Saviors holding them hostage, with Carol squaring off with Polly. Carol gives Polly the chance to run, but Polly lunges. They struggle, with Polly getting bitten by a walker in the process.
Another group of Saviors that Polly had called for back up arrives, but Carol and Maggie trap the men in a room that they have soaked down with gasoline. Carol tosses in a lit cigarette and seals the door.
Just then, Rick and the rest of the group arrive with the captured Savior, Primo (Jimmy Gonzales), in tow. Rick asks if Negan was in the compound the night of their attack. Primo claims that he is Negan, leading Rick to kill Primo right then and there. Carol watches in stunned silence.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m./8c on AMC.