'The Walking Dead' Recap: At Last! The Carol & Daryl Episode We've Been Waiting For!

'The Walking Dead Recap': At Last! The Carol & Daryl Episode We've Been Waiting For!

At long last! The Daryl and Carol episode we've all been waiting for!

In tonight's episode, "Consumed," we open to a musically enhanced montage that finally reveals exactly what Carol went through in-between the time she was kicked out of the group by Rick and when she ran into Tyreese pre the Terminus madness. After the good sheriff disappeared in the rearview mirror of the go-away car he'd provided for her, Carol found sanctuary in a suburban law office where she holed up safely and thought some thoughts and felt some feelings.

Next we see her making her way back to the prison presumably to beg to be taken back in only to see that all hell has broken loose and it's up in flames thanks to the Governor. For those into symbolism, we've switched from the Bible and now it's all about fire which appears all throughout this epsidoe in both literal and metaphoric form.

Which brings us to the present day as she and Daryl, her BFF/brother/adopted son/she'd totally hit it partner-in-crime are speeding after the vehicle that Daryl swears is the same one or similar to the one that absconded with Beth last season. Daryl is quietly rehashing his time with Beth. I love how every time he recounts their separation he makes it seem like he believes in the Bogey Man via his drawled explanation of how "she was just gawn."

They see two people stop and exit the car, at least one of whom is in a cop's uniform. Their surveillance is almost busted by a hungry walker loudly thumping on the car as hungry walkers do. They've noticed the cop dragging someone out and then getting back in the car and heading in the direction of Atlanta. They try to follow but as perpetual bad luck would have it, their tank is on 'E'.

Carol Comes Full Circle

Carol knows a place to stay till sunrise- looks like that old law firm. They barely make it. She seems awfully familiar with the place prompting Daryl to ask, "You used to work here or something?" "Something," she replies.

It's apparent based on Carol's knowledge of the place and the fact that it harbors secret rooms with bunk beds and stuffed animals (she even refers to it as "temporary housing") that it's a refuge for battered women which obvs tells us she and Sophia once upon a long time ago, found themselves there.

No sooner do they try and rest their weary heads than they are interrupted by the forms of two walkers behind the frosted doors that clearly resemble an adult and child. Pretty easy to conclude that these particular walkers were once a mother and child who also sought refuge there. Carol wants to take care of the situation but Daryl reminds her she doesn't have to and in morning Carol awakes to discover Daryl has already ended the walker life of the mother and child and given them a dignified, burning burial.

Hotlanta Indeed

As they prepare to make their way to Atlanta proper and finally get to the bottom of the black car with white cross mystery, Daryl grabs a legal pad and throws it in his bag. Although it's impossible to guess the reason behind it, it's clear he thinks he will have some use for it as he doesn't much seem the type who gets a high from stealing office supplies.

Daryl and Carol find their way to the harrowing, charred remains of Atlanta- a sight that somehow gets more chilling every moment it is shared on screen and always appears to be smoldering as if it were only recently set ablaze. They strategize that they can make it to one of the taller buildings for a better vantage point that would allow them to more thoroughly examine their surroundings and hatch a plan.

Of course, walkers abound between them and the skybridge entrance they need to access in order to get to the top of their chosen skyscraper. Daryl wisely sets his legal pad on fire (a sentence I never thought I would ever have reason to type) and the walkers flock to it. For those of you new to the show, walkers like noise and shiny things.

Once inside, they encounter walkers in an interior makeshift campsite - many of whom are writhing in zipped up sleeping bags and a few who are stumbling about in an enclosed tent- a sight that was as comedic as it was disturbing to see.

Someone appears to be watching them as they shimmy through a chained door that leads to a virtually untouched executive office suite. In this week's most visually impressive scene, the duo take in the view of the destroyed city scape through a window that offers a reflection of their grimy faces staring back at them as they have a heart-to-heart about how it all came down to this.

Daryl thinks he spies something worth noticing and the rifle scope reveals that to be a white van with white crosses parked on a highway overpass. Finally, something to aim for in their seemingly aimless search for Beth.

After they enjoy a fresh drink from the former big wig executive's personal water cooler which must have been the GREATEST water they tasted in years (I know they were in a rush but I wondered why they didn't bottle up as much as possible to go or at the very least wash their soot/blood/trouble covered faces) and Daryl mocked the pretentious modern art still on display and the "rich prick" stupid enough to buy it, off they went to see about that parked van. Easy peasy, right? Riiiiiight?!

It's Never Simple Because OF COURSE It's Not

As they make their way out past the eerie urban campsite, Noah, Beth's friend from Grady Memorial Hospital, greets them with a gun. Who knew the kid had it in him to force Daryl to hand over his bow and arrows and then release the pent-up-tent-up walkers (who are reallllly large-sized, btw) on them. Killing the camp walkers is cake to the seasoned pair (armed or not) and Carol is even able to get a couple shots in at Noah with the gun she still had on her as he runs away. (Duh, kiddo, learn to totally disarm people you attack.)

Flashback to Carol burning the two bodies back at the prison. Every character seems to have a twisted 'Ah ha moment' that triggers massive PTSD and this one is Carol's. Fun! (Not really!)

"Buckle Up"

Back to the present day and Daryl as Carol walk on the empty, lonesome, tortured highway towards the van which isn't so much parked as it is dangling on the railing of the overpass. Despite the approaching urban walkers (who I swear move differently than the walkers roaming through the backwoods of Bumblef*ck, Georgia.) Daryl and Carol search the precariously perched vehicle for any clues that might lead them to Beth. The only thing Daryl picks up on is that the stretcher in the back is branded with the letters "GMH" which Carol quickly associates with Grady Memorial Hospital. Yaass!

With no weapons to fend off the crowd (thanks to that little shit, Noah) Daryl and Carol have no other recourse than to buckle up and do their best Thelma and Louise. Miraculously, and I do mean miraculously, the vehicle lands upright and neither of them is hurt except for Carol's arm getting a little bent out of shape. Viewers are also treated to the sight of a few walkers who decided to take the leap with them or stumbled over, sploshing their way onto the windshield. A nice, gross touch from the FX dept.

Grady Memorial Hospital is only three blocks away and if the characters let something as small as a near death experience get in their way, the show's plot would never advance.

Once they are inside a neighboring building, they find a couple knives on a couple walkers. The hospital is visible- practically within arm's reach. But it's time for another heart-to-heart between these two. (Psssst, you guyze, there actually isn't time what with you having been discovered to be in the area by a kid who may very well have gone back to a large group and told them of your proximity and prowling.)

Daryl asks Carol how he has changed from Before. She tells him he was a boy and is now a man. (Meeeeeow??? She seems to have gotten way more maternal than hot-to- trot for him as she has been in prior seasons.) Carol confirms that she and Sophia stayed at that same secret domestic violence shelter once back in the day and she foolishly went back to Ed, only for the cycle of domestic violence to continue in her Before life.

"I just kept praying for something to happen but I didn't do anything. Not a damn thing. Who I was with him, she got burned away and I was happy about that. Not happy but at the prison I got to be who I always thought I should be. Who I should have been. Then she got burnt away. Everything now consumes you" (Episode title alert!)

"We ain't ashes," the wise boy-turned-man offers up.

They hear a noise and spy a walker wounded with one of Daryl's arrows, which means the little shit of Noah must be nearby. Gunfire erupts, Carol almost meets her end at the hands of another larger-than-typical walker and is saved by Daryl. Ultimately it's Noah who finds himself punched and then trapped under a bookcase courtesy of Daryl Dixon, who, I swear, seemingly put him in his place with one hand.

Daryl smugly takes a pack of his cigarettes from the carton (ZOMG that kid somehow had a carton of smokes on him- holy stash!) and lights one up as an XL sized walker (what is up with the super sized walkers- was this building the Atlanta Hawks pro basketball hq?) pounds on the door as Noah begs for help. Carol pleads with Daryl as well- apparently she wants to get back to the days when her initial reaction in such situations was to help people. Daryl thinks he should die. Just as the ginormous walker is about to chomp on Noah, Daryl begrudgingly spares him and extricates him from under the shelf.

Cut to a flashback of Carol approaching Terminus in her bloody poncho in the season premiere about to go Rambo on Gareth & Co.

Noah hastily explains how "they" must have heard the shots and will be coming for them any second. ("They" is never a good group and usually equals an instant enemy of "our people.") Daryl asks if he's seen the blonde girl and Noah confirms, not only do "they" have Beth back at the hospital but she also happens to be the person who helped him escape.

Sure, enough a car of Grady Memorial cops comes zooming by and the timing is such that they run over Carol who didn't look both ways before crossing- as if she hasn't had a super crappy day already..

Carol is loaded onto a stretcher. Noah stops Daryl from interfering, promising that they can get her back even though the hospital cops "got guns and people." "So do we," snarls Daryl, pretty much spelling out who the boss is in Noah's latest situation.

Moments later, Daryl and his unwelcome sidekick are seen speeding away from the hospital in a hot-wired box truck, clearly heading back to the church for re-enforcements.

Although Carol and Beth's "safety" in the hospital is questionable, one thing is for certain- shit's about to get real for Officer/GMH Administrator Dawn. (Remember her?) She may want to re-think her tendency to punch people for no reason as well as a lot of things.

Things to mull over for next week:

*What kind of plan can Daryl & Co. realistically come up with to invade the hospital and rescue Beth and Carol?

*Will the group take in Noah or treat him as a POW of sorts?

*Is it possible if Eugene is still alive and makes it back to the church group that he can use his self-proclaimed superior intelligence to fake being a doctor to get into the hospital thereby legitimately proving himself useful?