Carol is a divisive character in The Walking Dead fandom.
Some find Carol’s multi-season metamorphosis clunky, her decisions suffering from a failure of adequate exposition, and her current persona frustratingly rigid. During Season Two, these critics were confused by the blame she placed on her fellow survivors in her daughter’s disappearance, and were flummoxed the juxtaposition of this fear for her daughter’s safety with an otherwise passivity when it came to life in the post-zombie apocalypse. For the entire series prior to their arrival at the Prison, Carol could be reasonably characterized as survivor dead weight, obstinately satisfied to perform domestic chores over learning to wield a rifle. To these critical Carol-haters, her whiplash-fast transformation at the start of Season 4 was jarring.
One of the most powerful characters on The Walking Dead is Carol, a survivor of domestic violence who starts off meek and unsure of herself. … She doesn’t only grow inner strength after finally escaping her abusive husband and watching her own daughter turn into a zombie; she also brings the ostracized Daryl into the foray [sic] of Rick’s group, and later asks him if he wants to fool around on top of a bus!
Twitter fans of The Walking Dead routinely cite Carol’s leadership position in the Prison and her clear willingness to defy Rick and the other male survivors in their appreciation of the character. And certainly, by the start of Season 4, Carol has left far behind the woman she was in Season One to become the steadfast pragmatist, capable of moments of both efficient violence and tender nurturing, and above all unwavering in her personal convictions.
And why? Unlike in the comic where Carol fades almost immediately into the background, in the AMC show, Carol has assumed a far more critical role: Carol is the anti-Hershel.
Welcome to our recap of The Walking Dead, Season 4, episode 4! Please also check out archives of our live-tweeting coverage of the episode as it happened (#NOCemdead) from the official @TheNerdsofColor Twitter account, with bonus contribution by me through my @Reappropriate Twitter handle.
And now, on with the recap!
Spoiler alert! This is a recap. You know the drill.
I wrote in one post during The Nerds of Color’s Walker Week that The Walking Dead is noteworthy for depicting one of the most racially diverse zombie survivor casts to-date: it features a band of survivors that has included (among others) a Mexican family, an Asian Indian doctor, two Deep South “rednecks” (a pejorative term that the Dixon brothers would probably enthusiastically reclaim), a samurai-sword-wielding Black woman, and one of the most progressive characterizations of an Asian man on television. This is a show where women kick ass just as readily as men, and where the divisions of race and class have largely disintegrated in the face of humanity’s near-annihilation.
It’s ironic, therefore, that The Walking Dead could have such a blatant “Black Man problem,” one so obvious it has spawned a million memes.
(This post contains spoilers of all events in The Walking Dead up to Season 4, Episode 3. Please read on with care.)
Welcome to our recap of The Walking Dead, season 4 episode 3, titled “Isolation”! Hat-tip to Twitter user @LaJoliePoeta for inspiring the title of this post. Also, please check out #NOCemdead, for archives of our Sunday evening live-tweeting of this episode by resident NOC, J.Lamb through our @TheNerdsofColor handle.
Only read on if you’ve already watched the episode, or if you don’t mind spoilers. Because, y’know, this is a recap.