The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 6 recap. 

We’ve seen Beth on her own and Abraham Ford and his crew off doing their thing, and this week it’s time to catch up with Carol and Daryl as they search for Beth. The episode opens with a flashback to Carol being kicked out of the group by Rick, and we get to see Carol striking out on her own, going full-LAMOE (last man on earth). Then she sees the smoke from the fight at the prison and hightails it back to help her friends. This is really excellent—in previous seasons, Carol on her own would’ve been stretched over at least one entire episode but now they burn through it in the opening.

A reader named Laura emailed to comment on Carol crying after Rick banished her from the group, calling it ridiculous that Carol—the most capable woman on a show filled with capable women—cried after being kicked out by a man. I’m not sure it was really about gender, though. Carol thought she was helping the group by killing the sick people, but Rick rejected her unilateral action. As a result, she was cut off from the people she’s known for years at this point, including some people she’s been with since before Rick ever showed up. It had to be a pretty big loss. I do think Laura’s onto something with the question of whether or not Carol would cry at this point, though.

Brief flashbacks of Carol trailing after Rick & Co. are sprinkled throughout the episode, but the bulk of the action is in the present, with Carol and Daryl venturing into Atlanta after Beth. In an enormously convenient plot point, they cross paths with Noah (Tyler James Williams). I suppose it’s believable at this point there would only be a few living people left in downtown Atlanta, but really, what are the odds they would see each other? And yet Noah is clearly following them. I would find it more believable if they had simply stumbled across each other and Noah used that moment to take advantage.

There are some great character moments with Carol and Daryl, but overall, this episode shows the strain of trying to fill a sixteen-episode season. There’s a lot of walking around and looking at stuff in the distance. I’m not opposed to ruminating, but give the characters something interesting to do while ruminating. At this point, “walking around, looking at stuff” is not interesting. Have them engage in a game of cat-and-mouse with Noah, that would be something. But instead, after they get weapon-jacked, Daryl just shrugs and is like, “Meh, we’ll find more weapons.” Really? WHERE?

It’s not exactly out of character—Daryl has lost his crossbow before—but this season has had a little too much convenient writing. A sore point with fans has been Maggie not showing any emotion over the loss of Beth, and it’s Daryl out looking for her, not Maggie—the same woman who spent half a season desperately searching for her missing husband. Robert Kirkman has had to explain this, but all it takes is one scene between Daryl and Maggie to resolve it. But Maggie hasn’t been integral to the plot this season (so far), so it’s like the writers can’t be buggered to give her anything resembling characterization. The same thing happened to Glenn last season and it damn near ruined his character.

There are only two episodes left before the winter hiatus, and hopefully they get right into the confrontation with the crazy hospital people. If they put it off until next year, they’ll lose all the momentum they’ve built up over an otherwise strong first half. But that’s been The Walking Dead’s besetting sin since season two—stalling out on plot in order to fill more episodes than the story really requires.

Status Check:
Office Rick – N/A (Does anyone miss him?)
Carol – Save-napped by the hospital people.
Daryl – Reunited with his crossbow.
Noah – Teaming up with Daryl.
The hospital people – They have no idea of the shit that is about to rain down on them.

Worst thing seen/heard this week: Carol recalling her spousal abuse was kind of rough. This was a very tame episode.

Zombie kill of the week: Daryl to the head with a machete.