The Walking Dead: The Same Boat

The title is in reference to the parallels between Carol and one of her captors , Paula. Its also a reference to the type of situation everyone is in. Rick and his crew are as much an unknown commodity to Paula and her crew as they are to Rick. Neither can trust the other, but both want to get out of the situation they’re in with lives intact. I think what Paula didn’t count on is Carol and Maggie are  the women of the Ricktocracy, who are every bit as lethal as the men.

Nope! The men were not the momentum of the  episode. This episode was all about the women, most specifically Carol, Maggie and Paula. There’s some interesting philosophical discussions, escapes, zombie killing and cigarette smoking. Carol, the survivor, brings her “A” game to this match. Her first order of business is getting her captors to underestimate what she’s capable of, and for the most part, they buy that she is a delicate snowflake, who has survived the apocalypse by sheer luck.

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From leaving a trail in the forest for Daryl to follow, to staging an asthma attack,  to pretending to be religious, so she could hold onto the rosary she stole from a walker, that she sharpens into a  cutting instrument, everything she does is calculated for maximum survival. Contrast that with Maggie’s manner of negotiation, directly attempting to escape, or rushing in to protect Carol by attacking their captors head on. We  get the odd glimpse from Carol, most especially in her discussions with Paula, that her pragmatism is starting to take its toll . There are a few scenes that call into question just how much of  the emotions  we’re seeing are fake.

 

 

Alicia Witt is absolutely superb as Paula. She seems as tough as Carol on the outside but her personal story closely matches Carol’s. This is not surprising. The only people left in this environment are people with horrible stories of survival. Everyone has experienced some kind of loss. Everyone is just trying to live and take advantage of others to ensure it. (For example, witness Maggie’s negotiation with Gregory, asking for half of everything the Hilltoppers have.)

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Paula too, is just trying to ensure her survival  and that of her group. (Its too bad that none of these groups can see the idea of all of them joining together for maximum survival.) The sad thing is, in another ‘verse, Carol and Paula might even have been friends. During the Talking Dead discussion after the show, Alicia Witt states that there was a line, cut from the episode, where Paula states  that in another life, she would’ve  sent Carol cat memes.

At one point, Maggie, who has been separated from Carol by a woman named ‘Chelle, is told  they are not the good guys. Not only are Maggie and Carol meant to doubt the intentions of Rick’s group but we, the viewers, are too.

Paula starting killing people the moment the apocalypse began, unlike Carol however, she stopped counting how many people she killed when she got into the double digits. There are at least a couple of cracks in her armor because she’s willing to talk about it at all. Carol can look at Paula and see both her own past, and the woman she will eventually become if she continues down this path, just as Morgan warned.

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But what is Carol’s alternative? Carol is who she is because she loves these people as her family.  Having lost her own daughter, she’s taken all her  mothering instincts and applied them to her group. They are her children, her family. Like any mother bear, she will do what she has to do to protect them, no matter the emotional cost to herself. (Contrast that to the early years of her life,when she expended almost no energy on protecting herself.) I don’t see quite this degree of loyalty on the part of Paula though. Paula is willing to let members of her group die to ensure that she lives.Witness how she treats Donnie, the only man in the group, who also insists on being in charge. When he challenges Paula’s authority she has no qualms about putting him down.

The captors retreat to an animal slaughterhouse and Paula stalls for time with Rick, while  waiting for Negan’s  scouts  to arrive. Rick, of course, is not buying this. Daryl has tracked the group to their lair but they only arrive in time to find  Carol and Maggie have not only saved themselves, but killed all their captors and the reinforcements.

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This episode was full of some very interesting characters. There’s Molls, the senior, chain smoking bad ass. I didn’t expect her to be quite as ruthless as she turned out to be. She really does look harmless. too. She is not. There’s ‘Chelle, who has her own wrenching story of loss to tell Maggie. ‘Chelle feels nothing but contempt for Maggie, as she can’t understand why Maggie allowed herself to get pregnant at the end of world. This is one of the most female-centric episodes of The Walking Dead we’ve had in a long time. I love it that the show never sells the women short, entirely in keeping with the pragmatism and survivability of real world women, during times of hardship. This is a world that has weeded out the stupid and reckless.

My favorite moments are also the most horrifying. Paula’s death was, while not sad, definitely not a good way to go, but even worse was what Maggie and Carol did to the reinforcements,burning them alive in one of the kill rooms. I did take note of Daryl’s response to seeing the two women alive. He asks Carol if she is okay and her response is “no”, after which he gives her a big bear hug. Daryl is one of the few people  that Carol shows her true face. Is all this killing starting  to take its toll? Has Carol’s story run its course?

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And what are we to make of the statement, by several of Negan’s people of  “We’re all Negan.”? What manner of brainwashing has occurred to make these people so loyal to Negan? Just how bad are things going to get?

If you’ve read the books, you know the Negan story line and how it ends, and I wonder if the show will follow the books that way. I know something about the story line from the books and I just know, that Rick’s group is not going to walk away from this unscathed.so far, Rick’s group has taken out a good dozen or so of Negan’s people. At some point, they’re going to have to pay for it.

There will be blood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title reference is parallels of Carol and Paula, Paula’s backstory

Hostages, Paula, Carol ,underestimating Carol, Carol pretending to be weak, smoking cigarettes, hyperventilating, Carol bends like water to her environment, whatever is required is what Carol becomes, Carol and the rosary/her daughter Carol and Maggie save themselves

Kidnappers:Donnie, Molls, Chelle, Paula

Paula and gang stalling for help, has carols story run its course, Daryl’s response to her safety

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