Let’s start off by saying that The Walking Dead needs more episodes where the ladies are front and center, and Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier) blows our minds. *throws awards at her*
The Walking Dead episode “The Same Boat” isn’t about Rick and Paula both having bargaining chips to make an exchange. It’s about these strong, adaptable, and capable women ending up in that one room because of different paths they took in life. It’s about where you start and what changes where you end up at. They have all fought so hard to live and at the end of the day they’re not so different from each other. They’re all what’s left behind after the weak died and the walkers took over the world.
Now is the aftermath. They must decide what part of the past dies, how much they hold onto, and how much they’re willing to adapt. Let’s take a look at the three poignant women of this episode and how their confrontation defined and changed them.
Carol Peletier: Turning a New Leaf
Our fierce, cookie making, gun wielding warrior is breaking apart at the seams in “The Same Boat.” At first I thought she was faking it. Maybe she was in the beginning with the panic attack, the initial rosary grab, and begging them not to hurt Maggie’s baby. She was playing the part and doing what we expected of her because she’s turned into a cold and calculating badass. But as time passed it didn’t look fake anymore. It was real. The panic in her eyes, the pain that Paula was witnessing, and the death grip she had on that rosary wasn’t an act.
Carol is having a crisis of conscience because of her captor. When she looked at Paula she was horrified to discover that the woman was just like her. She’d lost her humanity because of the lose of her family and didn’t want to stop for anything. Paula transformed into a person that looked at her past, what she saw in Carol, with disgust and no traces of the love she was capable of before. This Savior was shattered and patched up with no real concern for living. She’d forgotten the good memories of her family that made everything worthwhile.
This was Carol’s future. It’s not going to be anymore.
She’s not going to waste this chance, this vision of what could happen to her. Sure, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to break her open so she can sift through her insides and see the kind of woman she is. But it’ll also give her an opportunity to see the kind of woman she can still be. It’s going to test her boundaries, beliefs, and values. At the end of the day it’ll all be worth while. Carol will be something new, something stronger, something that loves and brings fear when needed.
This world isn’t going to defeat Carol Peletier.
Paula: Done with This World
This Savior showed us that Negan is a well trained and organized force. This isn’t a small group that just happened to fall together. They’re a confident body of people that has used their loses to make sure no one ever screws them over again. Their use of the name “Negan” to identify themselves is genius. They’ve managed to spread fear and confusion about an ominous man set out to hurt them. Negan has become the boogeyman, creeping around every corner without people realizing it.
Paula is a prime example of a hardened recruit of Negan that has thrived under this concept.
Her exchanges with Carol were like a dance where both partners were the same people. Paula is what Carol was, is, and will become one day if she continues down a path of disconnect from the great things still available in life. Every condescending word that she spit out at Carol was a way of killing the woman this Savior was before. She didn’t want to see a reminder of what she’d lost. A part of her also wanted to open Carol’s eyes to the truth of the world around them. She wanted to save the woman that she was before, on the slim chance she could.
I don’t think she realized that she did leave an impression on Carol. She left her with the want to never be like Paula, to never lose herself so deeply, and to find a better way to survive.
Maggie: Capable of Adapting for Her Child
Fostering a life has made Maggie vicious. Now she has something to fight for and she won’t let anyone get in her way, even Carol. Maggie took up the mantle of protecting both of them because they have a home now, something to look forward to besides just living, and family that cares for them. That’s what makes Rick & Co. different from the Saviors. There’s love between the group that enables them to fight harder for each other. Sure, they act cold and Maggie just bashed that ladies head in, but she still holds love for her people. She’s not with Glenn because he keeps her bed warm (looking at you Paula.)
It’s because of love.
Maggie knows the value of what she holds and doesn’t want to lose it. That’s why she tells Glenn that she can’t do this anymore in “The Same Boat.” When need be, aka her time with these Saviors, she put on a mask to help with the pressure of the situation they were in. But it was too much. What she did for survival is not something she wants to continue doing in the name of her family. She wants to give her baby a safe upbringing without losing the life lessons taught to her by Hershel, Beth, and the rest of her family. Maggie’s a leader and she’ll help Alexandria find a better way to deal with the monsters at their door.
They will not turn into the Saviors.
- Chelle, the Savior whose pinkie was cut off, wasn’t completely lost. She sympathized with Carol and Maggie. If given a chance she would’ve thrived in Alexandria.
- Carol can be vulnerable with Daryl. She doesn’t have to wear the mask of indifference or hide her pain because he sees who she is. The sentiment is returned by Carol. She sees who he is inside. P.S. That hug is everything I’ve wanted and more.
*Take a moment to appreciate the Caryl*
Next Time on The Walking Dead 6×14 ‘Twice As Far’:
The Walking Dead airs Sundays @ 9/8c on AMC.