Letting Go

Winter is nearly over, and by no means has it been an easy one. Snow has completely covered the graves of everyone we’ve lost, and only the tops of the markers are visible. Food has been scarce and in short supply. Negan, trying to redeem himself, has been out of his cell all winter and has proven to be quite the athlete, teacher, fighter, and ladies’ man. He teaches gym class during school hours, making sure that the kids are in tip-top shape in the event that they need to fight the dead – or the living.

In an overcrowded cabin, Negan leans against the wall, laying on the charm, while talking to Lydia. Daryl looks on in anger and disgust.

Daryl: “Come on!”    *grabs Lydia’s elbow*  “We’ve got a lot of work to do before dinner.”

Negan: *watches Lydia from behind as she walks away*   “Ooh. Primed and ready….”

Daryl: *turns around quickly and grabs Negan by the collar* “What’d you say?”  *Daryl’s fist is inches away from Negan’s face*

Negan: *puts hands up in surrender*     “Hey, I didn’t know you already claimed that piece; I thought you were more of a father-figure to her…..but, I guess you Rednecks like it both ways.”   *grins*

Lydia: “Daryl!”

Daryl: *looks at Lydia*

Lydia: *grabs Daryl’s fist and slowly forces it away from Negan’s face and pushes it down to his side*   “This is not what we’re about.  Not anymore. We don’t fight those on the inside.  We have to save the anger for those on the outside.”

Daryl: *Stares at Lydia, turns and walks away*    “Come on. We have work to do.”   *We see them together outside.  They’re stalking a deer, and we clearly see a relationship that resembles a father and daughter or big brother caring for his little sister.

Inside, we see Carol sitting by the fireplace, staring pensively into the flames.

Carol: *Talking softly to an unseen person*    “No, it’s not that; we’ve been through this a million times. It’s not him, it’s not you, and  it’s not Henry.”  *her voice cracks with unshed tears, she’s getting agitated* “It’s you blaming Daryl for Henry’s death, because you can’t or won’t blame me. It’s you blaming everyone else, but yourself. It’s me.  It’s me blaming myself for Henry’s death.  I should’ve been there.”    *sobbing*      “I should’ve been with him. It should’ve been me on that pike.”

Ezekiel: *Embraces Carol*     *in a whispered tone*     “I’m so sorry; why didn’t you tell me you felt this way. You have to talk to me.”   *pulls out of the embrace to look at Carol, then gently kisses her lips, and caresses her cheek*

Carol: *pulls completely away from Ezekiel*    “I can’t; we can’t.  That part of our lives is over.”

Ezekiel: *sadly*    “So, who’s the lucky guy?”    *jokingly*   “Anyone I know?”   *both snicker [sadly]*

Daryl and Lydia come in shaking off the cold.  Lydia makes her way to the fireplace.

Lydia: *proudly proclaims to Carol*    “I got my first deer!”

Carol: *turns to face Lydia, wipes tears away, fakes smile* “That’s great, Honey!”

Lydia: “Is everything okay?”  *looks from Carol to Ezekiel*

Carol: *Yeah. Everything’s fine.”    *wipes tears away again, fakes smile*

Lydia: *Hugs Carol, mistaking her tears for grieving over Henry*   “I’ve been thinking of him [Henry] a lot lately, too. He’s in a much better place, and he doesn’t have to deal with this shit anymore.  Maybe he met up with your little girl, and he’s telling her what an amazing, forgiving woman you are.”   *smiles sweetly*

Carol: *weak smile, wipes tears, hugs Lydia, and looks at Ezekiel over Lydia’s shoulder*

Ezekiel: *looks at Carol, something is a bit off.  The anger in his face is palpable, because he blames Lydia, as well as Daryl, for Henry’s death.*

Lydia: *Releases Carol. Looks at Ezekiel, then back to Carol, and in a hushed tone tells Carol*      “I’m sorry; I shouldn’t be here.  It’s my fault that Henry is dead. MY mother killed him.”     *turns to leave*

Carol: *grabs Lydia’s arm, whispers*    “You have to stay. You belong here; Henry knew it, Daryl knows it, and I know it.  If you leave, Henry died for nothing.  All of our friends died for nothing.”   *hugs Lydia, both cry*

Daryl: *Walks in, hollers across the room*   “Lydia, we got a deer to clean!”  *sees what’s going on, walks over to them*    “Everything alright?”

Lydia and Carol: *in unison*   “Yeah, just girl talk.”  *they look at each other, both smile*

Daryl: “Well, we ain’t raisin” a girl, we’re raisin’ a survivor.  You can cry or you can eat, come on.”    *smiles at them, then gives Lydia a noogie*

Carol: *shakes head and smiles, watches them walk away, notices Negan getting turned down by, yet, another woman and laughs*

Negan: *looks around and notices Carol laughing at him.  He smiles at her and heads her way*

Ezekiel: *turns to Carol*     “You are not the woman that I’ve come to know and love; you are just a coward following in every footstep of a bow and arrow wielding coward.”

Carol: “It’s a crossbow, and I may be a coward, but I’m no longer following a coward….one who calls himself a king, who couldn’t even protect his own kingdom….his own sons.”

Negan: “Well, well, well, what have we here? A glorious queen….”  *looks at Carol*  “And, her fallen king….”  *looks at Ezekiel*”

Carol: *turns to face Negan, wiping tears away as she sobs*

Negan: *to Carol*     “Are you okay? *looks at Ezekiel*   “What’s going on….?”

Ezekiel: *to Negan*   “MY WIFE….”

Negan: “EX! wife”


Negan: “Well, my lovely wife, Lucille, has been gone a long time now, God rest her soul, but if  memory serves, I never bullied her into a corner and eviscerated her to tears….”   *looks at Carol, who is still sobbing*

Ezekiel: *to Carol*     “My alter-ego may be a bit unconventional, but it has saved many lives….would you rather relive what you had with Ed or maybe you’d rather have some imaginary relationship with someone who will never see you as anything more than a friend….”   *turns directly to Negan* “Or maybe you’d rather have someone who idolized a baseball bat and used it to murder innocent people….YOUR FRIENDS….YOUR FAMILY….people you’ve known and survived with from the very beginning.”

Carol: “Ed was a dick. The only way he knew how to be a man was to beat me to a pulp or force himself on me when he was actually able to….and Negan, he was surviving the only way he knew how-eliminating the threat before it became a threat.  No matter how wrong he was in killing Abraham and Glenn, if we had been doing that from the very beginning, lots of our friends….our family….might still be alive today.”

Ezekiel: *opens mouth to say something*

Negan: *quietly, but forcefully, and in Ezekiel’s face*   “Now, King, I’ve been extremely patient with you in front of the lady, here, so I’m gonna need you to choose your next words very carefully.”

Ezekiel: *Looks at Carol, who is still crying, then turns and walks off*

Carol: *turns into Negan’s chest and sobs*

Negan:   *enfolds Carol into his arms and rests his cheek on her head, rubs the back of her head and gently rocks her*    “Shh shh shh….it’s okay. Let it all out for Ol’ Neegs.”

Carol: *After a beat, releases Negan, wipes her eyes, but remains close against him, and looks up at him*    “So, Ol’ Neegs is gonna make it all better?”    *smiles*

Negan: “Tonight?”

Carol: *shakes head*       “No. Now.”

Negan:    *smiles*     “That’s my girl.”

Carol: *Winks and smiles at Negan*

Negan:  “I’ll go first.”   *wistfully*   No one ever notices when I’m gone.” *turns and starts to walk away*

Carol: “Same place?”

Negan: *Turns back around*     “Yeah, they let me keep the key.” *happily dangles keyring, walks off*

Carol: *smiles and rolls her eyes, then heads in the opposite direction* 

At the shed that everyone has nicknamed The Love Shack, Negan unlocks the door, and Carol is right behind him. Being the gentleman, Negan ushers her in first. He walks with purpose and, his lips make contact. Carol pours her pain into this very moment. She takes the lead, removing his shirt, then his belt*

Negan: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s brought this on? What ever happened to slow and gentle?”

Carol: *now raining kisses down Negan’s neck and chest* “Later….”      *MAGIC*      *her head laying on Negan’s chest*      “Ya know, you really need to leave Lydia alone.”

Negan:    “Well, it was your idea that I “hit on” the other women so no one suspects us.”

Carol: But she’s off limits. You’re wounding Daryl too tight. You’re trying to get a fresh start, remember? Besides, I think you can stop trying to be a ladies’ man.   *smirks, snuggles closer*

Negan: “Slow and gentle now?”     *kisses Carol*

*From outside the cabin, we hear a commotion, a few adults rush the kids to the designated safe room, and a few of the fighters rush towards the noise.*

Jerry: “Your majesty, please.”    *helping Ezekiel up*     “Let’s get you home and into bed.  You can sleep it off, and you’ll feel much better in the morning.”

Ezekiel: “I said some terrible things to her; I have to see her.”

Jerry:  “You can apologize to her in the morning like you always do.”

Daryl: “What’s going on?”

Ezekiel: “This doesn’t concern you.  It’s a matter between my wife and her husband….”

Daryl:   *to Jerry*    “What do you mean ‘like you always do?”

Jerry:    *ignores Daryl, to Ezekiel*   “Lets get you home.”

Daryl: “I asked you a question! What’d he do to her? Where is she?”   *Daryl’s fight mode activated*   “Son of a bitch….if you ever lay a hand on her, I’ll kill you with my bare hands!   *looks around for her*     “Where is she? What’d you do?”

*Carol and Negan, having heard some of the commotion outside, get dressed and discuss the best way to leave the shed unnoticed.  Carol leaves the shed first, and runs straight to the safe room where Eugene and Gabriel are guarding the exterior of the safe room.

Carol: “Do we know how big the threat is?”

Eugene: “As far as the threat is concerned, it seems to be only from the inside, a king to be exact.

Carol: “Ezekiel?”

Eugene: “That would be the scuttlebutt. Seems he’s lamenting over a recent relationship gone….”

Carol: *holds her hand up to stop him*    “I get the picture. I’ll go talk to him.”

Eugene: “I must warn you, threats have been made.”

Carol: *looks puzzled, and turns to leave. then comes upon the scene outside where Negan, Siddiq, and Jerry have Daryl pinned on the ground, and Ezekiel is stumbling around into the darkness.

Daryl: *sees Carol, and starts fighting to stand up*   “Get offa me, let me up!”    *Gets up, goes straight to Carol, hugs her tightly*  “What’d that son of a bitch do to you? If he hurt you, I’ll kill him….”    *checks her face, arms, and moves to raise up her shirt in the back to check for bruises*

Carol: “Daryl!”   *in a raised voice*   “Daryl! I’m fine!”

Daryl: *stares at her*

Carol:    *lowered voice*    “I’m fine.”     *lowers eyes*

Daryl: *to Jerry*    “What was all that shit he was saying?”

Carol: “He started drinking after Henry….it’s why I left. I just couldn’t be with another Ed.”

Daryl: “Did he….?”

Carol:    *interrupts him*    “It didn’t get that far….      *looks down in embarrassment*    “I wouldn’t let it.”    *sad smile*    “It’s time for a new summer haircut anyway.”

Daryl: *turns toward where we last saw Ezekiel heading*    “Motherfu….”     *And, Daryl disappears into the darkness*

Carol: *turns to Negan, looks up at him, silently asking*

Negan:  *nodding his head*    “I’ll go, and I’ll bring back the Royal Court Jester and your Filthy Lady in Waiting.”

Carol:    *smiles* mouths “Thank you.”      *watches Negan walk into the darkness*


The Walking Dead reminds us that whatever we're fighting, we must keep fighting to survive. "Opting Out" is not an option.

One Comment:

    This is not about Carol being painted as a damsel in distress, nor is it about her “needing” to be with a romantic partner, and it’s not even about Ezekiel. In my opinion, she is one of the strongest characters on the show.

    It is about the fact that she is a survivor of domestic violence. We find it hard to break the cycle of being in abusive relationships, because we only have one version of “normal.”

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