After Carol admitted to murdering two flu-infected group members at Rick Grimes’ Apocalypse Survivor Sanctuary And Correctional Institution on the fourth episode of Season 4 of The Walking Dead, I made a joke on social media about not wanting Carol to check on me when I’m sick. I was actually serious. Can you imagine? You don’t feel great, and there’s Carol, with her tight assed, expressionless, Kewpie doll face going, “I just came in to pretend I care how you are doing.” I would scream, “I’m fine, Creepy! Get out!” And that’s without knowing that she’s planning to knife me.
Rick ultimately decided to banish Carol for her loose cannon murder of the first flu victims in their group. I don’t blame him. Other fans did. The banishment seems to particularly bother women, and I can totally understand that. Rick assures Carol that she will find another group to join, a group who won’t know what she did. Yeah, a group of cannibal rapists who can’t judge her. The show has repeatedly touched on the cruelty of leaving people to go it alone in a world of both living and dead predators, but The Walking Dead kind of glossed over what a harsh sentence Carol’s banishment really was.
On the other hand, who would want her around? She’s trouble when the group least needs trouble. What is Rick supposed to do? Hold a trial in the middle of a deadly zombie flu outbreak? Put her in prison? Hell, they’re in prison, already. How would Rick protect Carol from the vengeful Tyree, whose girlfriend got killed before he had a chance to get some?
“The answer is simple,” answer Carol Defenders. “Carol was doing what she thought best. They were suffering. They were dangerous. Officer Friendly could have just kept his damn mouth shut.”
It’s true that Rick is the only group member who knows what Carol did. And here’s the price of keeping Carol’s unapologetic Survivalist Angel Of Deadly Mercy tendencies to himself…Rick would never be able to sleep, again. Can any of us imagine running from situation to situation to make sure that Carol doesn’t take matters into her own crazy hands? Lizzie has her first period. Lizzie is suffering, without any Midol handy. Carol to the knife-wielding rescue. Hershel has one leg. He’s slow. Slow is dangerous to the group. Stab stab stab. The honest truth is that Carol is a worse threat to the group than Shane ever was, because some people were safe from Shane. Is anyone really safe from Carol? At the very least she is going to start her own cult of Survive At Any Cost children.
Killing Carol would have put Rick in her league. Banishing her is effectively killing her, but Rick will be able to live with the dream that she survives and thrives. I’m sure she’ll show up again before the season is over. Until then, I can live what Rick did.