If you're over the age of 35 (and therefore always tired), a proud introvert or maybe a working parent, you know all too well how valuable it is to just. be. alone sometimes. A night in with a
glass bottle of vino, a walk in the park or whatever — some time to just be quiet is the gift to ourselves that we all need. And doggone it, if anybody on TV deserves to put a Gone Fishin' sign over her entire life, it's poor Carol (Melissa McBride) from The Walking Dead, who has one simple request: to be left the hell alone.
But no. People keep showing up, knocking at her damn door. Asking her to sign a petition, maybe whip up a batch of her famous farm-to-table artisanal cookies. For God's sakes, why can't they get it? Y'all, Carol is tired. Carol survived a brutally abusive spouse. She lost her daughter. She's had to fight and kill and forage and homegirl is in deep need of a candlelit bath and 365 days of slow Sundays.
Morgan (Lennie James) got the idea. Their battle-scared friendship is one of most enduring of the series, and you can see that there's some genuine love between them now. But when she told him to beat it, he sucked it up and walked off. Right on, dude.
Yet just when she manages to get a little bit of R&R, here comes Daryl (Norman Reedus) tap-tap-tapping at her door all teary-eyed, no doubt interrupting an engrossing Price Is Right or Judge Judy episode. Granted, she's happy to see him. They have a whole thing, you know, and he most certainly prevented her from becoming Richard's sacrificial lamb (Karl Makinen) in the oncoming war.
But still. Their reunion has a cost. Painful memories she's obviously trying to block out with books and needlepoint or whatever, are gonna come rushing back. And she's sure to find that he lied to her about Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) being alive, dredging up more of the very anguish she retreated to her cottage to escape in the first place. It was the right thing to do, probably, since that fib earned her a few more days by herself. But if Daryl really loved her and had been selfless enough to say, "You know, I'm going to honor her needs and stay away," Carol would be happily roasting nuts and stirring soup, with no more noise than the crackle of the fire. Can't a girl have a moment's peace?!
Just before Daryl trekked out to see her, Richard said to him "Living on her own like that, she might as well be dead right now," which is hogwash. Carol can certainly hold her own. And the assertion that something is wrong with her choice to be alone invokes the age-old, destructive myth of the miserable, lonely spinster — the fabled witch in the woods who's crazy for retreating from the world. No. The world is demented, not her; chucking the deuces to it is the most sane, self-loving thing a body can do. Carol made a choice, and it should be respected. When Daryl asked Carol why she vanished she said, "I had to."
How brain dead do you have to be to not get that?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.