Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus

[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead. Read at your own risk.]

By the end of Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead, it became clearer what the show is most likely building toward for the midseason finale. And, naturally, it probably won't be pretty.

For the third week in a row, the show focused on a group not located with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) & Co. back at the church. In this case, the episode tracked Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) on their mission to find and rescue Beth (Emily Kinney). Their strategy: follow the car with the white cross on the rear window until it led them to wherever Beth was being held. Unfortunately, the task wasn't that easy.

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After following the car into Atlanta (on the same darkened stretch of interstate that Rick rode his horse in on in the series' pilot episode), Daryl and Carol ran out of gas and had to hole up for the night to avoid becoming walker bait. Carol led Daryl to a building she later revealed to be a shelter she and Sophia once visited to get away from her husband after one of his beatings. During the night, the duo had one of several meaningful half-conversations about where their heads are at — especially given that Carol was potentially trying to leave the group behind at the church. "You said we get to start over. Did you?" Carol asks. When Daryl responds that he's trying, Carol says, "I don't think we get to save people anymore."The next morning, they crept their way into a skyscraper to get a better view of the city. From that vantage point, Carol spotted a disabled van that also sported the white cross on the back glass, offering the duo a new lead. Daryl and Carol continue the conversation from the night before, with Carol wondering aloud why Daryl had never asked what happened with Carol, Tyrese ( Chad L. Coleman) and the girls. "I know what happened. They ain't here," Daryl says. "It's worse than that," Carol responds, clearly upset. In an effort to comfort Carol, Daryl says, "The reason I said we can start over is because we gotta." As Daryl and Carol make their way back down to the street to check out the van, they ran into Noah (

Tyler James Williams),), the young man Beth helped escape from the hospital. Because he needed to defend himself, he took Daryl and Carol's rifle and crossbow and made his escape — which was made easier when Daryl wouldn't let Carol use one of her remaining bullets in her handgun to stop Noah. As Carol picks a fight with Daryl about allowing Noah to walk away with their weapons, Carol finally explains why she was considering leaving the group so soon after being reunited.

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"I don't want you to die," she says. "I don't want Beth to die. I don't want anybody at the church to die, but I can't stand around and watch it happen either. I can't. That's why I left. I just had to be somewhere else."Although Carol and Daryl make it to the van, they only have time to learn it belongs to Grady Memorial Hospital before being attacked by a herd of walkers. Without enough weapons to fight them off, they hop into the front seat of the van, buckle up and wait for the herd to push the van off the overpass. They both make it out of the fall with minor injuries and press on toward Grady Memorial. While scoping out the hospital from afar, Daryl and Carol have one final heart-to-heart, during which Carol describes how much she's changed since her days with Ed before the apocalypse."Who I was with him got burned away," she says. "At the prison I got to be who I always though I should have been. And she got burned away. Everything now just consumes you." But again, Daryl refuses to let Carol give up. "We ain't ashes," he says. 

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As Daryl and Carol finally make their way to the hospital, they happen upon a walker who has been killed with one of Daryl's arrows. They then hear Carol's rifle being fired and quickly track down Noah again. Although Daryl gets the better of Noah and chooses to leave him to die, Carol pleads for Daryl to help Noah. Daryl and Carol soon learn that Noah knows about both Grady Memorial and Beth, but when Noah spots one of the hospital's cars out on patrol, they try to make it to another building to hide in the basement. However, as they make a run for it, the patrol car runs over Carol.Although Daryl tries to run to help, Noah holds him back, insisting that the people at the hospital can help Carol more than Daryl can. However, Noah vows that they can still go the hospital and save both Beth and Carol. Of course, it will be no small task. "They've got guns. People," Noah says. "So do we," Daryl says. And just like that, the two steal a truck and, presumably, head back to the church to rally Rick & Co. for the coming showdown at Grady Memorial.Although this episode did fill in some emotional gaps for Carol, I'm not sure it was as successful as the previous two "detour episodes." Perhaps that's because we already knew that whatever happened in this episode, Carol was destined to end up on that stretcher at Grady Memorial. And for that same reason, it wasn't hard to assume that it would be Noah who would emerge from the bushes with Daryl.But it does seem clear that Daryl will try to recruit Rick and those at the church to storm the hospital on a rescue mission. But, with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and his group now out on their own and Rick's group still mourning the loss of Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), do they have the numbers and the energy for such a challenging battle. Guess we'll find out!What did you think of this episode?

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