The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 2: Carol's Not Making Casseroles Anymore

Photo: Gene Page/Courtesy of AMC.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Ever since Rick and co. arrived at Alexandria, Carol has been playing the long-con game. She's spent her entire time there pretending to be a sweet mother-type woman whose favorite activities include making casseroles and wearing cardigans. Well, not anymore. Tonight we saw the return of gun-slinging, badass Carol who is finally coming out to play.

Some cult has shown up at Alexandria and is slaughtering people left and right. Super annoying. All we know is they kill humans, have "W" on their foreheads, and don't have any guns. One member, before he gets shot, reveals that they may be in the business of "freeing" people by killing them, as the planet no longer belongs to us — it belongs to walkers. You're probably not surprised to learn that they are also the reason for the horn sound that derailed the otherwise efficient herding of zombies from last week's episode.

Except, none of this is going down on Carol's watch. Within minutes, she sheds her innocent persona, kills a bunch of these crazies, and sets up her friends with guns. Because that is what Carol does. She gets shit done. All that's missing is a series of slow-motion explosions behind her as she walks away smoking a well-deserved cigarette.

Even before the arrival of this mystery gang, we had a feeling this was going to happen. Carol sees Sam sulking on a stoop because he misses his piece-of-crap dad. Carol's there to deliver him the tough love he needs. "Your dad used to hit you and he got himself killed. It happened," she tells him, advising him to get over it real fast. It reminded me of the Carol from their prison days, who tells everyone she's running a school for the kids, but is secretly teaching them how to use weapons and kill zombies. And, at the start of the episode, one of the other women in the pantry calls her "an honest to goodness hero" because of her cooking. How little the community truly knows about our heroine.

Beyond the return of Carol, we also saw more of Morgan tonight. He's trying not to kill people, and even manages to convince some of these cult members to leave before they meet their demise by his less friendly comrades. In fact, it looks like he may not have it in him to kill other humans, which makes me wonder how he's survived this long. He confronts Carol at one point during her spree. "You don't have to kill people," he tells her. And Carol's like, "Of course we do" — and she's right. But, Morgan brings up an interesting and probably true point in rebuttal: "You don't like it."

As in most TWD episodes, there are also some subplot gems going on. We learned more about Enid's arrival to Alexandria. Everywhere she went before the relatively safe town, she marked her presence with "JSS" — the episode's namesake. She writes it in dirt on car windows, spells it out in pieces of bone. Wanna know why Enid's so quiet and angsty all the time? Yes, it's because she's a teenager, but it's also because she lost her parents to zombies and had to eat TURTLES, man. She's seen things, and she appears to have left the camp by the end of the episode when Carl finds a note from her that reads, "Just survive somehow," which we can assume is the elongated version of her signature abbreviation.

Also, Denise is the new community doctor, but she's having some real anxiety and impostor syndrome about it. Eugene seems to be helping her build up confidence there. I'm interested to see where that goes.

But, the real focus of this episode is Carol. Rick isn't even in it. Toward the end of tonight's installment, Carl hears the dinging of a kitchen timer to signify that Carol's casserole is ready. Except, this time it feels more symbolic of Carol's return to her natural, more apocalypse-ready self. And that's a good thing, because let's not forget: There's still a herd of zombies on the way.
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