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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 10 - Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 10 - Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Season 10B: Examining Carol’s Claustrophobia

Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC



Carol Peletier’s cave claustrophobia is a common fear for starting spelunkers and potentially a leftover of past emotional scars.

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10B Premiere (“Squeeze”).

The combination of tears and sweat painted Carol’s face, body frozen in-place, allowing only a shriek of terror into the vast abyss that greeted her. It became clear on The Walking Dead’s latest episode that Carol’s achilles heel is being trapped in a confined space, the question is… What are the origins of the phobia? Scientifically speaking, there was an April 2013 study published on (U.S. National Library of Medicine) linking a single gene defect to claustrophobia. A quick overview of the study’s abstract on the connection between ‘GPM6A’ gene expression and its connection to panic disorders:

“Gpm6a-deficient mice develop normally and lack obvious behavioral abnormalities. However, when mildly stressed by single-housing, these mice develop a striking claustrophobia-like phenotype, which is not inducible in wild-type controls, even by severe stress.

The human GPM6A gene is located on chromosome 4q32-q34, a region linked to panic disorder. We suggest that loosing dynamic regulation of neuronal GPM6A expression poses a genetic risk for claustrophobia.”

Theoretically, Carol’s claustrophobia might be hard-wired, programmed right into her very DNA. GPM6A-deficient mice in the study above went against their nature of preferring enclosed spaces to open areas. Typically, a mouse’s instinct is to hide at a sign of danger or stress. Instead, these GPM6A-deficient mice felt stress when forced into an enclosed space.‘s Anita Ram created an easy to follow visual illustration of the experiment and detailed analysis for those who wish to learn more about the study’s breakdown.

Thus, despite a valiant record of taking 1000s of walkers out of commission, experience in countless do-or-die situations, and even Daryl Dixon by her side… Carol’s troubles coping with a claustrophobic environment could be innate, genetic, rather than an emotionally born phobia.

Repeated Exposure as a ‘cure’ for Carol’s Claustrophobia

According to NHS UK (National Health Service UK), gradual repeated exposure is a successful treatment for claustrophobia.

Claustrophobia can be successfully treated and cured by gradually being exposed to the situation that causes your fear. This is known as desensitization or self-exposure therapy.

Daryl encouraging Carol to advance forward and face her fear was actually the right move. Whether it was the only move Carol could do in reality or not. Staying in-place and waiting for external help to assist her would be a reach under normal, non-apocalyptic circumstances. Forget being caught with Alpha’s Horde at bay. Even though Carol verbally stated that she couldn’t go through the cave, Daryl’s encouraging words made her escape possible. recommends “focusing on your breathing” and “challenging the feeling”, which is just what Carol did.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier,  Ross Marquand as AaronLauren Ridloff as Connie, Angel Theory as Kelly, Nadia Hilker as Magna - The Walking Dead _ Season 10 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Ross Marquand as AaronLauren Ridloff as Connie, Angel Theory as Kelly, Nadia Hilker as Magna – The Walking Dead _ Season 10 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

The argument for Past Induced Trauma as cause

According to WebMD, the fear of enclosed spaces typically begins as a result of a traumatic childhood event including, “Bullying, Abuse, Being stuck in a tight place like an elevator.” Now, in Carol’s case the first thing that comes to mind is her poor treatment at Ed’s side. Could her fear of enclosed spaces have originated over the course of their marriage? It’s certainly possible.

However, it cannot be ignored that a traumatic event did befall Carol in her youth either. Perhaps, there’s still much more Walking Dead viewers don’t know about Carol. Just as Daryl has to piece together some of her unspoken background together, so does the audience.

It would be an excellent use of a flashback to showcase Carol’s past before Ed on The Walking Dead. Something that lends definite credibility to the emotionally charged phobia theory. Nevertheless, whatever the true reason is, Carol made it out of that cave in one piece. Yet, forced exposure of her fear by way of Alpha did not seem to cure her ailment in the least. Carol appeared to be on the verge of complete mental breakdown upon daylight bracing her shoulders.

Note: The lead photo of this article (Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC) has had its contrast/brightness adjusted from the original for clearer site viewing.

Be sure to read Carol Peletier: A Mother’s Grief is Forever and more Walking Dead Season 10 coverage in The Walking Dead category section.


The Walking Dead

Negan, Daryl scene brings danger back on ‘Look at the Flowers’



Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Negan and Daryl’s standoff felt like a lost treasure from Season 7’s glory days washing up onshore. Delightfully unpredictable.

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 14 (“Look at the Flowers”).

Picture Negan caught in a tug of war between the sweet nectarine taste of freedom and signature bureaucracy of morality. Going from accused captive on his final march to the gallows to bestowed the title of Alpha. Rope removed from neck, a sudden insurrection switching his presumptive executioner on trial instead. Whisperers kneeling like The Saviors of yore before the might of Lucille’s bearer. An opportunity to rebuild TWD’s great antiquity from the ground up. Breathing new life into Sanctuary by pumping its heart full of fresh residents.

Negan confesses to relishing his lengthy, unauthorized parole granted by one Carol Peletier. A tongue defending against a sword will always be a flimsy substitute for another sword. Now, that Negan owns the calvary, denial is no longer necessary. Denial is for the weak. Should Negan surrender his leverage, all that awaits him are voting tribunals and paperwork. His chief recommendation: Gone a-wall. Evidence of his valor: Missing-in-action. There will be eyes judging his every movement as intrinsically vile even with proof of improved character.

Negan can reach for the key dangling in front of his ‘barred’ memories right at that second and reclaim his crown. Freedom swings back and forth in front of his eyes, a clock’s pendulum. Fully bejeweled, Easy Street. Daryl kneels in silence as the moonlight dances over his tattered vest’s wings. Live or die. Full circle, transported right back to the scene of the ‘crime’ where he took a swing at the leather jacketed one. Danger permeates the air, the will of Lucille. For the first time in a long while on The Walking Dead, true unpredictability reigns again.

Negan asks one of his newly recruited Whisperer henchman why he’s holding the ‘badass shotgun’ instead of the Alpha… Once the handoff is complete, it’s clear Season 7 Negan’s spirit reemerged only temporarily. Negan and Daryl team up to vanquish the Alpha followers with relative ease. What could have been one of the show’s greatest comebacks has the brakes put to it, instead of thriving ala The Governor’s return to the prison. Negan preemptively abandons a newly formed reclamation army in favor of civilized red tape back at Alexandria.

A narrative fit for an entire future season: Negan rebuilding the Saviors through his Whisperer influence is put to rest before it started. No internal war between Negan and Beta establishing a Negan/Simon redux-like reverie. The bigger picture. Thus, a lead episode highlight is only held back by not keeping Negan’s original spirit alive for at least a couple more chapters.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

“Look at the Flowers” firmly establishes that although Negan is capable of heroic deeds, he’s absolute dynamite as a ‘bad guy’. Being a ‘good guy’ comes with rules and regulations… Negan shines consistently in the absence of both. Leave the iron anchor behind and let the man be as bad as he wants to be. ‘That is the look Negan I wanted to see!’

All that being said, the scene is one of the high points of Season 10. Capturing the magic elixir formula that made Negan such a force to be reckoned with in the first place. Uncertainty.

Be sure to read The Walking Dead #TBT: Negan asks Daryl ‘Who are you?’

Missed an episode or looking to reflect on a scene past? No problem! Purchase episodes on Amazon today.

More TWD Season 10 coverage is available on The Natural Aristocrat’s The Walking Dead category section.

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The Walking Dead

Ezekiel broke the bro code when he picked up Carol at Daryl’s place



The Walking Dead Season 10 - Daryl Dixon [Norman Reedus] and King Ezekiel [Khary Payton] - Photo Credit: AMC
Photo Credit: AMC

What kind of guy goes to another man’s riverbed tent to pick up his ex-girlfriend? King ‘Hide Your Carols’ Ezekiel, the ex always on the prowl for tragedy to strike before sending a 2 am feel out text.

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 11 (“Morning Star”).

No scruples. Ezekiel is the type of guy to test waters by liking a girl’s Facebook photos 24/7 before texting ‘HYD?’ right after she has a fight with her boyfriend. Always queued in the shadows, waiting to pounce like his tiger Shiva before him at the right moment. Grinning from ear-to-ear in anticipation of hearing something has gone wrong, so he can make a move to ‘comfort.’ Why Daryl Dixon was reduced to being ‘the bigger person’ and telling Ezekiel, ‘he’s always respected what he’s been through’, post-coitus with Carol was just strange. It’s okay to be angry sometimes or even hold grudges like Daryl once did at Rick’s decision to spare Negan.

It didn’t feel realistic. Can you imagine Jessie Anderson getting back with Pete Anderson (had he lived) and Rick Grimes exchanging pleasantries? How about Lori sleeping with Shane again? Would Rick tell Shane how he’s always respected him right after the act? What is this ‘The Bold and The Beautiful‘ or one of the most savagely brutal shows in the history of television?

Why does Daryl have to ‘respect’ Ezekiel after he sleeps with the person Daryl presumably loves and seems to want a relationship with? There was no Governor type psychology/larger plan to be found in the scene… Really, you felt sorry that things have come to this. How would Season 1-2 rebellious Daryl Dixon look at Season 10 Daryl Dixon? Daryl seemed to be a Morgan-like clone on “Morning Star”, just happy to see everyone else be happy. Even at his own expense. Judith stitched together a new wing for Daryl’s vest on tonight’s episode… But he might as well have been completely de-feathered and wingless after that Ezekiel conversation.

There’s a range of pieces that don’t add up as of late on TWD, like why Negan didn’t just take out Alpha right then and there in the Season 10B Premiere, for example. Negan, the man who choked Simon to death with his barehands to finish a pure Rome-Gladiatorial style fistfight… Suddenly, can’t take out a vulnerable, unarmed naked Alpha and decides to sleep with her seemingly out of fear. In fact, recently Negan seems practically subservient, larger scheme in mind or not. Do you remember what Negan whispered to Rick Grimes after his first visit to Alexandria as a parting shot? Now the man is letting Alpha literally mutilate his wrists with a stick.

Eugene opting for a long distance relationship when he finally made Rosita jealous enough to want a kiss. Forgoing the opportunity so he can keep talking to a person he’s never actually met by radio. Literally after working to obtain Rosita’s affections for countless seasons. It just took almost all other competition to ‘drop out’ for Eugene to get a chance, true love right there. Now the peak has arrived, Daryl complimenting Ezekiel after he sleeps with Carol. Maybe it’s time TWD moved away from the ‘ships for a while and went back to basics.

Be sure to read Daryl and Ezekiel’s talk felt like a stiff handshake from a girl’s boyfriend and more TWD Season 10 coverage in The Walking Dead category section on The Natural Aristocrat.

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Ride with Norman Reedus

Michael Rooker is hilarious in ‘Ride with Norman Reedus’ S4 Premiere



Ride with Norman Reedus - Season 4 Premiere - Georgia with Rooker - Pictured from left to right (L-R): Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus in Episode 1. - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Michael Rooker ‘pestering’ his cousin Georgie about her lack of “Butterbeans and Cornbread” readiness on Ride with Norman Reedus’ Season 4 Premiere is worthy of its own reality show spinoff.

Michael Rooker’s visit back to his hometown of Jasper, Alabama on Ride with Norman Reedus Season 4 Premiere ended up being the breakout highlight of the episode. It was richly authentic, like a page out of a biography. The duo of Rooker and his cousin Georgie made for natural comedy that’s created through years of bonding, rather than typed in a script lab. No writer’s room, no partially scripted feeling, as is often the case in reality shows these days. From the moment Rooker said, “Give me a hug, woman!” and neighbors commented on Merle being in that “Walking Dead mess” you knew you were in for a fun time.

From Rooker teasing George about not making any “Butterbeans and Cornbread” per his arrival and her doll-filled house… To Georgie revealing her ignored texts to Norman Reedus as a type of arbiter. “He would have had Butterbeans and Cornbread if he’d answered my texts! Look at all these texts Norman!” Reedus supported Georgie’s case only to have Rooker respond, “I don’t reply to texts.” Case closed. Gavel down.

Georgie would try to get some photos in as Rooker commented, “We’re busy people, woman!” but posed for a few while making Merle-esque comments. The entire segment felt like a home movie. As if a live stream was setup to capture one day in the life of Rooker interacting with his family. Rooker’s teasing continued later in the episode even when cousin Georgie was off-screen. The Dixon brothers visit a haunted chicken farm and when they walk into a room filled with dolls, Rooker remarks, “We’re back at my cousin’s house!”

The whole ride back to The Walking Dead’s home in Senoia, Georgia concludes with Merle finally getting his ‘hand’ back at Nic and Norman’s! TWD Director and special effects extraordinaire Greg Nicotero does the honors of returning Merle’s prized possession. In Reedus’ words “I don’t trust Rooker having three hands!” If you’re a fan of the early seasons of The Walking Dead and the Dixon brothers, tonight’s Ride with Norman Reedus Season 4 Premiere is not to be missed.

Ride with Norman Reedus airs at 12:10 am ET/ 2:16 am PT on AMC after Talking Dead and tonight’s TWD replay.

Be sure to read The Walking Dead Season 10B: Examining Carol’s Claustrophobia and Lost Affection: Carol Peletier’s past destroying her future (Poem) on The Natural Aristocrat! All Walking Dead Season 10 coverage can be found in The Walking Dead category section.

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