No, Carol is not fine. Distraction, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance. These are the four phases of a wilting relationship abruptly pulled out by the roots not on your terms. There’s only so many tears to supply life before there’s nothing left but dirt pouring out of your hands.
Jerry’s soup was the Distraction. Stabbing the wall with a Chef’s knife in a Hitchcockian inspired ‘Psycho’ loss of sanity, the Anger. Asking Daryl to come over for dinner, Bargaining… But there was no Acceptance on ‘Diverged’.
This TWD recap contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 21 (“Diverged”).
The first day of a breakup is always the hardest to soak in. A wild betrayal of trust by your best friend… Just as things appear to be turning for the better. It’s always a happy moment that precedes the downwards spiral like Carol catching fish with Daryl on “Find Me”. The sun is glowing, smiles are cascading, and past relationship troubles are blocked out like an eclipse.
Then right as you’re caught fully off guard, exposed and emotionally naked… The verbal jab arrives flush on the cheek sending you swinging towards the ropes for a standing 10-count.
Carol simply feigned acceptance as double vision set in. Preemptively rejecting apologies that Daryl would not have spoken. ‘I was just going to say, Good Luck.’
The crushing loss sent her looking for a non-judgmental third party in Jerry on “Diverged”. A sympathetic ear Carol normally wouldn’t have confided in. But when you’re stumbling off the mat in confusion, you search for familiarity and comfort. You put off replaying the day’s events, sealing them away in a corner of your mind like they never happened.
You confess your true feelings at twilight to those who can’t speak back like ‘Dog’ whose love is unconditional.
‘Dog’ won’t give basic lip service & platitudes that you don’t need. He’ll never utter ‘You’re too good for him anyway,’ instead ‘Dog’ will just listen. For as long as you want.
Your secrets are safe with ‘Dog’, he’s locked them down in the vault, never to bark a single word.
The Negative Under a Microscope
When you’re under cupid’s arrow everything’s served up with a spoonful of sugar and a beehive’s finest honey. The opposite is true when the honeymoon is over. It’s a lump of dirty coal and jagged stone in your cereal bowl served with a plastic knife. Nothing fits, nothing works.
Zero-in on Carol attempting to make a soup full of rocks sound appetizing to Jerry. That was no joking accident, rambling, or small talk. It was a lucid episode worthy of a bystander’s intervention.
You’re trying to distract yourself with a hobby but the ingredients needed are missing. The power goes out. A domino effect, one piece of bad luck lands on another. You can’t even stop a rat in its tracks.
Suddenly, it’s a madhouse. Much like the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart“, Carol assumed her antagonist was in the house, haunting her. In the walls, instead of underneath the floorboards in this case. All Carol had to do was eliminate her adversary and the noise would stop.
Carol’s choice of a Chef’s knife instead of a hammer was a direct reflection of her state of mind. The rapid motion of the knife, a noticeable homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror film, ‘Psycho‘. The first wall of Carol’s sanity was pummeled into dust and only three sides barely remain. Hanging by a thread.
Once the Anger phase subsided and Daryl Dixon returned into town… Carol threw one last Hail Mary to Bargain her way back into the day before yesterday. Casually asking Daryl if he was hungry, that she was making soup. Only to be coolly declined.
Nothing had changed, the roots were still bare. Given enough time passing, there will be no life to plant back into the ground. No foundations to build a future on.
For Carol, being a branch without a tree is a dangerous place to be. Without Daryl at her side, Carol’s old habits no longer need to hide. The Carol Peletier that made decisions at the Prison and at The Grove will rise.
But Acceptance is more than just a sentence. Time will tell if Caryl is only temporarily in peril…
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