At long last ... it's the Carol and Darryl show! Not a lot happens plot-wise but it's awfully nice to spend time with my two favorite characters. Also, the show is none too subtle with its smoke symbolism because Carol comes right out and explains it all for us. I've helped by using CAPITALS.
Flashback. Carol drives off after Rick casts her out for killing and burning those two sick people in the prison. She cries a little, scared to be on her own, then rallies and holes up in a law office in some small town. She's not that far away, however, and sees the black SMOKE when the Governor attacks and burns the prison. She drives back and sees the destruction, eyes wide and jaw dropped. All her friends (or former friends) are scattered.
Now. Darryl and Carol chase the car with the white cross, Darryl telling Carol what happened with him and Beth. They follow all the way to the outskirts of Atlanta. When their car runs out of gas, Carol says she knows a place nearby where they can hunker down for the night. They go into a big office-type building. Carol finds some keys and leads Darryl further and further in, through a series of doors until they come into a small room with a bunkbed. It's a shelter for abused women and children and she and Sophia stayed there once when she was still married to her horrible husband. At one point in the night, they hear a couple of walkers banging on one of the doors. It's a former woman and small child; they can't get in. Carol makes a move to go put them down and Darryl stops her, saying, "You don't hafta. You don't." In the morning, Carol wakes up to find that Darryl has killed the mother and child walkers and is respectfully burning their bodies. She thanks him as the black SMOKE rises to the sky.
Flashback. Carol and Tyrese bury the two little girls as white SMOKE (from Darryl and Beth's burning the shack) billows into the sky.
Now. Darryl and Carol continue into Atlanta on foot, looking for signs of vehicles with those white crosses. They get into a tall building, hoping for a better view. At one point, there's a contingent of walkers camped out in a hallway. No, really: the zombies are trapped in sleeping bags and tents. "Some days I don't know what the hell to think," mutters Darryl as they take out the sleeping bag zombies. They leave the ones in the tents because they don't seem to be getting out anytime soon. Unbeknownst to our heroes, however, someone is watching them.
They make their way to an office on a higher floor. As they look out the window, searching for the white crosses, Carol mentions that Darryl still hasn't asked her what happened with Tyrese and the girls. Darryl: "Well, I know what happened. They ain't here." Carol: "It was worse than that." Then they see a van with two of the crosses in its back windows, half-hanging off an overpass. They decide to take what supplies they can find and head over there to see where it leads them. On their way back out of the building, Noah - Beth's escapee friend - gets the drop on them and takes their gun and crossbow. "Sorry about this," he says, opening the zombie tents, "But you look tough." Noah bolts and Darryl quickly deals with the emerging tent zombies. Carol brings up her pistol, shoots a walker and then aims at Noah's back. Darryl knocks her hand down. She glares at him.
As they find their way out, Carol complains that [Noah] stole their weapons and she should have been allowed to shoot him. Darryl retorts that he's just a kid. She goes on, getting a little wound up, saying that without weapons they could die, and she doesn't want Darryl to die, she doesn't want any of their friends to die but she can't stop it and that's why she left the church because she just needed to be somewhere else ... Darryl cuts into her rising hysteria, sharply saying that they aren't somewhere else. They're here, trying to do their best.
They walk out onto the overpass to that van. There's nothing in it except a gurney stenciled with "GMH" - Grady Memorial Hospital. Darryl suggests that that may be where Beth's kidnappers are holed up, but before they can discuss a plan, the van is surrounded by walkers. There are too many to fight off so they climb into the van and strap themselves into the front seats. Holding each other's hands, they brace themselves ... and the walkers knock the van off the overpass. It's a pretty cool stunt (defying the laws of physics a bit so that it lands wheels down), especially when several walkers follow the van down, crashing onto the roof and windshield. Darryl and Carol have survived the fall but they're pretty battered and Carol can't really use her right arm. Clinging to each other for support, they leave the wreckage and head off towards Grady Memorial.
They make their way into another office building near the hospital and keep watch. They talk a little, Carol saying that in her old life, when she was married to ol' asshole Ed, she just waited for something to change instead of making the change for herself. When the zombie apocalypse happened, that person GOT BURNED AWAY. At the prison, she felt she became the person she should have been. And then she GOT BURNED AWAY (like when she burned the sick people and couldn't save the little girls). Darryl: "Hey. We ain't ashes." They are interrupted by banging and shouting and shooting. Upon investigation, they find Noah battling some walkers. Carol almost gets taken out because of her hurt arm but Darryl takes care of her. He also nearly takes care of Noah, dropping a heavy bookcase on him and intending to leave him defenseless against the walkers. Carol pleads with Darryl and finally he relents and spares Noah.
Flashback. Carol, after blowing up the propane tank that would ultimately free Rick et als. from the cannibal Terminus people, strips off her zombie guts-covered poncho and wipes her face, crying, as black SMOKE from the explosion billows behind her.
It's a good thing they kept Noah alive too because it quickly comes out that they all have Beth in common. Noah tells them about the hospital set-up and says that they'll have to be careful because they will have heard the shooting. A cop car cruises by and Noah panics, "We gotta go. We gotta go!" He says that they can get into the hospital through the basement of the building next door. Darryl lags behind, helping the badly limping Noah along, while Carol runs on ahead. She dashes out into the street and is immediately hit by the cruising cop car, rolling up and over the hood. Darryl lunges for her but Noah pulls him back. They watch as the cops take out a gurney and load the unconscious Carol into their car. Noah says that the cops will take Carol to the hospital where they can help her; if Darryl goes out there now, it'll be a big fire fight which won't help Carol at all. Darryl watches helplessly as the cops and Carol drive off. Noah: "We can get her back. We can get Beth back." Darryl: "What'll it take?" Noah: "A lot. They got guns. People." Darryl: "Yeah? So do we."
Last scene: Darryl and Noah find a truck and drive out of Atlanta, back to the church [where Noah will be the person hiding in the bushes when Darryl and Michonne meet back up]. Now they've got two of their people to rescue.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
1 hour ago