The Walking Dead has always been a violent show. Of course, when the dead start walking around and trying to eat the living, you have to expect things to get a little tense. What I really love about it, though, is how the show explores the personal dynamics of having to live in a world where the only way to survive is to give up a portion of your humanity. This week’s episode, “Consumed,” shines a light on what Carol has done to survive and what those actions have cost her.
Carol has lost a lot in the course of the show. No one was sad to see her husband get eaten, but the loss of her daughter, Sophia, took half a season and was traumatic for everyone. These losses made her stronger, but they also made her hard and, in my opinion, not very likeable. I always thought she was a little too tough to be genuine, and her refusal to admit any error in her decisions was irritating.
Through a series of flashbacks which directly relate to her current circumstances, “Consumed” shows that Carol may have been acting strong, but she is really just trying to find a reason to keep going when she has lost hope. Even though she is going through the motions of helping Darryl find Beth, she doesn’t really believe they will find her and even says, “I don’t think we get to save people anymore.” When Darryl asks her why she’s helping him, she says, “I’m trying.”
Over and over again, we see what Carol has been through: the rescue shelter, Lizzie and Mika, Terminus, killing David and Karen… Through it all, Darryl is there as support, telling her he knows her and that she can’t just give up and stop caring. The problem is that she’s gotten so wrapped up in the things that have been done to her–and that she has done to survive–that she can’t see anything else.
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Psalm 51:3
I get stuck here so often. I know my sins and I play them over and over again in my head like a broken record. “I can’t believe I was that stupid” and “What was I thinking” can become a mantra if I’m not careful. Remembering past sins can be paralyzing and keep you from moving on to become what God intended. Opportunities are missed, and one bad decision can lead to another if we don’t remember to move on to the promise that comes after repentance.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12
This isn’t just a promise of forgiveness, but a reminder that we still have a reason to keep going. We can’t stop and focus on the bad, but we have to continue trying to do what we were called to do. God isn’t done with us, and He doesn’t give up just because we take a detour. Actually, it’s the opposite. God is actively leading and directing us if we will just take the time to listen. He has a plan and will not give up, even when we do.
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
There is one conversation that summarizes the entire episode pretty well. Carol is talking about everything she’s been through and how it has changed her; she ends by saying, “Everything now just… consumes you.” Darryl responds by stating, “Well, hey… we ain’t ashes.”
Just as Carol and Darryl’s experiences have changed them but not consumed them, as Christians our experiences may change us, but they should not be the definition of who we are or how God will use us.
Some Offensive Language: a**, d***, s***, f***
Violence: the usual killing of the undead, car wreck
The Bottom Line