Could you imagine The Walking Dead without Carol Peletier? I cannot. While learning that Lydia’s recent suicide debate was an homage to how the Carol dies in the comics, I love the Carol that fans have grown to know over the past nine seasons. She has also managed to save the group on multiple occasions when audiences thought absolutely no hope existed. While appearing ruthless the character has grown quite a bit from the first time that we saw Melissa McBride bring the character to life. I cannot imagine anyone else diffusing situations the way Carol does. Though no one should leave her alone with matches, Carol’s journey is prolific.
However, in season three of the show the writer’s began to debate on where they could take McBride’s character. Chief Content Officer, Scott Gimple admitted that, “In Season Three, there was some conversation about maybe Carol going away.” Thankfully Gimple fought for the character to remain on the show. “I was dead set against it because I thought it would be a great story to see a person who came from abuse become the hero, and not in an easy way. She herself had to struggle with the power that she found.” Finding one’s power after years of abuse is not an easy task and slowly Carol built herself up around the rest of the group to support her.
Carol has shown so many women over the years that one can truly overcome where they were in life. They do not have to remain idle and they do not have to endure anything from anyone. They can get out of any domestic abuse situation. No matter what is going on in one’s life the tables can and will eventually turn. One does not have to remain a doormat forever. Women can stand up for themselves. They can stand up against anyone in their life that chooses not to treat them with the dignity or respect they deserve. More importantly they can survive against all the odds that told them they could not.
Reading how much McBride has powered into Carol over the years makes me adore her and the character even more. As McBride fought back tears when speaking to INSIDER’s Kirsten Acuna, she revealed that, “It’s been so important to me to see her become strong. It’s really hard for me to talk about that aspect of her without getting just boiled up inside because I know people like her that didn’t make it. That aspect has always been very important to me. Empathy, we need more of that. These, by the way, they’re good tears, because it’s important, and it was a good thing that happened to Carol.”
While I happen to agree with McBride it’s difficult to believe that the character they considered keeping instead was T-Dog. According to a 2016 interview with SFX Magazine, Executive Producer Greg Nicotero admitted, “Not a lot of people know that when we were shooting season three, in the episode where T-Dog died, there was a moment where Carol was going to die in lieu of T-Dog’s character.” This makes me wonder how the show would be different if T-Dog had survived. Would some of his storylines derived from Carol’s storylines? Would the writers construct another character similar to Carol for him to be with to show the effects of abuse?
These are questions that will never have an answer, but I still wonder them all the same. While The Walking Dead has given us many strong and powerful female figures, the continuation of the character of Carol is something women need to view. This is the one time I do not want to think of what ifs because of the way her story has progressed over the years is nothing short of amazing. Nicotero also noted in the 2016 interview that, “the writers have been able to craft this amazing journey for her just goes to show that there is a tremendous amount of story to tell for a lot of these characters.”
All the characters on The Walking Dead are through the wringer. However, out of all the characters Carol Peletier’s is one of the most important in television history. Allowing women to see how much she has overcome and how much she conquered in her life is simply breathtaking. She has grown into a strong and confident woman that was unafraid in her most recent relationship to grow her hair out. Although some might view that as a big step, she is still standing and that alone is important.
What is a moment you felt empowered by Carol? Which scene struck a chord within you over the years? Share them with us in the comments below.