The Walking Dead: What Happened To Carol?

Tonight episode of AMC's The Walking Dead will feature...well, nobody knows just yet.

It seems from previews that this could be one of their bottle episodes, featuring basically just one character (in this case Beth). Then again, previews have been known to be misleading on this show.

The big question hovering over everyone now, though (since we've seen official material giving us a touch of background on what Beth is up to) is: where's Carol?

After taking off with Daryl in "Strangers," Carol may not have returned to the church with him at the end of "Four Walls and a Roof." The episode closed with Daryl, returning to the church and sneaking in through the woods; he's met by Michonne, and when she asks where Carol is, he looks solemn and tells someone behind him that they can come out.

That's the end of the episode, and it left a lot of questions hanging out there.

Is it Beth? Is it a new character, or one we thought was dead? Or is it Carol, hanging behind for some reason?

That third possibility is, of course, intriguing. Carol wouldn't need to remain hidden from the group, so what could make her do so? One imagines that it would have to be injury, possible disfigurement, or something of the sort.

Of course, while the audience is aware that Rick and the others took out the Hunters in their absence, that isn't information that Daryl and Carol are privy to. Perhaps they were just doing their due dilligence. After all, if something were to happen to Daryl, we've seen that Carol is capable of a single-handed, daring rescue.

Now -- whatever happens, we know we haven't seen the last of Melissa McBride. First of all, a character of Carol's caliber wouldn't get an offscreen death; it would be absurd and lend itself to conspiracy theories that would last until the end of the series. Hell, Lori Grimes was bleeding to death, unconscious, surrounded by walkers and another character said outright that he shot her in the head...and the fact that it happened off-camera still led people to speculate that she somehow made it out of that alive.

On top of that, there were photos that leaked over the summer, depicting McBride and Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, together in the streets of Atlanta.

"There’s two sides of me; one side kind of shrugs it off; okay, people want spoilers and they’re going to go looking for them. And then of course there’s social media and not everybody labels their spoilers a spoiler and you’re caught off-guard and then there's a lot of people who don't want to be spoiled," McBride told us in an interview last month. "For me, I kind of like keeping Carol and what happens in the story very close to my vest, keeping those cards face down on the table. I don’t want anybody to know; I want it to come, but that’s just me and that's how I enjoy watching, too."