Spoilers for The Walking Dead 8x06.
Carol is on a mission.
After the disastrous events of episode 8x04, King Ezekiel is devastated. All but two of the Kingdom's loyal forces were decimated in one swift blow. His beloved pet tiger and protector, Shiva, sacrificed herself — saving his life and the lives of Jerry and Carol. Ezekiel's facade of a regal king is shattered, and he's barricaded himself in his court as the Kingdom mourns the lives lost.
Never one to sit around, Carol tells Ezekiel to get off his ass — they have to gather everyone who can fight and meet Rick and the others at a rendezvous point. No answer. "I'll go with you," says Henry, younger brother of the fallen Ben. He wants to fight. Carol shoots him down, hard. "No. And don't follow me."
Proving he's the spiritual successor of Carl, Henry just can't stay in the house. He's in the woods alone and struggling to fend off a pair of walkers with his bō when Carol saves him. "I told you not to follow me," she says. "Do you know what happens to kids when they go wandering around in the woods? They never get seen again and if they do, they're monsters. Is that what you want?"
Carol lost her daughter, Sophia, sisters Lizzie and Mika, and then cookie-loving Sam, all who met brutal ends. It won't happen — not again — to Henry.
"I'm not scared," he says, defiant. Carol says he's stupid. "You need fighters, so I'm fighting. Just now, were you gonna go back to the Saviors' place by yourself? Let me go with you. I have to get the guys who killed my brother." Alright, fine. She sticks a gun in his hand. Tells him to stay close and the safety stays on until she says otherwise, and they're off.
Back home at the Kingdom, Carol confronts Ezekiel. She says his people need him. He says to leave him alone. She asks why he kept coming to visit her when she was holed up in a creepy little house just outside the Kingdom's walls. He admits she makes him feel real, a sentiment she returns.
"You are real," says a tearful Carol. "To me. To the Kingdom. The people need their king to lead them." Ezekiel tells Carol she could lead them.
"It has to be you," she says. "You inspired them to build this place. To believe in something. You have to help them grieve. To move on. To end this. You owe them that. Henry needs you. Those people need King Ezekiel. And if you can't be the king, then do what you do best. You play the part. You have to act every day. It used to bother me, but this is who I am. And I am still standing. You just have to act like everything is normal until it is, it's what they need. And it's what you have to give them."
He hears her. But, he admits, "I can't."
Rick — who went on a solo trip in an effort to forge a deal with Jadis and the Scavengers — told the Scavengers he showed up alone but his people knew where he was, and if they didn't hear from him, they'd come knocking. Rick is currently being held as the Scavengers' hostage, tied up in a cargo trailer — one marked "A" by Jadis — giving a sense of déjà vu as, back in season five, Carol showed up to help spring Team Family from the clutches of Terminus (back in Georgia).
With Carol setting her sights on the rendezvous point and the Sanctuary — and with Rick M.I.A. — she might just unleash unholy hell on the Scavengers.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.