The memory of murdered Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) haunts Carol (Melissa McBride) in a clip from Sunday's The Walking Dead 1014, "Look at the Flowers." Carol conspired with a jailed Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to infiltrate the enemy group and kill Alpha in exchange for his freedom, a plot that ended with Negan murdering Alpha before presenting Carol with her decapitated and zombified head. In "Look at the Flowers," Carol stakes Alpha's head on the same spike border where she discovered son Henry (Matt Lintz) was murdered, ending the vendetta she's carried since Season 9 episode 15, "The Calm Before."
After parting ways with Negan at the border, Carol wanders the woods alone when she hears it: her name, said in a familiar sing-song voice. Turning, Carol is met by Alpha, who reminds her: "I'm always watching."
A distressed and exhausted Carol suffered disturbing hallucinations earlier this season in 1003, "Ghosts," where she was plagued by the memory of dead kids Henry, Sophia (Madison Lintz), Sam Anderson (Major Dodson), and sisters Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy). The disturbed Lizzie was executed by Carol in Season 4 episode "The Grove," where a tearful Carol instructed the girl to "look at the flowers" before shooting her in the back of the head.
Carol's pursuit of vengeance previously left Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) trapped in a cave teeming with walkers and Whisperers, a perilous situation Aaron (Ross Marquand), Jerry (Cooper Andrews), Kelly (Angel Theory), Carol and best friend Daryl (Norman Reedus) only narrowly managed to escape. Magna later turned up alive, but Carol continues to feel guilt over the still-missing Connie.
In "Squeeze," Carol hit rock bottom over the explosive fallout of her actions at the cave that fractured her decade-long friendship with Daryl.
"For Carol, she has been so driven by vengeance against Alpha, so there are a couple of things that happen from this. We've been thinking of this moment like this is her rock bottom," Kang told EW after the midseason premiere. "It's almost like she's addicted to the idea of revenge against Alpha, and she's been spiraling and going kind of darker. The thing with a story about vengeance is of course it's really satisfying to think, 'Yeah, get revenge against the people who've wronged you and who've killed those you love' and all of that."
"But vengeance is complicated and there's got to be consequences to it because you can have blinders on. So that's part of the story that we're telling with Carol," Kang continued. "Now in some ways, she's motivated more than ever to try to finish this mission, because otherwise it was all for nothing. And yet she knows that she has things that she needs to repair. She knows that she's going to want to redeem herself at the same time."