Sunday’s The Walking Dead 10x03, “Ghosts,” revealed Carol’s (Melissa McBride) pill-popping problem as she exhausted a supply of caffeine tablets to stay awake while fending off a 49-hour walker attack. Tormented by grief over the loss of son Henry (Matt Lintz), who was murdered by the Whisperers’ Alpha (Samantha Morton), Carol’s already fragile mental state is made worse by the disturbing hallucinations she now suffers, including haunting visions of Henry. As Carol spends every waking moment obsessing over her revenge against Alpha — which she very nearly won when she fired a shot at the villain during a tense meeting at the border marking Whisperer territory — The Walking Dead showrunner warns Carol’s self-destructive behavior is only just beginning.
“For Carol, the stakes are so high for her because of what happened to her son, and I think in this episode what we’re really seeing — and Melissa McBride just portrays the role so beautifully — it’s just the depth of her grief and pain and how much of it she’s been hiding away from everybody else in the group,” Kang told EW. “And that comes bubbling up to the surface in a couple of really key moments, such as when she’s at the border with Alpha. When somebody is going through that much pain, and when they have such a burning desire to have revenge, and when she really wants to see Alpha pay for her sins, that’s going to have a big impact on all our people in various ways.”
She continued, “You’re also seeing the start of some pretty self-destructive behaviors in this episode. So the season builds from there with her story. So yeah, it’s a continuing story for us. It has a lot of emotional depth from her character side.”
Best friend Daryl (Norman Reedus) says he believes Carol when she firmly states she spotted three prowling Whisperers after the meeting with Alpha, but Michonne (Danai Gurira) is slower to believe this claim made by the sleep-deprived Carol.
And because Carol is susceptible to visions and fantasies, it’s unclear if her falling into a trap sprung by the Whisperers, which resulted in her being patched up by Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas), is real — until the final seconds of the episode reveal a killed Whisperer reanimating as a walker.
“When she took those shots at what she thought was a Whisperer in that gym, there’s such a question there of: Is this all part of the hallucination? Is this a dream? Is it a dream within a dream? What’s going on? And she doesn’t know if what she’s seeing is real,” Kang noted. “She’s been imagining Henry there and seeing weird covers of books and waking up and realizing that Darryl never told her the story that she thought he told her. And watching that blood trail travel outside of the gym is the only clue that perhaps all of that was not in her head. And what does that mean for our people, that the Whisperers are sort of hiding and laying traps for our people, and on our side of the border really?”
Despite answering with the affirmative when asked if he believes Carol, even Daryl isn’t sure his best friend saw what she says she saw.
“I think that Daryl has his doubts, but he’s trying to support his friend there. He sees how she’s struggling. He’s doing the nice thing in saying he believes her,” Kang said. “I think he wants to believe her, but the evidence is sort of stacked against her in this episode. There’s a lot of things that only she really saw and nobody has any proof of anything that happened.”