AMC will air an eight-episode The Walking Dead marathon highlighting fan-favorite Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), re-running stand out episodes like ‘The Grove’ and ‘No Sanctuary.’
The Carol-focused marathon comes a week after the network celebrated Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in the Best of the Dixon Brothers Marathon.
Other planned weekly marathons in following weeks will highlight the Governor (David Morrissey) July 8, Shane (Jon Bernthal) July 15, Glenn (Steven Yeun) July 22, and Michonne (Danai Gurira) July 29.
McBride, who has played the battered housewife-turned-heroine since The Walking Dead’s first season in 2010, will continue on as Carol in season 9, debuting this fall on AMC.
The actress told Foxtel Insider in February it’s “humbling” to have outlasted so many characters in the walker-ridden apocalypse.
“I still can’t wrap my head around how Carol could have survived this long, because I thought she wouldn’t make it past the first episode,” McBride said.
Original Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont — who worked with McBride on 2007 Stephen King horror The Mist — recruited McBride to portray Carol, who in the comics was a mousy and protective mother who ultimately committed suicide by walker in issue #42.
The actress thought her Walking Dead role would be similarly small to her turn in The Mist, saying, “I thought this would be the same because, in the beginning, Carol didn’t have a lot to say so I thought she wouldn’t make it.”
“Then I was surprised she survived the first season and today I’m still surprised,” McBride said. “I love what the writers have done with Carol; she’s so complicated and she’s a hero to me and a lot of other people.”
Wit the looming exits of franchise stars Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan, McBride’s Carol and Reedus’ Daryl will be the last-remaining members of the original crew, making them the longest-surviving characters on the series — assuming Rick Grimes and Maggie Rhee meet their end midway through The Walking Dead’s upcoming ninth season.
The marathon launches with 2x04, ‘Cherokee Rose,’ foregoing two of Carol’s big season 1 moments: in 1x05, ‘Wildfire,’ Carol aggressively puts down abusive husband Ed (Adam Minarovich) by way of pickaxe, and 1x06, ‘TS-19,’ which first saw Carol save the day when she retrieved a tucked-away hand grenade that ultimately saved the group from a fiery death at an imploding CDC.
In ‘Cherokee Rose,’ Carol’s only daughter, Sophia (Madison Lintz), has been missing since she fled from pursuing walkers in 2x01, ‘What Lies Ahead.’
A hopeful Carol is seen leaving food for the missing Sophia, and later bonds with a softening Daryl, who presents the mother with a Cherokee Rose — a flower that, as legend tells it, bloomed by way of tears shed by grieving mothers on the Trail of Tears.
“I’m not fool enough to think there’s any flowers blooming for my brother,” Daryl said of the then-missing Merle, “but I believe this one bloomed for your little girl.”
The moment helped birth an ongoing friendship between the two and a bond some fans continue to hope blooms into a romance dubbed ‘Caryl.’
Season 4 premiere ’30 Days Without an Accident’ skips over Carol’s season 3 development, which helped further the character and propel her into the foreground after the devastating death of Sophia, who was revealed to have perished by walker bite.
Season 3 saw Carol help the group clear the yard of what would become their temporary home, the prison, and as she came into her own, she surprised even a turned-up Merle, who told the older Dixon brother, “People underestimate me. Don’t underestimate me... if you screw this up, mess with Daryl, I will slit your throat while you sleep.”
In ’30 Days Without an Accident,’ Carol is seen secretly teaching children how to defend themselves with weapons — including sisters Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika Samuels (Kyla Kenedy), who would go on to become Carol’s surrogate daughters.
After the prison falls victim to a widespread illness, two sick group members — Karen (Melissa Ponzio) and David (Brandon Carroll) — are discovered to have been killed and their corpses burned.
‘Indifference’ picks up after Carol admitted to Rick she killed Karen and David. On a supply hunt together, Rick ultimately decides to banish Carol from the group, telling her he won’t have her around his children.
“I could have pretended that everything was gonna be fine. But I didn't. I did something,” Carol told Rick. “I stepped up. I had to do something.”
Carol tearfully told Rick she wasn’t going anywhere without Lizzie and Mika, only to be told she’s “not that woman who was too scared to be alone, not anymore.”
“You're gonna start over, find others, people who don't know, and you're gonna survive out here. You will.”
“Maybe,” Carol said, giving Rick her watch before driving away alone.
‘The Grove,’ arguably Carol’s most-defining episode, finds the group splintered after the loss of the prison, with Carol, Lizzie, Mika, Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and baby Judith traveling as a pack towards Terminus.
After returning from a hunting trip, Carol and Tyreese discover a mentally ill Lizzie has murdered her younger sister — and was moments away from doing the same to Judith, who the girl was convinced would come back.
A devastated Carol is then forced to execute Lizzie, telling the girl to “look at the flowers” before squeezing the trigger and mercifully putting the girl down.
After buying the girls, an emotional Carol confesses to Tyreese she killed Karen, his lover, handing him her gun.
“I killed Karen and David. I had to stop the illness from breaking out. I had to stop other people from dying,” Carol said. “It wasn't Lizzie. It wasn't a stranger. Tyreese, it was me. You do what you have to do.”
After asking if Karen’s death was quick, and upon receiving confirmation from Carol that it was, Tyreese forgave her.
“I forgive you. I’m never gonna forget. It happened,” Tyreese told her. “You did it. You feel it. I know you do. It’s a part of you now. Me too. But I forgive you.”
Carol cemented herself as a fan-favorite during her finest hour with season 5 premiere ‘No Sanctuary,’ where the warrior embraced her inner Rambo to single-handedly rescue Rick and friends from Terminus after it was learned the meeting place was a trap operated by cannibals.
After an emotional reunion with Rick and a lengthy embrace from Daryl, who was deeply hurt by her expulsion from the group, Carol reunited Rick and son Carl (Chandler Riggs) with Judith, who the Grimes clan believed to be dead.
The marathon skips past 5x06, ‘Consumed,’ which depicted Carol’s exile before returning to the present, where Daryl and Carol headed into the city in search of a then-missing Beth (Emily Kinney).
The pair holed up in temporary housing, a familiar safe haven for Carol and Sophia, who fled there to escape the abusive Ed.
In ‘Forget,’ Carol camouflages herself as a meek and smily homemaker while the group acclimates to life in walled-off community Alexandria.
The episode saw Carol spook a cookie-seeking Sam Anderson (Major Dodson), warning him if he spilled word he saw Carol stealing guns, he’ll wake up one day, tied to a tree, and “the monsters will come. The ones out there. And you won’t be able to run away when they come for you. And they will tear you apart and eat you up all while you’re still alive.”
Following Sam’s death in 6x09, ‘No Way Out’ — the boy was torn apart by the flesh-hungry teeth and claws of ravenous walkers — Carol left freshly-baked cookies on his grave.
In ‘East,’ Carol — who had been struggling with a crisis of conscious following her growing list of confirmed kills — slipped out of bed with lover Tobin (Jason Douglas), sneaking away from Alexandria.
Carol, who fled the community because she no longer wished to fight and kill, was forced to brutally kill a pack of Saviors encountered during her escape.
In season 6 closer ‘Last Day on Earth,’ a wounded Carol is tracked down by Morgan (Lennie James), who tried to return her to Alexandria only to receive Carol’s refusal.
“If you care about people, there are people to protect, there are people that you will kill for. If you don't want to kill, or if you can’t, then you have to get away from them. You do not get both,” she told him.
Carol escaped again, only to be nearly killed by a vengeful Savior, who was surprised by Carol’s response: laughter.
“I’m gonna die, so there’s nothing wrong with me anymore,” she said, telling him, “Unless you kill me now, I’m not gonna die.”
After her rescue at Morgan’s hands, Carol and Morgan were intercepted by two men in armor, who audiences would later learn served the Kingdom.
In ‘The Well,’ Carol awakens at the Kingdom, a peaceful community overseen by the eccentric King Ezekiel (Khary Payton).
Though she planned to make a quiet escape, a quiet conversation with Ezekiel — who dropped the theatrics — convinced her to “go and not go,” instead taking up residence in a quaint cottage just outside the Kingdom.
The conversation eventually blossomed into a will-they-or-won't-they relationship, which could result in a romantic pairing between the two when The Walking Dead returns with season 9.
In ‘New Best Friends,’ Carol reunited with Daryl, who showed up on her porch asking, “Why’d you go?”
“I had to,” she told him.
Later, over dinner, she explained to Daryl why she left.
“I couldn't lose anyone. I couldn't lose any of them. I couldn't lose you. I couldn't kill them. I could. I would,” Carol said of the conflict with the oppressive Saviors. “If they hurt any of our people — any more of them — that's what I would do. And there wouldn't be anything let of me after that.”
She asked Daryl if the Saviors came. They did. She asked if everybody was okay. They weren’t.
“They came. We got them all,” Daryl lied. “Made a deal with the rest of them, like Ezekiel. Everyone’s all right.”1comments
Allowing Carol her peace, Daryl left, telling her, “Watch out for yourself, all right?”
The Walking Dead: A Sunday with Carol airs Sunday, July 1, starting at 11:45 am / 10:45c on AMC.