Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) set down different paths in "Diverged," Sunday's new episode of The Walking Dead, but is McBride's version of the character going down the same route as her comic book counterpart? In the earliest seasons of the television series, Carol is an unassuming housewife empowered after the death of her abusive husband, Ed (Adam Minarovich), and forms a close bond with skilled survivor Daryl when she loses her young daughter Sophia (Madison Lintz) to the zombie apocalypse. More than a decade later, Carol is a steeled survivor and a leader who was at one time the queen of the Kingdom when married to King Ezekiel (Khary Payton).
In the comic books from Robert Kirkman and artists Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, Carol is a housewife who sometimes sold Tupperware to friends and neighbors. Her unnamed husband is only briefly mentioned in the earliest issues of The Walking Dead, where Carol reveals Sophia's father died by suicide at the onset of the zombie apocalypse.
Carol becomes quick friends with Lori, the wife of group leader Rick Grimes, and finds happiness in a romantic relationship with Tyreese. She attempts suicide after Tyreese cheats on her with group newcomer Michonne, and grows more distant from the other survivors when Rick and Lori reject Carol's offer for a polygamous relationship between the three of them.
As she grows more isolated during the group's time hunkered down in a prison, Carol admits to Lori that it "drives [her] crazy" to be by herself and that she married her husband because she didn't want to be alone. Lori is caught off-guard when Carol asks if she'd take care of Sophia if anything happened to her.
In issue #41, Carol opens up about her feelings of inadequacy to a chained-up walker in the prison yard and tells the reanimated corpse that "everyone thinks I'm crazy." She then takes a step forward and lets the walker sink its teeth into her throat. Carol dies in issue #42 when she tells her stunned group of bystanders: "Just let me die." Her body quickly reanimates and she's put down by Andrea.
Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple, who served as showrunner for Seasons 4 through 8, previously revealed he opposed then-showrunner Glen Mazzara's decision to kill Carol in Season 3. She was to die at the prison before it was decided T-Dog (IronE Singleton) would sacrifice himself saving her from walkers inside the prison's halls.
"There was some investigation going on about killing Carol. It got pretty far down the line and I was pretty hardcore against that," Gimple previously told Looper. "Because I saw her journey of going from somebody under her ex-husband's thumb to being a warrior. It just looked like the most amazing journey for our character to have and having worked with Melissa McBride up to that point, it was like, 'Oh, well, she could do that. She can do anything.'"