|The Walking Dead character|
Carol, as depicted in the comic book series.
|First appearance||Issue #3 (comics)
"Tell It to the Frogs" (TV series)
|Last appearance||Issue #42 (comics)|
|Created by||Robert Kirkman
|Portrayed by||Melissa McBride|
Lovers: Tyreese (comics)
Billy Greene (comics)
The direction of her character is contrasted between the two mediums. In the comic series, Carol is displayed much younger, and exhibits a neurotic, self-centered, and naive demeanor. Throughout her time in the comics, she grows increasingly unstable, to the extent of self-destruction. The television show differs in these regards, as she is shown to be a stern, pragmatic, and compassionate individual who has been gradually building inner strength. She is shown to be much more capable and emotionally stable than her comic book counterpart. In addition, the abuse she faced by her husband was explicitly shown in the show whereas it was merely hinted at in the comics.
As of the end of the show's fourth season, she is the last remaining female survivor from the original Atlanta group, and one of the last original survivors overall, preceded by Rick, Carl, Glenn, and followed by Daryl in order of appearance. Carol is also the series' longest-living female character as of season five and the only female character to have appeared in every season. The character has appeared in the most episodes of any female character in the series to date.
Comic book series
Carol is described as being a housewife, who occasionally helps pay the family's bills by selling kitchen appliances online. She endured a rather unsatisfactory marriage, and it is implied that she only married (and continued to stay with) her husband because of her frequent need for attention and comfort. During the initial stages of the outbreak, her husband commits suicide after losing parents to walkers, leaving her and their daughter, Sophia, to fend for themselves. Carol is in the process of moving herself and Sophia to her sister's in Atlanta when they meet and eventually join Shane's settlement of survivors on the outskirts of the city.
While in the camp, she usually assists the other mothers in domestic duties such as washing clothes and looking after the children. She and Lori quickly become best friends, the two of them often conversing about the current happenings around them. Carol is often Lori's shoulder to cry on, as well as the one person she can vent to about her various frustrations (most noticeably Rick).
After leaving their first campsite, they meet a man named Tyreese, who Carol grows to like. Eventually, the two became romantically attached to one another. She and Tyreese stay close throughout their stay at Hershel's farm and their arrival at the abandoned prison. Tension begins between them, however, when Michonne is introduced and Carol begins to notice, much to her dismay, their similar physical and personality traits. She later witnesses Michonne performing oral sex on him inside of the prison gymnasium. This initially leads her to try and compete for his affection (albeit degradingly), but, ultimately, she breaks off the relationship and tries avoiding further confrontations.
Soon after the break-up, her mental health comes into question, and, after nights of crying (as witnessed by Carl), results in an attempt to commit suicide. Soon after cutting herself, Carol becomes desperate for companionship and wants to have a polyamorous relationship with Rick and Lori, only to be shot down. Her behavior increasingly disturbs and annoys Lori and Rick, which she becomes aware of herself.
As she plans to commit suicide, she makes sure Lori promises to take care of Sophia. She then initiates sex with Hershel's youngest son, Billy. After wandering through the prison courtyard and talking to a zombie, she allows it to tear at her jugular. She refuses for anyone to try and help her, saying that they should let her die in peace. She is killed by a merciful Andrea during her reanimation process before she can bite a saddened Tyreese.
Carol's death leaves a significant mark on the group for days leading up to the ultimate assault on the prison. Many look down upon her manner of death and are disgusted by the fact that she abandoned her only living family. Sophia is left in a catatonic state as the news reaches her, and has since attempted to repress all memories of Carol by pretending that Maggie and Glenn are her biological parents. Maggie takes relief when Sophia begins to speak openly about recognizing Carol's previous existence.
Before the apocalypse began, Carol was a meek and battered housewife. She frequently avoided confrontation with her husband Ed in attempt to stifle his anger, though she secretly prayed to God that he be punished for abusing her and having sexual temptations toward their daughter Sophia. The Peletiers first met up with Shane and the Grimes family while traveling toward a supposed 'safe zone' in Atlanta, and they all eventually settled near a quarry on the outskirts of Atlanta with a handful of others who joined. Within her time at the camp, she regularly performed domestic duties such as washing and ironing clothes for her and her fellow survivors (usually with the help from some of the other women in the group).
In the episode "Tell It to the Frogs", Carol is first seen with the other women in the group, washing clothes in the stream. Ed is sitting around and when he hears them talking and laughing, he goes down to the stream to tell his wife to focus on her work. When one of the other women, Andrea, tells him off, Ed quickly becomes threatening and then strikes his wife. After Ed's abusive tendencies are exposed to the rest of the group, Shane furiously beats Ed. In the episode "Vatos", Carol begins to stand up for herself regarding Sophia. Ed is killed during a walker attack on the camp. In the episode "Wildfire", as the group cleans up the camp in preparation to leave, Carol destroys Ed's corpse with a pickaxe, venting the inner rage she had toward him and his years of abusive behavior. In the season finale "TS-19", the group takes shelter at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), but the facility explodes soon after when the power runs out.
In the season premiere "What Lies Ahead", following the CDC explosion, the group is stalled on the highway by abandoned vehicles. A swarm of walkers attacks the group, and Sophia is lost in the woods after being chased by walkers. Carol blames herself for what happened to Sophia but also casts the blame upon Rick. In the episode "Bloodletting", Carol and the group continue to search for Sophia, and when the group is found by Maggie Greene - who comes to pick up Lori as Rick and Lori's son Carl has been shot and is at the Greene family farm - Carol refuses to leave the highway. In the episode "Save the Last One", as the search for Sophia goes on, Carol's hope begins to diminish, but she refuses to give up and insists that the group keep searching (even after the group is split up when Carl is shot). She is seen crying at night over the loss of her daughter and has begun to help with the nighttime look-out shift on top of the RV. She finally does agree to go with the rest of the group to Hershel's farm. In the episode "Cherokee Rose", she seems to be shutting down emotionally, refusing anyone's attempt to console her. Daryl gives her a flower later on, however, and she is visibly moved by his heartfelt speech that he gives to her about hope and keeping strong. In the episode "Chupacabra", Carol is well adjusting to living at the farm, though she still is in the process of recovering from her depression. As a sign of gratitude to Hershel and his group, she and Lori make dinner for them. During the dinner, she brings up a plate to Daryl and kisses him on the cheek, acknowledging how noble and caring he is (compared to her deceased husband). In the episode "Secrets", she helps clean up Andrea when she comes back from searching for Sophia in the forest. In the mid-season finale "Pretty Much Dead Already", Carol and Daryl begin to form a deeper bond, with her being concerned for his well-being. Glenn reveals to the group that Hershel's barn is full of walkers, and Shane eventually breaks the barn open. The group executes the walkers one by one as they file out of the barn. The last walker to exit the barn is Sophia, revealing that the search for Carol's daughter has been in vain, as Sophia has been one of the undead for some time. Carol cries as Daryl comforts her, watching helplessly as Rick shoots Sophia.
In the mid-season premiere "Nebraska", Carol refuses to attend Sophia's memorial service, saying that her daughter died a long time ago and the corpse at the farm was not Sophia. Carol then sinks into a deep depression and relies on Daryl more than ever. In the episode "Triggerfinger", Carol finds Daryl learns that he let Lori go out alone, as Daryl refused to be anyone's "errand boy". Daryl who mocks her for losing all of her family and being alone and insults her for not minding her business. While Carol is beginning to cope with the loss of Sophia, Daryl is becoming increasingly more aloof. Carol tells Shane Walsh that Lori went into town to look for her husband, prompting Shane to locate Lori. In the episode "Judge, Jury, Executioner", Carol attempts to cheer Carl up by mentioning that Sophia is in heaven. Carl rudely lashes out, and insults her for believing in heaven. In the episode "Better Angels", when the group discovers that their prisoner Randall is missing, Rick states that the handcuffs are still locked and that he could have slipped the handcuffs, and when Carol asks if it was possible and Rick answers with a yes. In the season finale "Beside the Dying Fire", a large herd of walkers overruns the farm and the group is forced to flee. Daryl rescues Carol on his motorcycle, and they eventually meet up with the rest of the survivors. In light of recent events, the slight blame she has cast upon Rick accumulates into outright questioning of his leadership.
In the season premiere "Seed", six to seven months after leaving Hershel's farm, Carol has grown increasingly proficient with weapons, as well as having been taught by Hershel how to handle medical situations. She has become much more self-confident and has adapted a playful side to her as the group settles in to an abandoned prison. She has also grown increasingly close to Lori because of her pregnancy. Her trust in Rick has been regained, convincing herself that Shane never would have made them survive as long as they have. In the episode "Sick", Carol and Lori immediately tend to Hershel after Rick severs part of Hershel's leg to keep the infection from a walker bite from spreading. Carol later kills a female walker and uses its corpse to practice performing a C-section in preparation for Lori's pregnancy. In the episode "Killer Within", Carol and T-Dog are cut off from the rest of the group after former inmate Andrew releases walkers into the prison. T-Dog, after being bitten in the shoulder, sacrifices himself to a group of walkers to try and give Carol time to escape. Her fate is left unknown at the end of the episode, but the group concludes that she was killed. In the episode "Hounded" Daryl rediscovers her in a solitary confinement cell, malnourished and weak but alive. He carries her off in his arms, presumably to reunite with the rest of the group. In the next episode "When the Dead Come Knocking", the group happily reunites with her; however, things once again take a sad turn when she realizes that Lori has died in childbirth. She and Rick tearfully mourn Lori's loss. Carol is seen taking care of Lori's child, Judith, while Daryl leaves for Woodbury. In the mid-season finale "Made to Suffer", Carol reprimands Axel for flirting with seventeen-year old Beth Greene. Learning that Carol isn't a lesbian (as he had inferred from Carol's short hairstyle), Axel propositions her, but she flatly turns him down.
In the mid-season premiere "The Suicide King", when Daryl is reunited with his brother Merle, Rick pleads with Daryl to stay with the group, on the grounds that Carol will be crushed by his disappearance; Daryl replies that Carol will understand. When Carol finds out Daryl is gone, she is deeply upset at first but quickly comes to terms with it and even agrees with his decision. In the episode "Home", Carol and Axel begin setting up barricades in the prison in preparation for the impending showdown with The Governor; however, the Governor launches a surprise attack as he shoots Axel in the head. In the episode "I Ain't a Judas", Daryl returns with Merle to help defend the prison, and after the attack Carol expresses to Daryl that she is glad he came back. In the episode "Arrow on the Doorpost", Carol listens as the group has a meeting, and afterwards Hershel mentions to Rick that he and Carol believe that they should leave the prison behind and take their chances out on the road rather than take the risk of losing the prison and being killed by The Governor, but that they would go along with whatever Rick thought would be best for the group. In the episode "This Sorrowful Life", Merle has a brief conversation with Carol wherein he remarks that she has transformed from a "scared little mouse afraid of her own shadow" into a stronger person. She replies that she was not scared of her own shadow but that of her husband and further states that she is no longer afraid of anything. To prove the latter, she sternly admonishes Merle to "pick a side". In the season finale "Welcome to the Tombs", following Merle's death at the hands of The Governor, Carol praises him for his sacrifice; that he gave them a chance when Daryl remarked that Merle had never performed an altruistic deed in his life. Carol then helps defend the gate—by machete—against walkers as Rick, Daryl, and Michonne drive out to carry the fight to Woodbury. She is seen beginning to cry upon realizing that Andrea has died at the end of the episode, and watches the remaining Woodbury residents enter their new home in the prison.
In the season premiere "30 Days Without an Accident", Carol begins teaching the children of the prison how to use knives to defend themselves, and not to have any sympathy for the walkers, who some of the children are starting to see as just being "different". In the episode "Infected", Carol begins caring for two girls, Lizzie and Mika, after their father is bitten by a walker and has to be put down, however this makes Carol even more determined to keep those she cares about safe. In the episode "Isolation, when a new disease starts spreading in the prison, two people who are infected are murdered - Karen (the Woodbury survivor and girlfriend of Tyreese) and David. An enraged Tyreese finds the burned bodies and attacks Rick while Carol watches, and later demands that Rick find the killer. Despite the deaths of Karen and David, the infection continues to spread. Rick soon uncovers the truth and is shocked when he confronts Carol over the murders as she shows no remorse at all. In the episode "Indifference", soon after Rick and Carol go on a supply run together to gather more medical supplies to help Hershel. Carol talks more about her past, revealing her late husband pushed her down the stairs on at least three occasions and she learned how to fix a dislocated arm because she was too afraid to go to the hospital. They discuss the murders of Karen and David, and Carol explains that at the time she believed killing them would stop the spread of the infection, therefore saving the lives of everyone else in the prison. During the supply run Rick sees how different Carol has become and ultimately decides that she can't return to the prison. He sees her as a threat but he is also concerned that Tyreese will kill her when he finds out that she murdered Karen. Carol is forced to leave on her own, leaving everyone she cares about behind.
In the episode "Inmates", Carol reappears unexpectedly, saving Lizzie, Mika, and Judith from a pair of Walkers in a forest. She returns the children to Tyreese and tells him that she saw the prison fall, and after losing sight of him and the children, she manages to catch up with them. Sensing that Tyreese doesn't know of her involvement in Karen's death, Carol makes up a story about how she did not return with Rick because she wanted to find more supplies for the group. Later, after taking the advice of a man who had been bitten on the side of the road, she follows Tyreese and the children as they to travel to sanctuary, apparently named "Terminus". In the episode "The Grove," Carol and her group take a break from following the train tracks to Terminus, and find a house in the middle of a pecan grove. Carol is concerned that Mika is too gentle to survive, and that Lizzie is confused about the nature of walkers, thinking that they are still people. Carol and Tyreese later return from a hunting trip to find that Lizzie had killed Mika and was about to kill Judith, thinking that everyone would understand that Mika was just a changed person after reanimating as a walker. Viewing Lizzie as too dangerous to be around other people, Carol and Tyreese discuss Lizzie's fate, and Carol is forced to shoot Lizzie in the head. Afterward, Carol confesses her role in killing Karen and David to Tyreese. Tyreese is furious, but he forgives Carol for what she did, although he says he will not forget. After burying the two girls' bodies, Tyreese, Carol, and baby Judith restart their trek toward "Terminus."
Melissa McBride was announced as part of the ensemble cast of the show in late 2010.
She was upgraded to a series regular position starting with the second season, however this only became major press as the show ended its third season and three other cast members were upgraded.
As of the first episode of Season 4, Melissa McBride's name now appears in the opening credits.
Melissa McBride also won the 2014 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television for her role of Carol, and was nominated for the Critic's Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress.
- The Walking Dead #7 (April 2004)
- The Walking Dead #9 (June 2004)
- The Walking Dead #20 (July 2005)
- The Walking Dead #21 (August 2005)
- The Walking Dead #22 (September 2005)
- The Walking Dead #24 (November 2005)
- The Walking Dead #26 (January 2006)
- The Walking Dead #41 (August 2007)
- The Walking Dead #42 (September 2007)
- "What Lies Ahead"
- "Tell It to the Frogs"
- "Save the Last One"
- "Cherokee Rose"
- "Judge, Jury, Executioner"
- "Beside the Dying Fire"
- "AMC adds 'Walking Dead' cast - Live Feed". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- "‘The Walking Dead’ — Is Melissa McBride a Series Regular? - TVLine". tvline.com. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- 'The Walking Dead': Glen Mazzara talks about T-Dog's death and Carol The Walking Dead News (December 17, 2012)