The Evolution of Carol Peletier: 2 Major Ways She Has Changed Since Season 1

By Brock Swinson | Monday Monday Staff -    2017-10-20

Carol, The Housewife

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

It’s hard to believe that Carol Peletier was once an abused housewife. Back in Season 1, she had just lost her husband to the outbreak. At the time, it seemed like Sophia was all that she had left.

Then, while running around in the woods and eventually finding Hershel’s farm, she lost her daughter. At this point, Carol hit a new low. Her past life and her current situation finally caught up with her and broke her down.

This, however, was also the moment where she connected with Daryl. Through the story of Cherokee Rose, she and Daryl became closer than anyone on the show. Carol was the first to see the good in Daryl, which at the time, made him very uncomfortable. Despite never getting romantic, they were there for one another.

Towards the end of their time at the farm, Rick and the crew decided to let Hershel’s captured walkers go. Then, to everyone under Hershel’s care’s horror, they were forced to kill off this gentle herd, one-by-one as they came from the barn.

In the back of the group, Carol’s daughter Sophia slowly emerged, reanimated as a walker. Rick Grimes was forced to shoot her and Carol broke down once more. At this point in the comic, she started to lose her mind.

AMC’s Carol is much different than her comic book. When the comic version gets to the prison, she tries a relationship with Tyreese but then loses her mind and allows for a tied up walker to eat her. AMC’s version, however, starts to grow stronger.

This all started when she killed her reanimated husband Ed, which was the first time she stood up for herself, killed anything, and proved to be a survivor.

Carol, The Survivor

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

By the time Season 3 rolled around, Carol was something else altogether. While living in the prison, she proved to herself and the others she could be useful. There, she proved she was no longer going to be meek or cowardly in any way.

Her need to fight, however, then started to take over. In an effort to protect the others, she even burned some bitten friends in the prison. For this, Rick Grimes banished Carol from the community.

In many ways, however, Carol was simply ahead of her time. Rick Grimes soon took on this same type of personality. Eventually, everyone realized that Carol had the right mindset and it’s them or us.

Carol’s growing strength continued into the fourth season of the series. There, she had already stabbed and burned Karen and David to stop a prison flu epidemic before she met up with Tyreese, Judith, Mika, and Lizzie.

While traveling with Tyreese and the children, she had to make another difficult decision. After Lizzie killed Mika, Carol knew she must kill Lizzie. If it wasn’t for Baby Judith, Carol could have possibly let Lizzie live, but that wasn’t the case.

This was almost too much for Carol. Considering a suicide, she decided to tell Tyreese the truth about Karen and David. Luckily for everyone, Tyreese simply forgave her and thanked her for telling the truth.

Carol, The “Homemaker”

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

When Carol got to Alexandria, she decided to play the cheerful homemaker. Rather than arriving as an all-around badass, she put on an act and smiled as she entered Alexandria, an area she thought full of cowards.

Carol’s new personality was surprising to everyone and a type she’s fallen back on once or twice more (most recently at the Kingdom). As the homemaker persona, she’s created a way to feel normal but also to view others in a strategic manner.

Soon, however, she discovered that her neighbor Pete was abusive to his wife. This set her back into her badass self, and she told Rick Grimes the news. Together, they started an attack on Pete.

In the end, Rick shot Pete in the streets, but only because Deanna approved it. All in all, however, this changed the way Alexandria lived. Rick soon took over, but not until Deanna was bitten and many others died.

This remains one of the more interesting sides of Carol, almost because it’s a joke. In a way, she’s Rambo in a skirt. However, it helps her move like a mouse and then strike like a snake.  

At the Kingdom, Carol put a smile on her face once more to meet King Ezekiel. While being carted around in a wheelchair, she smiled but also stole weapons and made a go-back to run away once more. Luckily, the King saw the real Carol Peletier.

Carol, The Badass

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Beneath Carol’s homemaker persona, she’s an all-around badass. This started in the prison and continued to grow as she took out Lizzie and soon, the Wolves. If you get in Carol’s way, then your days are going to be numbered.

This was also true for those in Terminus, before Alexandria. When Rick, Glenn, Daryl, and Bob were about to be killed by a group of cannibals, Carol showed up to rescue them. She started hunting the Terminites and took them out one-by-one.

Then, in Season 6, violence followed our hero. When the Wolves attacked Alexandria, she infiltrated them by putting on a hood and bandana. She also put a red “W” on her head to look like the enemy.

This way, she could infiltrate and murder the Wolves. When the walkers attacked Alexandria, however, it was too much for even Carol to fight. She lost Sam and many other friends as Rick and company tried to escape.

It started to get too much for her, which is what led to Season 7 of the series. In the last 16 episodes, Carol tried to escape but eventually settled for peace. She was trying to find a spot where she can stop being forced to kill just to survive.

Now, the real key for Carol will be to find the balance between these various traits. If she’s too badass, too nice, too good, or too evil, it could get her killed. Whatever happens, she needs to be at her strongest to help fight Negan and the Saviors.

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Brock Swinson

Brock Swinson is the author of 'How Hollywood Screenwriters Annihilate Writer's Block,' which includes advice from Aaron Sorkin, William Monahan, and Cary Fukunaga. Get it for free or listen to interviews at the "Creative Principles with Brock Swinson" podcast on the website above.

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