“The Walking Dead” made a risky move when it decided to exile fan-favorite character Carol (Melissa McBride) at the end of Season 4 episode 4 “Indifference.” Carol’s evolution from abused wife to capable survivor led her to becoming a fan-favorite character, so it seemed like a surprising move to have her not only murder two of her allies but also send her away from the rest of the group.
It’s a plot twist that McBride admits that she didn’t see coming, but that she is excited about. She won’t confirm whether or not she’ll be back on the show (though the general consensus is that fans haven’t seen the last of her), but she isn’t looking at this as a negative turn of events.
“I was pretty floored and I love it. I liked where it went. I looked at it from the story and thought, ‘God, how ironic,'” McBride tells The Hollywood Reporter. “This choice that Rick has made, there’s so much going on and so many parallels. There are so many ways to turn what’s going on here to find these parallels between Rick and Carol, between what she’s done and what everyone has done in some way. I can’t help but really like the way that this went down.”
Those parallels between Carol’s storyline and Rick’s are some of the most interesting elements of Carol’s exile. McBride thinks that Carol was pushing Rick to become a leader again and break him out of his passive lifestyle with her reveal that she was the person who killed Karen and David. She also doesn’t think Rick was right to send her away.
“I’m so happy to see the writers have taken a chance with her. They’ve certainly found great evolution in this character,” she tells Vulture. “But there’s also a part of me that’s not surprised. Think about where she came from. She’s one of the first people you’d think would bite it, and she nearly did on several occasions. For both Rick and Carol, what’s being explored is this thing of ‘how do we come back from the things we have to do?'”
McBride wonders to THR if Carol wanted to be found out for the murders. “She was prepared to tell Rick, that he would find out,” she says. “She even suggested in council meeting that Rick do a timeline to see who was where and when as the slayings happened. That’s very interesting to note. Did she want to get caught? When she says to Rick that she did it, she stands there for a second and waits and he doesn’t say anything so she presses on with her task.”
The aftermath from Rick’s decision to send Carol away will be interesting to watch. McBride says she hopes the other survivors question Rick, if he even decides to tell the truth about what happened. But considering showrunner Scott Gimple says Carol is his favorite character, it seems likely that she’ll be brought back sooner rather than later.
“I would say it would be very strange if this was the last we see of Carol,” comics writer Robert Kirkman tells The Los Angeles Times. “But it’s not guaranteed. We saw Merle again, didn’t we?”
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. ET.