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Discussion/Meta Carol's "Arc" Is More Like a Circle

Discussion in 'Carol / Melissa McBride' started by Doctor Grimes, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    Many people in the media have recently been celebrating the character of Carol Peletier -- some calling her one of the best characters on television, some saying she has grown and changed the most, that she is consistently captivating and interesting.

    I would agree with many of these statements. No doubt, characters like Carol are hard to find in Western media (or media in general): women over the age of forty who can kick ass, still show emotional vulnerability without it being seen as a weakness, and also show flashes of humor.

    Melissa McBride is one of the strongest actors on this series -- and it shows. No matter the material, Melissa can bring Carol to life in an almost eerie fashion.

    However, all that said, my issue is with this "development".

    Where is it?

    While Carol has been doled meaty material in the form of killing sick people, being banished, putting down a psychopathic child, helping aid the group's escape from a cannibal deathcamp, donning a hilariously over-the-top Suzy Homemaker get-up, and, most recently, slaughtering over twenty Saviors that were holding her and Maggie captive --

    -- has this really changed Carol emotionally at all? Or is it just adding more bricks to a framework that was already there?

    I think Carol's arc is a smoke-screen. We're led to believe it's got all this depth and Carol is going through this wild journey, but when broken down to its barest pieces: Carol hasn't changed in a long time. She's only just getting more of the same. Over and over.

    We're led to see it as change and development (an "arc") because of the stirring music of Bear McCreary while Melissa McBride emotes on our screens. It's very convincing. Screen time has been dedicated to Carol somberly breaking down while sitting, to Carol deflecting about her emotional state --

    ... But we've been seeing this season season 4; hell, some of it as far back as season 3.

    Not to say Carol has to completely change who she is, but what has changed?

    In season four, we saw Carol killing reluctantly to save the group, break down about it, leave the group (banished), and then build up her wall and keep on going. Then we saw her kill reluctantly again for the sake of others, break down about it, then build up a wall and keep on going.

    In season five, we saw Carol killing reluctantly to save the group, break down about it, try to escape, and then build up a wall and keep on going.

    In season six, we saw Carol killing reluctantly to save the group, break down about it, then keep on going. And it seems on the heels of this we see Carol killing reluctantly to save Maggie, break down about it, then try to leave the group.

    ... It's almost comical at this point. Why aren't the writers doing anything different with her?

    So, I wonder, what makes her so dynamic as opposed to the other characters according to fans and the media alike? What makes her objectively the "most changed" character? Is it just because of her origins as a battered housewife to a killer? Because for the past three seasons, we've been seeing the same Carol over and over again.

    I do think it is in part due to the factors I mentioned: Gimple spends time on this arc, even if it is the same thing over and over (just with different wardrobe and faces). Melissa McBride can deliver her material even if it is the same.

    ... but really it's about time this changed. For real.
     
  2. Clutterbuck

    Clutterbuck Finding Bigfoot™
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    I've been thinking a lot about this since the finale snippet dropped yesterday. Though I don't think I ever realized how repetitive her arc has been until you laid it all out there.

    For me 6x12 felt like "FINALLY! Carol's going to work through all this hell and move forward." And then that spoiler happened. I just don't understand. Also it made me think of comic Carol's death for some reason, but no I don't think it's going there.

    I can't stand comic Michonne's constant misery, it turns me off completely, I don't care about her(to be fair I really don't care about anyone in the comics anymore.) The thought of Carol following this path in any way, shape, or form has me gnashing my teeth. It doesn't matter how great Melissa is, it's going to grate and it's going to grate fast.

    But Melissa's talent is why I think the repetitiveness hasn't grated on people yet for the most part. "Spin-cycle arc" makes me think of Daryl immediately. I don't have to explain myself much here as I've done it a thousand times but I think if NR was a better actor I maybe I'd have been slower to spiral into rage and dislike. I'm often worried I'm going to have to make a place for her next to Daryl and I will fight tooth and nail to not do that.

    I don't want her stuck in the spin-cycle because I don't find this appealing at all. I don't understand how anyone could to be honest. I think if Gimple keeps this up it's going to become a lot of "Why is Carol so miserable all the time?" "No, I used to like Carol but now she's depressing." "Hey remember when Carol did something other than just struggle with inner turmoil?" "Why can't Carol be happy!?!" We see shades of a lot of this already.
     
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  3. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    This. I am already beginning to see people tire of the constant "woe is me" and I know for a fact if this finale spoiler holds true then
    people will also hold Carol somewhat responsible for what happens to Glenn -- because it was them being out there looking for her that caused the mess. It does sound like Daryl goes off the reservation to find Dwight, so Glenn and Michonne pursued him, but ultimately Carol was the reason anyone was there in the first place. Also, people will read Carol's "rage quit" as a pissy bullshit move, which, if I am being honest, it is. I understand she's going through Hell, she feels like she's drowning, but why the fuck is she leaving this group of people she considers a family? In the middle of a crisis? She's abandoning them. I would feel ire at ANY member of the group just up and leaving for whatever reason, because it is like she's rejecting them. She's saying, "I don't want to be with you anymore."

    I know that's not true. She loves them, and her reason for leaving is in that vein of being strangled and needing oxygen, but it's just a shame.

    I don't know what Gimple is doing.
     
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  4. Clutterbuck

    Clutterbuck Finding Bigfoot™
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    I don't understand what Gimple's motive is in having her suddenly run off. It's probably more plot based than character development because it's stupidly impulsive.

    If Gimple is so attached to Carol's misery I don't understand why he doesn't realize he can balance it. People can struggle with things all their lives but that doesn't mean their misery is their constant state of being. Why he thinks this is more interesting than finally letting her find some solace I have no idea.
     
  5. Empress

    Empress Permanently mourning Glenn Rhee
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    Yeah, I’d put my money on her getting remixed with comic Michonne, which I really don’t understand because that comic arc is awful. Carol is essentially an original character at this point, and they’ve put so much effort into giving her meaty arcs, why squander MMB’s ability and Carol’s potential on misery inc? And if that’s the case, it really will just be episode after episode of woe is me, I must do what needs to be done, all my lovers die, I’m beaten battered and abused, but I fight on - repeat. No real growth, since growth is marked by change and change requires some level of endurance. Not I fight, I cry, I’m alone, I fight again. I keep waiting for emotional growth with some permanence, but it always reverts back to Warrior Carol. Like so many have said before, why not both at once? I complained a lot about TV Michonne and feeling like she was too often in the background as far as actual personal development goes, but looking back on it now and comparing her to Carol, Michonne has had the real progress out of the two. Yes, Carol went from abused to hero/anti-hero(depending on your outlook), but she hasn’t moved much since then. Whereas Michonne has gone from lover and mother, to heartbroken ‘monster’, to best friend to Andrea, to mother figure to Carl, and lover to Rick. She gained a whole new family, earned a place of respect as a co-leader next to Rick, all while remaining a kick ass fighter. These are marked changes that have remained, and the difference is that it’s continual. She’s not stagnant. Carol has never been my favourite character, but if they’re going to keep her around, she deserves more than this. I wouldn’t wish comic Michonne’s fate on any character, and I especially don’t wish it upon my eyes. Talk about depressing and BORING. It’s not looking too promising though, is it.
    [​IMG]

    I don't think she’ll be getting with Daryl either. I think it’ll be Morgan if anyone, and then he’ll die for her woman pain. Possibly Ezekiel after that. Maybe at the end of the series, or before her death, they'll throw fans a bone and give a quick kiss or some scene of tenderness, but nothing full fledged. I'm really not here for any of it.
     
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  6. day dreamer

    day dreamer Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    It's frustrating to see your favorite character be on a never ending treadmill of misery and guilt. I don't understand how Gimple can think constant misery is good TV? I haven't seen a single person say "Oh man, I wish Michonne was bitter and isolated like she was in the comic." No one liked that, so why, of all the bits and pieces Gimple could pick from the comic does he saddle her with this one? Last week was so promising and now we're just being fed more of the same. Carol fans have been frustrated about this for a long time, now I think more people are starting to notice it too. It's not fair that Carol is the only character that's not allowed even a second of happiness.

    I also thought of
    Carol going missing, and how that's just another thing Carol haters are going to pin on her. Glenn dies because people are likely out searching for her. The fandom was already blaming Daryl for man paining over Denise, and that causing these moments, but now he'll be absolved of that and it will all fall on Carol. It's just more unnecessary shit. It's clear to me now why MMB still talks about Mike and Lizzie in reference to her arc. Because she hasn't gotten anything "good" since Terminus. It's just been misery. I just want her to have some happiness. Getting stuck with Morgan isn't going to make her happy, she hates Morgan. The one thing I've always wanted was for her to work through this with her family, but Gimple would rather pretend that bond no longer exists.
     
    #6 day dreamer, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  7. Tater

    Tater Awaiting Job from Deanna
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    Yep, she's an original. She's been with them from the beginning and has lost everyone they have. She was Lori's best friend, saved Hershel, went out to save Beth. How is it that TF does not see her pain? I understand they have pain of their own, but still it's crazy to me that her main interactions are Morgan and Tobin. (Also hate the fact that Glenn has spent more time with Enid than any other character except Maggie!) I loved her and Maggie together, and I wish Rick and Carol would interact in a more loving way. I don't know why Gimple has separated TF, but he has and it bothers me to no end. I hate zombie stories. I hate apocalyptic stories. The only reason I watched and continued to watch this show was the group dynamic. Ever since they found the ASZ, that dynamic has pretty much been destroyed (with the exception of Grimes 2.0 and Maggie/Glenn, and even then, I don't see much of that on screen).
     
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  8. day dreamer

    day dreamer Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    @Tater the interactions of TF, particularly the Atlanta 5 are completely unrealistic, IMO.

    Rick picks up on Carol no longer mentioning Sophia by name, but doesn't notice how she's acting now? Glenn and Carol haven't directly spoken since S3. I don't believe Carl and Glenn have spoken since S2. So Glenn is more than likely get the bat, and he's not getting focus on this back half. He's not going to speak with Carol and Carl one last time before this? It's shitty story telling all around. Gimple sticks with interactions that are comfortable and doesn't branch out.

    But back to Carol, she's a compelling character and she can be compelling while she's happy. I get it if he wants her to step away to The Kingdom. But bailing when her entire arc since S4 has been about her protecting her family and making sure their safe? They're not safe now. It's inconsistent.
     
  9. Jenna Alaki

    Jenna Alaki " I'm gonna try "
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    Very interesting topic. Thanks for starting this thread. I really want to give this some more thought though because I hadn't really considered it before, until it was brought up in another thread. Just a few initial thoughts I had:

    1) I appreciate that it may tedious to watch 'woe is me', but in all honesty, if TWD is supposed to reflect real life as they claim, is this not the struggle of so many people in real life that they are showing on screen? People go through stuff for YEARS, even lifetimes without resolving their issues. (ETA: and some do run away from their families). And when you think about it, not a lot of time has passed in the TWDverse. I agree it's not palatable, but it is plausible. I think one real issue of this seeming tedious is the fact that we the viewer are the ultimate consumers of this material and we exist in the real world, where 24hrs does equal 1 day! I don't know anything about the arts industry to be able to comment on how they could properly translate the relativity between a production and the real world (in relation to time and the healthy lifespan of 'arcs'). Ultimately, we get bored and nothing lasts forever - it's our nature and very few series have been able to keep the attention for long, especially when they get stuck in the rut of that 'winning formula' - after all, it's all about the money in the very end.

    2) I also didn't like the idea of the Michonne pity party stuff from the comics but if they wanted to keep that, who else could pull it off?
     
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  10. LunaFall

    LunaFall Founder of The Bunker Bar
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    I have to agree... I'm not happy about this at all. It seems like all the characters are suffering under Gimple, in one way or another.
    I hate knowing what I know about Comic Michonne's arc and the finale tidbit has made it pretty clear that Carol, in some form, is Comic Michonne and that sucks... no one should be trapped in misery all the time. I wouldn't wish that storyline on anyone.
    as far as Glenn dying... it seems like quite a few characters will have some of his blood on their hands... but it all stems from the shitty intel provided by Daryl and Abe.
    I think Rick is the most likely to get the brunt of the blame for this, though :daleeye:
     
  11. Gooey Goobert

    Gooey Goobert Relocating to The Kingdom
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    I was really hoping when they reached Alexandria, where the environment is more quiet, that the writer would use the opportunity to cultivate the reationships much like in Hershel's farm. I know people consider season 2 slow, but I loved the character interactions and relationships. Instead, we just have TF split into separate bubbles.
     
  12. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    Except her true fans. :lol:
     
  13. SevenStars

    SevenStars Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    I agree with your first point. To us, it has been months, yrs even but in their world it has only been days/weeks for the most part. So I don't really have a problem with Carol being in this position for as long as she has.

    My only problem is the fact that the writers give so much screen time to it, making it seems like that is all the character is about and it also frustrates me because it is not entertaining or interesting to watch anymore.

    I know Carol is a fan and writers favorite, therefore, a good amount of screen time for her is a given but I wished they would use some of that screen time to show her interacting with characters in scenes that doesn't center on her struggle but on theirs. Like the episode before, I wished we had spent more time on her interacting with Maggie in way that centered around Maggie's realization that she can no longer do this. Instead, it was once again mostly focus on her "woe is me" struggle with Maggie getting a line at the end, that tells us she can't do this anymore.

    So to me, it would be less repetitive and boring, if every scene she was in didn't center around her struggle. That would give us a chance to see another side of Carol away from the "woe is me" theme.

    As for your second point: We don't really know what most of the other actors are capable of because the writers have not really giving them a chance to show us.

    I think the speration for Carol from TF is realistic. It makes sense that Carol would separate herself from them because of the fact that everyone except for Daryl, she was close have to die. That would cause her to close off and the best way to be do this, is to separate emotionally from those around you, if you can't do it in a physical way. So that's what Carol did.

    As for Rick not noticing anything wrong with Carol, I think after learning that Carol killed Karen and David, Rick stop looking too closely at Carol. Before, he thought Carol was kind of fragil, so he needed to keep an eye on her but after that, I think he started thinking she no longer needed him. So he took a step back. Also, Carol's interactions with him doesn't invite that close of scrutiny from him.

    So for me, I don't mind this arc for Carol base on her history, I just want less screen time for it.
     
  14. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    It boggles my mind the original group doesn't interact more. Completely boggles. That group should be thick as thieves. I get Rick and Carol had a headbutting contest in 404, but that was ironed out. And there's so many interpersonal dynamics that are just... not there. Like Carl and Daryl -- you would think they'd talk with Daryl being so close to his dad. Or Carl and Glenn -- I think they'd both get along. Carl and Carol don't speak either and I think they'd have a lot to talk about. Carol and Glenn? When was the last time they even looked at each other?

    It's frustrating. The fact that no one in the group is noticing how much pain Carol is in bothers me too. I guess it could be argued that she's good at concealing it, but one would think her withdrawing so emotionally from them is a sign something is amiss.

    I think they all love each other, but the fact we're told this rather than shown? Nah. Not here for it.
     
  15. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    @Jenna Alaki this is how I feel as well (thanks @SevenStars!). It's a great point that some people take years to work through their grief, so Carol still struggling with being a murderer makes sense, but it is being given a whole lot of narrative attention and the same thing keeps happening. I think for many it's that we've seen her depressed for so long, it's becoming stale. Something has got to change otherwise Carol is a static character.

    I just hope we're on the eve of her finally breaking this cycle of misery.
     
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  16. day dreamer

    day dreamer Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    Even though it's been less than a year for them, Gimple needs to realize he's not writing a Netflix show. He does have to take his viewers into account. It's bad when AL and DG had to essentially go on damage control for something as natural as Richonne because Gimple's choice of episode placement. Then on the opposite end, 3 seasons of miserable Carol is too much.
     
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  17. SevenStars

    SevenStars Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    But were they ever really as close as we think. Because I always saw them as a group of people who love and care about each other but they had their own click within that group. Like Carol was with Lori, Daryl and Hershel, Rick was close to Michonne, Daryl, Shane, and Hersehl, Michonne was close to Rick,Daryl, Carl and Hershel. So that if something was going with Michonne, Rick or Carl or Daryl or Hersehel would be one to know it, unless she does something that really put into focus that she us upset or something, the same for Rick or Daryl. I never doubted that these people love each other but I never thought they were close enough to be able to tell something is wrong with someone who is not part of their inner group.
     
  18. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    I do think they have their little clusters within the main group, but that still doesn't mean you don't notice when something goes awry or don't interact with the others. Carl is the kiddo of the group -- why the others just weren't shown just naturally wanting to interact with him is weird to me. Because I would think (being an adult) seeing a kid in the kind of world they live in, you would want to distract them, be nice to them, play with them, anything. They've walked with this kid down barren roads while they're on the brink of starvation. He's a child. Those adults should be ashamed for not paying more attention to him in some respects.

    It's just weird. I don't know. It's like they only notice each other when it's important to the plot -- not because they actually have any feelings towards one another. Their saving grace since season three has just been good old cast synergy.
     
  19. SevenStars

    SevenStars Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    I do agree with you about Carl. The group should be interacting with him more. But they treat him like he is just another adult in the group. The only ones who treat him like a kid are Michonne and Rick.

    As for the group, all of them are struggling with their own demons, while trying to keep themselves and those around them alive. So it doesn't surprise me that they wouldn't notice something is wrong with someone outside of their inner group.
     
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  20. Iguessiamhere

    Iguessiamhere Survivor of Many Disasters
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    Yes they're all struggling with own issue and busy surviving. If Carol is and has been putting a front on of being ok, no one is going to question it, unless it very obvious that she had serious issues or she says something. I don't think it unrealistic story, maybe not palliative storytelling. It'd be nice if this group of survivors had more organic interaction, that seen onscreen, but this writing staff suck at real dialogue but rely on metaphors, symbolic and foreshadowing to craft their stories. Morgan and Carol story needs be more clear, the Rick and Morgan storyline need clarity, they talk in riddles, instead of speaking plainly. With these writers it hint, hint,hints.....that's why Jessie/Rick storyline was so confusing to most..... You have to piece all connecting dots.