Grab some cookies and take a seat next to the flowers because this is Carol’s story and it’s a ruff one.
*spoilers and also some major fangirling*
In the beginning Carol was merely a main background character. We knew she was in an abusive relationship with her husband Ed, and they had a daughter Sophia. Despite others wanting to help, Carol never wanted it. She could see what was happening, but didn’t want to leave (like many abusive relationships.) She even stood by him after he had a (well-deserved) beat down by Shane.
Further into the show, the more you felt for Carol. Ed (thankfully) was bit and Carol had to kill him, but even though she lost a big problem in her life another came not soon after at the hands of a walker herd. Sophia was chased into the woods, but never came back out. Carol and the group held onto hope for weeks that she was lost and hiding, but in the gut-wrenching season two mid-season finale, we find out Sophia was never lost and scared in the woods for all those weeks. In the end Carol watched a bullet go through her daughter’s (undead) head.
Carol went through the sadness and the grief, but it was only the beginning. Carol only became stronger.
She learned to fight, to defend herself, and become a core member of the group. Carol spoke up about things she didn’t agree with and found a voice. It took time, Carol’s character development went through the span of a few seasons, but it gives us a realistic view of a person becoming stronger. It just doesn’t happen overnight.
Although things got better, Carol would go through some more dark times. This would only test how durable she became. From killing two members of the group to save the rest and eventually being kicked out for it, Carol had to find her own way by herself. We know Carol never wanted to do it, but she did what needed to be done, no matter how hard.
And boy did it get hard. Carol found her way back to part of the group, only to watch a young, mentally ill girl kill her sister and make the hard to decision to put her down as well. “The Grove” is easily one of the best episodes of season four. The range of emotions from annoyed, to down-right shocked, and grief at the end, and Melissa McBride killed it (she actually won an award for this episode.)
Thus creating the “look at the flowers” meme.
At the beginning of season five we saw how truly badass Carol has become. She single-handedly took down a building of cannibals! From dressing herself in walker guts to hide in the crowd, to blowing up the building, and shooting countless people just to save her friends. And in that moment we all saw Carol’s amazing character development. It sort of hits you like, “holy shit this is the same woman from the first season!” It only took the zombie apocalypse for Carol to become who she always wanted to be.
Even though she’s not a real person Carol is proof life can get better, even in a bad situation. Carol could have taken the death of her family badly, not wanting to try or do anything to improve, but she didn’t. She took advantage of the pain and misery and turned it into something more. Even if you don’t agree with her idea of “doing what needs to be done no matter what,” Carol is someone anyone can look up to. You might be at your lowest, in the lowest of the lowest of situations, but you can always make the choice to get up and get better.
Hopefully for you however, it’s not the apocalypse that does it.