**Major spoilers ahead for this season. Don’t read any further if you can’t handle some major story development and crazy action sequences.**

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The mid-season finale of Season 5 of The Walking Dead is drawing closer. It seems like this season just started and already we are just two more episodes away from the mid-season finale. There is a showdown coming between Dawn and the group at Grady hospital and the prison group. The hospital group just doesn’t know it yet. After Eugene dropped the bomb on the group last episode that he isn’t a scientist fans wondered if Glenn and Maggie would head back to the church to rejoin the others. With that question still lingering this week cuts back to Daryl and Carol and what they encountered when they went after the car with the white cross in the back that took Beth.

“Consumed” and Tried by Fire

There are a lot of flashbacks in the episode. After waiting for a long time the writers finally show fans what happened to Carol when Rick banished her, which is the flashback that opens the episode.  Fans see her traveling on her own, and surviving well enough but clearly lonely. She is headed back to the prison when she sees the prison in flames and sees the aftermath of The Governor’s attack. The title of this episode, “Consumed”, comes from the many times that the survivors have had to survive catastrophic losses and reinvent themselves and adjust their mindset in order to stay alive in the post-zombie apocalypse world.

At one point Daryl and Carol are talking about how to move forward and start over considering everything that has happened. Carol tells him that the woman she was immediately after the crisis started who was still with Ed got burned away with the loss of Sophia and the fire at the farm. Then she changed, and became a different person, and that person was burned away when she killed David and Karen and burned their bodies. The loss of Lizzie and Mika and the fires of Terminus destroyed another version of herself and now she’s not sure if there’s anything left but ashes. Daryl tells her that they are not ashes, and they will adjust and move on from this too.

#Caryl

Fans of Daryl and Carol ending up together, who use the hastag #Caryl on Twitter, got to see the two kindred spirits move even closer together this episode. The dynamic between them is beautiful to watch. They are a team, and know each other so well they function without words most of the time. At one point Carol tells him, “You don’t know me at all,” and Daryl tells her, “Yeah sure. You keep telling yourself that. “Just a few seasons ago that kind of banter between them wouldn’t have been possible but it feels natural and relevant now. There are a lot of really special and poignant moments between the two in this episode. But there’s also a lot of crazy action.

Entering City Limits

Daryl and Carol tail the car with the white cross all the way to Atlanta, where they see the car stop and someone get out. The figure appears to assess the condition of a body, maybe searching for signs of life, and then drives off. When the car drives off Daryl and Carol are stranded because their vehicle is out of gas. They are looking for shelter for the night when Carol mentions she knows a place close by they can probably get to.

The Shelter

At first it’s difficult to tell what the building is, but as they go deeper into the building Daryl asks her if she worked at this place and that’s how she knows about it. Carol tells him as they find a room with bunkbeds that it’s a shelter for abuse victims. At one point she tried to leave Ed, and she took Sophia to the shelter. They only stayed a day and a half before she went back to Ed. It’s clear that she is ashamed of having let Ed control her and abuse her.

As they are talking they hear walkers at the door of the inner rooms where they are holed up. It’s a mother and a child. Daryl, seeing the stricken look on Carol’s face, tells her that he will take care of it. When she wakes up after catching some sleep she finds him carrying a child size figure wrapped in a sheet into the courtyard where a bonfire is blazing. She thanks him for taking care of the child walker.

As they are scouting around the next day they find a white van, impaled preciously on a bridge that has white crosses in the back just like the car that took Beth. They reason out that the people who took Beth were probably holed up in Grady hospital, which is not far away.

1aFinding Noah

As they are scouting through a building trying to get closer to Grady hospital they come upon Noah, who steals their weapons and let loose a flood walkers on them. They get free and run for the street. They make it to the white van on the bridge and they dig through the van trying to find any information on the group that has Beth. They get overrun by walkers and have to take refuse in the van, which is threatening to go over the side of the bridge and drop 50 feet at any moment. Surrounded by walkers they agree the only way to get away is to go forward. Holding hands and buckled in tight they propel the van off the bridge. The van flips completely and lands right side up. They are hurt but not seriously hurt. They set out for Grady hospital to find out as much as they can about the group there.3

Along the way as they are fighting their way over to Grady they come upon Noah, struggling even though he has their weapons. They easily overpower him and take back the weapons. Daryl causes a bookcase to fall on him and pin him down. They see a car with a white cross heading towards their building through the window and Noah mentions the hospital group and that they will be coming because they heard shots. He is desperate to get away before they find him. Noah tells Daryl and Carol a little about the hospital group and when Norman asks him if he has seen a blonde girl there Noah immediately asks if they know Beth. That’s the first confirmation Daryl has gotten that Beth is still alive.

Carol Undercover

Daryl and Carol know they will need help to free Beth and they are going to go back and get Rick, Michonne and the others. But as they are hustling out of the building to escape before the hospital group shows up Carol runs out the door and is hit by the car driven by the members of the hospital group. She seems stunned and possible badly hurt. Noah holds Daryl back, and tells him that Carol will get the medical care she needs in the hospital. Daryl doesn’t want to leave her but he knows that he will need backup to get her and Beth out.

As this episode closes Daryl and Noah are heading back to the church and Beth and Carol are inside the hospital.

It definitely seems as if all the action is building towards the mid-season finale. There haven’t been an major character deaths so far this season so changes are good there will be one soon, possibly in the mid-season finale. It’s not clear right now what will happen to Eugene, Rosita, Abraham and the others in the wake of Eugene’s confession. It’s also not clear who, if anyone, is not going to make it out of the season finale. Just two more episodes until the show goes on winter hiatus so fans are looking forward to seeing more about the characters they love.6