The Walking Dead : The Coming Storm Onslaught

There's a smell before it rains from a blend of oils released from the earth into the air. It's a pleasant smell. Though totally unlike the storm that awaits the Alexandrians and Rick's group in The Walking Dead.

After Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol (Melissa McBride) managed to rescue themselves from the Saviors in the previous episode, season 6 episode 14, titled, "Twice as Far," begins in a blissfully normal routine, to later end tragically. We knew something was coming from all the prolonged suspense, continuing until the season 6 finale. With hints from current episodes so far, it's an all-out gradual preparation to the finale promising to be nothing short of cataclysmic.

Expect Tara (Alanna Masterson) to go revenge mode after she finds out about the tragic death of Denise. That is, if Daryl (Norman Reedus) doesn't beat her to it to get Dwight, also called D, for killing Denise with the crossbow arrow intended for Daryl. With Carol also deciding to leave Alexandria, and seeing Daryl roar off with both his newfound motorcycle and crossbow in next episode's 15 preview, it's also not hard to expect him to track to bring back Carol. With double duty missions of revenge and retrieve, whichever may come first, Daryl now has his hands full. All which makes for more exciting storytelling and action coming up in episode 15 before the finale.

Daryl then becomes a man unleashed. Now an avenging angel after having retrieved the body of Denise from the railroad tracks, whom Carol helps with the burial at Alexandria. Carol on the other hand becomes something else. A woman once again transformed. Used to having to kill to protect herself as well as faithfully having to protect others ever since season 4, her character has now changed again. Written so, among the words in her Dear John letter she left to Tobin, as she says, "I love you all here. I do. And I'd have to kill for you. And I can't. I won't."

One now has to wonder just what both Scott M. Gimple, showrunner of The Walking Dead, and Matthew Negrete, writer of episode 14, are up to about Carol. She has gone from being a person to protect from season 1 to season 3, whom T-Dog (IronE Singleton) saved from walkers at the prison enclave before his heroic death, to being a person who protects from season 4 onward. Coincidentally, which also happened during when Scott M. Gimple became showrunner at the beginning of season 4 to present. Not complaining about Carol's current character arc. Far from it. It just makes a fan further engrossed, and more curious, about the intricate weaving of the storytelling tapestry and direction of the AMC series helmed by Scott M. Gimple. Which so far, has been instrumental in successfully giving both fuel and ballast to The Walking Dead.

Formerly a domestic violence victim, Carol now kills. Now, she sees that as a problem -- she's grown too good at it. Evidences of such, goes back to the season 5 premiere after smearing walker gore onto her make-shift poncho and face, making like a camouflaged covert operative before she frees Rick's group at Terminus. Then in episode 2 of current season 6, she disguises herself as a Wolf, complete by painting a W onto her forehead from the blood of a dead Wolf, before continuing to help defend Alexandria by shooting the attacking barbaric Wolves.

One may easily surmise Carol's change of heart began during episode 13, later reuniting with Rick's group after she and Maggie had just escaped captivity by killing at least eight Saviors, including those in the kill floor room. Daryl quickly comes to Carol, and he asks, "Hey, you good?" Which she gives a simple reply, "No." Then Daryl quickly says, "Come here," before they embrace. Even so, her change of heart may have actually began before that, in episode 12.

In episode 12, it's just after Rick, who among the 15, all arrive in caravans by late afternoon to prepare for a midnight assault at a satellite station. Their plan, kill all the Saviors who've been known to harass and sometimes kill members of the Hilltop Colony, while also freeing Craig, a Hilltop member held hostage. All a part of the deal Maggie had brokered with Gregory, leader of Hilltop, that's supplied a month's worth of much needed food to Alexandria.

After a briefing of going over teams before the assault, Carol berates Rick about why Maggie has even joined in the assault. Even though Maggie felt responsible since she brokered the deal. "Why is Maggie here?" Carol asks. "She's guarding the perimeter," Rick (Andrew Lincoln) replies. "Yeah, but why is she here?" Carol continues to admonish. "Cause it's her choice," Rick counters. To Carol, that wasn't good enough and it was followed by telling Rick that instead of being among the assault team for infiltration, she will stay behind with Maggie. "Well, this whole thing is a race to the armory. We need as many people inside as we can get," explains Rick. To which Carol says firmly, "She shouldn't be out here alone. She shouldn't be out here in the first place."

Then later during the assault, a Savior pulls the alarm quickly after getting knifed by Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), happening just after he spots both her and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) in the hallway. Carol and Maggie also hears the alarm from outside. "They're in trouble," says Maggie. "Stay here," replies Carol. "I'm going with you," Maggie counters. "I said stay here," says Carol firmly. Maggie continues stubbornly, yet Carol still holds firm, asking, "What the hell are you doing here?" Stubborn met stubborn, before Maggie softens a little, asking, "What am I supposed to do?" Yet Carol didn't back down, replying, "You're supposed to be someone else." Because with Carol, it's all about Maggie's other identity, who at two months pregnant, that she appeared to have momentarily forgotten all about, coming motherhood.

Earlier in the episode, both Carol and Tobin (Jason Douglas) are sitting at his front porch. He says, "You can do things that, just terrifies me." That's because Tobin, Olivia, and all the other Alexandrians had all seen Carol suddenly drop her meekness act to help save Alexandria. Carol then questions him further, asking him how she does those things. "You're a mom," he replies. "I was," she says softly. Yet Tobin adds, "You are," later telling her that she's a mom to most people at Alexandria, but to him she's something else. And they kiss. So all that was the beginning of another transformation in Carol. It was also wanting Maggie to keep what she's lost.

Carol does her meekness act once more, perhaps for her last time, beginning next episode 13, after she and Maggie were captured by four Saviors at the end of episode 12, especially during the scene when she and Maggie are held captive in a slaughterhouse when Carol pleads to the Savior Paula (Alicia Witt). "It doesn't matter what happens to me. Just don't hurt Maggie. Don't hurt the baby," Carol says softly. Yet later, it took a fight between Maggie and the Savior Chelle (Jeananne Goossen), to wake Maggie up about her pregnancy, whose belly was nearly slashed. Later, after both are reunited with Rick's group, Carol is a woman who now appears to be spent.

And she won't be the only one. Especially after Tara and Heath (Corey Hawkins) get back from her two-week run, and find out about Denise. If they get back. After all, the Saviors are out there.

About the Saviors -- what's their current body count you may ask? There's the first appearance when Bud and his cycle gang intercepted Daryl, Abraham and Sasha, in the midseason 6 finale, numbering about 8. Yet were blown to bits by Daryl's RPG in the next episode. Then in episode 12, during the assault at the satellite station, let's assume 15, equal to that of Rick's assault force. Then in episode 12, Carol and Maggie killed at least 8. And in episode 14, Daryl, Rosita, and Abraham had to have cut down at least 3 among Dwight's group. That's at least 34 Saviors killed by Rick's group including one killed by Jesus of Hilltop in episode 12. Which is a way of saying, this will not sit well with Negan, all in preparation for the 90-minute finale. A storm is coming.

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