The Walking Dead honed in on two beloved characters during episode The Same Boat, with Carol and Maggie providing the centrepiece of the action. While taken hostage by henchmen of their new threat Negan, the two survivors are forced to use their wits in order to escape but will they ever see Rick and co. again?
Negan is proving to be the most elusive and anticipated characters since the Governor in season three but season six's episode 13 should bring us closer to meeting this mysterious figure. While Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Glenn and the others were taking down Negan's crew at a compound in Not Tomorrow Yet, Carol and Maggie were taken captive by their rival's Saviours. The Same Boat introduces Paula, the leader of the captors who happens to be quite fierce – kind of like officer Dawn from the Grady Memorial Hospital in season five.
The pair are taunted with threats to end their lives but Carol doesn't take kindly to such talk and is spurred on to find a way out of the room they are being held in. Suddenly, Carol turns religious in her moment of desperation and pretends to hyperventilate, forcing the captors to remove their gags and hand Carol the rosary in her pocket.
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Carol has proved time and again that her worth to the group is valuable and the mother hen's manipulation skills are simply unmatched by the other survivors – her fake hyperventilating and crocodile tears easily deceive the Saviours into thinking she's a weak link but of course, she, Maggie and the viewers know better. At one point when Carol is struggling for breath, it momentarily looks as though Maggie is even fooled by her game.
Later, Carol and Maggie are separated so Paula and an accomplice can squeeze details out of them. After Maggie reveals to the henchwoman that she is pregnant, the captor in turn reveals that she lost a baby in the new world. Their bonding session is far from the hardball game Carol and Paula are playing elsewhere. Paula discloses that she has no problem killing for survival having previously murdered her boss to stop him from slowing her down, while Carol refrains from offering too many details about her group's plans to take down Negan.
Paula then confuses Carol – and us – by stating: "We are all Negan." Surely, the writers can't be cheating us out of meeting Negan because that would just be cruel.
Just when it seemed the situation was relatively stable, Paula, who has been negotiating with Rick via walkie talkies, seems to suddenly distrust the group leader and makes a new plan to kill the Alexandrians. Carol's insistence that Rick is a man of his word falls on deaf ears and she and Maggie manage to untie themselves before setting up traps to kill Paula's chain-smoking sidekick and the other female accomplice.
Over the last couple of seasons, Carol has killed those standing in her way as obstacles in order to protect her family without batting an eyelid. Although it was obvious Carol has always killed ultimately for the good of the group, it sometimes seemed as though she somewhat liked it. However, something changed within Carol during episode The Same Boat. She has finally grown tired of having to end lives of her fellow humans – zombies, no problem.
But when it comes to the crunch with Paula, Carol surprisingly gives her the option to run away and practically pleads with the Saviour to not make her shoot her. Of course, Paula leaves Carol with no other option and she pulls the trigger. Going forward (and if she makes it back from the mission alive), it will be interesting to see how the dynamic between Carol and Morgan unfolds considering she chastised him from wanting to solve problems with words and not violence. Is she actually coming round to his way of thinking?
The pair are finally reunited with Rick, Daryl and co. who still have the one Saviour, named Primo, from Not Tomorrow Yet in their possession. Primo refuses to divulge information on Negan but his final words before Rick ends his life are poignant: "I am Negan," he says, reiterating what appears to be a shared sentiment between the Saviours.
Tracking down Negan will clearly be harder than the Alexandrians first thought but will we meet him next week? And will previously hard-as-nails Carol buckle under the stress?
The Walking Dead returns with season six episode 14 on 21 March at 9pm on Fox UK.