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Characters / The Walking Dead TV Show Carol Peletier

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Due to the Anyone Can Die nature of the show and quickly moving plots, only spoilers from the current/most recent season will be spoiled out to prevent entire pages of whited out text. These spoiler tags will be removed upon the debut of the following season, and the character bios will be updated then as well. Additionally, character portraits will be updated each half-season with the release of an official, complete set from AMC. If you have not seen the first nine seasons read at your own risk!

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Carol Peletier

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thewalkingdeadcarol9.jpg
"If you want to live, you have to become strong."
Portrayed by: Melissa McBride

"I don't think it ends. What we're doing, the end of the fight is... what we're fighting for. Winning just means we get tomorrow. Maybe one more night. Maybe one more morning. After that, no guarantees."

One of the Deuteragonist's of The Walking Dead, who has enough examples of tropes to qualify for her own page.

After suffering through a lengthy, abusive marriage with her husband Ed, who was also abusive to their daughter Sophia and had began to eye her in a non-fatherly way, she survived the initial stages of the zombie apocalypse with her family. After becoming close companions with the Grimes family, Ed was killed during the walker attack on the camp. After that, Carol became more independent, but the disappearance and later death of her daughter demoralized her again. However, she has since recovered and started becoming more assertive, taking a larger role in the group as both as shooter and medic. Carol has also established a strong friendship with Daryl and began to deeply care about him after he went out of his way in his search for the missing Sophia in Season 2.

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After the community in the prison was established, Carol became a member of the council that helped run the group. She was exiled by Rick after killing some of the group in a desperate attempt to stop a plague, and her actions then and later with Lizzie and Mika haunt her to this day. Carol returns to the group just in time to save them from the cannibals of Terminus, mounting a one-woman assault on the compound and earning back Rick's trust. Upon reintegrating into the group, she becomes one of Rick's closest family members and one of his main advisors as they reach Alexandria, often advising the more ruthless course of action to protect their family.

Despite having trouble facing her own demons, Carol is one of the most changed survivors of the apocalypse. She has proven to be a shrewd tactician whose no-nonsense approach to things makes her a finely oiled killing machine in combat. Given her Mama Bear feelings towards the group, you have what even Rick calls a "force of nature" who will do anything to save or protect her own. Carol is also a brilliant schemer who effortlessly dupes the entirety of Alexandria, hiding her true nature under an innocent, incompetent Stepford wife persona who is more than a few steps ahead of anyone. Carol is forced to abandon her disguise when Alexandria comes under attack. She develops a feud with Morgan over their contrasting ideologies, and exiles herself when regret from her actions convinces her that she has begun doing more harm than good. Carol begins attempting to live a solitary life on the outskirts of the Kingdom, but upon learning of the deaths of Glenn, Abraham, and several others at the hands of the Saviors, she realizes she cannot hide from their brutality and joins the war against Negan.

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     Tropez A-F 
  • Action Mom: In Season 4, she becomes this to Lizzie and Mika, whom she adopts after their father dies. She's accumulated one of the biggest body counts on the show, and her one-woman assault on Terminus has to be seen to be believed. She becomes one again, to Henry, in Season 9, and proves she hasn't lost her touch one bit when she burns a gang of Saviors alive simply for bullying her son.
    Henry: She's tough. Not somebody you want to mess with.
  • Action Survivor: In Season 3. Later upgrades to a full-fledged Action Girl starting in Season 4, and by Season 5 she's able to keep up with Daryl in toughness.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: She's having it much worse here than in the comics.
  • Adaptational Badass: By Season 3, she becomes more combat proficient and emotionally stable than her comic counterpart. Which is a good thing because she really needs to be. In the Season 5 premiere, Carol almost singlehandedly destroys Terminus, by blowing up its fences and taking advantage of a passing herd. It would have been impossible for Rick and Co. to escape without her aid. In Season 6 she single-handedly takes out at least eight Wolves when they attack Alexandria.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Went from having medium length blonde hair in the comics to short cropped grey-black hair. Justified in that outside of a few plot points, she has very little in common with the character from the comics.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The Grove", "Consumed", and "The Same Boat" are all very Carol-centric.
  • Age Lift: Carol is younger than Rick and Lori in the comic book.
  • The Aloner: In late season 6 she leaves Alexandria, as she feels she can no longer kill to protect the group. In season 7, she begins living near the Kingdom in a cottage so she can live in peace, not wishing to suffer anymore. She snaps out of this when she learns of the deaths of Glenn, Abraham, and several others.
  • Anti-Hero: She slowly started to become as her character started take a dark turn by doing what ever it takes in order to protect them, whether it be teach kids how to use weapons to defend themselves or by killing Karen and David then burning their bodies in order to stop an illness from spreading. Throughout Season 5, she has shown herself to be more morally flexible than most others.
  • Apologetic Attacker: When she's confronted with a group of Saviors toward the end of Season 6, she tearfully begs them to leave, saying, "Nobody has to get hurt." They think she's begging for her own life. She's really begging them not to make her kill them — which she does, with a hidden machine gun, when they don't back down.
  • Ascended Extra: Easily the best example on the show. In Season 1, she is quite literally a background extra and only has a few lines, only really becoming relevant at the end of the season when she hands Rick a grenade that allows the group to escape the CDC. Over the next few seasons, she slowly builds up screentime and importance (developing into a much stronger character in the process), finally emerging as a fan favorite and one of the main characters in Seasons 4 and 5.
  • Ax-Crazy: Throughout Season 5 and 6, she's displayed signs of this, from threatening to kill Sam to slaughtering a defenseless Wolf without even considering interrogation; thus really showcasing how much of a toll her hardened personality and secretive pragmatism is taking on her psyche.
  • Badass Longcoat: Wears a brown one. It's not a duster like most examples, but it's below the waist.
  • Badass Teacher: In the Season 4 premiere, she's shown teaching the kids how to use weapons and defend themselves behind Rick's back.
  • Badass in Distress: She is knocked out and captured by Grady Memorial Hospital at the end of "Consumed."
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Throughout the episode "Indifference," she tries to get Rick to be more active again and deal with the situation at hand, as far her killing Karen and David, and he does... by exiling her from the group.
    • In "The Grove", her efforts to train Lizzie and Mika to be Action Survivors end in disaster. Mika is the Only Sane Girl who, while perhaps a bit too soft and scared for her own good in a post-apocalyptic world, is/becomes a much stronger and well-adjusted girl than Carol gives her credit; Lizzie, meanwhile, while having some creepy ideas that the Walkers are more real than living people, Carol thinks of as the strong one because of her willingness to kill. By the end of the episode, Lizzie is revealed as an Ax-Crazy Broken Bird who kills small animals like mice (both to feed walkers and for fun) and ends up murdering Mika (and thinking of murdering Judith) because she thinks she'll be better off as a Walker. Carol was so focused on the girls not ending up like Sophia that she was blind to the danger right in front of her.
  • Becoming the Mask: When the group arrives at Alexandria, Carol puts on a ditzy, sheltered housewife persona to fool the residents so she can covertly size them up in case the group needs to attack them. However, as she grows more weary of killing, Carol realizes that she really does wish she could be a sheltered housewife away from the brutality of the world.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She's known for being one of the most caring and even-tempered members of the group, yet in Season 4 it's revealed that she murdered Karen and David and burned their bodies in an attempt to prevent the fatal disease they were suffering from spreading. Then Terminus happened. Towards the end of Season 6, she begins to long for a more peaceful life, and genuinely hopes that her enemies will have the mercy to spare her - but she still will utterly annihilate those who legitimately cross her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ironically, despite worrying that the people of Alexandria are this in disguise (like the people in Terminus), Carol comes across as this, hiding her true self behind a friendly, slightly ditzy façade. She ends up being forced to cast off the disguise after the first few battles of Alexandria in which her ruthless, One-Woman Army traits are sorely needed.
  • Breakout Character: Despite being on the show since the beginning, it wasn't until Season 5 that she became this. Her truly amazing siege on Terminus to rescue Rick and the others in the premiere, which included blowing up a fuel tank with a firework, sniping various Termites, and getting in a fight with (and ultimately mercilessly killing) Mary, cemented her as a bonafide badass in the eyes of the fandom. Since then, Carol is often front and center in many of the series' promotional materials.
  • Broken Bird: First she gets broken by her husband's abuse, and then Sophia's death. Since then, she's taken numerous levels in badass to become a skilled shooter and valuable member of the group as a secondary medic, but her experiences have left scars. After her confrontation with Morgan in Season 6 when she nearly kills him, only to get Denise captured by Owen, she becomes severely depressed and now just wants to stop killing, to the point of going into exile at least twice.
  • But Now I Must Go: In Season 6, she knows that killing is the only way to protect her family, but she's become extremely weary of taking human lives after the Wolf invasion and her confrontation with Morgan. Because she finds herself unwilling to kill anymore, she decides to leave the group since she can no longer do what's necessary to protect them.
  • The Cameo: She briefly shows up in the fourth season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, trying and failing to convince Morgan to come to the Kingdom with her.
  • Can't Stay Normal: After becoming depressed over having to kill so many people, Carol exiles herself to live in a house far from anyone else. When she hears what the Saviors have done to her friends, however, she realizes that she can't stand idly by and jumps back into the fight with full force.
  • Character Development: Starts off as a timid victim, but evolves into a more confident, hardened badass with a pragmatic streak, who Rick even leaves in charge on at least one occasion. In Season 6 her memetic badassery comes to take a severe toll on her psyche and she spends most of Season 7 trying to cope with her depression, before realizing that she cares too much for the safety of others to stay out of the fight. In Season 9, her marriage to Ezekiel and mother-son relationship with Henry have allowed her to grow more comfortable in her role as a Mama Bear.
  • Co-Dragons: Inverted for Seasons 5 and 6, as she becomes one of Rick's most trusted lieutenants. However, when Rick comes dangerously close to becoming a Villain Protagonist, Carol almost fits into the role of The Dragon too well, as she's the most supportive of Rick's increasingly extreme plans to possibly take the town (while Daryl implicitly refuses to take a big part in the scheme).
  • Combat Pragmatist: One of Carol’s greatest strengths is her ability to use anything in her situation to get out of trouble, or she’ll otherwise wait until she has the advantage to strike.
    • Carol instigates the siege of Terminus using a herd of walkers as a distraction, and soon leaves a kneecapped Mary for the walkers not just to punish her, but to lure the walkers outside the door away (as in, to Mary) for Carol to exit safely.
    • Carol immediately decides to use a disguise to get around Alexandria safely during the attack from the Wolves since they’re quicker and more numerous than her. It works marvelously well, and Carol is almost singlehandedly responsible for saving the town thanks to her covert attacks.
    • When Carol is facing down Yago’s squad of Saviors outnumbered and outgunned, she feigns surrender just long enough to grab a Savior coming to collect her - to use as either a hostage or a human shield. She pulls the same trick to get one over on Jed twice in the span of a few days, as she tricks him into thinking she’s giving up to get the chance to overpower him. Six years later and Carol does the same thing when she and Henry are robbed by Jed’s sizable gang, and waits to strike back until that night, when she burns them to death for their troubles.
  • Composite Character: Since Andrea dies early in the show, some of her character development in the comics is given to Carol: She is the one in charge of Lizzie and Mika (just like Andrea adopts Ben and Billy) and Carol also becomes the most badass female from the original Atlanta group. Also she is in charge of killing Lizzie after she proves to be too unstable, just like Carl had to do in the comics about Ben. In Season 9, she fills Andrea’s role as the woman with a close relationship with her adopted son, albeit with Henry instead of the late Carl, and replaces Michonne as the woman who gets with Ezekiel. In Season 10, she splits her time between Alexandria and Oceanside, which again was something Michonne did in the comics and video game.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The more hardened she becomes, the more often her snarky sense of humor seems to come out.
    Ezekiel: Maybe they need the fairy tale. Maybe the contradiction is the point.
    Carol: And ruling over people and having your ass kissed by everyone's just a perk?
  • Death Seeker: Strongly implied in the Season 6 finale when Roman is torturing her and she simply laughs happily that she's going to die. Additionally, she had earlier rejected Morgan's attempts to bring her back to Alexandria to get her medical treatment that could save her life.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: After she Took a Level in Cynic some time between Season 3 and 4, Carol starts to grow more and more open after entering the Kingdom, where she makes amends with her initial rival Morgan and forms a newfound friendship with Ezekiel.
  • Despair Event Horizon: A few times over the course of the series.
    • Seeing the undead Sophia walking out of the barn. Daryl has to stop Carol from running to her.
    • Nearly being forced to kill Morgan only to discover she was responsible for Denise's capture and the Anderson family's death. After learning of the deaths of Glenn, Abraham, and others at the Saviors’ hands, she is roused from it and rebounds.
    • Even though she's managed to come back from it a few times, Carol has never truly been the same since Lizzie's killing of Mika and her subsequently being forced to put the older sister down.
  • Deuteragonist: Started showing signs of this in Season 3 as she began to become a more fleshed out, rounded character and definitely has taken this spot by the fifth season along with Daryl. In Season 9, with Daryl’s ascension to lead following Rick’s disappearance, she’s one of the three main heroes of the story from here on out.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Subverted, in a way. Sophia's death does indeed push her to her Despair Event Horizon, but she gets back up after enough time, arguably sooner than any other woman normally would after losing a daughter the way she did. It's everyone else that insists on awkwardly avoiding her for a while afterward. When Carl, who can't find a way to handle his own grief at Sophia dying, tells Carol that heaven is a lie, Carol then confronts Lori, telling her that Rick and Lori need to control Carl and that everyone needs to stop pitying her and treating her like a headcase.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: A mild example toward the kids in Season 4, as she gives Patrick a hard time for wanting to be excused from her "lessons" and says that Lizzie is weak for being unable to Mercy Kill her Zombie Infectee father. Justified, when you realize that she's trying to get them to toughen up so that they don't meet the same fate as Sophia. It's horrifically Subverted when Lizzie takes it the wrong way and goes off of the deep end, and Carol knows it.
  • Evil Chancellor: To Rick when the group first arrives at Alexandria.
  • The Exile: Gets kicked out of the prison by Rick in "Indifference", not appearing again until "Inmates". In Season 6 after breaking down following her confrontation with Morgan and her abduction by the Saviors, she exiles herself from Alexandria as she's afraid to kill any more.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: After fighting and clashing both physically and ideologically for ages, Carol forms a bond with Morgan over their mutual battles with mental illness and losses. In the Fear the Walking Dead fourth season premiere, she outright asks for the chance to help and look after him.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Tyreese forgives her for killing Karen, although he considers executing her, and swears he will never forget what she did.
  • Foil:
    • To, of all people, her comic counterpart. Both were abused by their husbands, and began to snap under the stress of the post-apocalyptic world. However, unlike her comic counterpart, her daughter was the one who died and she never committed suicide. However, as of Seasons 5 and 6, she's displayed numerous signs of becoming more and more unhinged, to the significant boiling point in "Start to Finish," where she ultimately provides a means for the Wolf leader to break free.
    • To Morgan. Both lost their families and passed the Despair Event Horizon; however, Carol rather quickly came back while Morgan went completely insane, as he had no support system while Carol had the rest of the group looking after her. Carol eventually becomes a ruthless killing machine, while Morgan becomes a Martial Pacifist who adheres to Thou Shalt Not Kill. Carol employs Good Is Not Nice while Morgan is a completely genuine Nice Guy. Their ideologies clash in "Start to Finish", and it's implied Carol envies how well-adjusted he is. When Morgan begins to suffer from Sanity Slippage again, Carol (who has by now overcome her depression) does everything she can to help and support him.
     Tropes G-L 
  • Good Is Not Nice: She's a hero, but that doesn't mean she has to act pleasant. She's still the Team Mom to the group and to Alexandria when they officially join their ranks, though.
  • Good Is Not Soft: After finding out that Terminus has captured her friends, she singlehandedly kills all but six of them and destroys their safe zone. This phase is repeated whenever the group encounters a potential threat.
    Carol: We'll talk to them and if I'm wrong and they don't listen... then we'll kill them.
  • Good vs. Good: Her ruthless pragmatism clashes with Morgan's pacifistic nature in Season 6, and the two actually come to blows over the fate of the Alpha Wolf, ending with Morgan knocking her out. She later says she should have killed him.
  • Happily Married: She and Ezekiel become engaged in Season 9 and spend the next six years in a loving and supportive marriage. Unfortunately, Henry's death drives a huge wedge between them and they separate; Carol decides to head back to Alexandria with Daryl, Michonne and Lydia while Ezekiel remains at Hilltop.
  • Heroic BSoD: Enters one during the second half of season 6. After learning that her actions have begun causing more harm than good, like her threat to Sam getting him and his family killed and her killing the Alpha Wolf while he was saving Denise, she begins to realize how many people she has killed in such a short time and decides she can't do it anymore. She distances herself from the group and runs away to avoid having to kill for them anymore, and whenever she is put in danger she begs her attackers to stop for their own safety.
  • The High Queen: In Season 9, she leads the Kingdom alongside Ezekiel. Jerry calls her “queen”, and though she initially hates the lofty title, she begrudgingly accepts it (especially when Ezekiel calls her his queen).
  • Hypocrite: She criticizes Morgan for his Pacifism by saying he does it for selfish reasons, despite her ruthless pragmatism heavily shown to just be a way to satiate her paranoia.
  • Iconic Item: Her trench knife, which she gains in Season 4. Its connotations with brutal pragmatism reflects on Carol.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Her justification for murdering Karen and David, though Rick doesn't buy it. It gets Deconstructed eventually. When she runs into Tyreese and he talks about Karen, she starts feeling worse about it. It culminates in her admitting out of guilt and firmly expecting Tyreese to kill her as a result.
    • Also when she kills Lizzie, realizing that Lizzie is simply too insane to be trusted, especially around Judith.
  • Ice Queen: She comes off as this to Sam until she figures out that he and Jessie are abused.
  • Implied Death Threat: To Sam. Insinuating that she would bind him and leave him to die out in the forest to keep him silent.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: A recurring theme in Carol's arc. "Not Tomorrow Yet" implies that she's grown to like being the den mother for Alexandria after already shedding her masquerade, and that she only wishes she could be as well-adjusted as the pacifistic Morgan. She gets better thanks to the Kingdom's influence, but after Henry's death, chooses to divorce Ezekiel and separate herself from the Washington region by living on a fishing boat for a few months. She later muses with Daryl about an existence where they don't have to kill one another and can live in peace.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's become increasingly cold, but she does care for the safety of her friends. By Season 9, she has loosened up and become one of the nicer characters on the show, thanks to the influence of Ezekiel and the Kingdom, though still a huge example of Good Is Not Soft.
  • Kick the Dog:
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
  • Kill the Ones You Love:
    • Tearfully kills Lizzie who murdered her younger sister.
    • Love is a bit of a stretch but she does put down the zombified Tobin, who she had a brief relationship with in Season 6.
  • Knife Nut: Her primary weapon in later seasons, though she's reasonably capable with firearms as well. Notably, she uses her knife to kill Karen and David.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: She's become increasingly antisocial and cynical towards everyone, but she remains one of the heroes.
  • Lady of War: She's become one of the more mature and composed Action Girls next to Michonne. In fact, she's rather stoic when killing walkers.
    • Not So Stoic: In Season 6, she breaks down crying after the horrific, mindless slaughter brought upon Alexandria by the Wolves, despite spending most of the episode pushing Morgan to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill creed.
  • The Leader: In Season 4, along with Daryl, Glenn, Hershel, and Sasha, as part of the council in charge of the prison community.
  • The Load: Could do little but be a victim on the sidelines for the longest time, but grew into a competent survivor during the Time Skip between Seasons 2 and 3.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: In Season 7. Due to being away from Alexandria, she is unaware that Negan has killed Glenn, Abraham, several others, and has subjugated Alexandria by force. When Daryl reunites with her, he decides not to tell her after he sees the emotionally fragile state she is in and her desire for peace, and lies that Alexandria has a peaceful relationship with the Saviors like the Kingdom. Towards the end of the season, Morgan finally tells her the truth, inspiring her to return to action.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: After the second timeskip in Season 9, her hair (finally) becomes long once she's Happily Married with Ezekiel and got another chance in motherhood as Henry's adoptive mother. Henry confirms that she originally kept it short to keep Ed from using it to grab her, but finally feels comfortable enough to let it grow out with Ezekiel.
     Tropez M-Q 
  • Mama Bear:
    • To the group at large. The people of Terminus found this out the hard way.
    • She also seems to feel this way towards Sam, despite her icy demeanor and Kick the Dog moment towards him. When she finds out that he might be abused, she demands that his father be killed. Nonetheless, she has little patience for him after Pete's death, imploring him to get over it.
    • When she learns of Glenn's death in particular, it inspires her to overcome her Heroic BSoD and return to action.
    • She’s also this to Henry, as when he gets attacked by a roaming pack of walkers while hiding in a creek, she races to save him and butchers all of them before they can kill the boy. It’s also helped by the fact that Sophia’s infection and death was under similar circumstances, which probably made her even more determined to save him. Years later, she utterly annihilates Jed’s band of ex-Saviors, partially because they hurt her son.
  • The Medic: Under Hershel's tutelage she picks up some medical skills and knowledge.
  • Mistaken for Gay: By Axel, due to her short hair.
  • Mythology Gag: She's Mistaken for Gay by Axel. In the comics, there's implication she might be bisexual when she proposes marrying both Rick and Lori.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Implied to be her reaction towards finding out that she had a part to play in Sam's mental breakdown and subsequent death, as she visits his gravesite and leaves a cookie behind.
  • Named by the Adaptation: As her comic counterpart has Only One Name, she was given a surname by default due to Ed playing this trope entirely straight.
  • Never Found the Body: The other survivors think she is dead after the massive walker attack in "Killer Within" and prepare a grave for her. Daryl later discovers her alive, albeit weak from thirst and exhaustion.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Her teaching the children how to use knives was well-intentioned, but tragically contributed to the deaths of Lizzie and Mika.
    • Similarly, in "Start To Finish," the knife she brought in an attempt to kill the Wolf that Morgan had tied up is how he not only gets free, but manages to escape Alexandria with not just a loaded gun, but Denise as a hostage.
    • Another example in "Start to Finish" regarding Sam. Threatening to leave him to die alone in the woods may have gotten her access to the guns, but it takes a devastating toll on the kid's sanity and he's later seen drawing pictures of him being eaten by walkers. She triggered a Sanity Slippage that ends up putting Rick and the others in great peril when the herd invades Alexandria. In "No Way Out", the poor kid is so traumatized by her threat that he freezes up and breaks down, and is then Eaten Alive as Carol threatened him. This then leads to the death of Jessie and then Carl losing an eye. She seems to realize her part in Sam's death, as she later pays his grave a visit and leaves a cookie there.
  • Not So Different: Horrifically, she learns that she's almost exactly like the Savior Paula.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Carol deliberately plays the role of a chipper, ditzy housewife while the group stays at Alexandria. As Carol points out, the best part about staying at Alexandria is that she can be invisible. She ends the charade when she's forced to take action when Alexandria faces the threats of the Wolves and the walker herd. Towards the end of the season, she realizes she really does want to be a sweet, well-adjusted housewife and Team Mom to Alexandria, though. She employs the old housewife charade when she's threatened by Saviors, and both times she almost utterly destroys them.
  • Odd Friendship: With Daryl, even having a bit of Ship Tease. Loads of subtext, and they're obviously important to each other, but the exact nature of the commitment they share is ambiguous until Season 9, see Platonic Life-Partners below. Also with Axel in Season 3, albeit very briefly.
  • One-Man Army: She almost single-handedly puts an end to both Terminus and the Wolves, and has accumulated one of the highest body counts on the show.
    Rick: That woman, she's a force of nature.
  • Out of Focus: Got this a bit in the first half of Season 6, only having a small subplot revolving around her growing feud with Morgan. It comes back in full force in Season 7A, since she's at the Kingdom and only appears in two out of the half-season's eight episodes since most of the action takes place away from the Kingdom. She gets a bit more focus in the second half of the season, and fully returns to the spotlight in Season 8.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Sophia, who is her only biological daughter so far, died in Season 2. In Season 4, she lost both of her adoptive daughters Lizzie and Mika after the former killed the latter, forcing Carol to kill the former because she's too mentally unstable. In Season 9 her adopted son, Henry, is one of ten people who is brutally decapitated by Alpha in order to send a message to the Communities.
  • Parental Substitute: She and Ezekiel become Henry's adoptive parents following the death of his older brother, Benjamin.
  • Platonic Life-Partners:
    • With Tyreese largely out of necessity in Season 4, which nearly ends in Carol's death when he almost kills her, but refuses since Judith needs both of them to survive. Their relationship understandably becomes strained, but they remain stalwart allies to each other until Tyreese's death.
    • The entirety of her relationship with Daryl. They remain close even after she's married with Ezekiel, and Henry even tells Daryl that Carol considers him her best friend.
  • Pragmatic Hero: She's a fundamentally good person acting with the best of intentions, but she's willing to commit some very questionable acts in the name of keeping the group safe and she has no problem taking things under her own initiative rather than consulting with the others.
  • Promoted to Love Interest:
    • Inverted with Tyreese. They don't become a couple like their comic counterparts, and because of Tyreese's death in Season 5, never will be.
    • Played straight with Tobin and Ezekiel, neither of whom her comic counterpart ever even met, having died long before the group reached Alexandria and the Kingdom, respectively.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 4.
  • Promotion to Parent: In "Infected", a dying Ryan Samuels begs Carol to take care of his daughters as if they were her own, as they don't have anyone else left. She agrees, and they appear to become Replacement Goldfish to her for Sophia. In Season 9, she becomes an adoptive mother to Henry as well.
  • Put on a Bus: On a car to be more accurate, being exiled by Rick in "Indifference."
  • The Quiet One: Due to Ed's abuse, and later, Sophia's disappearance and death. She starts speaking up more in Season 3 and especially Season 4, where she is one of the five members on the council running the prison.
  • Relationship Upgrade: She and Ezekiel become a couple during the Time Skip inbetween Seasons 8 and 9, and later marry.
     Tropes S-Z 
  • Shipper on Deck: Encourages Daryl to get together with Connie, telling him that he can't hide out with his dog forever.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Besides her ambiguous situation with Daryl, she seems to get a crush on Tobin, enters a relationship with him in "Not Tomorrow Yet" and they sleep together before she leaves Alexandria.
    • Ezekiel gets added to that list when he offers her a chance to live in the Kingdom and frequently visits to bond with her. He also calls her a "fair maiden", which is flowery even for a Large Ham like him. They officially become a couple in Season 9. Unfortunately, Henry's death leads to Ship Sinking by the end of the season.
  • Shrinking Violet: Initially, due to her abusive husband, she is somewhat reserved around others. She starts growing out of this in Season 2, and by Season 3 this trope no longer applies to her.
  • Silver Vixen: For a woman her age, Carol is rather beautiful and even has a few guys who dig her.
  • Sole Survivor: The only remaining member of her family.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Her comic counterpart committed suicide before the Woodbury attack on the prison.
  • Super Weight: Partly thanks to her Plot Armor, she's a type I being arguably the most dangerous single character in the show.
  • Team Mom: Takes up this role after Lori dies. She herself even lampshades this to the Alexandria survivors during an interview (and also one of the few nuggets of truth during her interview). After the battle of Alexandria, she really does become the Team Mom to the community at large, making cookies for the town members and such.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the break between Season 2 and 3. She apparently learned how to headshot walkers from a considerable distance. Rick lampshades it in Season 4, even using it as basis when he exiled her. Her actions in the fifth season have elevated her to a badass on par with Daryl in the eyes of the show's fandom.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Thanks to Ezekiel's influence, she smiles a lot more often now. Unfortunately, it doesn't last.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: She's become a bit harsher to other people, but now she's a Knight In Sour Armor.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Admittedly, her views on Morgan. While Carol is a badass, she is completely unprepared for his aikido and quickly falls to it.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: By Season 5, Carol has only the well-being of the group in mind, but she has become callous in her methods. As an advisor to Rick, she often suggests the most effective, but ruthless strategies.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She murders Karen and David to try and prevent the illness at the prison from spreading further.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Several characters have called her out on her actions.
    • Most notably, Rick was shaken when she killed Karen and David to prevent the plague from spreading further, and outright exiled her despite not even being the leader of the prison community anymore. She regains his trust when she saves the group from Terminus (and also protected Judith after the prison war), and it's ultimately Subverted in Season 6 when Rick admits to Morgan that she was right in killing them and is now grateful for her actions.
    • Played for Laughs when Daryl is dumbfounded that she admires a painting that Daryl thinks looks like a dog painted it by smearing paint with its' ass.
    • In Season 6, Morgan is horrified at her ruthlessness during the first battle of Alexandria against the Wolves and later gives her more hell when they directly confront each other.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Carol's advice and actions throughout Season 3 and 4 indicate that her Character Development is taking a darker turn, as she makes more and more decisions on her own and without the rest of the groups knowledge to keep them safe.
    • Tells Andrea she can end the conflict between the group and the Governor if she stabs him in his sleep.
    • Begins to teach the children how to use weapons and asks Carl not to tell his father when he finds out.
    • Kills Karen and David early in Season 4 to keep a disease from spreading to others in the prison and burns their bodies.
    • A deleted scene from Season 3 has Carol quietly declaring to a borderline-reformed Merle that she "will slit his throat while he sleeps" if Merle screws things up for his brother Daryl. It's enough that Merle, who's a badass like his brother, is quite obviously impressed with her.
  • Widow Woman: She doesn't mind much, since Ed abused her and "looked" at Sophia.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Due to her own past as a survivor of domestic abuse, she implores Rick to kill Pete, who is abusing Jessie and his children. In the season finale, she threatens Pete and holds a knife to his throat.
  • Worf Had the Flu: After already being weakened from falling from a 3 story high overpass, she's knocked out by the Grady Police and becomes their prisoner. Due to the severity of her injuries, Carol is unable to do anything to save herself.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In Season 9, Carol has finally found true happiness after so many years of suffering by forming a relationship with Ezekiel and becoming a mother to Henry, only to lose both of them by the end of the season.

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