Who could have predicted that the mousy, meek and easily dominated woman we first met washing clothes in the quarry back in season one would become the tough-as-nails and utterly ruthless character we know in the sixth?
Admittedly, we saw early signs of Carol Peletier having a backbone when she stood up to violent hubby Ed over daughter Sophia, and got a further hint when she angrily mutilated his corpse with a pickaxe after he dies in a walker attack.
But McBrides Carol has followed a truly satisfying arc on the post-apocalyptic series, making her arc one of the most interesting characters on TV.
And, thanks to her appeal, one of the few surviving cast members from the early episodes.
Since then, we’ve seen her emerge, as a truly harder woman, the cataclysm seemingly having brought out both the best and, for a time, the very worst in her, with Carol exiled for a season after controversially yet mercifully ending the life of two people during the season four stint at the prison.
She’s since been allowed back with the others, showing her mettle time and time again, and emerging as the toughest baker of cookies currently in zombie TV, though admittedly there isn’t much competition on that front.
McBride infuses her with real charm and spirit and though she has on occasion fallen victim to the silly decision-making process that affects the characters, she’s continued to change and adapt.
Plus she [Carol] has a close bond with Daryl, and their friendship is one of the highlights of the show, whenever they share the screen, such as in season five’s “Consumed”, an intimate, melancholy episode that sees them confronting their issues and their growth so far.
Long may she fight!
— James White for SFX - Best In Show, The Characters Who Make TV Great: Carol Peletier, Melissa McBride’s TWD Warrior