“What I wouldn’t give for the sweet sound of a jumbo jet,” Carol says, lamenting the quiet in a world that is devoid of technology.

The Walking Dead returned on March 10 to reveal a group exhausted and burnt out by the stress of survival, clinging to the present and remembering the past.

Many are haunted by the guilt they feel for people they believe they’ve wronged. Carl is absorbed with guilt for “being mean” to his mother before she died giving birth.

When Merle Dixon, the violent and oftentimes unpredictable racist who was cuffed to a roof in Atlanta in the first season and forced to cut off his own hand to escape, runs into Maggie and Glenn (the last young couple on the planet) on a supply run and takes them captive, the memories of the first days of the outbreak resurface.

He has to choose between his first allies, who deserted him when he went out of control but who know where his brother Daryl is, and the Governor, a manipulative leader who uses him as the heavy but never asks him to change his personality or his ways.

Merle embodies the entire group’s choice between the past and the present.

After intense scenes of war with the Governor, along with his town, Woodbury, the group is reunited and Rick, their leader, has to make a choice: lose Daryl, or live with Merle. His choice is quick, and he rejects the past as easily as he rejects the walkers who have hounded them since the beginning.

Daryl chooses his blood and his past over the present, leaving the people he has fought and bled with for months to go with his emotionally and physically abusive brother.

Rick moves on. The people he has lost follow him, and he can’t put the ones he has kept safe in any more danger. But they walk with him.

His wife, Lori. His best friend, Shane. The people he tried to protect, Sophia, Amy, Morgan. Rick failed them all, and he’s quickly losing his mind because of it.

His son, Carl, and new baby Sophia are all he has left. But as a new group, led by the highly moral and dignified Tyreese, tries to join his, he rejects the future because he can’t stand for them to become part of his failed past.

Carol, who lost her young daughter Sophia, remains aware of her connection with the past. She was abused by her husband, but is actively trying to reconcile with who she was and how to become as strong as she can.

She and Daryl were romantically connected. But she understands why he left.

As she tells Beth another member of the group, if her late husband walked through the door alive and told her to come with him, she doesn’t know whether or not she would.

For Daryl, along with the rest of the group, it is the same. They don’t know how they’ll react until the past truly comes back to haunt them.

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