the governorThis week, “Talking Dead” released bonus footage of last Sunday’s show. Chris Hardwick asked what separates “The Walking Dead’s” Carol (Melissa McBride) from the dearly departed Governor (David Morrissey).

There are distinct parallels between the two characters.

Like most “Walking Dead” post apocalypse survivors, both characters are ordinary and scared citizens. In Robert Kirkman’s “Rise of the Governor,” Brian Blake (a.k.a The Governor), survived the first months of the apocalypse thanks to his brutish brother.  Brian began his rise to maniacal leadership only after he lost his brother’s protection in a corrupt camp.

Carol, too, began as one of the more dependent members of Rick’s camp. A survivor of not only the apocalypse but domestic violence and the death of her daughter, Carol slowly found her voice. Her decision to take matters into her own hands also rose out of dire circumstances. We see this first when she kills Karen and again when she shocked us all and killed Lizzie.

Murdering Lizzie, for some, is a red flag, signaling Carol’s descent into corruption, but Carol has something Phillip did  not- hope. After Carol confesses to Tyreese that she killed Karen, Tyreese’s girlfriend, he forgives her. This is an act of unthinkable kindness and love in this new, often ugly world. Instead of avenging Karen, he embraces Carol.

This act of forgiveness saves Carol from self destruction and corruption. If he did not forgive her, she would have likely grown colder and distant- that is if she survived  his vengeance.

Brian, on the other hand, had no such support. As a result, his anger festered and he detached from humanity, setting the foundation for “the Governor’s” rise. Tyreese saves Carol from this fate.

The difference between the two characters highlights the theme of “The Walking Dead.” People may be able to survive without meaningful connections, but they can not truly live.

Hopefully, Tyreese and Carol’s relationship protects them against the horrors of episodes 15 and 16. In the mean time, what do you think is in store for them? Will their humanity help them? You can share your ideas in the comment section.