“Are you going to kill me?” asks Paula (Alicia Witt). “I hope not,” replies Carol (Melissa McBride), hands duct taped and held captive by more of Negan’s Saviors who are attempting to get intel out of her and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in episode 13 of season six of AMC’s horror/drama series, The Walking Dead.
As the episode titled “The Same Boat” begins, the action picks up after Maggie and Carol’s argument about going back and helping Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang kill Negan’s people at their compound. Carol sees a Savior and shoots him in the arm then hears a gun cock and a female voice behind her tells Maggie to drop her weapon or she’ll kill her friend. Maggie complies and they’re taken hostage by a handful of Saviors led by Paula. The episode then shows the last scene from episode 12 where Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and the rest of the gang have the Savior named Primo at gunpoint and Paula is speaking on the walkie-talkie. She tells the group to lower their weapons, revealing that she has Carol and Maggie. Rick asks to hear them so he knows she’s telling the truth and that they’re okay. Paula has Carol and Maggie confirm to Rick they’re alive, but stops them from saying anything else. Rick suggests a trade which Paula isn’t keen on, saying two for one hardly seems fair. Rick insists that it’s the best she’s going to get. Paula tells Rick she’ll be in touch when she’s decided. With that, Paula and her small group of Saviors put sacks on Maggie and Carol’s heads and drive them to a Savior safe house…which is actually more like a haunted abandoned slaughterhouse with walkers roaming around.
Paula and her group of four bind Maggie and Carol’s hands with duct tape, gag them, and place them sitting across from each other in a locked room. Paula’s group leaves the room to survey the area and to put down any roaming walkers close by. Maggie uses this brief period of time to scurry around trying to find anything to cut through the duct tape, but to no avail. Carol grabs a rosary lying on the floor and puts it in her pocket. When she hears Paula and the others coming back, she begins to breathe heavily and fakes hyperventilating. Maggie grunts and moves to get Paula’s attention so they’ll remove Carol’s gag. Carol puts on her meek and scared act to fool the Saviors into believing she’s a weak and religious woman. It works and one of the Saviors dubs calls her a little bird. Carol tells the Saviors it’s not important what happens to her but please not to hurt Maggie and the baby. She even asks one of the Saviors named Molls not to smoke, which actually gets her to put it out although she says everyone is acting like bible-thumping second graders.
The pain is getting worse for Donnie, the man Carol shot in the arm outside the compound when they were first capture, and Maggie starts to fuel his fear and anger by telling him without medical attention he will lose his arm and maybe his life. He becomes more and more upset and wants to shoot Carol but Paula won’t let him. Enraged, he slaps Paula and Maggie kicks him, saying to leave her alone. Carol tries to join in but gets kicked again and again by Donnie until Paula hits him over the head with the butt of her gun, knocking him out.
After that, Paula splits Carol and Maggie up, deciding it’s time to try to get some information out of them. Maggie’s guard/interrogator brings up her own past of losing a baby and her boyfriend to try to weaken Maggie’s resolve not to tell her anything about her group or Alexandria. It doesn’t work.
Paula and Carol are playing a game of mental chess as both are trying to get answers out each other. Carol tells Paula her people killed a group of Saviors on the road because they threatened them and tried to take all they had. They heard about Negan and he sounded like a maniac so they decided to kill him too. Molls just shakes her head and chuckles, telling Carol, “Oh honey…we’re all Negan.” This confuses Carol who keeps getting put down by Paula who feels compelled to prove to Carol just how much of a cold-blooded killer she is by telling her that she could kill Donnie, who’s unconscious on the floor, at any time and feel nothing. He’s just a warm body for her bed. Paula continues to reveal things about her past, revealing she she wasn’t with her husband and children when the zombie apocalypse happened because she was stuck babysitting her stupid boss who was the first person she killed to stay alive. “I stopped keeping track when I reached double digits and that’s when I stopped caring too,” says Paula about her ruthless past. Carol responds by telling Paula she’s the one who’s afraid of dying and that she will if she doesn’t make the trade with Rick.
Paula radios Rick to agree to the trade and sets it up to meet in a nearby field in 10 minutes. He agrees, but Paula is extremely uneasy about it saying to Molls there should have been more static and that he’s probably close by and well-armed. Carol tries to tell Paula she needs to trust Rick and that he wouldn’t gamble with either her or Maggie’s lives but Paula isn’t listening. Paula and Molls leave Carol alone to clear the halls of walkers and to set up a zombie blockade at the main door. Carol uses the rosary she’s made into a sharp little blade and frees herself. She finds Maggie who has been left alone and frees her as well. Carol wants to escape but Maggie says they have to finish what they started. They have to kill Paula and her group of Saviors.
Carol and Maggie go back to the room where Donnie is remains unmoving on the floor. Maggie realizes he has already bled to death and is beginning to turn, so she and Carol set a trap for whoever comes through the door first. It’s Molls who enters to find walker Donnie tied to a nearby pipe but close enough to bite her. She stabs him in the head, putting him down and Maggie comes up behind her and stabs her. When Molls is lying on the floor dying, Maggie stabs her again and again letting out her rage toward her captors.
Carol and Maggie make their way to the main door but see it’s blocked by walkers tied up enough to keep most of them in place and to keep anyone from getting in or out. This is when Paula comes up behind them and starts shooting. She discovered the bodies of her partners and is seeking revenge. Carol and Paula exchange gunfire, with Carol trying to convince Paula to just run so she doesn’t have to kill her. A walker breaks free and goes for Carol causing her to shoot Paula in the shoulder Maggie saves Carol from the walker and the last Savior of the group – the one who tried to interrogate Maggie – shows up and slashes Maggie’s stomach but not deep. It’s a shallow wound. Carol doesn’t hesitate and shoots the woman Savior dead.
Paula has collapsed on the floor not far from the walker guards and tells Carol she sees her for who she is. It’s obvious Paula has caught up and realizes most of what she saw from Carol was an act. As Carol walks toward Paula, she kicks at her gun and tries one last time to kill Carol but Paula is no match for her as she ends up impaled on a pole and a nearby walker begins to feast on her face while she screams in agony and terror.
Paula’s men radio in that they’re approaching the slaughterhouse. Carol takes a breath and trying to imitate Paula’s voice tells the men on the radio to meet them on the kill floor. As the men walk past a hiding Maggie and Carol looking for Paula they realize the floor is wet but they don’t realize that it’s gas. Carol and Maggie close the big door behind them but just before it’s closed and locked, Carol throws her lit cigarette into the room causing it to go up in flames with the men screaming inside with no way out.
Carol and Maggie make their way through what’s left of the walkers by the main door and Maggie even puts down walker Paula. When they open the door, they find Glenn, Rick, Daryl and the rest of their group right outside the door about to breach it. Glenn embraces Maggie and asks if she is okay and she says she can’t do it anymore. Daryl hugs Carol asking her if she is okay and since it’s Daryl – who she has always had a special connection with ever since he kept looking for her missing little girl in season two – she’s honest and says, “No, I’m not.” Rick turns to Primo and tells him no one is coming for him and he might as well talk. Rick asks if Negan was at the compound or here at the slaughterhouse and Primo says that he is Negan. Rick shoots him dead instantly and it shocks Carol who grips the sharpened rosary so tightly she begins to bleed from her hand.
The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 13 Review:
Taut and dramatic with some exceptional performances, episode 13 titled “The Same Boat” becomes a tense and dangerous chess match of the minds between Carol and Paula who are really two sides of the same coin only from opposing groups. It’s the scenes between these two actresses that elevate the episode to a much higher level.
There are three stand-out performances in this episode led once again by, of course, Melissa McBride as Carol. It seems all the people Carol has had to kill are starting to haunt her and it becomes clear in this episode when she’s faced with Paula that her greatest fear is becoming like her, being able to kill and feel nothing. Carol is not only fighting for her survival and for Maggie’s but she’s also fighting to save what’s left of her humanity. Melissa McBride’s performance in this episode is flawless and powerful, and she deserves to be nominated for an Emmy.
Lauren Cohan delivers another top-notch performance as Maggie who’s not as talented at finding a way out of their captive state but is a natural no-nonsense leader when it comes to deciding about fight or flight. Cohan captures perfectly Maggie’s leadership qualities and how she is ready to take charge. The scene where Carol wants them to just escape when they have the chance and Maggie refuses saying they need to finish what they started is a perfect example of how Maggie really is the future leader of the group and is strong enough to make the hard and life or death decisions.
Alicia Witt is wickedly wonderful as Paula, the cutthroat leader of her small pack who doesn’t realize until too late that she’s outmatched by Carol who she wrongly underestimates. The scenes between Witt and McBride are hands-down the best in the episode with it slowly becoming clear to both Carol and the audience that Paula went through something not too different than Carol that made her the cold, calculating, unfeeling killer she is now. Witt shines as Paula, especially in the scene where she shares with Carol how she lost her family while being stuck with her idiot boss and how while struggling to stay alive he became her first kill. It’s a chilling scene which almost creates sympathy for her character.
With Carol and Maggie now safe and reunited with Rick, Glenn, Daryl and the rest of the gang, it should be interesting to see how the people at the Hilltop hold up their end of the bargain and just when the real leader of the Saviors – Negan – will catch up to them.