Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What You Never Noticed About Carol's Hair In The Walking Dead

For as much as fans love AMC's The Walking Dead for its portrayal of the last remnants of humanity attempting to navigate a desolate yet terrifying world overrun with the undead, that hasn't been the main thrust of the series in some time. Arguably the biggest incentive to tune in, for viewers new and old, is the cast of complex characters that bring an added dimension to the show's already binge-worthy premise. A major strength of The Walking Dead's writing (and acting) comes in the show's ability to create heroes and villains alike that the audience can relate to, depicting them as real people who face realistic struggles, instead of overtly good or evil figures.

Even though most of The Walking Dead's original cast are either deceased or missing in action, a few stragglers are still hanging on for dear life, in their fight for survival. One of which is the fan-favorite — and future star of her own spin-off alongside Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) — character of Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), who made her debut on the program in the season 1 episode "Tell It to the Frogs." Since then, she's gone through quite the character metamorphosis, and grown from something of an unimportant side player to now being one of the series' most revered protagonists.

Still, for as much as she's changed over the years, the Walking Dead showrunners have found some neat ways to call back to her humble beginnings, using seemingly minor details, like the length of her hair, to depict her personal journey.

Carol's hair growth signifies her newfound independence

When Walking Dead audiences first met Carol, she was a far cry from the strong, no-nonsense leader they recognize her as today. 

In the early days of the outbreak, she stuck by her husband, Ed (Adam Minarovich), and their daughter Sophia (Madison Litz) before joining up with the crew of Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal), which would soon be led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). Sadly, Carol wasn't in a great place with her spouse, who frequently abused her both physically and verbally in front of their group. In her early appearances, Carol is depicted with extremely short hair. Eventually, Ed's end came at the hands (and teeth) of a group of walkers, thus freeing Carol from his aggressive outbursts and forever changing the trajectory of her life. 

Without him, Carol slowly but surely grew into her own person, even going as far as to alter her physical appearance to signify her new lease on life. With every season, her hair got noticeably longer, going from a somewhat lengthy buzz cut to a look that put her locks well past her shoulders. 

While this seemed like a minor detail, it was given new relevance in season 9, as Screen Rant points out, when Carol's newfound adopted son, Henry, explains that his mom once told him that one of the main ways Ed used to abuse her was by pulling her hair violently, hence why she fashioned it so short. Since Ed's death, as Carol has grown into one of the strongest and most independent figures on the show, her hair was grown with her. She has no reason to fear Ed's rage and knows she'll never have to again, so Carol took it upon herself to freely express her long-overdue agency.