Carol & The End of The World – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

The Distraction

Carol & The End of The World Episode 2 begins with Eric’s side of the story. After Carol leaves, he drinks and cries and rants against love. He throws his wedding ring in a lake. Meanwhile, Carol is mesmerized by the accounting office she stumbled on to.

A man in a cabin calls her in and she finds herself enrolled as an admin assistant, despite her many attempts to ask questions and find out what’s happening. On probation, of course. She begins working on a daily basis and even buys herself a blue suit. She seems to enjoy the routine.

Cut to a little less than a month later. We see a clip of what looks like a pulsing cocoon. Six months and 25 days till the end of the world. Carol goes in to work as usual. She’s photocopying something when the machine stops working. She decides to go buy toner and asks the others if they need anything but no one responds. She looks for toner in run-down stores but can’t find the right one. Janette calls her and invites her to a Buddhist housewarming ceremony.

At home, Carol watches more of her sister’s adventures in Germany. She looks through her school yearbook and sees no signatures. Her sister’s side of the room is filled with pictures while Carol’s is empty. The next morning Carol wakes up late and rushes to the office. She gets a call about her upcoming performance evaluation as her probation is coming to an end. Two menacing men stare at her from one end of the room.

The pile of papers on her desk keeps increasing as the photocopier stays out of order. She gets a note that she’s been given additional assistance and opens her drawer to find a gun sitting inside. Carol spends the night looking for the right toner in various broken-down office depots but to no avail.

The next day Carol dozes at her desk. She gets another call about her evaluation being moved up to the next day. She gets an email telling her to fix the photocopier. Later, Carol still hasn’t found the right toner. We see the pulsating cocoon again. After much thought, Carol goes to Janette and Lisa’s Buddhist housewarming. At dinner, Janette insinuates that Carol is going to visit Tibet.

Everyone praises her for living fully and the overwhelmed Carol is forced to step away to the restroom. While exploring the house, Carol finds a printer with the same toner she needs. She takes it but Lisa catches her. She tries to stop Carol but the latter pulls out the gun she got at work.

Lisa is shaken and Carol keeps the gun pointed at others as she finds her way outside the house. Outside, Eric’s son Steven finds Carol and begs her to help his dad. She points the gun at him again and tells him to go back home. His father will figure things out, they all will.

The next day, Carol is surprised to see the photocopier in perfect working condition with a toner already inside it. She smiles and returns to work and keeps the extra toner in her drawer. Her evaluation goes well and she is officially an administrative assistant.

While leaving work she gets into the elevator with a woman who previously had refused to speak to her. The woman introduces herself as Donna and tells Carol that there is a box of toners on the 43rd floor of the building. She welcomes Carol to The Distraction at the end of Carol & The End of The World Episode 2.

The Episode Review

Carol & The End of The World Episode 2 is a tad slower and less crisp than the pilot and therefore lacks the same punch. However, the monotony of Carol’s search for the toner is made up for in the last leg of the episode, where we learn that the office is called The Distraction.

We do get a deeper glimpse into Carol’s character, seeing as she is willing to pull a gun on her acquaintances just for the sake of this boring job at an accounting office. Turns out, there is something Carol wants and wants very badly — routine. She seems desperate for the monotony of ordinary days and weeks.

There is definitely an element of absurdism here, particularly around the plotline about the gun. It is unexpected and can feel random, or inspired, depending on how you look at it. The moments when Carol tries to speak to others but receives no response or even the slightest attention also stand out as an odd segment.

Why doesn’t anyone respond? Why does Donna only speak to Carol at the end? Does Carol becoming a full-time employee mean something more? We’ll soon find out.

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Read our season 1 review of Carol & The End of The World here!

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