Carol & The End of The World – Season 1 Episode 10 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

The Investigation

Carol & The End of The World Episode 10 starts with a woman at The Distraction, who sees something at the office and begins crying uncontrollably. A man sees her and starts sobbing as well. Soon, everybody is tearing up and sobbing. Everyone except for Carol, Donna and Luis.

With 3 months and 21 days remaining, the office’s HR head describes the incident into a tape recorder. The spontaneous hysteria, as she calls it, is one of several erratic behaviours. She considers chatting around the water cooler, high fives, laughter, and hugs to be part of this erratic behaviour. And the root cause, she believes, is Carol.

What did Carol do?

HR Woman thinks about Carol’s friendliness in the office and believes that she could destroy The Distraction. At the office the next day, HR Woman spies on Carol and describes a suspicious rebellious streak under Carol’s docile personality. The first instance of this was when Carol learnt everyone’s names. The second was the wake Carol held for David. She calls the eight minutes they spent at the wake a ‘time theft’.

The third instance was Carol’s decoration of her office desk, after which others too began to display personal artefacts. HR Woman claims the office’s professionalism has gone. When Carol tries to organize a lunch swap, HR Woman takes it down. She cannot risk any growth of friendship among the employees.

She even investigates Donna and Luis, lamenting their loss as dependable employees. She hates that they have a Spanish club and group tanning sessions. In the middle of HR Woman’s recording, the two managers enter and ask for her report which was due some time ago. She says that investigations take time.

Elsewhere, Carol is hanging out with her family when Michael proposes to Bernard and Pauline. They happily accept. Meanwhile, Keppler’s gravity slows Earth’s rotation to 19-hour days and 19-hour nights.

What does HR Woman find through her investigation?

At home, HR Woman resumes recording and names Carol’s gravest error that led to the employee’s crying session — Applebee’s.

One day, Luis is reluctant to leave the office. Carol suggests they can still hang out at a place where they can have drinks but don’t have to deal with the crowd at a bar. Another employee overhears them and asks if he can join in. They go to an empty Applebee’s where Carol makes them all appletinis. They have a good time and decide to do it every week.

Soon, the Applebee’s is cleaned up and more employees join in on the weekly sessions. They drink and play games and sing and laugh. As HR Woman feared, camaraderie grows among the group of people. One day, the HR Woman comes by to this ‘happy hour’. She overhears someone talking about it in the office.

At the Applebee’s, she feels a growing strength amongst the employees and decides she has to save the office. So she tries to blend in but ends up joining the games and the karaoke and the friendship, getting sucked into the thing she was trying to stop. She gets attached.

How does Carol & The End of The World Season 1 end? 

The two managers demand the HR Woman submit her report once again, accusing her of messing things up. She continues her report. She finds that the office crying session is triggered by the fact that they are all now a community and not just coworkers. A community that they are going to lose very soon. HR Woman claims that The Distraction was meant to seal people against the sentimental chaos of the outside and that seal is now failing.

She’s about to blame everything on Carol when the woman herself walks in and asks if HR Woman will be coming to happy hour. She says no and Carol bids Kathleen a good night. Hearing her own name shocks Kathleen. She breaks down into tears and we realise that the first woman who started crying, in fact, was moved to tears on seeing Kathleen’s breakdown.

Kathleen finishes her report and submits a written one as well. The managers enter the empty office later and find the recorder along with a written report. Happy Hour continues with Carol being moved to tears herself, on seeing what she’s built. Kathleen is seen riding a train on her own. A final shot shows Keppler looming over Earth, larger than ever at the end of Carol & The End of The World Episode 10.

The Episode Review

The season finale of this show brings back the magic of its previous episodes. Here is the spark that makes ordinary things burn with life and little deeds feel like magnanimous gestures.

The writing in Carol & The End of The World Episode 10 is smooth and paced well so that we follow Kathleen from her fierce desire to protect the office’s detached professionalism all the way to her surrender to friendship and attachment. The episode hones in on this one character, the way she changes and turns around a full 180 degrees. And it’s all because of Carol.

In the end, it’s so fitting that Kathleen is the trigger for the emotional outbreak. It’s also fitting that Carol’s journey in this season starts and ends with Applebee’s. In episode 1, it is a place that seems to define her as different from the rest. It is a sign of other’s pitying or worrying about her. Now, it’s a symbol of the life she has built since then. The joys she finds for herself irrespective of what others may say.

Overall, this is a great way to end the first season. It shows significant development for most of its characters but leaves enough open-ended that there can be a Season 2. Considering how wholesome this show has been, I’m really hoping there is one.

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

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