New Walking Dead table read shows Carol and Daryl tension

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC /

The Walking Dead “Diverged” shows tension between Carol and Daryl.

During The Walking Dead Holiday Special, AMC dropped a gift of its own in the form of an extended table-read from the unaired episode, “Diverged”. Since the bonus episodes were announced, extending season 10 and filling the gap until it is safe for the cast and crew to film season 11, AMC have been drip-feeding us tit-bits of info about the 6 new episodes.

They have already shared table-reads for “Home Sweet Home” – the first of the 6 episodes which begin airing on 28 February – along with Princess and Ezekiel focussed episode “Splinter”, and given us a glimpse of Robert Patrick’s new unnamed character in “One More”.

According to show-runner Angela Kang the episodes will give us insight into events after “A Certain Doom” when Beta and the Whisperers were finally defeated, and focus on just a couple of characters. “Diverged” is the 5th of these intimate tales, and is centred on the relationship between Carol and Daryl, although it seems that all is not well between the best friends.

The table-read, and seemingly the episode, opens on the pair walking a dirt road, tension palpable. Khary Payton, acting as narrator for the piece, reveals that both characters don’t know “how to make it okay again”, before they go separate ways on the dirt road to who knows where.

This revelation seems to suggest that some event or argument has happened in a previous episode causing some upset and disturbance in Carol and Daryl’s relationship. Likely this occurs in the second bonus episode “Find Me” which finds Carol and Daryl on an adventure that goes side-ways.

It is a mystery what the cause of the tension is, and whether it is a continuation of the disconnect the friends suffered in season 10 after Carol’s attempts to destroy Alpha’s herd caused a cave-in, trapping Magna and Connie.

At the end of “A Certain Doom”, it seemed as though Carol and Daryl had resolved their issues as Carol saw off the Whisperer horde, and her own feelings of revenge for Alpha were settled. Carol had resolved to be more a part of her Alexandria family and was relieved to hear Daryl reaffirm their friendship, with him bringing up the idea of eventually running away to New Mexico together, as a way to tell her things between them were good again.

So whatever happens in “Find Me” to disrupt this calm, it is quite possibly something entirely different from this previous tension. It is possible that some issue crops up that they have never discussed before, especially given that the episode synopsis suggests “Find Me” fills us in on the time Daryl spent alone after Rick’s disappearance.

During that time Carol married Ezekiel and moved to the Kingdom, while Daryl became a man of the woods, looking for Rick and living away from everyone. It is possible there were some unresolved emotions from that time between the pair, and that time period where they were apart so much is being echoed in “Diverged” with their different paths and solo missions.

It seems likely “Find Me” will bring revelations of some kind, and clearly ones which will have repercussions for Carol and Daryl’s relationship, which lasts through “Diverged”. However, that isn’t the end of the intrigue that the table-read creates.

Later in the 2 minute dialogue snippet, Carol and Daryl reunite in Alexandria but appear to have had some individual misadventure in their time apart. The narration reveals that Daryl is covered in walker gore, mud and motor oil, while Carol is covered in drywall plaster dust with sweat streaking her face. As the script direction says, they appear to have been through hell.

It appears as though they don’t do well in their time apart, perhaps a metaphor for their friendship and the need for them to reconnect and fix things between them. Although, of course, the table-read does not reveal if that happens or not at the end of the episode.

However, fans of the Carol and Daryl relationship shouldn’t worry too much, with their spin-off heading our way in 2023 sealing their fate as a permanent duo, we know any bumps in the road are temporary. And there are clues in the table-read itself that things may not be as bleak as they first appear.

While Carol seems to think Daryl wants time away from her, Daryl for his part appears to still be the reassuring presence he always has been in her life. He reassures her that she will make the supplies they have work, offers her a ride back to Alexandria and wishes her luck on whatever it is she sets off on her own path to do.

Carol also presumes Daryl is about to apologize for something, when in actual fact he’s simply wishing her good luck. This suggests that perhaps something was said or done that Carol is assuming Daryl regrets, when in fact, he doesn’t.

From these little glimpses inside this bonus episode it certainly looks intriguing and something a lot of fans have been clamouring to see, with Carol and Daryl’s relationship – whatever state it may be in – coming under the microscope.

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Even in the most basic read-through, the infamous chemistry between Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride in their roles as Carol and Daryl radiates through the screen, so no doubt they will blow us out of the water as usual in these episodes, as they examine their relationship on a level we have never seen before.