The Walking Dead’s recent season 10 episode “Find Me” told us more about Daryl’s time living alone in the woods, looking for RIck after the bridge explosion. The episode explored the past, filling us in on the relationship he formed with Dog’s owner Leah and how his best friend Carol visited him to keep checking up on him.
In one of the flashbacks where we saw Carol visit Daryl out in the woods, we saw a conversation that, although at the time was all about the past, may give us some hints for the future.
The first time we see Carol visit Daryl during his time in self-imposed exile, it’s two years since Rick blew up the bridge and vanished. Carol and Daryl come face-to-face across the span of the river, representing the distance that has formed between them.
Despite the distance, Daryl immediately identifies that something isn’t quite right with Carol’s demeanor, and in response, she mentions the problems with the communities. She tells him Maggie has moved on to work with Georgie and is “on her own journey now” and talks about the difficulties communicating between the communities.
Could a conversation between Carol and Daryl in the season 10 episode be a clue to The Walking Dead spin-off?
Quickly, however, she gets to the point, saying that it’s been 2 years; when is he coming home? But Daryl tells her it’s something he has to pursue until he doesn’t. Carol says she understands – it’s clear she knows this is in Daryl’s nature, and nothing will sway him. And in fact, she goes on to say that were it not for Ezekiel, Henry and her responsibilities, she’d… she stops short of saying the exact words, but Daryl’s “I know” in response show’s he gets it.
Carol can see that part of Daryl because it exists in her too. The need to focus on one thing to the point of insanity; feeling you can’t move on until it’s settled, is alive in her, as much as the desire to flee and be alone when trauma hits. She feels the loss of Rick and feels the unanswered questions that are driving Daryl’s desire to keep looking for Rick, as hopeless as it may seem.
Daryl knows, if things were different, she’d be out there with him. And that is perhaps the biggest clue to the events that might take us to the spin-off.
We – the audience – know Rick is alive, someplace. And in season 10, Michonne discovered clues during her time with Virgil, making her believe the same. Now she is off to try and find her missing husband, though only Judith knows why she’s out there. Still, with Virgil’s connection to the community continuing with his discovery of Connie in the wilderness, that knowledge could spread.
It’s no stretch to imagine that when Virgil can reunite Connie with her family, he will be let them know exactly what Michonne uncovered and where she’s gone. Knowing Rick is alive would be a massive lift for all of his family but especially Daryl, who gave up his life to look for his brother for so long.
With the knowledge that Rick is alive, despite his ties to the family he has at Alexandria, there’s no doubt Daryl would immediately want to go and find Rick, knowing if he didn’t make it back, he must be in trouble.
Carol lamented in “Find Me” that she’d be out there looking for Rick with Daryl if things were different. Well, now things are different. Henry is gone, and she and Ezekiel have parted ways and moved on. She doesn’t have the ties or responsibilities anymore, and presumably, if the entire community moves to Commonwealth, she and Daryl will be needed much less as leaders by their people.
So it’s entirely possible that the circumstances they talked about in “Find Me” are the same as the ones they’ll find themselves at the end of season 11, with Daryl wanting to go looking for Rick, and this time Carol deciding to join him. Not only for her own desire to find Rick but also because of her relationship with Daryl.
Through both Carol and Daryl’s flashbacks in “Find Me,” we saw how worried Carol was that she would lose Daryl while he was out searching for Rick, so it seems unlikely Carol would be happy to let him go off on another such quest without her. And, similarly, Daryl’s anger in “Find Me” seemed to come in part from his hurt at the times she’s gone off on her own without him.
The only way for them to solve those fears and upsets is to make sure they travel together, and like Carol says about Maggie in the flashback, find their own journey.
Of course, there’s a long road between now and the end of season 11. Twenty-four episodes is a long time in story terms, and many things could happen between now and then, which illuminate the sequence of events that will lead to Carol and Daryl leaving together. Still, whatever they are, it seems certain they don’t want to repeat their past mistakes.
What do you think will lead to Carol and Daryl heading off on their own?