In “The Walking Dead” recap, Daryl travels back in time to the days in the aftermath of Rick’s disappearance where he made a new friend for the apocalypse…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The second of six bonus episodes for “The Walking Dead” season 10 arrived on Sunday night and this time it was Daryl’s turn to go under the spotlight.
Last week’s episode focused primarily on Maggie after she returned home and brought some problems back with her in the form of a group known as The Reapers, who were apparently responsible for tearing down several settlements that she had helped establish.
After one of the Reapers took out several members of Maggie’s camp, he was eventually cornered with no chance at escape so he pulled the pin on a grenade and blew himself to smithereens. Of course before he exploded, the man told Maggie that someone named “Pope” marked her, which explains why he was coming after her and the rest of her camp.
This week’s episode doesn’t pick up on that thread but instead the attention turns to Daryl and the years of isolation he went through after Rick Grimes’ apparent death. When “The Walking Dead” did the big time jump after Rick’s “death,” we found out that Daryl had largely left the communities and started living out on his own in the wilderness, returning only sparingly over several years.
It turns out, Daryl found a whole new life with a woman he met out in the woods and that was pulling at him to never return to Alexandria — and judging by his closing conversation with Carol, it appears perhaps he wishes he never did.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” titled “Find Me”…
One Is the Loneliest Number
After returning to Alexandria following the fight against the Reaper, Daryl is anxious to get back out on his own again as the walls to the community are being repaired. After fixing a motorcycle, Daryl prepares to go scout for wood that could help rebuild the walls but Carol arrives and more or less tells him that she’s coming along to help hunt whatever might be left out in the surrounding woods.
She hops on the back of the bike, much to Daryl’s chagrin and they head off into the woods.
The trip takes them back down close to the river, which is where many of Daryl’s memories of those five years away from Alexandria start to drift back to him but not before he watches Carol successful spear a pair of fish for dinner.
While preparing the fish, Carol wonders if perhaps the luck for the survivors has finally run out — after making it through Negan’s reign of terror with the Saviors and then suffering through a war against the Whisperers, she can’t help but feel like maybe the group just isn’t going to make it. It’s a somber thought but one that Carol can’t escape, especially after her family was torn apart yet again.
As they prepare to hit the road, Dog runs off in search of something as Daryl and Carol give chase and that’s when they end up at an abandoned cabin. The dog seems at home and Carol quickly goes inside to look around but Daryl almost appears haunted by the place.
That’s where he begins flashing back to the first time he visited this cabin several years ago.
Dog Will Hunt
For the sake of clarity, we’ll detail Daryl’s journey in chronological order before returning to the present day.
It seems in that in the wake of Rick Grimes’ death or disappearance five years ago, Daryl was determined to find his body or perhaps even find him alive after the bridge explosion that apparently took his life. Daryl’s never ending search took him deep into the woods, far away from his friends in Alexandria and he just couldn’t bear to go back there after losing Rick.
The only contact he maintained during this time was with Carol, who came out to visit him and report updates from the camp. Outside of that, Daryl was resigned to a life of solitude while building a map that featured an ever widening search pattern as he looked for Rick.
One day while out scouting, Daryl runs into a puppy in the woods — the puppy that would one day grow to become Dog — and he eventually happens upon the cabin that he would find again five years later.
He goes inside to kill a walker but then he’s confronted by a woman pointing a double-barreled shotgun at him. She’s not interested in knowing his name or why he’s come there but she does take him hostage momentarily until finally convinced that he’s not there to hurt her. It turns out Dog belongs to this mystery woman.
She eventually releases Daryl while warning him not to come back around here again.
More time passes and Daryl eventually runs into Dog again, this time after the dog has grown up and he returns him to his owner at the cabin. They share a brief conversation but more or less agree to go their separate ways because neither one of them is looking for a friend in the apocalypse.
Despite sharing space in the same area of the woods, Daryl manages to avoid the woman most of the time but they eventually cross paths after a group of walkers starts stumbling through the area. Due to the size of the group, Daryl is unable to kill all of them but thankfully the woman shows up with her shotgun, kills a walker and then the two of them are able to escape together until the herd passes.
This time it’s Daryl telling her to move on and stop coming near his camp. In return, she agrees to leave but the finally shares that her name is Leah.
Later, Daryl tries to make nice with Leah by leaving a fish on her doorstep but she returns it to him — well actually she throws it at him and reminds him that she can take care of herself. Of course, both are just looking for some sort of human connection, which is why they keep coming back to each other.
Finally, Daryl ends up back at her cabin after Leah invites him there to keep warm. It’s there Daryl finds out more about why Leah has been so determined to live in isolation after a picture frame gets broken.
She tells him that after growing up without a real family, she found people to call her family after the zombie apocalypse started. It was a group that she became tight with and they fought together and survived together.
Eventually, Leah ended up caring for a boy named Matthew who she called her son after his mother died during childbirth. His mother was her “sister” in this group and she took responsibility for her son while caring for him every single day he was alive.
Sadly, when the group was overrun by zombies, Matthew was bitten and she held him tight until he expired. That was the same day that Dog was born. Since then, Leah has stayed isolated in this cabin away from the rest of the world and she hadn’t interacted with another person until she happened upon Daryl.
It seems from that moment on, Daryl and Leah lived together in this cabin and perhaps finding each other was what they needed to move on from their own tragedies. Sadly as time passed, however, Daryl just couldn’t let go of the fact that he never found Rick and he wasn’t able to provide any closure for his family and friends back in Alexandria.
Leah finally presented Daryl with an ultimatum — he could continue the never ending search for Rick or he could stay there with her where she knows he belongs. Daryl ends up leaving her to begin looking for Rick again until he finally receives a visit from Carol.
She tells him that her visits will be coming more infrequently because she’s about to relocate full time to the Kingdom to be with King Ezekiel and her son Henry. Daryl plays it off like that doesn’t matter much but when he realizes that Carol is moving on from the past, he should probably do the same.
Daryl rushes back to the cabin he shared with Leah but she has disappeared. The place is a wreck with glass broken and the cabin has largely been ransacked but she’s nowhere to be found.
Daryl does discover that Dog is still there, which is how the two of them end up connecting for good, but Leah is gone and there’s no trace of what happened to her.
Underneath the floorboards where Leah once hid her personal belongings, Daryl hides a few cans of food along with a note that reads “I belong with you — find me” along with a map where he’s going to be camping.
Back in the present day, Carol looks around the cabin and she finds the hidden compartment where Daryl left the none for Leah. It’s never been opened, which means she never returned and never found out that he came back for her.
Daryl had told Carol about Leah in the past but never the full details about their relationship much less that he was ready to leave Alexandria and everybody else behind to be with her. Now it doesn’t seem to matter much because she’s gone and there’s no telling if she’ll ever return.
Needless to say, Daryl blames himself for not sticking with Leah in the first place and now she’s disappeared. Carol tries to explain to him that it’s not his fault and he can’t be expected to save everybody, which is the burden he puts on himself for Leah as well as Rick.
At that point, old war wounds are opened up as Daryl lashes out at Carol when she mentions Connie’s name as somebody else he tried to save but couldn’t. In return, Daryl reminds Carol that she’s the one responsible for what happened to Connie because the thirst for revenge against Alpha was so great that she didn’t seem to care much who got sacrificed in the process.
The tensions continue to rise until Daryl tells Carol that he stopped her from running away once before after she was making trips on the boat in order to avoid the pain she was feeling from the loss of Henry after Alpha killed him and he should have just let her go. Now they keep coming back to this same circle where she accuses him of needing to save everybody and Carol can’t escape the guilt she feels for everyone who’s died.
At this point, Daryl believes he knows where he truly belongs — it was supposed to be with Leah and he would have left Carol and all of the other problems behind. Silence washes over both of them as the episode comes to an end.
The unresolved issues between Daryl and Carol have been simmering under the surface for quite some time, especially since both have bottled up their emotions. Now it appears Daryl is resolved in his decision to be alone with his problems and he doesn’t need Carol around in order to absolve her guilt over all the people who have died in the wake of her need for vengeance.
Is this the end of the friendship between Daryl and Carol? It certainly seems so but with a spinoff series happening after “The Walking Dead” comes to an end, we know they will come back together eventually but for now those ties that bind have been severed.
“The Walking Dead” returns for a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC