I wasn’t the only one that cried when Carol opened the door, looked out and saw Daryl standing on her front porch… right?
If you heard the slow intake of breath, the bittersweet sobs, your neighbour may have been watching The Walking Dead. They may have just witnessed the reunion that we have been waiting for for a little bit more than half a season. It wasn’t anything spectacular or life-threatening. It wasn’t theatrics that made this reunion everything, it was the look on Carol’s face as she opened the door. It was Daryl’s reaction seeing her for the first time. In that moment, my heart exploded with a joy and happy tears came. It was everything to me, I had to rewind it.
The unique bond that these two share started almost at the shows beginning. When Daryl stepped up to sacrifice himself to look for Sophia, Carol was forever indebted to him. It wasn’t just a debt that had the intention to be paid off, it was a debt that was filled with mutual respect and trust. It made the show have a bond that, if ever, severed would tear so many fans hearts out and kick them in the gut.
For me it was never about a romantic connection between the two of them. It was about a bond that stemmed from protection and developed into family. One without the other is almost lost, lost in time. Lost in a zombie-torn world. Their bond is unbreakable and so help me Robert Kirkman, if you sever it… there will be serious backlash. But what makes it that much more powerful is that Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride hold each other with such regard, with such love that their chemistry isn’t just about the show – it is so much more.
“She gets hurt; she dies; she catches a fever; she gets taken out by a walker; she gets hit by lightning—anything. Anything happens to her, I’ll kill you.”
It pains you, it hits you in all your feels and, though brief, everything about their reunion is symbolic and meaningful. I can’t even be mad that after their short time together, they have to part. Daryl understands that in order to heal, in order to become whole again; Carol must stay away from the group, from the fighting, from everything. She can’t know the truth and she definitely can’t be pushed back into it at full force. Daryl gets it and now so do we.
The two share a wordless hug, as Daryl casts a rare, vulnerable look over her shoulder. Both are teary-eyed. His voice breaks just a little as he asks, “Why’d you go?”
Her voice, too, is soft, as she murmurs, “I had to.”
“I couldn’t lose anyone,” she says. “I couldn’t lose any of them. I couldn’t lose you.”
Daryl knows Carol, and that word cannot be stressed enough. He has seen her through all of her hardships: abuse, losing her daughter, disappointment, killing. Daryl has been there for her and she him. They have gotten each other through it all. They are now the embodiment of what we have to remember during the post-apocalyptic world that we see every Sunday: human connection, empathy and sacrifice.
I, for one, cannot wait to see where tonight’s episode brings us.
Until then Pookie.