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The Walking Dead 10.18 Review – ‘Find Me’

March 8, 2021 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - 'Find Me' Image Credit: Eli Ade/AMC
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The Walking Dead 10.18 Review – ‘Find Me’  

This week on The Walking Dead, we finally find out more details of what Daryl was up to during the time jump and his self-exile from the communities, and it shines a harsh light on the Carol-Daryl friendship.

The plot: As Daryl sets out to do some scouting, Carol invites herself along. They head out with Dog, and before long come across an abandoned house–one that Daryl is familiar with. Through some flashbacks, we see how Daryl was obsessively hunting for any sign of Rick’s fate after the bridge explosion. Eventually he happened to find this same house when it was occupied by a woman named Leah, Dog’s original owner. Over the course of a few years, Daryl and this woman slowly become close. He learns how she, too, had a rough family upbringing but found a family by choice, people who gave her hope. She ended up raising the son of one of the women as her own, but he was bitten and died the same day Dog was born. Daryl tells her about losing his brother, by whom he means Rick, and looking for him. The two develop a romantic relationship, but eventually Leah is frustrated by Daryl not choosing where he belongs–with her, living on his on with this endless search, or with the family he left behind. But when he finally chooses, she’s gone, her fate unknown, and that’s how Dog came to be his companion instead. In the present day, some resentment and unsettled issues between Daryl and Carol surface. He accuses her of trying to run from her guilt when she came with him, she accuses him of taking all these losses as personal ones and making himself a martyr to them. He pins the loss of Connie on her, which she only sort of apologizes for, and things are left unsettled for these two best friends.

For essentially the entire run of The Walking Dead , Carol and Daryl have been each other’s lifeline. United by struggle, loss, guilt, determination, and love, they’ve both escaped an abusive past and unexpectedly flourished in this post-apocalyptic world. They were an unexpected pairing to see bonding back in the early seasons, but at this point, their enduring friendship is one of the hallmarks of this show. One loses hope, the other pulls them back, one goes off on their own, the other brings them back to civilization, this is how Carol and Daryl work. They’d both do anything for one another and for the found family they have with the other survivors, even if kills them to do it. And it’s this last point, this time, that is finally driving a wedge between them: Neither of them knows when to stop.

Usually, those things haven’t lead them into direct conflict, though they’ve certainly disagreed before. But they are now, thanks to Carol’s actions that lead to Connie being lost in the cave explosion, and being at this cabin is likewise throwing Daryl’s own failing with that in his face. When the years-long search for Rick became his obsession, it drove away this woman Leah who had come into his life. Leah who is, really, a lot like Carol in many of the ways that Daryl is a lot like Carol: escaping abuse, finding a chosen/found family, experiencing loss and needing to separate themselves from other, from any kind of community, in the wake of those losses. Leah, granted, lost her found family to walkers and death rather than by any kind of choice on her part, but after that horrible loss, she chose to isolate herself instead of seeking out new companions at all.

It makes sense that she’s able to get Daryl to open up–albeit, very, very slowly!–instead of Carol being able to reach him this time, even with the passage of years that takes place here. Daryl’s grappling with his guilt and obsession with finding a sign of Rick, while Carol has found a new family, a new home, and some peace and contentment with them. I don’t think Daryl begrudges her this by any means, but it does make it hard for them to connect on the same level. Leah, on the other hand, is in the same place he is, with the one difference of not having fully chosen living like this the way he has. It’s Leah who reaches out first after their first meeting, saving him from walkers and finally giving him her name.

And then it hilariously takes him three whole months to reach out in return by throwing a fish at her door. I have to say I legitimately laughed aloud at this. Daryl, we love you, but your dating game could use some work! That in and of itself is worth talking about, really, Daryl’s total unfamiliarity with dating and romantic relationships here is equal parts endearing, hilarious, and a little bit pathetic, but in the best way. It’s also nice to see this other side of Daryl, though, to see him actively get a chance for a relationship like this, especially in the midst of this guilt-ridden self-exile he’s forced himself into. It’s nice to see him find solace, comfort, and another kindred soul who almost literally helps him find his way from being lost in the woods. Only almost, though–her home is still in those woods, but had things turned out differently, who knows? Maybe Leah would be with Daryl and the other survivors now.

But unfortunately, when Leah finally asks Daryl to choose where he belongs, asks him to move on from this endless search and be with her, he makes the wrong choice. He chooses his search at first, and too late chooses her. And once again, someone Daryl loves is gone and he has no idea what happened to them. It happened with Merle, with Rick, with Connie, and now we know it happened with Leah as well.

The only difference? This time Daryl isn’t punishing himself. I doubt he’s exactly cleared his conscience of that screw-up, that loss, but it’s finally something he doesn’t seem to be actively punishing himself for. It goes back to an early conversation he had with Leah, where he said that this world catches up with all of them eventually. “Only if you let it,” she says. With Leah, he did let it happen to him, he didn’t know when to stop, and he lost Leah because of it. In the present day, Carol says almost exactly the same thing to him, and this time it’s Daryl who says “Only if you let it. I won’t let it.”

Daryl’s learned when to stop, but Carol hasn’t, not quite yet. While she’s sorry about Connie and the cave-in, she’s not sorry she went after Alpha and her horde after what Alpha did to Henry. They end up arguing, saying some hurtful things but things that have been weighing on both of them after what happened in the Whisperer War. It took losing Leah for Daryl to realize–is it going to take losing Daryl for Carol to fully realize?

This was really a melancholy, bittersweet sort of episode. We get to see those happy, cute moments of Carol and Daryl as old friends who know each other so well, and his moments of happiness with Leah, but we also see the toll of their actions on them and on their friendship. The Leah aspect was unexpected, but I enjoyed it, and I’m sorry we only got to see her for this episode. I don’t know if we’ll ever see her again, but I’d love to see more of her. It was also smartly done, because it was never going to be easy to introduce a romantic interest for Daryl who isn’t Carol and not have fans hate it immediately. I feel like this episode pulled that off about as well as it could have…though part of what helps it is that Leah is MIA by the end no doubt! At this point, I don’t see Carol and Daryl as ever having that sort of relationship, and I enjoy their deep and lasting friendship immensely. So mostly, I hope to see them be able to reconcile and get that back. There are some deep wounds there, though, things that can’t just be shaken off, but I hold out hope for the mending of that rift.

What did you think of the episode? Is there hope this friendship? Will we ever see Leah again? Sound off in the comments!

The final score: review Good
The 411
A melancholy sort of episode, this one was even more of a character deep dive than this show usually does. While it's hard to not notice that the cast is so small and certain choices were made in filming and editing due to COVID restrictions, but I really think that's only because we're still in the thick of it as this airs. Leah is interesting and I wish we could see more of her, but what we get here works for the story they need to tell. The insight into Daryl's experiences in the six-year time jump is good to have, and maybe more importantly, it sheds a light on the tension between he and Carol in the present day. A little slow and soft, and low on action, but we get a lot of Dog, including as a puppy, so I say we more than break even there.