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The Walking Dead 10.21 Review – ‘Diverged’

March 28, 2021 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - Diverged
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The Walking Dead 10.21 Review – ‘Diverged’  

Tonight on The Walking Dead, Carol has a rat problem and Daryl’s bike won’t work.

The plot! Following their personal conflicts coming to a head a few episodes ago, Carol and Daryl are kicking off their friend breakup as she heads back to Alexandria and he opts to search a little more for supplies in the woods. Before heading off, Daryl lets her borrow his swiss army knife, which becomes important later. Carol goes home and tries to find something helpful she can do, but according to Jerry most things are fixed, unfixable, or already being worked on. So Carol embarks on a mission to make some soup from whatever she can find, but her efforts are hampered by broke solar panels, an exceptionally annoying rat, an unhelpful Dog, the sun going down, and her own built-up tension, aggravation, and stress over the situation with Daryl. But after unnecessarily destroying a wall, she makes her soup, gets a much-needed hug from Jerry, and welcomes Daryl home, though things are definitely not back to normal yet. Daryl, meanwhile, has spent the past day in the woods trying to fix a leaking fluid line in his bike (I don’t know which one), a process that is frustrated by him being on his own, a zombie in a car, not having his swiss army knife, and a pack of walkers. But he, too, eventually gets his bike fixed and even finds some supplies and MREs before heading back home. He and Carol say hello, and he tells her to keep the knife, but things are definitely still frosty between them at the end.

Does anyone else remember that episode of LOST where Hurley and Sawyer spent the episode looking for a loud tree frog, while other people were doing things like interrogating Henry Gale/Ben and deciding whether or not to push the button in the Hatch? Because I hadn’t thought about that in years, and yet in the middle of Carol chasing a rat around the pantry, it suddenly sprang to mind.

This episode was filler. I hate saying that, because I hate it being true, but this episode really did nothing to move anything along. Yes, we saw confirmation that Carol and Daryl are being civil to one another but are not in fact okay, and yes, Carol got a much-needed hug from Jerry, and who wouldn’t want that, but overall? Nothing really changed here, nothing new was revealed, and nothing moved the larger plot along.

With that out of the way, though, let’s take a look at what the episode was trying to do, regardless of its success or lack thereof. Clearly, we’re meant to see how the two of them work better together than apart, and that even when they are apart, they’re still a part of the other person. Carol makes frequent use of the knife he loaned her, making it possible for her to fix the solar panels and make the soup. He, meanwhile, is at a loss without it and goes through quite a lot because he’s missing it. It’s not a masterful metaphor, but it works and it’s clear. The knife is them working together–skilled and useful at many things, effective, helpful, and while each piece might work on its own, it’s far better and more complete as a set.

Also, interestingly, it’s the knife Daryl got from Leah, the woman we have learned he had a relationship with during the time jump, so his lending and then giving it to Carol is notable. Maybe he’s getting ready to say he’s sorry after all? It’s worth noting that Carol isn’t doing one of the things he accused her of: running away and breaking things. She’s trying her damnedest to fix things, in fact, herself most of all, if she can.

Her talk with Jerry, I will say, was a touching moment and the highlight of the episode for me. These two have been friends for years, but always with the added presence and even filter of Ezekiel. Jerry’s first few statements about how Ezekiel would have something to say for this are touching, his admiration of his friend is evident as always, but that Carol just plain asks what he would say and his response is just to hug her? It’s great. It’s classic Jerry. And it looks like it’s exactly what Carol needed in that moment, too.

That moment, and two actions from Daryl felt like things moving their arc along. First is Daryl telling her to keep the knife. Knowing that it’s Leah’s knife, there is definitely some significance to that. I’m not entirely sure what exactly that significance is, and it may be as simple as sending the message that Carol is as important to him as Leah. The second is that at the every end, he pauses and waits to hear her garage door go down before he heads in. It’s small, but it’s nice, an unseen, ‘checking on you’ kind of thing. Maybe he’s getting closer to apologizing after all? And meaning it?

I think it’s also clear Carol needed Dog a little more than Daryl did, hence him going with her. Sorry Daryl! Though I did get a chuckle out of his saltiness at that. But after his harsh words, I think Carol was more in need of supportive company, whereas Daryl was more in need of time alone. And, frankly, of a reminder of how hard things are without your friends there to help. Or the knife that symbolically stands in for them.

Finally, one thing that was hinted at, though I don’t think it makes up for the rest of the episode, is yet again we’re getting more military figures and references showing up. The Reapers group after Maggie had some military members, Leah was former military, and now two walkers in military gear have shown up. The walkers didn’t look recent, not that I noticed at least, but bodies sitting in the sun and exposed to the wilderness probably don’t take long to look aged.

For all my dislikes about the episode, it was as always competently acted and well put-together. I just think it lacked the extra layer of excellence that this show generally provides. But that’s just my opinion! What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments below!

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
While competently acted and well put-together as always, this episode just was not up to par for TWD. I love Carol and Daryl, but this one was just kind of boring. Not big changes plotwise or character-wise, nothing new revealed, no plot advancements to speak of. I believe this day would happen in both their lives at this point in the story, but I don't feel like we needed to see it or really got anything out of it. It felt like filler more than any episode has in a long time for this show.

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan