I love a good reunion, don't you? And when it comes to The Walking Dead, there's no reunion we've been anticipating more than that of everyone's favorite dystopian BFFs, Daryl and Carol.
But before we get into the feel-good stuff, let me take a minute to warn you: We're venturing into spoiler territory here. There will be pertinent plot point discussion about "New Best Friends" in 3... 2... 1....
OK, let's do the damn thing.
As the title of the episode would suggest, this week's Walking Dead was all about building relationships. Of course, this is the zombpocalypse, so that process isn't always as pretty as one might imagine. It's not like our world, where you might sense a friend-spark with someone, ask them to kick it with you over some tacos or fro-yo and — bam! — you're besties.
In TWD world, real friendships are forged in the fire. Anything less is merely an alliance. This week, there was a little bit of both going on.
For starters, when we last saw Rick and the gang, they were surrounded by a ragtag crew of survivors who most certainly weren't giving off a friend vibe. Just when it seems like Rick is making headway with the "Heapsters" leader, Jadis, the little jackalope pushes him down a trash mountain into a pit with a spiky death walker named Winslow.
Naturally, Rick badasses his way out of the situation (with an assist from Michonne), and the Heapsters seem ready to strike a deal and join the rebellion. But, c'mon, can we really trust the chick who just chucked Rick into the Hoarders version of the Roman Coliseum?
We're filing her in the frenemy category for the time being.
The big friend development to come out of that whole sticky situation was none other than Gabriel, the prodigal Father, becoming one of Rick's new right-hand men. It took a hot minute, but ol' Father Gabe has earned his salvation.
Enough of that, though, 'cause the friend-union that we're all dying to talk about is the one between Daryl and Carol, right?
First, Daryl saves Carol's life when he learns of Richard's plan to sacrifice her in order to drive the Kingdom into war with the Saviors. Seriously, Dick, consult with someone before you set these things in motion, will ya?
Then Daryl finds his way to Carol's secret cabin and knocks on her door. The look on her face — on both of their faces — when she opens the door? Gah! It was totally gutting. I'm all up in my emotions over this reunion, and it makes me feel like I need to go yell at some baby kittens or something. This is the zombpocalypse, Julie. Pull it together.
Still, you've gotta admit it was an awfully touching moment when Daryl finally asks Carol why she left them in the first place. And even more so when he hears her out and understands exactly what she means when she explains that there would be nothing left of her if she kept killing.
Of course, that was all child's play emotionally compared to the moment when Carol asks Daryl if everyone "back at home" is OK. NO, CAROL, THEY'RE NOT. I AM NOT — ER, I MEAN, EVERYONE IS NOT OK. *cue hysterical woman-baby tears*
Carol didn't know the truth about Glenn and Abe and, well, she still doesn't after this week's episode. Why? Because, once again, Daryl did what he had to do to protect and honor his friend: He lied to her to save her the pain and to keep her from losing herself in the din of war.
So, they eat dinner together, and then Daryl leaves after one more fierce embrace. It's the happiest/saddest five minutes of television any of us will likely watch all week... and we're total masochists because we want more.
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