The Walking Dead fans have been obsessed with Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier's relationship -- friendship or otherwise -- since at least Season 2. Now Season 10 is finally returning from its three-month break, with the 2020 midseason premiere airing this Sunday, February 23 on AMC. And it's potentially going to change the "Caryl" dynamic forever.
The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 9 is called "Squeeze" and our exclusive clip with Jerry gave a taste of why. ln the midseason premiere, per AMC, the group "must figure out how to get out of a precarious situation." At least part of that situation must be the mess Carol dragged everyone into in the brutal Episode 8 midseason finale, which aired back on November 24, 2019.
Carol was duped by Alpha and led some of our group -- including Daryl -- into a cave. They were left surrounded by Alpha's horde. What happens next? A fan asked TVLine specifically about Daryl and Carol, mentioning she was still holding out hope for them to be together. TVLine's answer said the two are technically together in The Walking Dead's 2020 midseason premiere, but added this ominous tease:
[T]he two of them still can’t seem to get on the same page, which leads to a big confrontation, an even bigger admission, and ultimately a turn of events that seems likely to change the course their relationship forevermore.
Forevermore! The promo for The Walking Dead's 2020 midseason premiere already teased a tough love talk between Carol and Daryl. We see Daryl tell Carol, "Can't even turn my back on you anymore." She says, "I didn't mean for any of this to happen." He says, "We don't fight for revenge, we fight for our future."
Ah, he sounds like Rick Grimes there. Miss you, man. This was far from Carol's first reckless move. I still can't quite believe her prison killer storyline in Season 4, never mind everything that came after. This time, it's undertsandable that Carol is hurting and looking for revenge. She just keeps losing loved ones -- especially kids.
Back to that melodramatic tease, though. What big admission? What turn of events will likely change their relationship forever?
The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang already said Daryl and Carol would be at the emotional core of Season 10, with a major part of the story for this season having to do with the pair and how each is coping in the aftermath of everything with The Whisperers. She told us stars Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride love working together and the writers love writing for the characters' relationship.
As for that relationship ever blossoming into something more? Well, that's been talked about every season. There are reasons why Daryl -- unlike Carol -- has never been shown to have a romantic relationship on The Walking Dead. Here's what Angela Kang told CinemaBlend about the Daryl and Carol dynamic before Season 10 even started:
I've said it before. I think, regardless of whether right now Daryl and Carol are in any kind of romantic entanglement, they are soulmates in that they just get each other perfectly. They have each other's backs. They're best friends. They can be honest in ways that are very specific to that relationship, and so they are always a really important part of each other's lives....
People are always going to be wondering about Carol and Daryl I think. [laughs] They're also always wondering about Daryl and anybody. If Daryl's in a scene with somebody – male, female or animal – people are very invested in that relationship. That's a really huge testament to the amazing work that Norman does, and the rest of our cast. Those things are just a lot of fun.
Yeah, humans, horses, dogs, Daryl + Anyone or Anything becomes a talking point. But, like many things with The Walking Dead, it can be dragged out too much.
AMC's boss acknowledged the drastic ratings drop the show saw after Negan killed Glenn and Abraham. It got "too hopeless" for some fans. Since then, we keep losing original favorites. It's surprising that The Walking Dead is even still walking without Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, although he's getting his own movie. Lauren Cohan also left, but she'll be back as Maggie Greene. But now Danai Gurira is leaving as Michonne.
That's part of why the Daryl and Carol dynamic is so precious to many original Walking Dead fans. Both characters have been on The Walking Dead since Season 1 and that connection is the lifeblood of the show. That's not to say everyone wants romance between them, and that's the tightrope the show has walked since Season 2.
We'll have to see how the second half of The Walking Dead Season 10 changes the Carol/Daryl relationship and what might be next for them in Season 11 ... and beyond? Don't forget there are also more Walking Dead spinoffs ahead, in addition to the Rick Grimes movie(s).
The Walking Dead Season 10 returns from hiatus this Sunday, February 23 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.