The Walking Dead “Find Me” was written by Nicole Mirante-Matthews and was directed by David Boyd. This Daryl-centric (Norman Reedus) episode filled in the time that Daryl spent away from the main group searching for Rick after Rick blew up the bridge. In the present, we see a rift form between Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl. Of course, knowing that a Daryl/Carol spinoff is coming really lessens the tension here – and we know that at least the two of them aren’t going to die. The episode is a showcase for why these two are getting that spinoff as both deliver fantastic performances. That said, I did feel like the episode dragged somewhat and it felt a bit like filler. Of course, it’s also a brilliant concept for filming during Covid, allowing them to have very few people on set or in close proximity scenes.
I’m not going to lie. I really, really hate the stupid voiceover previously on they’ve added at the beginning of the episodes. Please stop. The episode opens with Dog joining Daryl to go hunting – and then Carol shows up too. She finds Daryl’s Rick-map on the ground and picks it up, saying nothing about it. She wants to come hunting with him, but Daryl tries to dissuade her. She wants to hunt and he needs a good spotter. Daryl gets the bike going, and Carol jumps on the back, sticking the map back into his backpack as she does. He protests that he didn’t say she could come and she just smiles – and they both take off. I found it funny that he’s complaining about her talking – Daryl is our silent hero after all – yet he’s been talking a lot more this season (10C) it seems.
The two find a dead deer and Carol suggests the big valley to look for more deer while Daryl suggests the river. Daryl has already cautioned her to stick close. There’s clearly some subtext and uneasiness between the two of them. Daryl seems suspicious of why she wants to come with him, and she’s uneasy about him wanting to go to the river.
By the time they get to the river, Daryl admits that they should have gone the other way. Carol suggests fishing, and Daryl is sceptical, but she spears a fish on her first try. The two clean fish while Dog watches. Carol accuses Daryl of silently criticizing her filleting technique and offers to let him do both. He suggests that they need to find somewhere to stay for the night. Carol asks if he thinks their luck has finally run out. She says that they’ve lost Alexandria, and Daryl points out that they haven’t – and she adds yet. She tells him that it feels different, like everything that’s good in the world isn’t on their side anymore. Daryl matter-of-factly says they just rebuild again – and Carol adds ‘until it happens again.’ She’s not wrong – the show does seem to be getting a bit redundant… Carol points out that they’ve had a good long run – better than most – but it’s going to catch up with them eventually. I also liked how this could also apply to the run of the show. Daryl insists that he’s not going to let it catch them.
Dog suddenly takes off and the two follow him to a cabin. It seems ridiculous that Daryl comes out of the woods surprised to find himself at Leah’s (Lynn Collins) old cabin. I mean, seriously, he would have known the woods around there like the back of his hand considering how much time we see that he spent there! We get our first glimpse of Leah with Dog as Daryl remembers her on the front step.
Daryl and Carol head into the deserted cabin, and Daryl even smiles slightly as he looks around. Dog is clearly happy to be home. There’s a terrific shot as Daryl looks out the window and we see just the reflection of a wooden cross in the window.
A shot of the river, shrouded in mist, takes us back in time to five years ago – and Daryl with his vest before it lost the one wing. He’s sitting by the river with his camp behind him, clearly mourning Rick’s loss. On another day, puppy-Dog comes running out of the woods to meet him – and then disappearing. We see him hang up his pristine map and start marking his searching.
On another day, Carol comes to see him. The two talk across the river. She gives him the news somewhat reluctantly. She tells him things are just different – it sounds a lot like what she’s just said in the present. She tells him that it’s now harder to talk and harder to trade – the growing distance between the communities that we already knew about. This is now just after Maggie went with Georgie. Carol explains that Maggie is on her own journey now – like Daryl. Daryl tells her that he has to “do this.” Daryl asks how Michonne and the kids are and he tells Carol to give her more time. Carol points out that it’s been two years and wants to know how long he’s planning to stay out there. He tells her as long as it takes. She insists that she understands. She’d be there with him except for Ezekiel and Henry… He understands. Things are different. She leaves him with a bag of supplies and tells him to be careful.
Daryl goes off to check another spot upriver. He finds an overturned boat with a body under it – but of course, it isn’t Rick. The storm that’s been brewing bursts. We see a disheartened Daryl in his totally inadequate shelter, getting soaked – and then his map is mostly destroyed by water. He begins screaming only to be almost hit by lightening.
Another year passes and Daryl is walking through the woods when Dog comes upon him again. We know it’s the same spot because we see the same three spikes in a tree. He rushes into the cabin – which doesn’t appear to have the screened in porch yet – and shoots a walker only to have Leah come rushing out pointing a gun at him wanting to know who the hell he is. He tells her he’s leaving – and she tells him he’s not. I loved how he treated her like a dog, looking down and not making eye contact to avoid antagonizing her.
Back in the present, Dog leads Carol to the hole in the floor where Leah kept he most precious things. She finds the note that Daryl had left for Leah, and McBride’s face clearly shows that Daryl has told her something of Leah. Daryl tells her it was a long time ago – but we know it is at most 4 years ago… Daryl insists that he already told her everything but Carol disagrees. He asks what she wants to know, and she tells him whatever he wants to tell her. Carol knows not to press Daryl.
In the past Leah drags the dead walker out of the cabin while Daryl is tied to a chair. He sees a picture of her with a child. He tries to get loose and she tells him it’s a bad idea. He asks if she’s going to kill him and she asks if she should. I didn’t hear any answer – but the sound on AMC was terrible again. She determines that he doesn’t want to die. He insists that she doesn’t know anything about him. She asks again who he is and what he’s doing on her land. He tells her that his name is Daryl, and he came with Dog because he wanted to help. She points out she’s the one with the gun – she doesn’t need any help. She’s hardened and competent and she’s lost a child and cut herself off from everyone else. Carol 2.0 anyone? She cuts him loose and tells him to leave. She refuses to tell him her name…
We see the aftermath of Daryl acquiring that scar on his face – without seeing the actual incident. Time has passed, but it seems Dog is making regular visits to Daryl’s camp. Daryl takes him home and now the cabin does have the screened in porch. Leah isn’t unhappy to see Daryl – did I mention that Collins is really terrific in this episode? So difficult to come in and do a one-off character like this and still provide a really 3-dimensional character.
Leah thanks Daryl for bringing Dog back and remarks that he likes him. Daryl says he’s just a dog. He don’t know nothing… as if everyone doesn’t love Daryl! She’s still withholding her name but tells him Dog’s. She notices the wound on his face and hilariously tells him it’s not for everyone – living out in the wild! Daryl. Who’s one step from being feral! However, she’s also pretty astute here. Daryl, at heart, craves companionship, and he’s only out there trying to avoid any more attachments like Rick. Daryl does agree that the dead, all of it, will catch up to all of them eventually. She tells him only if you let it. She, of course, is doing exactly what Daryl is doing.
The next time jump is eight months. Daryl stupidly ends up getting overrun by a small herd of walkers. Leah is suddenly there and leads him to the shelter of a hollow tree – Carl and Enid anyone? There is clearly sexual tension between them and Daryl gets out of the tree as quickly as possible. He tells her to stay away from his camp – he clearly doesn’t want to get attached. She looks a bit hurt and tells him her name is Leah as she turns and leaves.
Daryl comes back to the cabin and throws a dead fish at the door – it would seem to be an apology. Leah doesn’t open the door, but we see a fish hook hanging from the screened porch as Daryl walks away. Daryl is warming himself by the fire at his camp when Leah throws the fish into his back, telling him that she can catch her own damn fish! Loved these scenes.
Daryl asks why she’s always throwing things at him when he was just trying to be nice. She says she just wants to be left alone. Daryl tells her he won’t bother her again, and she says she won’t come around again – it’s hilariously like two kids. He tells her he gets it – being alone out there. She notices him warming his hands over the fire and asks if it’s “frost-nip.” He says it’s no big deal, he’s had it before. She tells him it is until you lose fingers or a hand… She invites him back to the cabin.
He wakes up in the night when she knocks over the picture and breaks the glass. She tells Daryl that today is the kid’s birthday. She tells him she didn’t have a family growing up – not the good kind. She tells him that she found family in her squad, fighting together – so clearly in the army. They vowed to stay together when the world went to hell. It’s an exact parallel of Daryl’s story. She tells them they gave her hope and she tried to pass that on to her son, Matthew. She tells Daryl that she didn’t give birth to him – he was her “sister’s” – not really her sister and she lost her when he was born. Again, sounds like Judith, right?
Leah goes to the window – and of course, the cross is Matthew’s grave. Her group had been attacked by walkers – maybe the Whisperers? She was separated and ran with Matthew. They ended up at the cabin and he’d been bitten. There’s a terrific shot in this scene of Daryl watching her as she tells him all this and the back of her head is reflected in a mirror beside him. She said goodbye to Matthew the same day Dog was born. She never says what happened to the mother or the other puppies… She tells him she’s been alone out there ever since – and hadn’t seen another soul until him.
Leah recognizes herself in Daryl just as he knows she mirrors him (see what I did there with that mirror reflection in the shot – or rather what Boyd was doing directing….). She asks who he lost, and he tells her his brother: Rick. He tells her that it was an accident and that they never found the body. Leah asks if he thinks he’s still out there. He tells her that he’s not going to stop until he finds out. She says, “Always the hero, huh?” And of course, Daryl just looks down, but we all say YES!
In another parallel, Leah and Daryl go fishing – and she spears one first try… just like Carol. The two continue to bond, watching the solar eclipse together and finally consummating the relationship – at Leah’s clear invitation. Ten months later, the two are having breakfast. Daryl asks Leah to talk to him. She doesn’t want him to go. He’s clearly told her everything. She asks him where he belongs – looking for Rick, with the family he left behind because it was too hard to face them, or with her? Daryl answers honestly that he doesn’t know. But she insists he does and that he needs to choose.
Back at Daryl’s camp, Carol drops by. He’s studying the map – it has a lot of x’s now. She sees he’s packing and is hopeful he’s coming back, but he tells her he’s just moving – because there’s too many dead there now. She’s brought him a new scarf and says her reason or coming is to bring a friend a gift but really she’s come to say that things are really tough at the Kingdom and it might be a while before he sees her again. He tells her that she doesn’t need permission to move on with her life – and she clearly wants him to move on with his – which appears to be what he’s planning to do. She tells him that she wants him to find some peace. She doesn’t want to lose him out there because he doesn’t know when to stop. He tells her that she’s not going to lose him. He’s just got stuff to do. After all this time, it’s hard to think what Daryl even thinks he could find at this point.
As Daryl walks through the woods, he suddenly seems to come to a decision – or something alerts him that something is wrong – it’s hard to tell which. However, when he goes back to the cabin, it’s a mess. No Leah is there, just Dog. He leaves a map with a note in the floor – the one Carol finds in the present. “I belong with you. Find me.” Daryl then goes looking for her, telling Dog they’d find her. Daryl has no idea what happened.
In the present, Carol asks if someone took her – or maybe she left. Daryl immediately says no – and she tell him that it’s not an accusation. Carol tells him to stop believing that every time he loses someone it’s because of him, because he did something wrong. Daryl insists that he made a mistake and this is because of him. She tells him Leah, Rick, and Connie aren’t on him. Daryl immediately tells her Connie is on her because Carol never knows when to stop.
Carol says that she’s sorry about Connie, but is she really? She goes on to say that she’s not sorry for taking out the horde and making them pay for Henry. Really, no one is safe from Carol’s vengeance. Daryl tells her that that’s all that matters – that Carol is right. Carol’s eyes fill with tears as Daryl brutally confronts her with the truth. Carol tells him to say what he really wants to say. He tells her that she shouldn’t have come with him: she wanted to run, so she ran. He accuses her of not being able to deal with the guilt over what the Skins did to Alexandria and making it his problem. Carol angrily tells him that his only problem is that he has to save everyone. She doesn’t need a savior; she just needs a friend.
Daryl tells her that friends don’t have the same conversation over and over again! Carol demonstrates how little she’s been listening – and how self-Unaware she is! She says this is all new to her! She tells him that he should have just let her get back on the boat. Daryl tells her that he stopped her from running and he shouldn’t have. He tells her that he knows where he’s supposed to be – but if she wants to run, she should run. Carol tells him their luck’s run out. She leaves him on the porch, saying it’s going to be dark soon and she has things to do.
I found this to be a rather slow episode – and I’m as tired as Daryl of him having this conversation with Carol again and again. However, the final scene between McBride and Reedus is outstanding. Collins was an excellent guest star – and maybe we will see her again. There were some lovely shots in the episode, so kudos to Boyd. This definitely felt like filler, but in a show with potentially so many extras, this also felt like a good way to give us some content and still be able to keep everyone on set safe from Covid. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!