‘The Walking Dead’: Daryl and Carol, Scenes From a Love Story


Two weeks ago, The Walking Dead ended with a potent cliffhanger: Carol being wheeled into the mysterious hospital where young Beth was captive. Then we spent a week suffering through a state of unbearable suspense, pausing to learn all about the lies hidden beneath Eugene’s Tennessee top hat. But this Sunday night, we finally got our answer about how Carol found herself a new patient at Grady Memorial. And, more importantly, we got an exquisite hour of Carol and Daryl navigating a crumbling world together in search of their lost friend, alone but for the intense, complicated feelings that bind them together. These are scenes from their burgeoning love story.

Carol and Daryl drive along a darkened country road. A female walker approaches the car, but Daryl speeds by it, and it bounces harmlessly off the passenger side door.

“Close call there.”

“Do you think she was prettier than me?”

“I didn’t get a good look. It’s dark and we ran her over pretty quickly.”

“Be honest. I can take it.”

“I’m sure she was not as pretty as you. OK?”

“That’s all I wanted to hear. Thank you, Carol.”

“You definitely have better hair.”

“You think so?”

“You obviously put a lot of time into it.”

“It’s nice that you noticed, is all.”


The gas gauge flashes red. Daryl notices.

“Tank’s running low.”

“Come on now.”

“Look for yourself.”

“Fine. Let’s find a place to pull over.”

“A nice, quiet place.”


“You know, to plan. For Beth. We gotta find Beth.”

“Yeah, that’s why we’re here.”

“Maybe if there’s time, you know, we can talk about other things.”

“Like what?”

“Never mind.”

Daryl pulls the car over. They immediately see the brake lights of another car stopping ahead of them.

“Great. So much for our quiet time.”

“But maybe they’ll lead us to Beth.”

“Sure, maybe.”

“Wait, is that a cop?”

“There’s two of ’em.”

Carol grabs her gun.

“Whoa, whoa! Why does everything gotta be ‘time to get out the gun’? We were having such a nice time.”

“They may have seen us.”

“They didn’t see us. Let’s stick to the plan and sit here for a while. It’s nice to just be together. You know, for Beth.”

“Oh, they’re leaving! We have to follow them!”

“Like now? We just got here.”

“Yes, now!”

Daryl tries to start the car. The engine won’t turn over. Daryl shrugs.

“I can’t even with you sometimes.”

Daryl and Carol settle into a safe house for the night.

“I’ll take first watch.”

“You sure you don’t want to stay up with me and talk? We never got to talk.”

“Someone needs to keep guard.”

“I’m not really that sleepy. I could stay up with you, it’s no problem.”

“I’m good, Daryl.”

They lay down next to each other on their makeshift bunk. There’s a noise, then silhouettes clawing at a glass door. Walkers.

“Let me get this one.”

“You don’t have to.”

“But I want to, Carol. Let me do this for you.”

“I don’t need you to.”

“I know. Let me.”

Daryl grabs a knife and gets up. Carol lays back and drifts off to sleep.

When she awakens the next morning, she sees Daryl through the window, already burning the bodies outside.

Their eyes meet. Carol puts a hand over her heart, unexpectedly touched.

“You cleaned up.”

Daryl smiles and touches a severed forearm to his own heart. Then he heaves the limb on the pyre.

Daryl and Carol kick down a door inside an office building. They trade an assault rifle back and forth, using its sniper scope to take in the majesty of the ruined city.

“How did we get here?”

“I don’t know. We just did. But here we are.”

“Here we are.”

“Here we are.”

“I just said that.”


“Here we are.”

They laugh. Daryl notices some art hanging on the wall.

“I bet this cost some rich prick a LOT of money. Looks like a dog sat in paint and wiped its ass all over the place.”

“Really? I kind of like it.”

“Stop it, Carol.”

“I’m serious. You know me.”

“Yep, you keep telling yourself that.”

“You don’t think so?”

“No. But I think I’d like to.”

They stand side by side in silence for a long moment, considering the painting.

“This is not a date, Daryl.”

“We’re looking at art, I bet that’s what you like on dates.”

“But this is not a date.”

“If you say so.”

Daryl leans his head against her shoulder as they continue taking in the painting. Carol does not shake it off.


Daryl and Carol sit in a van teetering over the edge of a bridge. An angry horde of walkers rocks the vehicle.

“I feel like we’re gonna die before we finally get a quiet moment alone in a car.”

Carol laughs. Daryl takes her hand and squeezes.

The van plunges off the bridge and crashes to the concrete below. Miraculously, they are mostly unhurt.

Walkers thud down onto the van’s roof. They flinch with each new impact.

A male walker crashes down onto the windshield.

“What about that one? I’m prettier than that guy.”

“Well, his head popped off.”

“I’ll take it.”

“This is also not a date, Daryl.”

Daryl squeezes her hand again.

“If you say so.”

Carol sees the hospital where Beth is being held off in the distance. She rushes out into the street and is immediately hit by an ambulance. Men get out, quickly strap her to a gurney, and drive off.

Daryl watches in shock. He wants to run out to help her, but Noah, the unexpected third wheel who recently escaped from the very same hospital, restrains him. The restraint becomes a desperate hug as Daryl sobs into his shoulder.

Daryl and Noah drive a stolen truck back toward the church to gather reinforcements.

“Don’t worry. We’ll get your girlfriend back.”

“She’s not my girlfriend.”

“It just seemed like — ”

“Yeah, I know what it seemed like!”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to put labels on it.”

“I’d be fine with labels!”

They’re silent for a long time.

“Can I do anything for you?”

There is an even longer silence.

“Tell me this is not a date.”

“What? That hug was only — ”

“Yeah, I know. Just do it.”

“OK. This is not a date.”

“This is not a date, Daryl.”

“This is not a date, Daryl.”

“If you say so.”

Daryl grabs Noah’s hand and squeezes it.

Their eyes stay focused on the road, like a painting they can’t agree on.

Filed Under: TV, The Walking Dead

Mark Lisanti is an editor at Grantland.

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