Warning: Review may contain spoilers!
The Walking Dead 1018 – Find Me
Find Me delves into the dynamic between Daryl and Carol and kicks off with some positive vibes between the two. The opening moments of the episode are a call back to simpler times when their friendship, among the strongest on The Walking Dead, was one of the bedrocks of the series. Things have been on shaky ground in recent seasons and in spite of everything, their guarded but playful banter holds promise that there is hope for their broken friendship.
After catching some fish and contemplating their next move before returning home, Dog suddenly takes off into the woods. Following closely behind, Daryl and Carol come upon a dilapidated cabin, but what seems foreign to Carol holds some conflicted memories for Daryl.
Find Me then jumps five years into the past and focuses on what Daryl was up to in the years after Rick disappeared. Deciding to exile himself from the others, Daryl traversed the wilderness looking for any sign of Rick. While some of the others moved on with their lives Daryl buried his grief and made it his mission to find his brother.
The narrative flips back and forth between the present and the past and upon realizing the significance of the cabin to Daryl, Carol digs a little to get some answers. A mysterious woman, Dog’s introduction and the trauma of losing Rick provide some hints as to Daryl’s present state of mind and emotional state. Loss and its crippling effect on people aren’t reserved for Daryl alone. Leah, the mysterious woman in the woods, battles her own demons. The delicate balance between grieving, giving into one’s vulnerability and the toughness needed to survive is like a razor’s edge.
Daryl’s relationship with Leah forces him to make some difficult choices. Every relationship has a set of conditions and its one’s willingness to accept those terms that can make or break the ties that bind. Looking at how they interacted it’s not too difficult to see the similarities between the Daryl/Leah dynamic and the one he shares with Carol.
The fractures in Daryl and Carol’s relationship widen in Find Me. While there is ample reason for them to be at each other’s throats, what may lie at the core of the fissure is Daryl fearing that he may lose her eventually as well. Pushing her away is an easier method of losing her than keeping her close and then having the fates intervene. At least in this case Daryl has some agency and isn’t at the mercy of what life has in store for him. It also explains his connection to Dog. While there’s a limit to what his faithful companion can provide for him, their need for each other comes with no conditions. There’s an old saying that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. That may be true, but for people like Daryl when the loss becomes too much to bear, taking a chance on love may not be worth the risk.