Review: The Walking Dead: Ep. 1021 – Diverged

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier- The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 21 – Photo Credit: Eli Ade/AMC

The Walking Dead: Ep. 1021 – Diverged

Warning: This review contains spoilers! 

One of the strongest bonds on The Walking Dead reaches its lowest point in Diverged. Over the years Carol and Daryl’s friendship has been a favorite of viewers and a key component of the Gorilla Glue that has helped to keep the show together. Recently, after loss, hard times and questionable choices their tightly woven bond hasn’t just frayed at the edges but threatens to come apart at the seams.

The two are barely on speaking terms, hesitant to reach out to each other and the gulf between them is aptly represented by the fork in the road that ultimately sets them on divergent paths.  Carol yearns for an apology Daryl is unwilling to give.  Daryl decides to stay in the woods while Carol returns to Alexandria, with Dog no less. The canine’s decision to go with Carol is another of a multitude of slights thrown Daryl’s way.

Back in Alexandria, Carol searches for a purpose and her awkward conversation with Jerry shows just how disconnected she is. After hearing Jerry’s stomach rumble, she decides to whip up a pot of soup even though she’s light on any savoury ingredients.  Dog’s errant behavior and some droppings on the floor makes it clear that there’s a rat in the kitchen. Ah, I can hear that old UB40 track now, but unlike the band she knows what to do. Carol decides to get some fresh ingredients and heads out into a field where she encounters some walkers.

Daryl on the other hand continues his run of bad luck when his bike conks out. Setting off on foot, his quest for parts leads him to an abandoned car in the woods. Unable to find what he needs, Daryl slides under the car piquing the interest of the walker trapped inside. Things get a little shaky when the walker becomes a backseat driver, tipping the car and almost causing it to crush Daryl.

Later on, when Carol passes Jerry all covered in walker guts and carrying a bucket of nettles and dandelion greens you’ve got the two sides of Carol in one shot – homemaker and stone-cold killer.  She even goes full MacGyver, making herself useful by fixing Alexandria’s broken solar panels and using Daryl’s Swiss army knife of all things.  It’s the same Swiss army knife that Daryl later on comes to realize that he needs to repair his bike.

Daryl’s search for a tool to replace his knife leads him to a bunch of walkers, a couple of whom were members of the military. Still dressed in their fatigues, Daryl is able to take their supplies, including machine gun magazines and a couple of military grade multi-tool pocketknives to finish fixing his bike.

Diverged is essentially a day in the life for Carol and Daryl.  While mundane on the surface the episode focuses on how they both enter into a sort of survival mode. Whether it’s cooking, chasing rats or fixing broken motorbikes, their journey through the everyday meanderings of life gives them meaning and also shows the butterfly effect of things.  Daryl’s act of giving Carol his knife was based in friendship and was the apology Carol needed, just not in the way she wanted.  It also helped her be useful around Alexandria and led Daryl to be resourceful when his trusty tool was in someone else’s hands.

The knife isn’t the only thing of Daryl’s that comes in handy. Dog plays his part as well. Part companion, part therapist he helps Carol literally break down some of the walls she had built up around her.  Jerry’s presence is helpful too. Unwilling to let Carol wallow in her sorrow he offers his support and is able to see things that Carol has tried to ignore for a while.

Diverged tries to throw a major wedge into Daryl and Carol’s friendship and while it makes for some interesting story options in the short term, it’s difficult to see how they will have long lasting effects.  After next season, the duo will spin off into their own show and the likelihood of them being on opposite sides of the fence for that series would be slim and ill advised. Perhaps that is what Season 11 will focus on, their reconciliation, before they set off on their own journey together.