Hordes of The Walking Dead fans have long hoped to see crossbow-wielding hunter Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and meek housewife-turned-badass survivor Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) together romantically, but the show seems to be heading towards a coupling of Carol and regal Kingdom leader Ezekiel (Khary Payton).
When asked by a fan on live after show Talking Dead how Daryl would feel about the closeness between Carol and the king, Reedus said Daryl is "unphased by that."
"People keep trying to make Daryl/Carol happen," host Chris Hardwick said.
"Yeah, I’m not against it, to be honest," Reedus said. "You just never know with this show, what they’re gonna do. I love Melissa, more than Daryl loves Carol, even. Never say never."
Daryl and Carol first grew close starting with season 2, when Daryl went to great lengths in search of Carol's missing daughter, Sophia (Madison Lintz). The show has teased a romantic relationship since season 3, with a flirty and suggestive Carol asking the reserved Daryl if he wanted to "screw around."
Their relationship has remained platonic, but the pair are often shown to care deeply for one another: after Carol was banished from the group and had to survive on her own, Daryl and Carol reunited with a warm embrace following Carol's one-woman-army attack on Terminus in 5x01. The two would be separated again only to have another tearful reunion during season 7, when Daryl couldn't bring himself to tell Carol the gory details about Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn's (Steven Yeun) deaths.
As for the pending relationship between Carol and Ezekiel, Payton says the ball is in Carol's court.
"I mean, he clearly likes her," Payton told EW. "He clearly has a thing for Carol. Now the question is, it takes two to tango, man. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Carol is a tough nut to crack."
"I think she totally appreciates him and she’s trying to be standoffish because it hurts," McBride said. "It hurts to get close to people. When you get close to people, you have to fight for them. So she’s trying to maintain distance with anyone until she can resolve this gobbledy-doo in her head one way or another about having to kill."
While the King has his work cut out for him, McBride teases, Carol might come to warm to his advances.
“She appreciates him,” McBride added. "And I think that tugs on her in one way where it’s very endearing, and another way where it gets on her nerves because she doesn’t want to be pulled."
This is, of course, assuming Carol doesn't meet her end this Sunday.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c.