The Walking Dead Set Up a Major Falling-Out Between Daryl and Carol

Best friends Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) are poised for a falling-out following the events of The Walking Dead 10x07, “Open Your Eyes.” Carol first took issue with the border and laws imposed by Alpha (Samantha Morton) in the Season 10 premiere, and she fired off a shot at the Whisperer leader when coming face-to-face with Alpha at the border for the first time since son Henry’s murder (Matt Lintz) in 10x03, “Ghosts.” Hellbent on getting her revenge on Alpha, Carol crossed another line when she lied to Daryl in 10x06, “Bonds,” which ended with Carol capturing a Whisperer (James Parks) to extract information about Alpha’s walker horde capable of destroying Alexandria.

In “Open Your Eyes,” Carol’s rough handling of the uncooperative Whisperer proves fruitless until he reveals information new to the Alexandrians: the Whisperers were told Alpha “sacrificed” Lydia, who was secretly disowned by Alpha in Season 9 episode “The Calm Before” before assimilating into Alexandria.

Carol races out of the jail to retrieve Lydia, figuring she’s the key to ending this situation, but Daryl stands in the way. “You are not getting Lydia mixed up in this.”

“He swallowed every ounce of Alpha’s bullshit. Every ounce,” Carol fires back. “If he sees that Lydia is alive and well, and gets it that his great leader lied to him, then maybe that changes something.”

“Please,” Daryl says. “That kid’s been through enough.” Carol urges Daryl to let Lydia make up her own mind, telling him, “This is the only way, and you know it.”

When Carol retrieves Lydia to confront the Whisperer, they arrive too late: an accidental dosage of hemlock from assistant doctor Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) proves lethal, and Carol and Lydia enter just in time to be shooed out by Daryl as the Whisperer gruesomely dies.

Later, when accompanying Carol on what she was told was a hunting trip, Carol and Lydia catch Whisperer acolyte Gamma (Thora Birch) holding Aaron (Ross Marquand) hostage. He’s released only when the already conflicted Whisperer spots the believed-dead Lydia, causing a distressed Gamma to flee into the woods.

“You said you wanted my help,” Lydia tells Carol. “You used me.” Carol tries to apologize, but she’s stung when Lydia tells her she’s just like Alpha. “You said you wanted me to choose a side? I choose mine.” Lydia then disappears behind the Whisperer border, knowing Carol and Aaron can’t follow.

Daryl and Carol’s otherwise close knit friendship could be strained when he learns Lydia is missing. Worse, she was lured out of Alexandria by a lying Carol.

Beyond Daryl’s own fatherly feelings for Lydia, Michonne (Danai Gurira) specifically tasked him with protecting Lydia at all costs in 10x04, “Silence the Whisperers.”

“When we went to the border, we went there to deescalate the conflict and buy time and strategic advantage,” Michonne says over the radio from Hilltop. “It was working until Carol took her shot. Alpha could have killed us right there. Why didn’t she?”

“You think she won’t attack if we got Lydia,” Daryl replies, prompting Michonne to explain her stance.

“Alpha wanted you to protect her,” she says. “Lydia’s presence might not help us, but if Alpha thinks she isn’t safe with us — or if Lydia runs off because of all this — it’ll definitely hurt us. She has to stay at Alexandria.”

Carol’s actions have now put Alexandria at risk of suffering Alpha’s wrath — which could come in the form of the same walker horde Carol aims to destroy.

Reedus admitted at San Diego Comic-Con Carol is a “real pain in [the] butt for Daryl this season,” adding she acts a “little bit cray cray this year.” During another convention appearance in October, Reedus warned the Caryl relationship “gets really complicated this year.”

“If you look at all the things that have happened to Carol, she’s lost so much, you know? And she’s become very damaged because of it,” Reedus said at ACE Comic Con Midwest. “So there’s a lot of that kind of relationship this year.”

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The Walking Dead next airs its midseason finale, “The World Before,” Sunday, Nov. 24 at 9/8c on AMC.

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