Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead's midseason finale.
As expected, somebody during Norman Reedus's Reddit AMA today asked him about the potential for romance between his character Daryl Dixon and that of former The Walking Dead castmate Emily Kinney, who played Beth Greene.
"There was definitely a taste of it in the air," Reedus said when he was asked whether there was ever any chance of a romance between the characters working out.
Very little inspires more conversation about AMC's The Walking Dead than the "shippers" who are forever hoping to see Daryl hooked up with...well, anybody.
The biggest camps for the last season or more have been Beth Greene and Carol, although there's always a few people hoping to see him end up with Michonne. Or Rick.
The shipping debates came to a head this season, though, when both Carol and Beth were injured and trapped in a fortified hospital, surrounded by a delusional group of former police officers who believed they could keep things the way they had been before the apocalypse.
That all led to the bloody midseason finale when Beth was killed during a rescue attempt, and Daryl killed off her murderer immediately, in spite of the obvious risk of causing a bloodbath by doing so.
Beth's death has touched off a firestorm of Internet response, not least of all a petition signed by thousands of fans who want to bring her back somehow. Opponents of the idea are just as passionate, and it's a bit of a microcosm of the discussion that has surrounded the bond between the two for the last year.
There are a few schools of thought:
- First off, there are a fair number of people who just rejected the notion of a relationship with Beth out of hand because they believe that Daryl either should be, or already is, in a relationship with Carol.
- There are those who believe the pair shouldn't or couldn't end up together because of their age difference (Daryl's age in-story isn't established but is assumed to be in his late '30s or early '40s, whereas Beth was 19 when she died and 18 when she started to bond with Daryl).
- There are those who think there's no reason the two can't be together, and that age shouldn't be a determining factor in the zombie apocalypse when two adults care about each other.
- Some fans, including the author of the aforementioned petition, believe that Beth was "fridged" in order go give Daryl conflict in the second half of Season Five.
...And there are surely others that aren't vocal enough in their demand for representation that we didn't list them above.
Point being, this new revelation -- that there was "something" between them, at least potentially -- is the kind of thing that will fan the flames for a while and keep people talking. Some fans, particularly those who felt a relationship between the characters was unsavory because of their age, long accused producers and the cast of being unclear on the exact nature of the relationshpi, or hinting at a romance, to pump up ratings and keep shippers watching. With Beth now gone and nothing left to tease or hint at, it would seem those concerns were inaccurate or at least overblown.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with new episodes in February.