A key scene between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs) in the second season of The Walking Dead influenced a scene between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick's daughter, Judith (Cailey Fleming), in the penultimate episode of the show's tenth season. In Season 10 episode 15, "The Tower," Judith follows Daryl into the woods, where she watches him kill a Whisperer (Jessica Pohly) lacking intel about the walker horde unleashed by Beta (Ryan Hurst). When Judith confesses she fears Daryl might leave like mother Michonne (Danai Gurira) — who is secretly off tracking down the missing Rick — Daryl reminds her she's "got a whole lot of family."
"So, in 'The Tower,' he has his very own vibe with her, but we were going for a scene that was like the scene very early on in the run of the show where Rick and Carl are together," showrunner Angela Kang told Deadline. "Carl's having a hard time with all the deaths, and Rick has to tell him, at almost the same age as Judith now, that this is the way the world is. In some way, Daryl's message is more hopeful, I think."
In Season 2 episode 12, "Better Angels," a young Carl is comforted by his father after witnessing Dale's (Jeffrey DeMunn) death caused by a walker. Handing over a gun inside a barn on the Greene family farm, Rick tells Carl, "No more kid stuff ... People are gonna die. I'm gonna die. Mom. There's no way you can ever be ready for it. I try to be, but I can't. Best we can do now is avoid it as long as we can, keep one step ahead."
When Judith asked Daryl why he couldn't promise not to leave, he told her, "I can't lie to you. I don't know what's gonna happen. And there ain't no one that can tell you that they do."
"But there's one thing I know. There's a whole bunch of people back there that'd do anything for you," he said. "And one day when you're older, they're gonna need you to do anything for them. You got a whole lot of family. Nothing can take the place of someone you love being gone. But that doesn't mean that everything that follows is gonna break your heart."
Kang noted, "It's that at this point, you have family, and we're going to keep you safe. You know, he's trying to make her feel better and loved."
"Norman himself is so wonderful with Cailey, and so we felt that for a while. When those two are on the screen together, there's just something that's really special about the way that they interact," added Kang, who has been with the show since its sophomore season. "As a testament to Norman as an actor, it feels kind of true to Daryl that, you know, he can be a parental figure in his own way without really replacing exactly what Michonne or Rick was."0comments
Since Judith's birth in the third season, Daryl has "understood the importance of the next generation and the hope that a baby can bring. Since then, he's always had been this surrogate uncle sort of figure, and now that both of her parents are not around, I think that he fully feels that charge of responsibility."
The Walking Dead next airs “A Certain Doom” as a special episode later this year. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.