Daryl (Norman Reedus) is close to seeing "unhinged" best friend Carol (Melissa McBride) as a liability in The Walking Dead Season 10, where her reckless decision-making recalls a version of Carol banished by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in the show's fourth season. Consumed by a vendetta against Alpha (Samantha Morton) to avenge slain son Henry (Matt Lintz), a loss that ended her fairytale with husband King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Carol hit rock bottom in the midseason 10 premiere, "Squeeze," when her attempt to decimate the Whisperers' walker horde ended with Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) buried beneath a mound of rubble.
"Carol's becoming a little unhinged at the moment, and a lot of things have gone down," Reedus said in a pre-recorded interview on Talking Dead. "She's lost pretty much everything. She doesn't have the support of Ezekiel anymore, that whole community is bye-bye, the death of Henry was a big deal. Daryl's watching her become a little unhinged, and it goes from a 10, to an 8, to a 12, to a 9. It's a rollercoaster at the moment."
Reedus continued, "It almost harkens back to the Carol that Rick abandoned in a neighborhood because she was a liability. Daryl's almost having, at this stage in the game, having to look at her that way."
In Season 4 episode "Indifference," Rick and Carol set out on a supply run as a fatal, flu-like disease swept through the survivors' prison base. Rick deduced it was Carol who made the unilateral decision to murder the infected Karen (Melissa Ponzio) and David (Brandon Carroll) in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading and putting others, including orphaned sisters Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy), at risk.
Distrustful of Carol, and believing she would be killed by Karen's boyfriend Tyreese (Chad Coleman) if he discovered the murders, Rick was forced to exile Carol. She wouldn't rejoin the survivors until the Season 5 premiere, "No Sanctuary," where she saved the group from Terminus' cannibal killers before reuniting Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) with the believed-dead Judith Grimes.
A similar redemption story could unfold in Season 10, where a guilt-ridden Carol is out to make things right and repair her deeply fractured relationships.
"For Carol, she has been so driven by vengeance against Alpha, so there are a couple of things that happen from this. We've been thinking of this moment like this is her rock bottom," showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW. "It's almost like she's addicted to the idea of revenge against Alpha, and she's been spiraling and going kind of darker. The thing with a story about vengeance is of course it's really satisfying to think, 'Yeah, get revenge against the people who've wronged you and who've killed those you love' and all of that."
"But vengeance is complicated and there's got to be consequences to it because you can have blinders on. So that's part of the story that we're telling with Carol," Kang continued. "Now in some ways, she's motivated more than ever to try to finish this mission, because otherwise it was all for nothing. And yet she knows that she has things that she needs to repair. She knows that she's going to want to redeem herself at the same time."
New episodes of TWD Season 10 premiere Sundays on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.