How Lauren Ridloff's Connie Plays a Role in The Walking Dead Extended Season 10

Connie (Lauren Ridloff) might not appear in the extended Season 10 of The Walking Dead, but her absence hangs over sister Kelly (Angel Theory) and their friends Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride). The relationship between the two best friends has been strained since the explosive mid-season premiere last February, where Carol's vendetta against Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) left Connie and Magna (Nadia Hilker) trapped inside a cave teeming with walkers. Both escaped, but only Magna made it back home: Connie spent the half-season MIA before stumbling out of the woods in October's "A Certain Doom," where she collapses in front of lone survivor Virgil (Kevin Carroll).

Now that the survivors banded together to silence the Whisperers once and for all, our people are left picking up the pieces of their lives — Carol most of all after hitting rock bottom earlier in Season 10.

"We have this relationship with Daryl that has been strained in ways. Connie is still missing. Our audience knows that Connie is still out there, but Daryl and Carol don't. Kelly doesn't. Her friends don't," showrunner Angela Kang said during The Walking Dead Extended Season 10 Preview Special. "And what does that mean for Carol, and for her going forward? I think she's in a place where she is trying to grapple with that, and it's messy, and it's hard, and sometimes she just wants to look away. I think that Daryl, as her closest friend, there were times when he was calling her out some of the time, and sometimes it was just too painful because these two are so close."

Daryl and Kelly keep an eye out for Connie during a trek through the woods with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in the extended Season 10 opener, "Home Sweet Home," and Connie's disappearance is grounds for a heated exchange between the decade-long best friends when an adventure turns sideways in "Find Me."

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"I think we're gonna see when you have a friendship that deep, it can go to some painful places, and sometimes people have to be really, really open and raw with each other, even if it's not easy," Kang teased about what's down the road for Daryl and Carol. "I think we're just going to delve deeper into that relationship between the two of them, and it's going to give us so much grist going forward because it's one of the closest friendships that exist on the show."

Season 10 of The Walking Dead returns with six all-new bonus episodes Sunday, February 28, on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.