Daryl (Norman Reedus) searches for his brother but finds Leah (Lynn Collins) when The Walking Dead flashes back to the years after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) disappeared in Sunday's episode 1018, "Find Me." During Daryl's dogged search for Rick — which mostly occurred during the six years skipped over in-between Season 9 episodes "What Comes After" and "Who Are You Now?" — the lone mountain man meets and adopts Dog, who at first belongs to Leah. When he comes across Leah's cabin four years before present-day Season 10, Daryl finds something that has eluded him for the first ten seasons of The Walking Dead.
Four years ago. A seemingly stray Dog brings Daryl to Leah, who orders him out of her cabin at gunpoint. "I didn't come here looking for any trouble. Your dog found me," Daryl says. "I was just trying to help."
With her 12-gauge shotgun aimed at his head, Leah asks: "What kind of help you think I need, Daryl?" She lets him leave and refuses to reveal her name.
Six months later. Daryl brings Dog back to Leah's cabin. She still won't give him her name.
Eight months later. Daryl searches the river when he's swarmed by a pack of walkers, too many to fight alone. Leah blasts one with her shotgun, and they flee together. Face-to-face while inside a hollow tree trunk, Daryl breaks the tension. "You need to stay away from my camp."
She leaves in a huff, giving up her name as she goes.
Three months later. Leah confronts Daryl in the woods. "I don't need you to be nice. I don't need you to be anything. I want to be left the hell alone."
Daryl won't bother her again. Leah won't come around again. "I get it, you know. Being out here by yourself," Daryl says. However long he's been out here, he lost track a long time ago. Noticing the frostnip on his hands, the icy conversation thaws and Leah invites Daryl to her cabin.
Leah opens up about her past and the adopted son she used to have. "I haven't seen another soul out here since. Not until you came along. Who did you lose?"
"My brother," Daryl answers. "It was an accident. Never found the body." Is he still out there somewhere? "I don't know," Daryl says, not knowing a helicopter flew Rick far from Virginia. "But I'm not gonna stop until I find out."
Sometime later, Daryl and Leah cozy up under a solar eclipse. Their relationship has turned romantic and intimate.
Ten months later. Daryl is heading back out to look for Rick. Leah wants him to choose where he's supposed to be. "Where do you belong, Daryl? Out there on the river? Looking for your dead brother day after day after day? Or do you belong with the family you left because it was too hard to face what happened? Or do you belong here with me?"
Daryl prepares to leave the area when Carol (Melissa McBride) checks in on him. "I want you to find some peace. I don't want to lose you out here, OK? I don't want to lose you because you can't figure out when to stop."
He heads back to the cabin, but it's empty. Daryl leaves with Dog after writing Leah a note: "I belong with you. Find me."
Present day. The cabin remains empty and abandoned. Leah hasn't returned, but Daryl finally knows where he's supposed to be.
Here's what Walking Dead fans have to say about the retconned relationship between Daryl and Leah:
I can feeling of Daryl and Leah relationship will be continued, something happen her or she leaving, I believe Daryl and Leah will reunite on Season 11 or spinoff show. I really like Daryl and Leah so much. #TWD #TheWalkingDead @WalkingDead_AMC— Heemy101 (@ShyheemGlover12) March 6, 2021
Can I say that Ezekiel/Carol and Daryl/Leah are two big ass bullshit, who the f**k thought these stories were good.— HellerBuddie🤡 (@_Sarandom_) March 4, 2021
DARYL WITH A STRANGER AFTER 10 YEARS BESIDE CAROL.
I'm gonna wash eyes and ears now
I tried to give it a fair chance but for the life of me I cannot get into Leah and Daryl. All of their scenes just felt mad awkward. pic.twitter.com/DzUHZZ73NP— Kaylaˣ (@KoryWylie) March 7, 2021
Same. I really enjoyed it. I actually loved it. Especially seeing Daryl be someone capable of love and being an adult.— Christina (@OriginalLaClair) March 7, 2021
It just kind of ruined it when Leah gave him an ultimatum.
twd spoilers/— emily / twd spoilers (@dixonsride) March 4, 2021
okay but leah is my daryl stan mood and honestly can you blame her pic.twitter.com/99O1xKaPFA
Daryl when he finds Leah in the woods pic.twitter.com/Zc1RrGwSbO— Jack (@theosgluvs) March 4, 2021