‘The Walking Dead’: Two Friends Diverged in a Walker-Infested Wood… (RECAP)

walking dead season 10 episode 21 diverged carol melissa mcbride
Spoiler Alert
Eli Ade/AMC

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 21, “Diverged.”]

The final minutes of “Find Me” are not the first time Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) have ever argued. They had harsh words on Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) farm in Season 2, when Daryl told her she wasn’t his problem. Daryl was displeased to find her loading up a car to leave the group in early Season 5, and he called her out on it in “Consumed.” And, more recently, Carol’s recklessness in pursuit of justice for her son’s death has driven a wedge between the two.

It’s in that uncomfortable state we find Daryl and Carol in “Diverged.” Post-argument, neither party is really sure where he or she stands with the other person (Daryl tries to give an apology, which Carol won’t hear because, as she later tells Dog, “he meant what he said.”). They each go their own way, and the distance weighs heavily on them both — but especially on Carol, who can’t seem to get Daryl’s words out of her head.

Soup With a Side of Sadness

Carol’s story this episode largely revolves around soup — no, really. After saying an awkward goodbye to Daryl, she and Dog head back to Alexandria. There she finds Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and asks him for something, anything, to do. Eventually she finds a purpose in attempting to make some soup and kill a rat living in the walls of her house.

walking dead season 10 episode 21 diverged carol melissa mcbride

Eli Ade/AMC

Neither of those endeavors are particularly successful; and it’s through her increasingly erratic reactions to those failures we see the thematic meat of Carol’s tale in “Diverged.” Daryl’s words have gotten to her. Badly. She muses to Dog about whether she should “get out of everyone’s hair” and leave again, as Daryl suggested (although she admits that she misses him). She mows down a field full of walkers by herself, which, while probably qualifying as some kind of public service in the zombie apocalypse, serves as further evidence of her shattered psyche. Oh, and she literally tears a wall down in pursuit of that rat.

Later, when kindhearted Jerry comes to check on her, the truth comes out: She thinks she’s broken after everything she’s been through and everything she’s done, and Daryl came to that conclusion “a whole lot later than everyone else.” Jerry comforts her by hugging her as she cries, and the rat finally runs out of the house. Oh, and she does, in the end, make some soup.

walking dead season 10 episode 21 daryl norman reedus

Eli Ade/AMC

Coming Home

The majority of the emotion in the episode comes from Carol, and not a whole lot happens with Daryl. He’s having issues with his motorcycle that require him to scavenge for parts from a few old cars, and he winds up in a pit with a walker (because like death and taxes and Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, walker pits on The Walking Dead are just a fact of life). He survives (duh) and he fixes his motorcycle (duh), and he even manages to scavenge some dried food from walkers that look like they could’ve been members of the mysterious Reapers.

In the end, Daryl rides home to Alexandria and sees Carol, and both look worse for the wear. She offers him soup. He says he’s not hungry. No apologies are said, but it’s clear they’re not done with each other — they both say they’re going to get some rest and both turn away, but Carol waits to hear Daryl close the gate, and Daryl waits to hear her close the garage, before they go their separate ways. Gosh, just talk it out, you two!

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Other Observations

  • I enjoyed that this episode explored Carol’s frame of mind without using hallucinations or flashbacks. We all know she’s not OK, but we don’t need a “Look at the Flowers”-style version of Alpha (Samantha Morton) or a ghostly Sam (Matthew Lintz) to show up and tell us that. Having Carol break down like this, with no fanfare, felt more authentic than some of the ways we’ve seen her shatter in the past.
  • Was Daryl’s book about pirates a nod to the spinoff? Are he and Carol going to head off on a boat, rather than his motorcycle, at the end of Season 11?
  • That song at the end of the episode was really great, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what it was. Googling the lyrics was of no use, unless I misheard them.
  • Rating: 2/5. One star for the music, one star for Carol’s heartbreaking breakdown — but this was easily the slowest out of the TWD bonus episodes so far.

The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC