This was one of the first times we’d seen Daryl care about someone outside his immediate family, and it’s still a key component of the show’s mythology today. When a dejected Carol begins to lose hope that they’ll find Sophia, Daryl brings her a Cherokee rose — a flower with plenty of symbolic application to her current heartbreak. “I believe this one bloomed for your little girl,” he tells her. Proof that Daryl Dixon has a heart.
”Wanna screw around?”
The closest they’ve gotten to an actual romantic encounter — or at least, the only time such intentions were verbalized — was back in Season 3. The group had just taken the prison, and Carol complained about the kickback from the rifle she’d been using. When Daryl gives her a shoulder massage, she can’t resist making a joke. “That’s pretty romantic. Wanna screw around?” Equally as amusing is her response when a flustered Daryl announces his intent to depart by saying, “I’ll go down first.” “Even better.”
Fans could be forgiven for having forgotten there was ever a time when Carol’s fate was in question, since it’s been so long since she was anything but a major character. But in Season 3, she went missing for quite some time and was presumed dead (Daryl put a Cherokee rose on her grave!). Thankfully, Carol Peletier was still alive, and Daryl was the one to find her, alone and exhausted, in a dark room at the prison. And there’s something swoon-worthy about the way he carried her to safety.
No idle threat
This isn’t technically a ‘Caryl’ scene, and it was deleted, but it merits inclusion based on the fact that it’s just so wonderful. As much as Daryl protected Carol, she protects him. When Merle begins his brief stay at the prison in Season 3, Carol brings him a tray of food, and for a few moments, they reminisce about their shared time in the Atlanta camp. This turns into Carol telling Merle not to underestimate her, and saying that if he messes with Daryl, she’ll “slit his throat.”
Awwwwwww. Before Season 4 went seriously sideways for ‘Caryl’ fans, they were treated to one of the cutest interactions these two have had. When Daryl laments the attention he’s been getting from everyone at the prison, Carol tells him he’ll have to learn to live with the love, and caps that statement with, “Sorry, Pookie.” Pookie? Carol might just be the only person allowed to call Daryl nicknames like that.
Reunited and it feels so good
Finally! After almost a whole season with no Carol and Daryl interaction, the duo are at last together again when Carol meets up with the group outside of Terminus. Daryl’s not exactly known for wearing his heart on his patched-up, plaid sleeve, so when he sprints over to Carol, embraces her and lifts her off the ground, it’s genuinely moving.
Jury’s out on whether or not this was scripted, but regardless, it was hilarious. When Carol and Daryl leave Gabriel’s church to get water, Daryl asks her if she’d like him to carry one of the gallon jugs for her… and he promptly drops one of his own. His embarrassment is palpable, as is her amusement. Look at that face!
What’s better than Carol-Daryl scenes? A whole Caryl episode! ‘Consumed’ sees these two trekking into Atlanta to find Beth, sharing a bunk (but not in that way), discussing their different views on wall art and surviving a deadly van crash, among other things. “You don’t know me,” Carol says with a teasing smirk. “Sure,” Daryl responds. “You keep telling yourself that.”
Letting yourself feel it
Because forehead kiss #1 was such a success, TWD decided to write in another. Okay, that’s probably not the way it was discussed in the writer’s room, especially given that this was such an emotional scene. But nonetheless, in the aftermath of Beth’s death, Carol follows Daryl into the woods and offers him some gentle encouragement to stop swallowing his grief. And yes, she also kisses his forehead.
”You look ridiculous!”
This is not the face of a man who understands Carol’s fashion choices. When she starts her “happy homemaker” routine in Alexandria, Daryl lets her know exactly what he thinks of her new, fake personality … and more importantly, her outfits. “You look ridiculous!” he shouts as she walks away, after she threatens to “hose him down in his sleep.” These two!
Carol + getting bitten by a walker, catching a fever, getting hit by lightning, anything happening to her = dead Richard
Remember how Carol threatened Merle? Now it’s Daryl’s turn to do the same for her. When he finds out Carol’s at the Kingdom and being used as bait for a plot to force Ezekiel to fight the Saviors, Daryl lets Richard know that if anything happens to her, he’ll hold him responsible. “She gets hurt, she dies, she catches a fever, she gets taken out by a walker, anything, anything happens to her, I’ll kill you,” Daryl tells Richard.
A dinner date
No, it’s not really a date, but it’s darn cute. After figuring out where Carol’s living thanks to Richard’s awful plan, Daryl goes to see her. This results in yet another emotional reunion scene (“Why’d you go?”) and an emotional conversation where he lies and says everything’s fine with their people in hopes that it’ll prevent Carol from having to fight. They then eat dinner together, and it’s all kinds of adorable.
Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Season 8 didn’t have a whole lot on the Caryl front, but Season 9 saw Angela Kang reunite them in the very first episode. They sit on the Sanctuary steps and discuss Ezekiel’s proposal, which catches Daryl off-guard. He eventually tells her that Ezekiel’s a good guy, and that if anyone deserves happiness, it’s her. “I don’t like not seeing you, though,” he adds. Aw, Daryl!
At last, someone cut Daryl’s hair. How wonderful — and weirdly fitting — that it was Carol. As she trims his unwieldy locks, they talk about why he’s still out in the woods, and he admits he’s still looking for Rick. Rarely is Daryl so open with anyone as he is in this scene, but hey, these two have been friends for more than six years at this point.
Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Just look at me
One of the more heartbreaking Caryl moments occurs at the pikes, when Daryl’s there to witness yet another heartbreaking loss for his closest companion. Much like the barn with Sophia, Daryl tries to protect her, steering her away from Henry’s decapitated head and telling her, “Just look at me. Just look at me.” It’s beautiful and tragic and powerful.
Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Friendship bracelets and New Mexico
The Season 10 premiere showed their friendship in a brighter light, as the pals take off on Daryl’s motorcycle to spend time in the woods. There, they joke about Daryl referring to her as his “best friend,” a turn of phrase that manifests in a fisherman’s twine friendship bracelet that’s become part of Carol’s wardrobe. They also chat about taking off and heading to New Mexico, a line of dialogue that could spawn a fun spinoff series in the future. Riding With Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier, anyone?
The dream sequence
“Good morning to you, I hope you’re feeling better, baby…” The musical and tonal shift from the depressing reality of the larger episode to Carol’s cheery dream sequence is jarring, but even more surprising is the fact that it seems she’s happily married to (or at least living with) Daryl. It’s an interesting inclusion for this will-they-won’t-they couple — since Henry was in the dream, why wasn’t Carol still married to Ezekiel? — but regardless of whether or not it ends up meaning anything, seeing Daryl cooking breakfast for Carol was sweet.
Who would’ve ever thought the meek, mousy widow and the hotheaded redneck archer from the Atlanta camp would be soulmates?
Ten seasons in (and nearly a decade after the end of the world), Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl's (Norman Reedus) bond is as strong as ever. Their deep connection, cemented in tragedy and shared trauma, is perhaps The Walking Dead’s most compelling — and most certainly a fan favorite.