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The Walking Dead 'Find Me' Ending Explained

Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 10, episode 18 — "Find Me"

The Walking Dead fans got a blast to the past in the latest episode of season 10C. "Find Me" begins with Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), and Dog (Seven) heading out together on a scouting trip. But before long, Daryl is confronted by difficult memories of a very special woman. The episode not only gives fans a tantalizing taste of what the upcoming Daryl and Carol spin-off series might look like, but it also provides a look into the lost years after Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) disappearance.

The setup of the episode is simple enough: Carol talks herself into tagging along with Daryl on his planned expedition, which takes them deep into the woods surrounding Alexandria. It's clear from the beginning that she's in a bit of a funk. Even though their community prevailed in the Whisperer War, they did so at an incredible cost. Carol brings up the destruction of Hilltop and the sacking of Alexandria before asking, "Do you think our luck's run out?"

Daryl, meanwhile, doesn't seem much in the mood to chat. However, when the pair come across an abandoned cabin in the woods, he's forced to. While searching the cabin, Carol finds a hidden compartment in the floor that contains a small cache of food and a note written by Daryl. It's clear that he has some history with this place. At Carol's request, he fills her in on what happened to him there.

Here's what Daryl tells Carol, what happens afterward, and how The Walking Dead season 10, episode 18 wraps up.

A flashback reveals what happened to Daryl after Rick's disappearance

As Daryl begins to tell Carol his story, we flash back to the period after Rick was seemingly killed in the bridge explosion but was actually taken by the Civil Republic Military. We already learned in The Walking Dead season 9 that Daryl spent several years after that event living in the woods and searching for any sign of Rick. That is what we see him doing in "Find Me." He's living in a makeshift camp and scouring the area for Rick's body when he meets a dog, who turns out to be none other than Dog. The canine character was introduced after the flash-forward in season 9, and we now know what his origins are.

One day, Dog runs up to Daryl and starts barking for him to follow. Daryl does, and Dog leads him to an isolated cabin in the woods that some walkers are besieging. After Daryl eliminates the threat, a woman with a gun bursts out of a bedroom. She ties Daryl up and interrogates him about who he is and why he's in her house. Once she's convinced that he's not a genuine threat, she lets him go — but makes it clear she doesn't want to see him on her property again.

Despite this rocky start, Daryl ends up crossing paths with this mysterious woman many more times in the coming months.

Daryl and Leah have a rocky start that blossoms into a genuine connection

Daryl and the woman, who eventually reveals that her name is Leah (Lynn Collins), begin having a series of run-ins where one helps the other, only to get chewed out for doing so. First, Leah gives Daryl a hand when he finds himself surrounded by a pack of walkers, only for him to tell her, "You need to stay away from my camp." Then, Daryl catches a fish and leaves it on Leah's porch. She thanks him by throwing it at him and yelling, "I can catch my own damn fish!" The thing they both have in common is their inability to let their guard down long enough to become vulnerable to the other.

That all changes one day when Leah finds Daryl out in the cold and convinces him to come back to her cabin. While he's there, she reveals that it's her son's birthday. She explains to Daryl that she has no actual family of her own — "Not the good kind, anyway" — but formed a close familial bond with her military squadron.

The boy Leah refers to as her son is actually the child of her close friend who died in labor. With tears in her eyes, Leah tells Daryl about the day that a horde of walkers attacked her group. She made it away okay, but she lost her entire adopted family — including her son — in the process. Daryl, in turn, tells her about his "brother" who went missing: Rick. The night of vulnerability softens both of them, and Daryl ends up coming to live in Leah's cabin. Unfortunately, it isn't meant to last.

Leah gives Daryl and ultimatum

Just because Daryl moves in with Leah doesn't mean he's totally lost focus on his mission to find evidence of what happened to Rick. This puts a strain on their budding romantic relationship. Even more than Daryl, Leah is clearly someone who has a hard time letting people into her life. Losing her son and her family was a profoundly traumatic moment, and she has a hard time watching Daryl leave her to keep searching for Rick.

One day, Daryl tells Leah he'll be gone for a few nights, and she doesn't take that news well. She asks him, "Where do you belong, Daryl? Out there in the river looking for your dead brother day after day after day — or do you belong here with me?" When Daryl responds that he doesn't know, she challenges him to make a choice.

Daryl goes on his trip, and while he's away, he has the revelation that he does want to be with Leah. But when he returns to the cabin, she's gone. Even more distressing is the fact that there are no obvious clues as to what happened to her. He leaves her a note in her secret stash of food that reads: "I belong with you. Find me."

This is, of course, the note that Carol discovers in the present day. Seeing Daryl leave it in the past is both a painfully vulnerable moment for the otherwise hardened character and also a sad indication that Leah never ended up returning to her cabin between then and now. What happened to her is a mystery that will hopefully be answered in upcoming episodes of The Walking Dead. With any luck, Leah is still alive and out there somewhere. It's not likely that Daryl will get a happy ending with her, however, considering the character has an entire spin-off series with Carol to embark on post-Walking Dead. Daryl's faced a lot of hardship over the years, and losing Leah might just have to be another tally in the negatives column for our gruff hero.

The heartbreaking state of Daryl and Carol's friendship

What also isn't all sunshine and roses for Daryl is his friendship with Carol. While Daryl and his relationship with Leah is the primary focus of "Find Me," the episode also puts the spotlight on Daryl and Carol's bond. Carol comes to meet with Daryl in the woods multiple times throughout the extensive flashback sequences. The same as she does at the beginning of the episode in the present day, Carol expresses worry that their community is in danger of falling apart. She also tries to gently persuade Daryl to rejoin them in Alexandria. We know that Daryl eventually does, but during the flashbacks, he mostly turns a cold shoulder to Carol.

In the present day, when Carol tries to implore Daryl to not blame himself for Leah's disappearance, he lashes out at her. He accuses Carol of trying to get him wrapped up in her own personal issues, to which Carol says that the only thing she's asking of him is basic friendship. She tells him, "You should have just let me get back on the boat," referencing the time she spent away from Alexandria working as a fisherwoman. He replies, "I should've."

Daryl is pushing Carol away to avoid vulnerability, the same as we saw him do to Leah during the flashback sequences. Except, there's a massive difference here that makes the situation so much more heartbreaking: He and Carol are old friends who have been through a lot together. It's devastating to see them have a breakdown in communication like this. 

In the final moments of the episode, she tells Daryl, "I was right. Our luck's run out, you and me." Will their friendship recover, or are Carol's nagging worries not unfounded? There's still the rest of The Walking Dead season 10C to roll out, plus the entirety of The Walking Dead's 11th and final season, so there's plenty of time and space for Carol and Daryl to mend their friendship and become the strong, resilient duo fans know them to be. Let's just hope that what Carol tells Daryl in the final moments of "Find Me" aren't prophetic, and don't leave a permanent stain on their relationship.