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What's Really Going On With Daryl And Carol's Relationship In The Walking Dead?

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 10C

Viewers have seen many relationships flourish in the apocalyptic wasteland that is the world of The Walking Dead. However, none have survived the tests of time quite like the friendship between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride). Throughout the course of the show's ten seasons, we've seen them comfort each other over zombified children, bond over their painful pasts, and have each other's backs on more than a few dangerous missions. Maintaining a relationship is difficult, though, and in season 10C, viewers have seen the old friends hit a rough patch.

As is often the case with conflict between friends, there's no one reason for Daryl and Carol's falling out. The pair had a heated argument toward the end of the season 10C episode "Find Me" that basically boiled down to Daryl accusing Carol of acting irresponsibly during the events of the Whisperer War, and Carol being hurt that her old friend wasn't showing her empathy or compassion. But of course, there was so much more churning under the surface.

Fans of the franchise know that in addition to the Rick (Andrew Lincoln) movies, Daryl and Carol are also getting a spin-off series that will see them heading off for their own adventures. While we may have previously imagined the show as a buddy road-trip comedy of sorts, this latest development in their friendship throws that all into question.

Here's the lowdown on where things currently stand between Daryl and Carol.

There's reason to believe that Daryl and Carol's rough patch won't be forever

In the episode "Find Me," Daryl reveals the painful truth about what happened with Leah (Lynn Collins), a woman he had a relationship within the years following Rick's disappearance. Like Rick, Leah also vanished from Daryl's life, and he seems to be harboring guilt over how he handled their relationship. It's when Carol tries to comfort him about the situation that he lashes out at her. While his accusations don't exactly come out of nowhere, at that moment, Daryl was likely looking for someone to project his feelings of heartache and regret onto other than himself.

Carol was rightfully hurt by Daryl's harsh words toward her. However, their fight also happened at a time when she was already feeling extremely vulnerable. As we've seen throughout the season 10C episodes, especially "Diverged," in a post-Whisperer War Alexandria, Carol is racked with insecurities about the state of their community and her role in it. "Find Me" saw Carol trying hard to get Daryl to talk with her about this when it was clear that he wanted to be left alone. At a time when Carol was craving connection, Daryl was needing space. During an emotionally charged moment in both of their lives, that dissonance led to conflict.

There is, however, one simple reason to have hope that they will find a way to move past this tough time: the foundation of Daryl and Carol's relationship is strong. It has been forged in the fires of the apocalypse and one conflict isn't likely to tear it down. Season 10C may have left them more distant from each other than ever, but it's entirely possible we'll see them riding together as friends again before the end of The Walking Dead's final season.