The Walking Dead and the Inevitable: Daryl and Carol?

Carol and Daryl in AMC’s Walking Dead
Carol and Daryl in AMC’s Walking Dead
The folks over at Criminal Element’s sister site Heroes and Heartbreakers love their HEAs. Here at Crime HQ, on the other hand, we know that “happily ever after” is not realistic: things almost always end in death for someone. So when the H&H folks say the Daryl/Carol budding romance in Walking Dead is reason to hope in the Zombie Apocalypse, we, dear readers, know the real score. As in any good noir story, no apocalypse has a happy ending. Not for anyone.

The thing is, while I love Daryl, I understand the character that he is replacing from the comics. You see in Robert Kirkman’s comic canon, Daryl doesn’t yet exist. Instead Rick’s ally and resident badass is Tyreese, an ex-pro football player turned car salesman. Yeah, Tyreese is a little on edge, but he is mostly put together, and he does develop a relationship with Carol, but things don’t end too well . . .

Walking Dead SPOILERS incoming! (You’ve been warned.)

Tyrese as seen in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead
Tyrese as seen in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead

Yeah, Tyreese and Carol have a sweet thing going. They form a nice little unit that includes Sophia, Tyreese’s daughter, and her boyfriend. That is until Tyreese’s daughter and the boyfriend follow through on a suicide pact. Well kind of. And then Tyreese locks himself inside a gym full of zombies for three days. Yeah he kind of snaps. So then when Michonne—an equally damaged and messed up woman—shows up, he begins cheating on Carol.

After being rejected by Tyreese, and believing that no one cares about her, Carol commits suicide. Shortly thereafter Tyreese is beheaded by everyone’s favorite dictator, The Governor.

Now, there are theories that Tyreese is really T-Dog, if so, they have severely weakened and watered down the character. My theory, especially because of the Daryl/Carol will they/won’t they, is that in the coming season Daryl is going to cement his place as Rick’s right-hand man. (And really, what’s more awesome than killing zombies with a claw hammer? A crossbow of course!) And then, because he has a crossbow and she has a samurai sword, Daryl will find a kindred spirit in Michonne, whom they introduced in the season 2 finale.

Let’s be honest, none of us are as cool as Daryl Dixon
Let’s be honest, none of us are as cool as Daryl Dixon
So I’m guessing ol’ Carol is living on borrowed time. Okay, the show has deviated from canon a bit, but not in any terribly major way. (Discounting the deaths of Sophia and Dale. But those two characters are mostly just foils to show how far humanity sinks when the world burns, anyway. You accomplish the same thing by showing reason and goodness die as you do by showing them wither. Wow, that got dark fast . . .)

**If you want to hear a clip of what Daryl (Norman Reedus) had to say about the subject on the day before Season 3 began, check out our coverage of The Walking Dead panel at New York Comic Con.

***And here's our recap from “Seed,” the Season 3 premiere!

What do you think is in store for the Daryl/Carol connection? Or anything in terms of plot in the upcoming Prison/Woodbury-filled season?

Christopher Morgan works for and He lives in New York City, and upon self-reflection, has a bit more depth in zombie knowledge than is comfortable.


  1. Lucy D

    Chris — I soooo hope you are wrong!!

    Melissa McBride plays Carol in TWD-TV so much different than Carol in the comics, and Norman Reedus’s virginal and emotionally stunted (yet awesome) Daryl is nothing like the comic’s Tyreese. I think Carol would be perfect person to help Daryl gain the emotion grow that his character lacks.

    Romance or not, Carol is the only person in the world of TWD who truly cares about Daryl, enough to put aside her own grief to make sure he doesn’t do anything foolish like leave the group. I would hope that it would effect him in some way when she is killed off. (It is the zombie apoc. I don’t expect a picket fence and 2 1/2 kids. I would like to see her make to at least S4. )

    One more thing, they have as good as said Merle will be back this season. Merle will of course want revenge against Rick. Daryl will be torn between Rick and his brother and I believe Carol had to spine to stand up to him (and to Merle) and makes sure Daryl chooses correctly.

    Don’t kill off Carol too fast. She’s definitely got a role to play in Daryl’s character arc.

  2. Christopher Morgan

    I just wish they’d do more with Carol. You have a great redemption arc with available between her and Daryl, but the show is so hell bent on showing the many moods of Rick Grimes and they really have to make Carol a much stronger character. She was a bit weak in the comics, and what agency she did have was completly taken away by the show. Same for Lori though… Just like I’m sure they have a plan for T-Dog, at least I hope they do at this point, I mean why pay an actor to give one line an episode?

    I do hope I’m wrong as well. I deffinitely wouldn’t mind seeing Tyrese get introduced. And from the very beginning I was kind of hoping that Merle was going to be this TWD’s Govenor, but I guess I’m wrong seeing as how they just cast him as someone else.

    I was kind of hoping for a Michonne/Daryl paring if only to see him come to terms with that whole racisim thing, then have Daryl show up and BAM.

  3. Lucy D

    I too am hoping to see more of Carol this season. Carol and Daryl have both begun to shine out of the shadows of their oppressors. The fact that she did just give up after she loses Sophia (I would have) and appears stronger, makes me very interested in seeing where they could go with her character.

    And unless Daryl starts to see himself as having value and being as good as Rick, he will only ever be Rick’s henchman, which would weaken his character.

    Mazzara has indicated in interviews an interest in adding Tyreese at some point.

    I can’t want until S3 starts.

    (As my husband likes to ask me “You know they’re not real people, right?” –And you point is…?)

  4. love2chuck

    I too am hoping you are wrong. That parallel has been made so many times (between Tyreese and Daryl) that I think that if they mixed him up with Michonne and played out the whole suicide story arc, (again, as they already covered it IMHO with Beth and with Andrea) that it would be too predictiable. I know there are some people who believe Carol and Daryl have just a “friendship”, or they say she’s too old for him (which is bunk), or they just plain want him to stay single. I just don’t see the point of all the little innuendo’s throughout S2 for it to be *just a friendship* I have an eye for romance and it was there! I will watch and remain a fan regardless of what happens because I know the actors will do a spectacular job with what story lines they are given, but I am NOT the only one who sees the potential of a Daryl/Carol pairing – even if it only lasts a short amount of time.

  5. zombieslayer5

    i am so so sooooo hoping you’re wrong! (no offense) but seriously, i hope something happens this season, even if it is just a friendship. They are the “misfits” or “outcasts” of the group so to speak and i hope they find their way to each other. We all know that Daryl is emotionally challenged and Carol is to some extent as well. I just really hope you’re wrong about this one. (Again, no offense.)

  6. randomposter

    God i hate Carol so much. She’s useless, has zero personality now that her daughter is dead, and even had the balls to doubt Rick last season. In contrast, Daryl is incredibly awesome so i hope this whole sort of flirting this is just a tease and Carol died… soon.

  7. Cheebee

    I’m not sure you cm can have balls AND no personality.

  8. lisaher

    They cast Tyreese, so he and Daryl are not the same person. I think that Daryl became such a favorite because the actor put a lot of effort inot developing his character; he is who he is because of Norman Reedus. I don’t know if Tyreese will be romantically involved with Carol, but if they continue with the Daryl/Carol chemistry and go with Tyreese/Carol from the comic then there’s your love triangle

  9. Malia

    I really hope your wrong!
    Carol, in the comics, is so weak and frail, and I did believe in order for Carol to be able to be with Daryl that she needed to become a stronger person, which did happen! I think that in season 4 they should get together, and maybe Carol will be killed off at some point, I want them to be together for a while at least. I hope they never kill Daryl!
    But really, I do believe that T-dog was Tyrese, and if so I’m certainly happy he died, I did enjoy that he died while saving Carol though.
    I just really hope that Daryl and Carol end up together! I mean, Michone, ehhhh…I’d rather her end up with like-[b]no one[/b]

  10. aatrox98

    Why can’t anyone get that Daryl’s just not meant for anyone?

    In “The Suicide Kings”, Carol’s face breaks into that of hurt, disappointed, and worried–and it’s not the same reaction that a possible love interest gives; it’s how your mothers would react when it’s 2 in the morning and you’re not back at home. Daryl wouldn’t even go there with Beth.

    Daryl won’t be dying very soon, but we all know that he will.

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