Those who were doing their best to assess how the Covid-19 precautions played a role in the filming of last week’s busier episode of The Walking Dead, “Home Sweet Home,” likely had a much easier time determining how they went about things for “Find Me.” Being the episode with the least amount of on-screen characters since “Still” (aka, the one with Daryl and Beth flipping off a burning house), it’s clear this week wanted to deliver on some context for where Daryl’s head has been at, given the current standstill the plot’s at in the present time. As a result, there’s more than a little characterization in place, almost putting this into the realm of one of the great Morgan-centric episodes from the past. But who cares about all of that when we get an origin story for Dog!
Yes, in addition to watching the story of Daryl’s awkward love life, we also come to understand where his trusty companion, not named Carol (or Connie), comes from. You see, during that 5-year period where Daryl couldn’t handle the lack of a body to confirm the death of his “brother” Rick, he managed to come across a young pup. Dog eventually leads Daryl to the home of Leah (Lynn Collins), a woman clearly going through her own suffering due to the isolation that comes from walkers and toxic attitudes, making life so dangerous.
Other parts of this week’s episode emphasize the life Daryl lived in the wilderness, including a shack that he posted up in, complete with a map he was charting before it was destroyed by intense weather. And yes, this episode does imagine a version of Daryl that is almost domesticated in a gruff tracker sort of way.
There’s a good idea here to give the audience more of their favorite character and explore a time period that has gone largely unseen. We receive more of an awareness of how Carol tried to handle things during that time and the stress from Daryl not stopping his search for an answer. Most importantly, however, we see what it is that keeps Daryl going.
Over the course of this series, despite desires from the fans, Daryl has largely been held in an asexual place, generally focusing on accomplishing missions and killing walkers real good. With Connie still MIA in the present timeline, a possible connection for him, establishing this one-off love interest, Leah, means watching Daryl act differently. What he at first sees as an odd sore spot becomes one of infatuation that more or less pans out over the period of a few years.
Collins does well in her role. Having to step in and play a character with an energy level fit for Daryl is likely no easy task for the fandom around him. But I’d also like to think people want to see Daryl happy. So, watching a counterbalance for him when his frustration levels at finding Rick-related answers are constantly in flux means getting another character who needs to be fully-formed enough to keep things interesting.
The info is solid. She’s a survivor who lost her boy (technically not her) and holds back from opening up to others. Making her and Daryl have a kinship, of sorts, is a good way to play it. It culminates in a disappearance, so maybe we’ll get more from this down the line.
If there’s a drawback, it’s how this show tries to make all of this meaningful, only for a full-length episode to feel like a bit much at times. Even the arc of “Find Me” is only able to accomplish so much. By the end of it, if anything, Daryl just rekindles his issues with how Carol has handled things regarding the Whisperers and its cost.
Could this episode be handled differently – faster pace, a short, interspersed with other characters? I don’t know. These bonus season ten episodes occupy a strange space, so I’m still unsure if they’ll sum up to some larger theme being shared between them. That said, as far as closed-off character pieces go, the episode works well enough.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: I can’t say there was a hugely memorable Walker kill, so let’s just say Daryl got in a good one while breaking Leah’s home.
- I actually did smile when Dog returned on screen.
- Some good imagery and transitions this week, at least using the environment to its advantage.
- I like Daryl referring to Rick as his brother, though interesting to see him not talk about his actual brother, even if it’s not what’s on his mind at the time.
- We have like a year or two to go, but still curious how the Daryl & Carol spin-off will function. That said, their dynamic is always entertaining.
- Thanks for reading, and feel free to hear what me and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on The Walking Dead TV Podcast.