With the mid-season finale around the corner, fans are speculating and spoiler-searching in anticipation of a break in the love triangle between Carol, Daryl, and Beth. While some would prefer to see Daryl with one, others prefer that they leave a romantic connection out of the equation, as the tension and inevitable ending to Rick and Shane’s friendship has already visited that scenario. Aside from the popular comic that also shares it’s name, cast members from the show are leary of giving away too much, leaving fans hungrier than the walkers.
Sunday’s episode came as a slight underwhelming filler as we are lead to the mid-season finale where we may see a major character death. It seems most likely that we could lose Carol or Beth, but if not, it wouldn’t be the first time that viewers were lead to suspect one thing only to be shown another in an effort to preserve and maximize shock value. When YahooTV asked Norman Reedus (Daryl) if this mid-season finale would change him, he replied, “oh yeah, it changes all of us…all of us change dramatically”. Sneaking suspicions rise as some speculated the chance of losing Daryl, as he was asked if he had started filming season 5. He stated, “I’m headed back to set in about an hour, but I might just be going back to say goodbye to everyone, you never know”.
Between Beth and Carol, transformation is a common denominator. When we were first introduced to Carol, she was a battered wife desperately trying to protect her daughter in a world surviving only by zombie Darwinism. Her metamorphisis is comparable to that of Sarah Conners from the first Terminator film to it’s sequel. Seeing Carol as a potentially vibrant woman held silent with her head down was only going to get her killed, however the loss of her husband, and then her daughter, Sophia, brought a new light onto the woman that she had to be (and always knew she could be). Daryl’s relationship with Carol grew into more than a friendship as he made looking for Sophia a personal mission, and their grief for her loss was shared, showing Carol that their connection might be more than just a friendship. Their shining moment being the first time they saw each other again after Terminus, bringing Daryl to tears.
Through the difficult tragedies of flu season at the prison, Rick’s decision to send Carol away opened the door to another posibility for Daryl, as Beth goes from a sheltered and scared little girl to a brave teen ready to fight for herself. Beth’s shy and sweet demeanor hides her demons, as she begins to see that everything she loves is lost in the end. Watching her father die was similar to Carol seeing what had become of her little Sophia, as both Hershell and Sophia had become the personification of hope in the dismal new world. Losing those closest to them are factors in who they’ve become, but also reminders that being naive and hopeful can sometimes lead to an inevitable demise.
If Daryl were to pursue Beth, it wouldn’t be fitting for his character. Yes, she’s a young blonde, but this isn’t who he is (Merle on the other hand, well his only hand…). Beth represents who he could never be, as his life has never been as priviledged, but she did show him that no matter what class or walk of life you’re raised in, personal demons don’t discriminate. If Beth is a young version of what Daryl could never have, Carol is a present day version of what Daryl could become if he loses his humanity, as she dances and tip toes along the line between Rick and Shane’s thoughts on what is best for the group (and communication skills). Also, the fallout from the group would be impossible to shake if he were to accept Beth’s subliminal offers to make a move, however no one would be surprised if he and Carol both came to the breakfast table from the same room.
Fans are split in terms of who we could lose next episode, but the fact remains, if it’s Daryl…we riot.