The Walking Dead season 10’s latest episode focusing on Carol and Daryl drives home that, at times, the apocalypse can be a little boring.
Warning! SPOILERS ahead for The Walking Dead season 10 episode 21.
The Walking Dead season 10’s latest episode focusing on Carol and Daryl drives home that, at times, the apocalypse can be a little boring. Currently, AMC is airing a collection of Walking Dead episodes filmed amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the production was under strict safety guidelines and the episodes are smaller as a result, featuring fewer cast members and relying on fewer big set pieces. These bonus episodes are intended to bridge the gap between seasons 10 and 11, but as conceived, they do very little to progress the overall narrative of The Walking Dead.
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Having defeated the Whisperers in the original season 10 finale, The Walking Dead season 11 is set to adapt the Commonwealth arc, introducing the survivors to a large and potentially dangerous new community. However, The Walking Dead season 10 bonus episodes have been less about setting the stage for season 11, and more about digging deep into individual characters’ backstories and motivations. So far, both Maggie and Daryl’s time during the season 9 time jump has been explored, and new character Princess’ backstory has been revealed. The latest season 10 bonus episode, though, may have proven the limits of these more character-focused episodes.
In The Walking Dead season 10 episode 21, “Diverged”, Carol and Daryl go their separate ways as they both struggle with fairly straightforward tasks. Daryl chooses to continue searching the surrounding area, but his bike breaks down and he has one heck of a time trying to find and replace the damaged part. Meanwhile, Carol returns to Alexandria desperate to help out and decides to cook a meal, but ends up tearing her house apart while dealing with a rat problem. “Diverged” is an especially low-stakes episode of The Walking Dead, offering up a slice of post-apocalyptic life via both Daryl and Carol’s tasking days. It’s not a bad episode, per se, but it’s also not a terribly exciting one, and what character development it offers either Carol or Daryl is limited. Of the two, Carol comes off better with scenes of her examining her place within the group and opening herself up to Jerry, but it’s not much to build a whole episode around. That’s even more true of Daryl’s story, which is basically him experiencing a string of bad luck. As Walking Dead episodes go, “Diverged” is kind of boring, and that highlights a problem with these season 10 bonus episodes.
The stories being explored in these bonus episodes are largely detached from the bigger picture of what’s been happening on the show. There have been moments that likely would have appeared in The Walking Dead season 11 had everything gone as planned and AMC wasn’t forced to explore other options. Maggie filling Daryl in on what she’s done since leaving in season 9 or the forthcoming Negan origin episode, for example, are surely ideas The Walking Dead was always planning to explore and are interesting enough to sustain an episode. Scenes like Daryl struggling to repair his bike or Carol ripping her garage apart, though, would have worked fine within the context of a bigger episode, but come up short when they’re the main focus of one.
With a continuation of their story in Carol and Daryl’s Walking Dead spinoff, it makes sense the two would be featured among these season 10 bonus episodes. After all, there may not be as much time to explore the status of their friendship once the Commonwealth is fully introduced. And yet, what’s seen of Daryl and Carol in “Diverged” is largely inconsequential, even in respect to where their relationship now stands. While the episode hints at the two hoping they can mend their bond, little progress is made towards that and, in the end, the episode winds up feeling mostly like filler. Again, given that The Walking Dead season 10 bonus episodes are just that – a bonus – perhaps an episode of filler isn’t too surprising. Still, a day in the life for Carol and Daryl sure does show how boring it can sometimes be in the apocalypse. Then again, with all they and the other survivors have been through across the seasons, fixing a motorcycle or hunting a rat might just be a welcomed change of pace.
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