‘The Walking Dead’ season 10 episode 18 recap: Daryl’s wilderness years

**Spoilers for ‘Find Me’ below**

After last week’s Maggie-centric opener, the latest episode of The Walking Dead season 10c lets Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) take over. It starts off with a motorbike ride, some classic banter and plenty of Dog – but then a series of enlightening flashbacks hone in on Daryl’s secretive post-Rick years in the wilderness. Here’s what went down in The Walking Dead season 10 episode 18, ‘Find Me’.

What happened in The Walking Dead this week?

The key action:

  • Daryl and Carol are led by Dog to an abandoned cabin, but it’s not any old dusty hideout: it’s a place of particular poignant significance for Daryl. We’re whisked back five years – not too long after Rick (Andrew Lincoln) made his explosive season nine exit in ‘What Comes After’ – to chart Daryl’s subsequent years camping in the wilderness during the show’s six-year time jump.
  • The flashback sequences initially see a sequestered Daryl being visited by Carol, who comes down from the Kingdom (RIP) to remark on Daryl embarking on “his own journey”. We also see him befriending Dog, who one day leads Daryl to the cabin in question where he is greeted by a mystery woman – Dog’s owner, no less – pointing a shotgun at his face.
  • Leah (Lynn Collins), as she later identifies herself, is wary of Daryl at first, but the two gradually bond over a series of months and years (at one point Daryl chucks a fish he’s caught at her door as a peace offering, saying: “I was trying to be nice”).

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Lynn Collins as Leah and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in ‘The Walking Dead’ CREDIT: Eli Ade / AMC

  • Eventually Leah invites Daryl into her cabin, where she details some of her back story. She was once part of a tight-knit “squad” of survivors that included one woman who died after giving birth to Matthew, Leah’s adopted son. She’s now in mourning, though: Matthew died during a walker onslaught, while Leah managed to flee the bloodshed with puppy Dog in tow. She says she hadn’t seen another human survivor until Daryl showed up.
  • We then find out the reason for why Daryl has been camping in solitude: he’s looking for Rick as no-one found his body (“It was an accident,” he says of Rick, referring to him only as “my brother”) – though we know he got whisked away alive in a helicopter following the bridge explosion in ‘What Comes After’. “Always the hero, huh?” Leah says about Daryl’s futile mission.
  • While Leah and Daryl do grow close over time, his nomadic desire to keep searching for Rick causes strife and Leah issues him with an ultimatum – causing Daryl to leave for good. We later find out that Leah has abandoned the cabin, with Daryl returning to leave her a note: “I belong with you. Find me.”

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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in ‘The Walking Dead’ CREDIT: Eli Ade / AMC

And the rest…

  • While the episode becomes largely devoted to Daryl and Leah after the cabin is introduced, there are a couple of overarching plot points to mention. The cabin discovery comes after Daryl and Carol (and Dog!) head off on a food hunt – something that our characters are becoming increasingly concerned about at this point in the story, as showrunner Angela Kang elaborated to NME recently. “There’s some stuff that’s really just some base level things that they’re dealing with, like how do you have enough food? How do you have proper shelter? How do you repair relationships? How do you come out of a war and rebuild?”
  • “Do you think our luck’s run out?” Carol asks her companion at one point about their current predicament. “It feels like everything that’s good in the world is not on our side any more… we’ve had a good, long run, longer than the most. But we know this world, the dead: it’s going to catch up to us eventually.” A prescient observation for the coming episodes, perhaps?
  • The final scene of ‘Find Me’ sees Daryl confronting Carol over her reckless behaviour which led to Connie’s disappearance during the cave collapse in ‘Squeeze’. Daryl accuses Carol of not knowing “when to stop”, but she isn’t remorseful for her actions as it was all part of her ultimately successful master plan to eliminate Alpha and her massive horde of walkers. “And that’s all that matters: you being right, huh?” Daryl fires back. “I don’t need a saviour, or a martyr,” Carol retorts about Daryl’s constant need to try and fix things, like atoning for Rick’s disappearance. “I need a friend.”

Any new faces?

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Lynn Collins as Leah in ‘The Walking Dead’ CREDIT: Eli Ade / AMC

Leah’s introduction in ‘Find Me’ sees Daryl meeting his match: a terse, untrusting and uncompromising type of survivor with her own demons to shake off. They’re clearly cut from the same cloth, and it’s no surprise that they eventually find comfort in one another amid the madness of The Walking Dead. But her abrupt exit and current MIA status begs the question: is Leah a one-episode-wonder?

Goriest walker kill of the week

Walker skulls are in for a bit of a bashing at the moment. After last week’s container door shenanigans, this episode sees one of the undead feeling the full force of Daryl’s shoe as he repeatedly stamps down on it during his fruitless search for Rick. Squelch, squelch, squelch – that’s going to leave a nasty mark on your shoe…

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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon and Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier in ‘The Walking Dead’ CREDIT: Eli Ade / AMC

This week’s biggest question: Who will run first: Daryl or Carol?

‘Find Me’ felt like a bit of a test run for the upcoming Daryl and Carol spin-off series – indulging in their obvious rapport and engaging on-screen dynamic in the non-Leah sections. While the two enduring survivors will eventually leave our group for pastures new, Carol has already been eyeing the exit door for some time in a bid to escape the ghosts of her past and test the limits of making a “fresh start” in the zombie apocalypse. But will Daryl go with her immediately? “I know where I’m supposed to be,” he says to Carol in reference to him stopping her from leaving the fold the previous time. “I won’t stop you this time.”

‘The Walking Dead’ airs on Mondays at 9pm on FOX

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