Oct 14 2013 9:44am

The Walking Dead: New Season...for Love?

Daryl and Carol in The Walking Dead Season 4As we enjoyed The Walking Dead's Season 4 premiere last night, I couldn't stop thinking about the changes in the relationships of our characters, more particularly the romantic relationships.

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of The Walking Dead, including last night's episode, 4x01, “Thirty Days Without an Accident.” Enjoy!

We watched Maggie and Glen’s relationship begin in Season 2 on the farm, when a trip to the pharmacy leads to sex. We have also watched the torture they endured during Season 3 at the hands of Merle and The Governor. Even though they survived, the relationship faltered under Glen’s feelings of failure in not being able to protect Maggie and upon his return to the prison, becoming overbearing towards her and dictating what she could and couldn’t do. By the end of Season 3, their love had proven strong enough to weather that storm and we saw Glen proposing to Maggie, and we cried. Whether that was from the beauty of the moment or the fact that Glen gave her an engagement ring that he cut off of a walker’s hand, I’m not too sure. The question for this season seems to be whether or not there will be a baby in Glen and Maggie’s future.

Glen and Maggie in The Walking Dead Season 4, episode 1It looks like Tyreese is going to have a love interest this season. In the comic books, Tyreese was with Carol, and then he abandoned Carol to be with Michonne, which led to Carol’s suicide. In AMC’s storyline, Tyreese is sharing kisses by the zombie fence with Karen, who was formerly of the Town of Woodbury. Tyreese has proven himself to be a stand-up guy, although a little naïve in believing the Governor’s propaganda, and in a world where life is fleeting, we wish them the best.

Poor Beth has been unlucky in love. We remember her former boyfriend Jimmy was killed in the RV the night they fled the farm. I was delighted to see her with a new boyfriend, Zach. But my joy doesn’t last long when Zach doesn’t make it back from the supply run. It is sad that at such a young age, Beth has learned to no longer cry for those that are lost.

There is speculation whether or not Rick will get a new love interest, possibly Michonne. Although I believe Michonne will be as important to Rick and the survivors as Daryl and his crossbow, I don’t see Rick as being ready at this point to start a new romantic relationship, although they do share a little look and a smile when she rode into the prison. At the end of Season 2, we saw the foundation of Lori and Rick’s marriage rocked when Rick discloses that he killed Shane to protect himself. Although Rick kindly overlooked Lori quickly moving on to Shane (almost as soon as she was told Rick was dead, just saying) and Lori warns Rick that Shane is trying to take her and Carl away from Rick, she seems shocked and disgusted that Rick needed to kill Shane in self-defense.

In the opening of Season 3, Lori tries to make amends for treating Rick badly after that, but then Rick was now the one holding a grudge. After losing Lori, and his mind there for awhile, Rick ended the season back where he began in Season 1, trying to protect as many people as he can while taking care of his family. I think it will be a season or two more before Rick is ready to let someone into his heart.

Now, I have been a Daryl/Carol shipper since Daryl first spoke his Cherokee Rose story to comfort Carol and give her hope to find her missing daughter. At that moment he went from “the angry redneck guy” to a character to watch, and as Season 2 progressed I was waiting for the romance to begin. Even those Carol haters out there have to acknowledge that Season 3 showed that a strong bond had been forged between them. They gravitated toward each other in the group, and clearly Daryl was devastated when he thought Carol had been killed. I mean, really if a guy stops his noisy motorcycle along the road in zombieland to pick a special flower to put on a grave of a woman, she must be very important to him. But even a dedicated shipper like me has to admit a little defeat after Daryl finds Carol alive and…nothing happens. WTF? Maybe it is just Daryl’s awkwardness relating to people, but if the woman you love is found alive, there should be I’m-not-letting-another-moment-pass-us-by declarations and lots of hot prison sex going on. Yes, I said it—“Hot Prison Sex!” But there was no change in their relationship. Yet I did catch one deleted scene from the DVD box set where Carol very calmly tells Merle that if he does anything to screw up Daryl’s standing with the group, she’ll slit his throat while he sleeps. My hope survives!

I still believe that a relationship between the two of them would be amazing. Carol, after her years in an abusive marriage, is very understanding of Pookie…I mean, Daryl and his insecurities. Telling him in Season 2 that he did more for her daughter in one day than her own father did her entire life, which left Daryl feeling like a hero. In Season 3, she also defended his decision to leave the prison and stay with his brother, saying if he made a different choice, he wouldn’t be the man that he was. I still believe that Carol offers the kind of compassion a damaged man like Daryl needs for a first love. After all, she really did like him first.

Who are you shipping? What did you think of the premiere?

For more The Walking Dead coverage on H&H, including Chelsea Mueller's post on Daryl Dixon, Romance Hero, check out our The Walking Dead tag.


Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
It's good to have TWD back! I enjoyed the episode a lot, though I was a bit alarmed at how easily Rick could have been ambushed at any time if that lady in the forest had been part of a larger group. C'mon, dude! And wow, so the food supply is contaminated? Scary...

I don't know if it was the new showrunner or what, but yeah, I felt like there were a lot of great shippy moments for various pairings last night. Daryl and Carol got some lovely moments (I join many others in the Daryl Dixon Fan Club, he continues to be my favorite), as did Glen and Maggie. But then I also became interested in Rick/Michonne (maybe not soon but I'm cool with a slow burn), which is interesting because I'm not always keen on Rick but I love Michonne, as well as Tyreese and Karen because of their sweet moments.

Carol has grown a lot, and she seems so much more self-confident than ever before, which is great. Seeing her brief Daryl on the walker situation outside the fences and with the kids...she's becoming a leader in her own right.

Great post, thanks!
Kaye Dacus
2. kndacus
I'm a HUGE Carol-Daryl shipper. I'm probably in a tiny minority, though, when I say that I enjoy the slow burn, continual flirtation between the two of them. Let's remember---both of them are people who've been almost destroyed in the name of "love" before (Carol by her former husband, Daryl at the hands of his father), so it's going to take a lot more for the two of them to be ready to make themselves that vulnerable again---though Carol does seem much more ready for it than Daryl. Plus, I happen to like the fact that their relationship hasn't become about "hot prison sex" but about forging an actual emotional bond with each other that will be stronger than any physical attraction will ever be. Their relationship, unlike Glen and Maggie's, isn't going from lust to love, but going from friendship to love (to, hopefully eventually, lust). But right now, I love the purity of the love they have for each other and the bond they share, which can be expressed with a look or a gentle nudge or a little bit of teasing.
Heather Waters
3. HeatherWaters
@kndacus -- I'm with you, I'm happy to enjoy the slow burn of a TV ship--those tend to be the ones that last/turn out for the best, like The X-Files' Mulder/Scully, The West Wing's Josh/Donna, Castle/Beckett, etc.
4. Loopy
Shipper since end of S1 - Beginning of S2. The ups and downs outside of the actual show perpetuated by the speculation, the press, etc has been frustrating for this shipper. I do want the slow burn. I don't want it rushed, because Norman said it best, "Once it's done (them getting together) it's done." It's much better played out slow. I still would love to see more moments between them and separate on screen. Not just a snippet here and a snippet there. They both light up my t.v. Love their scenes!
Kaye Dacus
5. kndacus
I vote for the spinoff show to be about Daryl and Carol! :-D
Heather Waters
6. HeatherWaters
@Loopy -- Well, and in general I feel like shipper communities get a bad rap because people (like the media) assume all we care about is seeing a couple get together rfn, when in reality many of us are happy to enjoy every little look and touch for a long time. Sure, there's a vocal minority in every group that is clamoring for the instant gratification, but I know for me, as long as you're telling a good story, I'm happy to sit back and enjoy and wait for--fingers crossed--my 'ship to come in one day.

ETA because typos.
7. diacula
I would not like to see a spin-off. I like it as it is/ love the characters and think they would do better all together.
Kaye Dacus
8. kndacus
@diacula - Unfortunately, the producers are already discussing a spinoff. Afterall, with numbers like TWD pulls in viewership, how can they not try to milk that cash cow? Just think, they could call it Daryl Loves Carol and send them off to try to make a go as a musical duo in a big city somewhere. It worked so well for Joanie and Chachi.
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