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[S10E18] Find Me

Daryl recounts the story to Carol through flashbacks. Five years ago, shortly after Rick's supposed death, Daryl wanders the woods alone trying to find any sign of him, dead or alive. Carol occasionally meets with him to give supplies. After one such meeting, Daryl is approached by a Belgian Malinois puppy, who leads him to a cabin. Upon entering the cabin, Daryl is taken hostage and interrogated by an unknown woman, but she soon lets him go when he explains that he doesn't want to hurt her. She refuses to tell Daryl her name; he asks what the dog's name is, and she says that she simply calls him "Dog". Over the next several months, the two periodically cross paths, with Daryl returning Dog when he runs away, and offering her a fish that he caught. She reveals her name, Leah, and the two begin to bond romantically, with Daryl staying at her cabin more often.

[S10E18] Find Me

The pair bond through hunting, fishing, and watching a solar eclipse together. One night, Daryl catches her looking at a photo of her son, which she keeps under the floorboards, and she recounts the story of how she lost her family and the Army platoon she had been surviving with. Dog was born on the same day, and Leah kept him as a memento of the family she lost. Fed up with his obsession with the search for Rick, Leah urges him to choose between looking for Rick, going back to Alexandria, or staying with her. Daryl chooses to continue searching for Rick. After an unknown period of time, Daryl returns to the cabin hoping to make amends, but finds Leah missing, along with the pictures under the floorboards. He leaves several cans of food under the floorboards, along with a message saying that he wants to be with her and encouraging her to try to find him.

Dog was the one who found Daryl first, five years ago when he was just a puppy. Daryl built a shelter for himself by the water, a home base where he could sketch out a map and keep track all the areas he scouted for Rick. Carol would occasionally visit him to check in. At first, Dog just popped in with an enthusiastic puppy hello before running back to Leah. Daryl didn't see him again for a couple years, after enduring some tough times. A storm shook his shelter and ruined pieces of his map, pouring some of that years-long work down the drain. Three years after that first encounter, Dog finds Daryl again, and this time he brings him back to Leah's cottage. Daryl thinks he's helping get rid of walkers on the property, but Leah thinks he's an intruder. She ties him up but lets him go later that night once she can size him up.

The pair bond over their shared losses and start spending most of their time together. They soon fall in love, but 10 months later, the relationship hits a pothole. Leah is frustrated because she doesn't know if Daryl believes he belongs with her, out on the river searching for Rick, or back at Alexandria with the family he left behind. (Could Leah go with Daryl back to Alexandria? Seems like a compromise, but the episode never addresses that.) Daryl is out preparing to move his shelter by the river away from dead-infested territory when he gets a visit from Carol. She says she's going to live at the Kingdom and be with Ezekiel and Henry. She hopes he can try to find some peace, too.

Daryl and Carol find an old cabin that takes Daryl back to his years away from the group after Rick disappeared. He relives the painful memory of meeting a reticent survivor and the toxic events that amplified his relationship with Dog.

After stashing the bike in some shrubbery, the pair find a deer trail, but it turns out the deer has already been partially devoured when they find its corpse. They discuss where to hunt next. Daryl suggests the river, but asks if Carol is okay with that, which she affirms. After a lengthy trek, Carol gets a foot cramp. Daryl thinks they might have been better off searching for food in another area, but Carol wants to spearfish before moving on. Despite Daryl's doubts about her abilities, Carol spears a fish on her first try. Later, as they're filleting Carol wonders if their luck has run out, with the recent losses of Hilltop and Alexandria. Daryl points out they didn't lose Alexandria, and is confident they can rebuild, but Carol is more pessimistic, as she believes rebuilding is futile and the dead will catch up to them eventually. Daryl says he isn't going to let that happen, before cutting off the conversation altogether. Suddenly, Dog takes off running after something, with Daryl and Carol rushing after it. Dog leads them to an old, abandoned cabin, which Daryl clearly recognizes. He briefly remembers a woman playing with Dog on the porch. Carol suggests they stay the night, as Daryl reminisces further.

He remembers his life five years ago, when he was still searching for Rick. Camping on a nearby riverbank, Daryl is surprised when Dog, then still a puppy, runs up to him. Daryl happily pets the pup, but it soon runs off. With that, Daryl goes back to his improvised shelter and studies a map he drew of the surrounding area, deciding on where to search for his friend next. Later, he reunites with Carol, who briefs him on current events, such as the increased isolation of the communities and Maggie leaving Hilltop. Carol impatiently asks how long Daryl plans on staying out in the wilderness, as it's already been two years. Daryl doesn't know, but supposes he will be searching for as long as it takes. Carol understands and says that she would help him if she didn't have obligations at the Kingdom with Henry and Ezekiel, but Daryl assures her that he knows. Before he leaves, she tosses him some supplies. Further downriver, Daryl finds an overturned boat. Once he kills the nearby walkers, he checks the body underneath, but it isn't Rick. Back at his shelter, Daryl weathers a storm. Much to his anguish, the rain destroys his map. Defeated, Daryl walks out into the rain.

Back in the present, Dog fixates on a spot on the floor. When Carol removes the floorboards, she finds a box with a note inside. Reading it, Carol realizes the cabin belonged to the woman from Daryl's past. She asks him about this, but Daryl is dismissive, letting Carol know that he already told her everything. Carol, however, doesn't believe him. Sighing, Daryl asks what else she wants to know, to which Carol replies that she will listen to whatever Daryl wants to tell her.

Three months after their encounter, Daryl arrives at the cabin and tosses a fish on Leah's doorstep. Some time after Daryl returns to camp, Leah tosses the fish back at him, and says that she can catch her own. Daryl says that he was trying to be nice, but Leah asserts that she doesn't need him to be nice and just wants to be left alone. Daryl bitterly promises he won't bother her again, and Leah replies that she won't visit him anymore either. Noticing that she is still lingering, Daryl says that he understands why she lives out in the woods by herself. Leah guesses that Daryl has been alone for a long time, too, which he confirms. Leah asks if Daryl has frostnip, but he brushes it off. Nonetheless, she invites him to spend the night at her cabin to get warm. Later that night, Daryl is woken by the sound of broken glass. He finds Leah picking up a broken picture frame. Leah explains that today is the birthday of the boy in the picture. She recounts how she didn't have a good family growing up, so she had to find her own. She found that with her squad, with whom she fought side-by-side. When the world ended, they swore they would stay together. The squad, she says, gave her hope, and she tried to give the same to her son, Matthew. She tearfully admits that Matthew wasn't her biological son, but she adopted him after her close friend died giving birth to him. Tearfully, Leah laments that it doesn't matter, as Matthew is gone. She walks over to a window and looks over Matthew's grave. She continues her story, recounting how she was with Matthew and Dog's mother (who was pregnant) when the dead surrounded them. Leah was separated from her squad, and ran to the cabin with Matthew. It was only then that she noticed Matthew had been bitten. Matthew died the same day Dog was born, which was the last time she saw another living person until Daryl. Leah asks him who he lost, so Daryl tells her it was his brother, who was lost in an accident, but his body was never found. Leah asks if Daryl still thinks his brother is still alive, but he doesn't know, though promises to never stop looking until he finds out.

In the following ten months, Daryl and Leah spend a lot of time together, and even become romantically involved. Over time, however, Leah becomes increasingly frustrated with Daryl periodically leaving to look for Rick. One day, when Daryl reveals that he will be gone for a few days, Leah reaches her breaking point and asks Daryl where he belongs, whether it's by the river looking for his dead brother, with the family he left, or with her. Daryl claims he doesn't know, but Leah thinks he does, and tells him to choose. Later, Carol finds Daryl at his shelter packing up. She asks if he is coming back, but he denies this, and reveals he is just moving. Carol gifts Daryl a knitted vest, and tells him in turn it might be a while before she comes see him again. Daryl tells her that she doesn't need his permission to move on with her life, although she denies asking in the first place. He then supposes she wants him to move on with his, but she claims she just wants Daryl to find peace, as she doesn't want to lose him because he doesn't know when to stop. Daryl assures her that she won't lose him before leaving. When he comes back to the cabin, however, he finds it trashed and Leah missing, along with Matthew's picture. Dog, however, is still present, and soon joins Daryl. Daryl writes Leah a message saying "I belong with you. FIND ME.", and places it in a wooden box Leah kept under the floorboards, along with a few cans of food. He then leaves with Dog, telling his pet not to worry, as he is certain they will get Leah back. 041b061a72


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