TV review: The Walking Dead: Season 10, Episode 18 (Find Me)
Written by Arthur
5/10 Rating 4/10
This is a spoiler-free review. Already watched the episode? Read on below for additional spoiler-filled notes.
The Walking Dead bonus episodes have very little ties to Season 10 or 11 and any links appear to be tenuous as best. Therefore, these bonus episodes should be viewed as self-contained stories that focus on particular characters and their personal journeys as opposed to a larger, overall narrative. Find Me concentrates on series favourite and veteran zombie slayer, Daryl (Norman Reedus), and an event that happened during his search for Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) after the bridge blew up.
The story is split in two. In the present Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride) stumble upon a dilapidated dwelling that holds more truths about Daryl’s past than he has let on, which we explore in a series of flashbacks. Like the previous episode, Home Sweet Home, this story fails to engage. Despite Reedus oozing appeal and charm, the majority of the episode is spent with him and an equally grungy survivor in the middle of the woods. Daryl has very rarely let his emotional side get the better of him and he continues to keep that mostly to himself throughout the episode, which doesn’t allow the viewer to connect with his arc.
What we do get from this episode is the origin of Dog but, as we learn more about him and more so his owner, it begins to raise questions about the validity of what we’re being told. Dog leads Daryl to the hut and its current occupier, Leah (Lynn Collins). The flashbacks continue down the same path as Home Sweet Home, as survivors are introduced to one another and share the obligatory, monotonous yet standard traumatic past conversation. Neither being much for conversation after that, the episode flicks between each of their meet-cutes, capped by the pair throwing of a fish at one another.
As the flashbacks conclude, there is a legitimate question about whether Leah is a figment of Daryl’s imagination. The flashbacks tell us the timeline we are seeing and the state of the hut in the present doesn’t appear to match up with how it was left in the flashback. You could also wonder if there is anyone else left alive who could name the dog “Dog”, but Daryl? In his loneliness and ever failing quest to find his best friend, has Daryl created this character of Leah as a manifestation of his other relationships with the Alexandrian survivors? Daryl has been known for seeing people that weren’t there before and it is this intrigue that gives the episode its most redeeming feature.
In the present, Daryl and Carol are having relationship troubles of their own. Still bitter about what Carol did that caused Connie (Lauren Ridloff) to go missing, Daryl agrees with an overly pessimistic Carol when she says that their luck has run out. The connection between Daryl and Carol has been the true heart of this series, likely the reasoning behind the couple’s future spin-off. Their bond has always been one of love, not romantic, but the tension surrounding Connie was explored in Season 10, only to repeat itself now.
Find Me is another disappointing story that again misses opportunities to really explore the mindset of Daryl and Carol as their relationship reaches breaking point. Personified by the two powerhouses in Reedus and McBride who have proven themselves time and time again that they are stars of this show, the episode fails to live up to their ability – instead, they are outshone by a puppy named Dog.
Innards and entrails (spoilers)
If Leah is a real person, she and Daryl share a lot of the same memories as Carol and Daryl did, including the fishing and beginner’s luck at catching. The issue with this is that Carol’s beginner’s luck happens at the start of the episode whilst Leah’s is during a flashback – but then this is Daryl telling Carol his past.
Furthermore, Leah gives Daryl an ultimatum. Choose a side. Either he returns to Alexandria or he stays with her. It seems that no time passes at all between being given this choice and Daryl returning to the cabin to choose Leah only to find her gone and the place in ruins. If Daryl did really want to choose her and she was real, he should be able to track her. Instead, he is summoned home for the impending war.
The couple seem to be at breaking point – how this dynamic will shift when Connie returns should be interesting. The pair’s demeanor seems to show that neither will simply accept another apology and then move on. Daryl tells Carol she should have stayed on the boat which feels like a push too far. They have been on an emotional rollercoaster during the Whisperer War and it would be nice for the pair to just have some time waiting at the station.