Hold up. If S4 started with Caryl, it will most likely leave off with Caryl. Just like S3. Someone once mentioned this in a post. Maybe Sanja? So basically, wait for it. Wait for it. And bam! There it is. Caryl on!
The longer they make us wait for a Caryl reunion, the more I expect from it.
Like at this point they should run into each other’s arms and just start making out immediately.
I like to imagine that every time Caryl almost happens, and Daryl or Carol (but usually Daryl) bumbles it up and makes it awkward, one of them walks away from the situation, and the one left behind turns and sees one of the prison group just watching them while smugly eating noodles.
He did apologize, using the words “I’m sorry.” When he led Carol to the rose bush at the pond, he said that he was sorry “for this morning,” meaning the scene at the stables. The closest deleted scene to that moment was Daryl sitting on the pier with his feet in the water, when he originally spotted the rose bush.
To my recollection, Daryl has only said the actual word “sorry” twice in the run of the show, once expressing sympathy to Carl over losing Lori in “Hounded,” and the other time in that scene with Carol in “Pretty Much Dead Already.”
Hope that cleared it up!
- Lookout Rhinozilla
I get huge Caryl feels from this song. =’(
For many of us aboard the Caryl ship, Caryl is a stream of consciousness in the show. We can feel it or see it in every interaction and in any scene involving one or both halves of the pairing. However, it is in the more concentrated doses that we get the sharpest glimpses into the dynamic of these two characters: their rapport, their emotional investment in each other, their trust, and their understanding.
In mulling over the topic of this article, I asked the Caryl fandom at large to send me their pick of the top five episodes that they felt best encapsulated the essence of Caryl. The results are in, and today I’m going to get into the most common responses for the top five Caryl episodes. They are, in air date order: “Pretty Much Dead Already,” “Triggerfinger,” “Seed,” “Hounded,” and “I Ain’t a Judas.”
“Pretty Much Dead Already” took its title from Shane’s verbatim line to Dale; however, it more directly applied to the barn massacre at the end of the episode, wherein Sophia’s fate was revealed. Throughout the episode, the attitude of “pretty much” was rife with the characters. Daryl figured that he was “pretty much” healed from his wounds. Carol admitted that she had “pretty much” given up hope of finding her daughter alive. Rick had decided to “pretty much” do whatever Hershel asked in order to stay on the farm. Glenn and Maggie had “pretty much” come to an understanding about their relationship status. And so on.
However, there were situations that were far clearer cut than “pretty much.” Carol directly told Daryl that she couldn’t stand to lose him in addition to her daughter. Daryl genuinely said “I’m sorry” for his behavior in the stables toward her, the first time he verbally apologized for anything before or since. The reveal of Sophia as a walker showed the stark contrast of every single member of the party being immobilized in horror against the desperation of Carol flinging herself toward her daughter, with Daryl being the only person moving to stop her.
In this episode, we saw three key moments that defined Caryl: the stables, the pond, and the barn. The events in the barn (“I can’t lose you too.”/”Leave me be…stupid bitch.”) utilized the unknown about whether their relationship was predicated on her missing daughter and would it end after Sophia was found or whether their fledgling friendship was destined to survive past the change in status quo – once Daryl was no longer the man searching for her daughter and would simply become just another person in the group to Carol. The pond scene was a follow up to that, with his apology and her reaffirmation in her hope of the search; a quiet parallel to the potent emotions of the stable scene. Then the ending with the barn scene reinforced their bond with his nonverbal response to her earlier statement: I can’t lose you either, I’m sorry this is happening to you, I understand.
“Triggerfinger” was an about-face from that atmosphere, both in emotion and in Daryl and Carol’s roles in their interactions. This was an episode that had a lot of suspense, all culminating in varying situations of snapping the thread or pulling the trigger as it were. There was Randall, literally pulling the trigger on Rick, Hershel, and Glenn, followed by the trio choosing whether or not to leave the injured young man behind as a death sentence. There was Shane lying to Lori about Rick’s return to the farm, sewing further mistrust between them, compounded by his inappropriate announcement of her pregnancy to the others. For Caryl, there was the polarizing duality of both Carol and Daryl’s reactions to Sophia’s death.
While Daryl had been initially supportive and a silent presence for Carol to draw comfort from, in this episode he was cold and cruel towards her, making it his intention to hurt her. While Carol had initially been withdrawn and in shock at her daughter’s death, in this episode she was the one to seek him out and attempt to draw him back into the fold. Daryl breathed fire at Carol, and she took it and was going to take whatever else he threw at her, because she perceived that maybe he needed that. Luckily, Daryl reined himself in before he reached the point of no return, though he got close. In a subsequent scene, when Daryl was tardy to the group meeting about Randall, he and Carol exchanged a look that was an entire conversation, along with his funny little attempt to clean himself up for the meeting.
The single word “Seed” represented in broad strokes the mentality of the group upon finding the prison and making it home. It planted a “seed” of hope that they had been carrying around in their pockets all winter, much like Hershel’s tomato and cucumber seeds. There was the baser meaning of “seed” in Lori’s unborn child, another symbol of hope and renewal in a world rank with death. For Caryl, that “seed” was the first irrefutable moment of flirtation between Daryl and Carol. Until that moment on the overturned bus, we had never seen Daryl initiate intimate physical contact, had never heard the word “romantic” be directly applied in dialogue to their relationship, had never witnessed Carol turn on the charms and Daryl become a deer in the headlights as a result. The existence of the little hesitation right before they both laughed off her offer also planted the “seed” that, while taken by surprise, Daryl was not wholly closed off to the idea. This was compounded by other smaller moments in the episode such as shooting together in the guard tower and what exactly were the sleeping arrangements around the fire that night?
The title “Hounded” can be most directly attributed to Merle’s pursuit of Michonne; however, it also drew on the various struggles of the other characters. In a twist of parallels, both Rick and Daryl were “hounded” by their guilt over failing to save someone that they loved. Rick’s guilt drove him to a bout of madness; Daryl channeled his guilt into a mission to secure the prison as an aversion to confronting that guilt. He was “hounded” however by finding Carol’s knife in a still-moving walker’s neck and in close proximity to the shifting door at the end of the corridor. We witnessed the tail end of an emotional breakdown as Daryl contemplated the probability of Carol being the walker on the other side of that door and eventually braced himself to do right by her and put her down.
Despite the nightmarish rollercoaster of emotion that that decision had to put him on, it speaks volumes that he was prepared to go through with it. In a season that showed us the Governor’s inability to put down his daughter, Andrea’s opposition to take a life, even an evil one, to end the strife, and the ramifications that Morgan suffered because he couldn’t put down his wife, that scene where Daryl visibly shoved back his pain and loneliness in order to make sure Carol was put to rest was a display of strength in an episode dripping with human weakness. It makes it all the more bittersweet that he put himself through that roller coaster only to find her alive and fairly unharmed. Carrying her back to the cellblock, he left behind his guilt over failing her, not just this time, but with Sophia as well.
While “I Ain’t a Judas” brought with it the fourth wall chuckle about Norman Reedus’s role in Lady Gaga’s music video of a similar name, that phrase was significantly more poignant regarding Andrea’s situation as the medium between Woodbury and the prison. The Caryl version of the episode title was reflected in Daryl’s lukewarm homecoming and the fact that he was firmly lodged between a rock and a hard place with the Merle situation. It wasn’t in his code to abandon Merle, not as family and not after the trauma of the first time he had left his brother behind. He had also expanded his definition of family to include the prison group, and there was no answer to the stalemate that didn’t hurt someone that he cared about. After the others’ antagonistic remarks, Carol’s gentle and empathetic manner was a salve on the burn. Fitting that their reunion scene in his cell was largely motivated by Carol approaching him, not with Merle on the brain, but to welcome Daryl back, make sure he was okay, and constructively back slide into the situation with his brother.
Daryl knew that he was different from the last time he had been with his brother, and while Merle informed him of his new weaknesses and the group by and large let him believe his growth had been lateral, Carol up front let him know that Merle might bring him “down” from “how far you’ve come.” She referenced how he had saved her, and that she didn’t view the prison as a tomb anymore because of him. The scene ended with a comfortable chuckle at it all and the knowledge that the air was clear between them.
The show tends to run hot and cold with Caryl. We either get it in crumbs or in loaves. The loaves always send us over the moon with feels and squeals. The crumbs leave us hungry for more and have us dismantling every moment to its barest foundations. I just thought that we could all use a look back at those unforgettable episodes and moments between these two characters to remind us of how much strength and endurance and rich history that our ship has. If we’re far out at sea, that just means that the harbor is far behind us, and ahead of us is open water ripe for more adventures into the unknown.
After all, the phrase isn’t “Keep calm and Caryl for a bit” or “Keep calm and Caryl a while.”
Keep calm, guys. Caryl on.
I want to say that I’m very glad that U.S.S. Caryl exists. It’s a lot of fun here. Everyone appreciates all of you, Captain Janne, Quarter Master Haley, First Mate ReadersMuse, and Lookout Rhinozilla. I think the fact that many of us are so loyal to U.S.S. Caryl and have so much fun is a reflection of how well U.S.S. Caryl is run by you all, even Melissa and Norman know about U.S.S. Caryl. I think they watch the group and get just as excited (hopefully there’s a buncha embarrassed blushing involved) about posts as everyone else does.
I still can’t believe how big the group has gotten. I remember back in the old days (ahah), I remember there being few Caryl fanarts on Deviantart. I remember daryl-x-carol being small, but it’s grown a lot. When I finally took interest in Caryl, I never thought that anyone else would be interested in it and now the Caryl fandom has gotten really big.
I will never not be surprised. I know I used to be anti-Caryl (not a hater), but as I’ve said in a previous post I started to like Caryl more because of daryl-x-carol and U.S.S. Caryl. It’s a testament to you all that lots of fans join Tumblr just to be apart of U.S.S. Caryl.
U.S.S. Caryl is very diverse and I love that. We’re all so different. I know that all types of people are here from all over, and we’re all having fun together. That’s the best thing. I hope everyone continues to have fun and be happy.
*Side note: Please, someone give Yvette Nicole Brown and Chris Hardwick each a U.S.S. Caryl t-shirt if they don’t have one already. Maybe even Michael Rooker and Laurie Holden should have one eh? *wink* *wink* Michael Rooker should have a special shirt made with a Caryl image on the front and Merle smiling on the back of the shirt like…
Captain’s Side Note: We’ve talked about getting shirts for Chris and Yvette, but sadly, I don’t think they do conventions like Laurie Holden and Michael Rooker do. -_-