Last night, The Walking Dead brought two characters back together after what seemed like eons, but it wasn’t just fans who finally got the cathartic moment they had been waiting for.
(Spoilers: The following contains spoilers for last night’s episode of The Walking Dead.)
After 12 episodes, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) reconnected with one another. Their reunion felt bittersweet considering the life-altering events that had occurred in between seeing each other, but the hug they swept each other up into seemed to give fans just what they were looking for.
In an interview with Variety, Reedus said the emotion surrounding the reunion was just as palpable on set as it appeared on the show. The actor admitted that by the end of the scene, he wasn’t sure if the hug was improvised or not, but it felt like something both the actors — and their characters — needed.
“Our first rehearsal of that scene, everyone was crying,” Reedus said. “Everyone on set was waiting for that to happen. We were waiting for it to happen as much as everyone on the show was. Everyone was like, ‘Fuck, finally.’”
Reedus’ sentiment was shared by many fans, who were quick to air their “Fuck, finally” thoughts online both during and after the episode. In our recap of the episode, Eric Watson noted that their relationship, which at one point many fans had hoped would turn into something a little more romantic, was one of the better ones in the series and it was nice to see them return to one another.
“Now they meet here like old war veterans, a platonic love built on mutual respect and admiration,” Watson wrote. “It's actually refreshing, and one you don't see too often between single men and women in an action-drama.”
Naturally, that didn’t stop many of The Walking Dead’s audience from hoping that the little hug meant there may be something more in store for the pairing down the line.
I ship Carol & Daryl too hard #TheWalkingDead #CarylReunion pic.twitter.com/0l4FbPaWjY— Hannah Taylor (@HannahHappyFeet) February 20, 2017
DARYL X CAROL I STILL SHIP IT #TWD— Angelie Valdez (@crazyangelie) February 20, 2017
Reedus didn’t hint at whether Carol and Daryl would have anymore time on screen together, but talked a little bit about what was in store for his character. After being Negan’s pet, Daryl needs to play it cool before he can just jump back into being part of the gang and fully reuniting with Rick’s crew.
“He can’t show up at Alexandria because they’ll kill everyone,” Reedus said. “Negan kind of wanted to adopt Daryl, keep him, and so now he will destroy everything trying to find Daryl. Now the group is back together and there is movement, but I can’t go, “Hey, I’m over here!” quite yet.”
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.