There comes the point in every relationship that people evaluate whether they are still worthwhile.
I've always been firm about keeping Carol and Daryl platonic because TV often mistakes people being nice for something else. It's the world we live in.
The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 21 will be one of those polarizing hours because it was another deep dive into characters who have been a part of the series since the beginning.
For that reason alone, "Diverged" was one of my favorite episodes in a long time. Examining a relationship that has gone through many hurdles might not sound exciting for a post-apocalyptic zombie drama, but Carol and Daryl's bond has survived a lot of turbulence.
It's an hour that was all about the finer details, showing us Carol and Daryl's machinations for various actions, and it was yet another beautiful showcase of how Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus can say a lot with little to no dialogue.
If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know Carol has made some selfish decisions, but matters outwith her control have largely driven them.
She crumbled when she lost her daughter on The Walking Dead Season 2, only for her to spend years rebuilding her life and thinking she wasn't worthy, to ultimately start a relationship with Ezekiel and take in a kid who she would later call her son on The Walking Dead Season 9.
Henry's death brought the darkness in Carol back out, and despite her pleas that she's fine, she's been suffering in silence in the months since.
The nature of the hour was to prepare viewers for Carol and Daryl's dynamic to shift on The Walking Dead Season 11.
Despite Carol's multiple apologies for her actions, Daryl has largely struggled to come to terms with the insurmountable loss that is Connie. Then again, he's also been suffering in silence since Leah disappeared from the cabin in the woods.
At the core, Carol and Daryl are two lost souls, searching for meaning in a world that's growing bleaker by the day. Losing their relationship would destroy both of them. There's no question about that.
Their relationship works best when they don't talk about their problems, and there's nothing wrong with that. They both represent a beacon of light amid the darkness to each other, and "Diverged" perfectly highlighted that.
Carol returning to Alexandria with Dog in tow, only to spend time in Daryl's house trying to make soup for Jerry and the other workers, while simultaneously trying to deal with the rat infestation, was a good way to show some solid character development for Carol.
Carol had lost her fight. She felt horrible for what she did, but the rats seemed more like a symbol of her psyche. No matter how much she tries to move on and have a life, the darkness always finds a way of clawing into her happiness.
In this instance, the rats were quite literally clawing through the walls and spoiling what little food the Alexandrians had.
Alexandria was once a safe haven, complete with farming and ways to make electricity, but the Whisperer War completely decimated what was once a beautiful little town that kept the apocalypse at bay.
Rebuilding appears to be the theme in these COVID-19 produced bonus episodes, and while The Walking Dead Season 20 was worthless beyond learning more about Princess, The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 21 was an integral hour that showed there is a long way for these characters to travel before they reach their happy place.
Daryl's motorcycle woes could have been handled better. As unpredictable as things go, he escaped the walkers with ease. There were so many scenes that he should have been more alert to his surroundings.
That was a minor niggle, however. I know it must be difficult to shoot the show in these unprecedented circumstances.
Daryl telling Carol to keep the switchblade was the moment that solidified the fact he's ready to rebuild their relationship and that they've both been through enough in recent months.
Daryl is the type of person to shut down when he's going through something. He prefers to be alone to make sense of his emotions, and that's okay. Not everyone likes to wear their emotions on their face 24/7.
The only way for Daryl and Carol to proceed is to recognize that each of them is going to mess up here and there, but when it comes down to it, they will only ever be there for each other.
My biggest concern, however, is the uncertainty surrounding their spinoff. Will it only be Carol and Daryl, or will some of the existing characters follow them along for the ride?
It would be unfortunate if the series forgot everything that came before, but I have a glimmer of hope because Angela Kang is heavily involved with the spinoff.
Kang single-handedly saved the series during these last two seasons, delivering tighter storytelling, scarier villains, and actions more consistent of the characters.
We have just one episode of The Walking Dead Season 10 left, and it's all about Negan. He's an enigmatic character, so it's about time we got to see him in a more vulnerable position.
What did you think of this examination of Carol and Daryl's relationship?
Do you think they've turned a corner?
Hit the comments below.
Catch the season finale on Sunday, April 4, at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.