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The Walking Dead: Daryl and Leah’s relationship was always going to happen according to Melissa McBride

 Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus  attend "The Walking Dead" Season 9 Premiere in Los Angeles held at DGA Theater
Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus both co-star in The Walking Dead. Pic credit: ©ImageCollect.com/Admedia

Sunday night’s episode of The Walking Dead introduced a doomed romance between Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Leah (Lynn Collins). While many fans suspected this relationship was included merely because of the bonus six episodes added in Season 10, this appears not to be the case.

Already, it is known that the six extra episodes added by AMC after the coronavirus pandemic hit aimed to delve into the lives of the main characters and are not designed to move the main plot forward.

Because of this, many fans made the assumption that Daryl’s backstory and his involvement with Leah was something that AMC never planned to include prior to the inclusion of Episode 18.

However, according to Insider, Melissa McBride, who plays Daryl’s bestie, Carol Peletier, this relationship was always on the cards for The Walking Dead.

Melissa McBride knew during the filming of Season 10 that Leah would arrive

McBride revealed that the notion of Leah and Daryl’s relationship would have occurred regardless of the addition of extra episodes.

During an interview on Talking Dead, McBride explained that a single line of dialogue in Episode 6 gave her reason to ask about the owner of Daryl’s dog (also called Dog).

“When I asked about her dog, they told me a little bit about what would be coming for Daryl, that he had a past relationship with someone,” McBride said. “To what extent? I wasn’t really sure. I didn’t know until this episode.”

This means that it seemed likely that Daryl and Leah’s relationship would have been explored in Season 11 of The Walking Dead. However, with the announcement of Seaosn10C, there was obviously time to tell this story a little sooner than that.

Lynn Collins as Leah and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, as seen in Episode 18 of AMC's The Walking Dead
Lynn Collins as Leah and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, as seen in Episode 18 of The Walking Dead. Pic credit: AMC/Eli Ade

Daryl and Leah’s complicated relationship

Daryl first met Leah via Dog. She lived alone in the woods and Daryl was also out by himself as he searched for his missing friend, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).

The episode revealed their blossoming relationship in a series of flashbacks after Dog led Daryl and Carol to the cabin in the present-day. However, it was Daryl’s insistence on continuing to search for Rick after more than two years had passed that caused Leah to give him an ultimatum: her or Rick.

At first, Daryl chose to continue looking for his friend but, later, changed his mind after realizing just how much Leah meant to him. Returning to her cabin, Daryl found it empty and Dog was left behind.

He left a note for Leah in her secret hidey-hole under the floorboards but, when he returned after all that time with Carol, the note was still there. This has led to some speculation as to what happened to Leah.

It is possible that she could have simply moved on and left the area, not wanting to bump into the man that broke her heart. Additionally, one theory sees Leah as having been taken by the Reapers.

Of course, viewers will just have to tune into future episodes of The Walking Dead in order to find out more.

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.

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