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The Walking Dead: Even Norman Reedus admits Daryl and Leah’s relationship was ‘a little rushed’

Lynn Collins as Leah and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, as seen in Episode 7 of AMC's The Walking Dead Season 11
Lynn Collins as Leah and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, as seen in Episode 7 of The Walking Dead Season 11. Pic credit: AMC/Josh Stringer

Thanks to the global coronavirus pandemic, fans of The Walking Dead got six additional episodes. While this might seem like a win, many viewers were a little disappointed with the bonus content as it did not really expand on what was already known about the characters involved.

The exceptions were two episodes, one featuring Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) backstory and another involving a surprise romantic relationship between Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Leah.

At the time, many viewers and critics alike wondered at the Daryl and Leah story because it was entirely unexpected and was never mentioned in previous episodes, even though this episode played as a flashback.

Daryl and Leah’s love story was revealed in Season 10

The surprise relationship occurred after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) went missing, and Daryl was still devastated by the loss. Spending a lot of time in the wilderness, he came across a woman living in a cabin.

Her name was Leah and she had a puppy with her, the one that viewers know as Dog and belongs to Daryl now.

Over the course of the episode, their relationship was formed and developed before Leah suddenly disappeared, leaving Daryl alone once more.

Lynn Collins stars as Leah in Episode 18 of AMC's The Walking Dead Season 10
Lynn Collins stars as Leah in Episode 18 of The Walking Dead Season 10. Pic credit: AMC/Eli Ade

The ending was ambiguous and implied that Leah may have left of her own accord. However, many viewers believed she had been kidnapped.

Later, in Season 11, it was revealed that Leah had returned to a group she had previously been involved with and this group, the Reapers, became major antagonists for the season.

While the relationship was explored further with the inclusion of the Reapers storyline, many still believed that that initial episode was simply too rushed regarding showing the very first romantic relationship for Daryl Dixon.

Lynn Collins as Leah and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, as seen in Episode 7
Lynn Collins as Leah and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, as seen in Episode 7 of The Walking Dead Season 11. Pic credit: AMC/Josh Stringer

Norman Reedus agrees with fans

Speaking recently to Business Insider, Norman Reedus also agreed with fans about Daryl and Leah’s relationship being rushed.

“The relationship with Leah was kind of thrown at us during those COVID episodes,” Reedus explained before detailing the restrictions in place during the filming of the episode.

“That relationship was kind of crammed together in a way that fit with our shooting schedule and storyline for those two people. Everyone’s got nine layers of plastic on their face and we were all kind of very hesitant to get too close to anyone.”

The actor then explained that Daryl would have never fallen headlong into such a relationship and further reiterated that the romance was far too rushed for his liking.

“I’ve had so many conversations about what kind of boyfriend Daryl would be and it’s gone up and down and back and forth and, you know, I’ve always said the same thing. I don’t think he would jump — not to be crass — I don’t think he would jump in the sack that quick. I don’t think he has those skills. I felt like that was a little, a little rushed. Maybe if it wasn’t in COVID times, we could have explored that in other ways instead of just a timeline written on the bottom of the screen. I would have liked more time there.”

While the initial relationship was a whirlwind onscreen, it was further explored in the first eight episodes of Season 11 of The Walking Dead. Additionally, viewers can tune into Season 11B to further follow these two characters who are now on opposing warring sides.

Season 11 of The Walking Dead will return on February 20, 2022.

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