Remember that time, last season on The Walking Dead, when everybody vowed never to split up again? That was a nice thought. I'm glad they held to that... only they didn't. Everyone is going separate ways all over again. At least Daryl's back, though his return is looking like Bad News Bears. Especially since we're not sure who's with Daryl in that final Walking Dead scene. One theory that might make sense (and make for a serious problem) is that Morgan is with Daryl.
But let's back up first. Out of everything that went down on The Walking Dead last Sunday, it's almost funny that Daryl showing his face confused me the most. When Michonne asked if Carol was with him, Daryl turned, said "come on out" and the show ended. Cut to black. (Thanks a lot, AMC. If I wanted a non-sequitor I would have watched a Mad Men promo.) Now, Daryl's been vague before. When he told Rick that Beth was kidnapped, all he said was "she's just gone" — I would think that he would know by now that you need to be more specific with your words in the zombie apocalypse.
Of course, maybe Daryl is just being dramatic and Carol was right behind him. Maybe they just ran out of gas. However, it's more likely that she's not with him, or that she has somebody else with her. Who could that somebody be with Daryl? Could it be a new character? Could Daryl have found Rick's penpal Morgan Jones, who we discovered was tracking the gang at the end of the season premiere?
I feel pretty confident that Daryl's travel buddy is not Beth, unless we're dealing with a major time jump or flashback situation in next week's episode. How much time has passed since she was taken? I'm all confused. Personally, I don't think it is Morgan either, and not just because he'd be monopolizing the end of episode reveals and that would annoy me. Greg Nicotero pointed out to Entertainment Weekly that there are vines growing on the Terminus sign by the time Morgan gets to it. Again, it's hard to get a good grip on the timeline. Maybe the group was hanging at Father Gabriel's church longer than I thought, and Morgan has caught up to them. There are only so many episodes in a Walking Dead season.
Morgan is sure to show up again sooner or later, and that we know those tree markings were made by Gareth and Friends, I'm a little bit worried. It sure looked like he recognized and understood what was carved on the tree. Then, this past week, Gareth monologued about marking the trees so they could find their way back. Was that just a creepy allusion to Hansel and Gretyl, or is Morgan tracking Gareth and the "Terminants"? Besides those circled "X"-es on the trees, we've seen a sideways "L"-shape, and the "A" painted on Father Gabriel's church. These people are definitely part of a larger organization. Is it possible that Morgan met up with them during Season Four and aligned with the bad guys? That would be heartbreaking, especially for Rick.
Also, as Fansided's Walking Dead blog points out, we have seen many markings this season and the symbols Morgan is following resemble the hobo code. You may remember this practice from another AMC series, Mad Men. Little Don Draper learned all about the secret language of vagrants in the 1930s during a flashback in Season 1. Some symbols mean danger. Some mean food. So maybe we should be asking who amongst the Walking Dead characters is a history buff?
Of course, that probably still won't tell us who's with Daryl. Damn.
Images: Frank Ockenfels 3, Greg Nicotero/AMC