I think people need to stop harping on how much Carol has done for Daryl, in reality she hasn’t done that much. People are always saying how she has reached out to Daryl and she was the only one reaching out to Daryl, truth is it is Rick that has reached out to Daryl from day one and has continued to do so.
Let’s be honest the Atlanta survivors opinion of Daryl was less than glowing until Rick showed up. Okay I’ll say that maybe they were judging him by what they knew of Merle, but no one in that camp reached out to him not even Carol. They were all perfectly willing to take what they could get from him (For example that deer he was hunting when we first meet him), but they certainly weren’t giving him any respect, fear maybe because he was a Dixon, but not respect.
Rick is the one who changed all that. Rick gives Daryl respect. Rick gives Daryl trust. Rick is the first one to do so, he has always treated Daryl as more than just another douchebag Dixon. Lori and Shane show exactly how much they ‘care’ about Daryl when they are sitting there calling Merle a douchebag in front of him and arguing against Rick going back to Atlanta. This is Daryl’s brother, his family; and their actions are both cruel and inconsiderate.
When Sophia is lost, Rick publicly puts Daryl in charge of the search. This is more than just Rick acknowledging Daryl’s skills, but an act of trust and respect. It is a statement to the group of Daryl’s value to them. Even at this point the only one reaching out to Daryl is Rick, Carol isn’t doing a thing except crying and moaning over a child she made no attempt to protect.
Daryl is the one who reaches out to Carol. That’s right Carol did not do any reaching out. Daryl did something nice for her, bringing her the Cherokee Rose and relating the legend of how the flower came to be to comfort Carol. When Sophia is finally found Daryl holds her when Rick puts Sophia down and then sits with her in the RV, again to comfort Carol. Thanks to Rick, Daryl finally begins to feel like he is worthy enough to reach out and be nice for once, to someone else in the group. Carol was the one most in need so she is the one he reached out to.
It is Rick all along that supported Daryl’s growth. I know all the ‘romantics’ don’t want to hear this because they are so set on getting Daryl hooked up with Carol. Daryl has not grown because of Carol, Daryl has grown because of Rick. Nothing romantic about it, Rick just treated Daryl like a man worthy of respect; And that gave Daryl the opportunity and encouragement to act like a man worthy of respect.
If Carol was to die tomorrow, Daryl would mourn her loss just like he mourned the loss of Dale but it is not going to make some profound impression on his life. She hasn’t done anything for him, he has done for her. And anything she does do, is simply her trying to hang on to him.
All Carol really has done is latched onto Daryl as a replacement for Ed and Sophia. That little ‘I won’t let you pull away’ speech was for Carol’s benefit, not Daryl’s. Daryl was completely right when he read Carol the riot act.