Emily Kinney says The Walking Dead was purposefully obscure a couple of potential romance between Beth and Norman Reedus’ Daryl. The singing farm girl and the stoic bowman shaped a bond in Season 4, rising nearer when separated from the remainder of their group following the Governor’s (David Morrissey) assault on their jail base that left the survivors scattered. Season Four episode “Still,” penned by now-showrunner Angela Kang, targeted solely on Beth and Daryl, and was on the time taken as an indication “Bethyl” was creating into what would have been Daryl’s first onscreen romance. He was later devastated when Beth was shot and killed by Dawn (Christine Woods) in Season 5 episode “Coda.”
“I just viewed it as a bond. Just like any new sort of relationship-slash-friendship, I feel like there’s always questions about where it’s gonna go or what kind of relationship it is,” Kinney mentioned on Skybound’s Talk Dead to Me podcast when requested how she interpreted the Bethyl dynamic. “And I mean, it really was just the beginning of them becoming friends, and being people they could lean on and trust. So I don’t really know, that’s how I feel. I think it’s vague on purpose.”
Asked why Daryl has but to take part in a romance, Kinney admitted that was a query higher suited to Reedus or the writers.
“I don’t know why. I mean, it is the apocalypse, and maybe some people it’s just not the right environment to start a relationship,” Kinney mentioned with fun. “So I don’t know, I feel like everyone reacts differently. Maybe some people would jump into a relationship, and maybe some people would be like, ‘Yeah, no.’”
In 2014, Reedus mentioned in a Reddit Q&A there was “definitely a taste of it in the air” when requested a couple of Bethyl romance.
As The Walking Dead flirts with one in all two potential romantic relationships for Daryl — the ‘Caryl’ coupling, a romantic growth between Daryl and finest pal Carol (Melissa McBride), or ‘Donnie,’ taking his friendship with Connie (Lauren Ridloff) to the subsequent degree — why hasn’t Daryl had a romance?
“Daryl’s such an interesting character that way because in some ways, when it comes to romantic relationships, he’s not a person that I think trusts easily, and a lot of that has to do with his backstory, which is filled with so much trauma. He was physically abused, as well as in other ways. There’s sensitivity there for him,” Kang defined to EW. “And I think he’s also just a person who it’s hard for him to trust anybody enough to connect with them really, really deeply. It’s a long, slow process for him in a lot of ways to get into any kind of a romantic thing, whereas I think most people these days think of it as just like, ‘Oh, you could have fun with somebody, and you can have sex with them and then it doesn’t have to mean anything.’”
“Daryl’s just not wired that way, and that tracks with conversations that Norman and I have had,” she added. “He doesn’t attach to people lightly enough that he can give it a chance easily, you know? So I think that that’s really a big part of it.”