2:24pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead': When Will Daryl and Merle Reunite?
Merle believes his brother, Daryl, is alive on AMC's The Walking Dead -- but how soon will the Dixon siblings reunite?
After finding Andrea and Michonne in the woods and bringing them back to Woodbury, one of tough-guy Merle's (Michael Rooker) first questions for his fellow cohort was about his brother, Daryl (Norman Reedus). Knowing he was still alive the last time Andrea (Laurie Holden) saw him -- and perhaps feeling a soft spot for Merle considering she lost her sister, Amy -- the Woodbury newcomer supplies Merle with a roadmap to Hershel's farm, the last time she knew the whereabouts of Rick's group.
The Governor (David Morrissey), however, outright rejects Merle's plea to find his younger brother, perhaps realizing that Merle is too valuable of an asset to Woodbury's safety -- and entertainment considering he's the rock star of the town's gladiator battles.
It puts Merle in an interesting position, especially now that Michonne (Danai Gurira) has parted with the creepy community, and begs the question: how soon until Daryl learns that his often racist big brother is not so far away from his new home at the prison?
What will their relationship look like now that Daryl has truly stepped up to become Rick's right-hand man and an overall good guy who cares not only about himself but so much about the rest of the group?
"There's a role playing game -- big brother, little brother -- that still affects them as adults," Reedus tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Daryl's conflict is not just can he and Merle get along but is he still the same guy Merle had his big thumb on and does he still want to be that guy?"
"Now that Merle is gone, it's the first time that Daryl is turning into something that Merle was afraid he was going to become: Daryl is becoming his own man," Reedus continues.
When -- and if -- the brothers are reunited, could Daryl -- like Andrea -- become entranced by the normalcy (running water, a thriving community) that exists at Woodbury?
"When the brothers are reunited, certain things happen and that will be the struggle: Does Daryl want to be like Merle anymore?" Reedus says. "It's a different world and there are no second chances and that causes conflict on both sides."
Rooker, meanwhile, proved by staying put in Woodbury after the Governor vetoed even a solo run to search for Daryl, that he's loyal to the twisted leader with a collection of severed heads in his apartment. But how long could that last? Could Merle jump ship when the two communities likely square off?
"Merle is for Merle," Rooker says of his character's alliances. "If there's any human being on this Earth at all he cares about, it's his brother. Life is too short nowadays to be politically correct; we can be eaten at any moment. You don't know where Merle is going to put his cards."
What do you think will happen when and if the Dixon brothers reunite? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.