To have Daryl by your side in a world where everything is out to get you is undoubtedly a blessing. But has anyone ever stopped to wonder what the hero we love, admire, and maybe even fear a little bit really wants? While the season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is kind enough to provide a home to the tired pilgrims, the shepherd has a a few miles to wander yet. Belted by a range of complex emotions that the Mother series was too feeble to hold, the spin-off aimed to celebrate Daryl Dixon’s puzzling depths. In the end, was it a journey worth taking for the show and its gray hero?
Does Daryl Survive The Cage Match?
Just the fact that Daryl was handed an ax to give the audience the illusion of a fair fight between the uninvited American and the juiced-up undead proves just how little Genet knows Daryl. With the crowd cheering for our hero’s ghoulish victory, the dictator’s grip loosens a bit more. All she wanted was to win over the French population teetering between her savage reign and the miracle promised by the Union of Hope. It’s only in the direst of circumstances that two people of wildly antithetical mindsets find a common cause to fight for. And if what’s at stake is life itself, there’s no reason Quinn and Daryl can’t have each other’s backs as even more growling super-zombies are unleashed on them. Without Fallou and Simone’s timely intervention, it might’ve been entirely impossible for Daryl to make it out alive. Unconditional kindness truly is infectious, though. At least for people like Daryl, Quinn, and Isabelle—fundamentally different but tied together by one common thread—a compelling desire to reject their differences and unite against the greater evil.
How Do Daryl, Isabelle, And Laurent Escape?
It’s been quite evident throughout the six episodes of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, that the primary objective of each series of events is to support the underlying theme of unity against all odds. It couldn’t have been easy for Daryl, someone who’s taken lives for much less, to feel a sense of empathy for a man who’s so remarkably easy to loathe. But he recognizes that even someone like Quinn is capable of love, however fuelled by his narcissistic impulses that love may be. The thing about a man like Quinn is that he truly believes that he has Isabelle’s best interests at heart. What he’s terrified of discovering, if he even dares to look inward, is the hatred he feels for himself—something he’s been attempting to soothe by being redeemed in Isabelle’s eyes.
The unimaginable pain of having his hand chopped off and turning into a pale undead are the expenses he’d happily bear as long as Isabelle gets to know of his sacrifices. Isabelle’s long-forgotten klepto inclinations do come in handy when the need arises. But a stolen key doesn’t immediately promise freedom. The miracle child coddled all his life won’t be spared the rite of passage that’d help him internalize the one complex territory of faith—God forgives the sins that are necessary. The man Laurent struck to save Isabelle wasn’t his father anymore; he was hardly even a person. But it must’ve been a grueling journey for Laurent to transcend the bounds of innocence that’d only hold him back in a world such as this.
Why Does Codron Have A Change Of Heart?
Surviving in a post-apocalyptic world doesn’t leave a lot of room for deep personal conversations. The makers of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon are impressively aware of the fact that sometimes getting to know one another comes in phases. How could Isabelle, someone who hasn’t known Daryl for as long as we have, have known that his grandpa selfishly leaving his pregnant wife behind and giving his life for the French in the war was when the seed of generational abuse was planted in the Dixon family? And how can a nun resist a confessional conversation and not come clean about the lie she’d told Daryl to make him stay? But that’s water under the bridge. Daryl doesn’t regret staying back and helping out Isabelle and Laurent.
The man who offers to sacrifice his own life when Codron and Genet’s goons stab Isabelle and the towering Guerrier holds a gun to Laurent’s face is not a man who can hold a grudge for something that inconsequential. It may not be the case always, but when a furious man is out for blood with the sole motive of avenging a wrong that was done to his loved one, chances are, he has a heart. And it’s that very heart that Laurent recognizes as he looks straight at Codron’s trembling finger on the trigger and reminds him that God loves him, too. Killing a kid wasn’t Codron’s forte. And killing the kid who holds hope itself in the palm of his hand—the hope that is keeping a chunk of his country’s population going—was not something he could bring himself to do. After all, there’s hope left for the menacing Guerrier.
Will Daryl And Carol Reunite?
For an antagonist to send chills down your spine without having nearly as much screen time as the rest of the recurring characters, they’d have to be something special. And Genet is just that special, in her own way. It may be an age-old trick for actors to smile without a hint of emotion in their eyes in order to communicate just how terrified of them one should be, but there’s something about Genet’s blood-curdling smile that surpasses that. One thing is for sure, though. Just how little we know about this enigmatic woman’s motives and the pursuit of establishing her dominance only adds to the fear she commands every time she’s on screen. What she wants, however, is hardly a mystery anymore. The hope that Laurent represents is a threat to the reign she’s determined to establish in France. She may already wield a lot of power, but her dictatorship will only be stable once all of France falls to its knees. As long as Laurent is alive and the Union of Hope nurtures the future usher of humanity’s revival, something Codron will pay dearly for ensuring, Genet won’t get what she truly desires.
The journey from the safe cradle of the convent to the loving arms of the Nest hasn’t been an easy one for Laurent. But it’s been one that has shown him the raw beauty and the ugly severity of the world he’s believed to be able to protect. The Nest isn’t at all what Daryl had imagined. And neither is Losang, the leader of the Union of Hope, with whom Daryl might just have a lot in common. While Isabelle recuperates in a place that feels like home and Laurent gets to be a kid again, Daryl can’t help but have one foot out the door. It’s not that you don’t immediately recognize the chemistry and the longing in every look exchanged between Daryl and Isabelle, but there’s someone else he believes is family, someone who’s waiting for him in a place he believes is home. Being a man who’s given his all for a strange country and its people, Losang is perhaps the only one who truly understands Daryl’s dilemma. But he’s also a man whose perspective isn’t limited to the fight he’s surrendered his life to. What he sees in Daryl is his fear.
The fear of acknowledging just how much he’s come to care about Isabelle and the little boy who’s only there because Daryl’s been more of a father to him than his own father ever was. The fear of breaking the promise he’d made to Carol and accepting that the new life he’s found may just be where he belongs. While there’ve been many conversations around a possible romantic angle between Daryl and Carol, at least on a perceivable level, the two have always seemed to have a platonic friendship. However, one cannot say the same about Isabelle and Daryl. When a man who’s never been much of a romantic steals glances from across the room and a nun seems more than willing to leave her vows if it means he’d stay, it’s rather obvious that they mean more to each other than Daryl’s willing to accept. What he opts for instead is a home-bound boat, leaving behind a woman and a child who’ve gotten a bit too used to having him in their lives. But not before he makes a stop at his grandfather’s grave and mourns the chain reaction of loss one man’s mistake had started.
Granted, Daryl’s first-hand experience with what abandonment does to people is pulling him back to the life he had left to see what the world had in store for him. But at the same time, his trauma is blinding him to the fact that he is abandoning the two people who’ve grown to love him as their own. With the boat in sight and the blood of walkers smeared on his face, only the grandness of the Atlantic separates the two worlds Daryl’s torn between. But Laurent isn’t ready to let go of the father he’s found in Daryl. It’s unlikely that Daryl will be able to look at the pain in his eyes and break his heart by setting sail. But as the episode’s ending suggests, Carol’s embarked on her own mission to locate her friend and bring him back. With the news of Daryl Dixon Season 2 that’ll give us more of Melissa McBride buzzing around The Walking Dead town, Daryl will have to choose the family and the fight he feels a greater responsibility and attachment to. It’s also possible that the two worlds will collide, and Carol will be assisting the Union of Hope in helping Laurent grow up to be the man who’s prophesied to save humanity.