The Walking Dead: Deconstructing Daryl

Daryl Dixon short hair

We first met Daryl Dixon in Season 1 Episode 3 of The Walking Dead. I noticed that it took a couple more episodes in, that he became a series regular. By regular, I mean his name in the opening credits.

I have never read the comic books per se, but I did go to the website and read the synopsises hoping to pick up clues as to what happens to the characters. From what I know from reading many blogs dedicated to TWD, Daryl Dixon is an addition to the tv series but he does not exist in the comic world.

I think (and most fans of the show would agree with me) that Daryl Dixon is a welcome addition. He is Rick’s right-hand man and brother from another mother. Daryl’s character is not just a sidekick to leading man, Rick… the little glimpses that we know about his backstory is very interesting.

Early on we learned that Daryl came from an abusive home. His father did a number on him, we’ve seen the physical scars Daryl carries around on his back. His brother, Merle bullied him throughout his childhood and even as an adult.

Even with that, Daryl remained faithful to Merle. Heck Merle’s crap talk helped Daryl save his own life when he fell down a precipice and impaled himself with his own bow.

Daryl Dixon is the poster child for survivors. His strength is controlled, he doesn’t lash out unless provoked and he is the logical side to Rick. Even though he doesn’t always agree with Rick’s decisions, he doesn’t fight with him. He does his part and adjusts to suit.

The thing that touches us is that Daryl has such a big heart. He is calm and cool under pressure (except in season 7 where his reaction got Glenn killed). Daryl really showed us his heart in Season 1 when Sophia went missing. He tirelessly led the search party to find the little girl, and even with his excellent tracking skills the result was unsuccessful.

Daryl was the beacon of hope when Carol almost gave up on finding her little girl. The scene between the two of them when he told her the story about the flower was simply beautiful.

Daryl’s bond with Carol left us fans rooting for them; even though he could use a shower and eats anything that moves… worms, possums, dogs, we want him to have some kind of intimate relationship with another human.

Besides Carol, Daryl bonded with Beth. Fans held their breaths and
waited for a kiss or some little nugget showing that Daryl had a working penis. But that never came. His latest bond was with Denise, but since she is gay, their relationship was more brother/sister like, which was simply adorable.

Both Beth and Denise died and Daryl took their deaths to heart. We saw him grieve and then channeled that emotion into revenge.

This week’s episode featured Daryl after Negan takes him into his camp. Not only does Daryl have to fear for his life, but he has to deal with the fact that his action caused Negan to kill Glenn.

From what we know about Daryl, he’ll be shouldering that burden along with dealing with the death of two of his people. I think we’ll really see Daryl being pushed to the limit this season. Get ready for a heart-wrenching Daryl story arc this season.

Why We Love Daryl Dixon

His big heart has gotten him into trouble on several occasions.

He helped Dwight and his people and they stole his crossbow and bike and left him in the forest. Later, Dwight killed Denise with Daryl’s crossbow and attacked Daryl, and Abraham’s army. Dwight was instrumental in capturing Daryl and the survivors for Negan’s crew.

He tried to defend Rosita by attacking Negan causing Negan to “shut that shit down” by killing Glenn.

When t
hey visited the Hilltop, he jumped in and offered to take out Negan.

“Boogie man ain’t got shit.”

That action helped put Daryl’s people in Negan’s crosshairs and the rest is history we are waiting to see unfold.

He was mean to Carol when she tried to stop him from trying to find Sophia. He called her a “dumb bitch” which was kind of funny.

Daryl helped prolong T’Dog’s life by giving him Merle’s drugs when T’Dog ripped his arm open while hiding from walkers.

He almost lost it when he and Carol went on a rescue mission to save Beth and Carol was hit by a car.

Daryl Dixon is not all emo with his dirty grunge style. He has his funDaryl Dixon long hairny moments too.

Daryl was the first person to name Judith, he called her “Lil Asskicker.”

He stepped up as quasi-leader when Rick was consumed with grief after Laurie died.

In episode 610, he got his ass handed to him by Jesus. Those scenes were like the Rick and Daryl comedy hour.

Daryl makes demands in the funniest of ways. When Daryl and his crew visited the Hilltop, they offered to eliminate Negan, Dixon demanded, “We want food, medicine and one of them cows.”

The first time they were introduced to the Alexandria community, Daryl shot a possum and told them he brought dinner.

In conclusion, so far Daryl hasn’t let circumstances change him. We just got to see a different side of him. It always comes back to his great big heart. He is such a good play off of Rick, who have completely let situations change him, sometimes to the point that he is completely lost.

Daryl, on the other hand, has remained steady and strong. It will be interesting to see where this season takes him.

The Walking Dead airs on Sunday at 9/8c on AMC. If you’re like me and not a cable subscriber, you can watch the episodes online for a limited time one hour after airtime courtesy AMC.



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