The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon might have Daryl’s name in the title, but so far, he hasn’t really been the main focus. The series relies on fans’ past understanding of the character to explain his current actions and motivations. Everyone knows Daryl (Norman Reedus) is a grumpy loner. Thus, it’s unsurprising that he’s reluctant to get involved with Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi). Daryl Dixon 1×02 “Alouette” continues the trend of (mostly) sidelining Daryl to focus on his newest companion, Isabelle (Clémence Poésy).
Perhaps taking a nod from Fear the Walking Dead, 1×02 “Alouette” provides a glimpse of the very beginnings of the zombie apocalypse in Paris. It also begins to explain the whos and whats of Laurent’s origins. And while it all remains intriguing and dynamic, the similarities to The Last of Us may cause more than a few eyebrow raises.
Isabelle Gets Some Time in the Spotlight
The most exciting moments of Daryl Dixon 1×02 center around Isabelle. Flashbacks return to a time when reanimating corpses and bloody bites were completely new and scary. Viewers experience the early moments of the outbreak through Isabelle’s eyes as she witnesses panic and chaos on the Paris subway. It’s equally engrossing and terrifying, especially with Walking Dead fans already knowing what becomes of anyone unlucky enough to be chomped on.
Isabelle also evolves into a more complicated character than once thought. The seemingly innocent nun has a bit of a past. While it’s not exactly the most unique trope (American Horror Story did a similar thing with Jessica Lange’s Sister Jude), it’s still compelling. Isabelle’s motivations for keeping Laurent safe become clearer; she’s his aunt, and the strange circumstances surrounding his birth make the idea of him being humanity’s savior a lot more plausible.
Daryl Dixon’s Newest Characters Are Engaging but Need More Time
Daryl, Isabelle, Laurent and Sylvie (Laïka Blanc-Francard) cross paths with new survivors living in an old preschool, more specifically, a group of kids ranging from young children to teenagers. Sure, it’s got a Lord of the Flies vibe, but it offers something relatively unique to the franchise. The Walking Dead has often been criticized for killing off young characters and dashing hopes of humanity’s future in the process. Here, the very opposite is true.
The preschool scenes offer Laurent a chance to socialize with other children for the first time in his life while adding a dash of lightheartedness to offset the episode’s early tension and more difficult themes. Kim Higelin steals the show as the competent and likable teenager Lou who has fan-favorite potential if given the chance to shine. It’s unclear if this group’s story ends with Daryl’s departure, but leaving them behind might be a mistake.
Daryl Dixon 1×02 Goes Full Last of Us Mode
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon has been drawing comparisons to The Last of Us since its first trailer back in July 2023. While Daryl Dixon 1×01 stood on its own, 1×02 made the similarities hard to overlook. Laurent is prophesized to be the key to humanity’s revival, and the flashbacks finally offer some insight into why. The scene in question is practically ripped from The Last of Us (Laurent’s mother is bitten while pregnant and turns into a zombie mid-birth). It makes one wonder exactly why Daryl Dixon chose to mirror it so closely, especially with Dead City already sparking familiar conversations after the reveal of its sewer walker that did more than just resemble The Last of Us‘ rat-king.
With Melissa McBride’s limited role in the series dropping the Carol and Daryl spinoff to just Daryl, the similarities may stem from story rewrites. Daryl becoming the reluctant, grumpy companion to the young Laurent might have felt less like a spin on Joel and Ellie had Carol been involved. The comparison may be unwarranted without knowing how Laurent’s story will play out. Regardless, Daryl Dixon 1×02 offers an intriguing bit of backstory that is sure to have viewers tuning in next week.