The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon enticed fans with Paris being at the heart of the titular hero’s journey. Daryl Dixon 1×03 “Paris sera toujours Paris” finally makes good on that promise. The episode starts with shock value. Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Isabelle (Clémence Poésy) meet a deranged musician riding out the apocalypse by conducting a zombie orchestra (That’s right. A zombie orchestra). It’s disturbing and maybe even a little darkly funny. But while the practical effects team impresses yet again, the encounter is exactly what Daryl describes: “a stupid detour.”
From there, it’s off to Paris. Daryl Dixon 1×03’s primary focus is the introduction of Adam Nagaitis’ Quinn. Although Nagaitis’ performance and the seedy underground of Paris are compelling elements, soap opera-worthy twists and the repeat of Walking Dead tropes turn 1×03 into Daryl Dixon’s least interesting episode thus far.
The Paris Underground and Adam Nagaitis Are Daryl Dixon 1×03 Highlights
In keeping with Daryl Dixon’s unique and beautiful sets, 1×03 “Paris sera toujours Paris” continues the tradition. Instead of sprawling countryside and stone castles, the episode delves underground (literally). The Paris catacombs lead to Quinn’s nightclub. From drag performers and singers to fancy-looking cocktails and dancing, the scenery offers a bit of nightlife culture with a grungy, apocalyptic flare.
Quinn owns the establishment and seems to have done quite well for himself despite being left at a gas station in the apocalypse’s early days. Daryl Dixon 1×02 established Quinn as a cold, untrustworthy person with a toxic preoccupation with Isabelle, and it seems not much has changed. Nagaitis delivers a captivating performance only hampered by the twist that Quinn is Laurent’s father. It’s a move straight out of Star Wars that doesn’t add much besides drama. Plots can create suspense without overplayed reveals, the same way they can give characters complex relationships without a family relation. It’s a shame Daryl Dixon doesn’t seem to think so.
New Walker Variants Are Intriguing Universe Additions
The first real glimpse into Genet’s (Anne Charrier) evildoings is finally brought to light. When she’s not puffing on cigarettes and staring menacingly, she is apparently facilitating research on walkers. Audiences only get a taste of these experiments, witnessing a chained-up walker break free from its restraints before its brain explodes against the observation glass. It’s an effective bit of horror and gore, surely teasing bigger revelations down the line.
Daryl Dixon Still Doesn’t Know Who Its Main Character Is
Daryl Dixon 1×02 was an Isabelle-heavy episode that offered some necessary backstory about the character and her relationship with Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi). Normally, one would expect the next episode to spotlight another character or, better yet, return to Daryl. Instead, Daryl Dixon 1×03 pretty much remains Isabelle’s story. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it seems a bit out of place, given Daryl’s name is in the show title.
While Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) always remained at the forefront of Dead City, Daryl continues getting lost. Even here, he spends the majority of the episode’s last half standing in the background as Isabelle confronts Quinn. The series tries to make up for this by giving Daryl a rooftop-hopping action sequence, but it feels better suited for a Batman movie than The Walking Dead.
Meanwhile, Daryl and Isabelle’s relationship remains… interesting. While they’ve been nothing but platonic thus far, the show has been sprinkling in questionable moments. 1×02 featured a one bed scenario reminiscent of fan fiction, while 1×03 has them bickering with “married couple” energy. It’s no secret romance is not one of The Walking Dead’s strong suits, and Daryl, especially, has been neglected in that department, to the disappointment of many fans.
As of right now, it’s unclear what direction the spinoff plans to go in. So far, Isabelle and Daryl have functioned well as friends. They have more in common than meets the eye. Isabelle’s quote, “Maybe we’re the same that way. Broken until the word ended,” is the first poignant recognition of that and offers hope of a meaningful connection for a character that doesn’t open up to others easily.