The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon 1×05 might be the spinoff’s most engaging episode yet, finally revealing how Daryl (Norman Reedus) ended up in Paris. The episode, titled “Deux Amours,” jumps back and forth between the present and past. While the flashbacks remain engaging and insightful, Daryl’s boat ride to France ultimately stems from a miscommunication.
It’s not surprising, really. The franchise has long established that humans are the apocalypse’s true enemies—zombies a close second. Here, Daryl Dixon 1×05 reinforces that point. Daryl’s revolt against cold-blooded murder is punished with a boat ride that threatens to turn him into walker chow. The pattern repeats in the present time. Genet (Anne Charrier) imprisons Daryl for trying to help Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi). The chaos sets him front and center. A welcomed change from the background role he primarily played in the series’ earlier episodes.
The Zombies Just Keep Getting Better and Scarier
The inter-spliced flashbacks in “Deux Amours” return Daryl to America. Somewhere on the coasts of Maine, he gets roped into a walker harvesting project to obtain gas for his motorcycle. Not only does it feel suspicious, it is suspicious. The man spearheading the whole thing is the Dr. Frankenstein-like scientist first glimpsed in Genet’s laboratory. He is looking for certain types of walkers, specifically “fresh” ones. This results in the flashback’s antagonist killing another survivor that Daryl befriended. Daryl’s rage is palpable. However, his attempt to out the offender results in them getting shipped to France for breaking the rules of fighting.
With the mystery of how Daryl got to France solved, the remainder of the flashbacks hammer home its main point: walkers are bad, but humans are worse. Daryl Dixon 1×05 reminds us just how terrifying variant walkers can be. Some expel acid while others can climb and tear out intestines with shocking ease. Not to mention, last week’s episode, Daryl Dixon 1×04, featured one smart enough to uncover Laurent’s hiding spot in front of the Eiffel Tower. Still, the spinoff suggests these aren’t adaptions of nature but of science. And if that wasn’t already clear enough, “Deux Amours” concludes with Genet’s minions injecting a walker with a mysterious adrenaline/strength serum in preparation to fight Daryl gladiator-style.
Daryl Dixon 1×05 Uses Flashbacks to Perfection
In the flashbacks, Daryl (and the audience) gets attached to TJ (Martin Martinez), a young man just trying to get back to his girlfriend. However, Daryl Dixon 1×05 is relentless in its theme, and human greed motivates TJ’s murder. It’s far from the first time Daryl has witnessed this kind of senseless violence. However, this particular instance offers substance for his relationship with Laurent.
The two have a tense interaction after Daryl learns the boy sabotaged their best hope of reaching The Nest. Much like with TJ, Daryl has found himself in the reluctant guardian role again. And while Daryl clearly cares for Laurent, the fear of him getting hurt or killed has Daryl pushing him away.
While earlier episodes sacrificed Daryl’s development for character introductions, Daryl Dixon 1×05 fixes that, providing glimpses into Daryl’s psyche and why he remains one of the franchise’s most internally conflicted characters. It still doesn’t quite explain why the spinoff is so incessant on keeping reminders of the flagship series separate. It takes Laurent’s incessant prying to get Daryl even to mention Judith, RJ, and other familiar names. “There’s a lady named Carol” also feels like a pretty big brush-off for somebody who is essentially Daryl’s platonic wife. Speaking of Carol…
Carol’s Radio Cameo Comes With Big Implications for TWD
Walking Dead fans were heartbroken when Melissa McBride announced her departure from what was originally a Carol and Daryl spinoff. As such, news of her return had fans clamoring, and Daryl Dixon 1×05 finally brings Carol back. Although her cameo is brief and only via radio, she drops a pretty big bomb. “Hey, Daryl. [static] came back” is one of the last things she says before the signal drops entirely, leaving Daryl’s “Who came back?” unanswered. Still, all glowing neon arrows point to Rick.
Rick and Michonne’s spinoff, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, will release in 2024. Carol’s half-heard tease may prove theories about overlapping spinoffs right. So, while the radio interaction provides excitement, it also reminds audiences of what they are missing: Carol and Daryl’s easy chemistry. Daryl’s sincerity and intensity when asking Carol, “Are you okay? Are you sure you’re okay?” confirms how much he cares about her. It’s all the more heartbreaking knowing he won’t return in one week as promised.