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Forums » Other TV Shows » Walking Dead: All About Daryl

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  • Fluids
    Community Member
    335 Posts

    Walking Dead: All About Daryl Link to this post

    So what’s up with Daryl Dixon? How do you see him? What are your thoughts about him?

    He has great qualities:

    • An exceptional survivalist, forward observer, tracker and fighter.

    • He is very reliable to carry out a task, tenacious in his efforts for carrying out or going above and beyond what has been tasked. Examples include tracking Sophia ('Cherokee Rose', 'Chupacabra'), assisting Rick countless times and even saving his life a few times ('Home', 'Killer Within').

    • He possesses a cautious, unflinching resolve to face whatever is out there in the Apocalypse.

    • He has respect and loyalty for solid leadership. The minute he suspects this is weak and he can't control it, he will opt for leaving the group ('Judge, Jury and Executioner')

    The stuff that he’s working on:

    • I think Daryl suffers from an emotional and social void. Season 4, Episode 12: 'Still' did a wonderful job of relaying this to us. He needs to build and grow those parts of himself.

    • He lacks the ability to express feelings of anything to others because his role model was Merle and he basically had to raise himself since both of his parents were alcoholics. He is learning slowly how to do this and distinguishes himself from Merle regarding what he *feels* is wrong behavior ('Chupacabra'). Merle liked to rob folks; drink; use drugs and beat people up. (Some of this is in episode 'Home' and talked about in 'Made to Suffer'.)

    In Season Four, Episode 12, Daryl has finally been given a means through a moonshine filled fight to truly express his feelings to someone else. A lifetime of having to keep his feelings to himself is hard to overcome.

    Daryl's release of emotion is a combination of:

    • Guilt (for not helping others more during the battle and for stop looking for the Governor with Michonne before the battle),
    • Loss (for Rick and crew),
    • Helplessness (a lifetime of feeling lost and directionless),
    • Frustration (at his inability to express his emotions) and
    • Rawness from using this as almost a first time to express his emotions to someone else.

    This helps him bond with Beth and they are closer and understand each other a little better now. (They also had a hugging moment together in '30 Days Without An Accident' upon Beth hearing from Daryl of Zach's demise.)

    • He’s socially inept because no one taught him what was or wasn’t socially acceptable, so he does things like give others puzzled hard stares; urinate in the same room as a lady; licks his fingers whilst eating before shaking someone’s hand, etc… (Ironically certain things he does like take possessions off of dead bodies are now deemed necessary from a survivability stand point. However, even in this apocalyptic setting there are social dos and don't s he still has to learn.)

    • He’s indicated and demonstrated he's a mean drunk.

    • He has to learn to do things to relax a little and have some fun.

    His horrible upbringing and life long self reliance prepared him for physically surviving
    the zombie apocalypse better than most people.

    It has sometimes given him a seeming hatred or awkwardness towards women who show concern or care for him. I think this comes up to due to his background with his mother and being raised by Merle.

    Some quick examples of this:

    • Calling Carol a 'stupid bitch' ('Pretty Much Dead Already') when she is concerned about him going out wounded to look for Sophia.

    • Massaging Carol's shoulders and then uncomfortably stopping to get back to the group ('Seed')

    • Teaching Beth how to shoot a crossbow or railing at her during their game of 'I Never' ('Still')

    He is learning slowly how to change socially and emotionally and every step of the way he becomes richer in characterization.

    A lot of development we went through as children Daryl is going through now which is why he identifies well with Carl and why he seems immature in some ways or child like.


    Daryl is showing his emotions of mourning for Beth and he is getting in touch with them. Beth did get through to him. She gave him hope in people. I think she symbolizes to him the innocence of a young person who was comfortable knowing she hadn’t much time on this earth, however she was always hopeful of the outcome of mankind. Daryl indeed has drastically changed since S1E4. I love his development. He has more dimensions then a lot of characters.

    His a true fighter for humanity. Daryl’s response of 'We aren't dead' to Rick's 'We are the Walking Dead' until we get through this. I believe is meant to be reactionary positive. He is slowly taking up the mantel Beth had about trusting humanity. The fact that they are survivors doesn’t mean they are dead; it means they are human. This is a mentality he has over on Rick. Perhaps Rick will come around if Aaron proves to be a bringer of good things with a large camp full of good people who have made all of this work.

    What are you thoughts about Daryl? Could he ever lead a group of his own (he did so briefly when Rick had gone off the deep end in 'Say The Word')?

    Season Four references:

    Will the band of marauders have influence over Daryl and make him into a bad character?

    More about that here:

    and here:

    Full List of Dead Threads on The TV Critic:
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    Walking Dead: All About Daryl:
    Walking Dead: Bob Stookey
    Walking Dead: Character Development through Story Arcs:
    Walking Dead: A Cup of Joe:
    Walking Dead: Daryl's Dilemma:
    Walking Dead: The Funeral Home:
    Walking Dead: Greene Family Thread is Waning
    Walking Dead: Luke, Molly and the Black Shoe:
    Walking Dead: On Frank Darabont:
    Walking Dead: Psycho Lizzie:
    Walking Dead: Rhetorical Questions you have posed to yourself you would like to share with everyone (comments?)
    Walking Dead: Robin Reads the Walking Dead:
    Walking Dead: Season Five Speculation
    Walking Dead: Season Four Final Episode 'A' Speculation:
    Walking Dead: Show Axioms:
    Walking Dead: The Silver Spoon:
    Walking Dead: Terminus eh?:
    Walking Dead: The Walking Dead Vs. Breaking Bad:
    Walking Dead: The Train Tunnel Scene (deconstructed):
    Walking Dead: Walking Dead Novels:
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  • TheTVCritic
    Forum Moderator
    172 Posts

    Re: Walking Dead: All About Daryl Link to this post

    I was always a bit surprised that he got on with Rick so well considering what happened to Merle.

    That shows a very understanding attitude. Perhaps also that he doesn't envy the position of leader. He's happy to let someone else make speeches and worry about the water supply.

    The big question of course, amongst fans on other sites, is his sexuality. Is the absence of romance with Carol because of changes in showrunner or something more? Once reunited will they finally get together? Or would he be drawn to someone else or indeed be gay?

  • Fluids
    Community Member
    335 Posts

    Re: Walking Dead: All About Daryl Link to this post

    I added specific show examples in my previous post.

    I think the respect Daryl has comes from experiencing Rick’s persistent selflessness and concern for the survival for the group and the way he deals with outside survivors. Perhaps that same notion led him to side with Rick over Merle.

    Merle ultimately could have cost Daryl his life (if he went back to the Governor or gotten the both of them kicked out of Rick’s group.) I think Daryl would need to work on the way he communicates and interacts with different types of people before he would be ready to be a leader.

    Yes, sexuality. There’s a bunch of possibilities. Some things I thought of:

    •   He could be gay (maybe he doesn’t know it or is in denial of it?)
    •   Maybe he’s comfortable with being gay and not with other people knowing he’s gay?
    •   Perhaps he’s gay and hasn’t found the right guy?
    •   Maybe he’s straight?
    •   Is it possible he’s never had sex with anyone?
    •   Maybe he had a traumatic experience sexually that has damaged him in some way psychologically so he’s sexually uncomfortable?
    •   Could he just be extremely private or shy or even asexual?
    •   Maybe all he has known is prostitutes and has never romanced another?

    Now, if he’s that romantically underdeveloped then he’s going to have to go through a bit more emotional maturity to allow for that to happen. This would demand him having his emotions and feelings drawn out by someone who has had their character developed enough for him to trust or be comfortable being around that person. (Beth was able to get him to open up a little, however I think she became father confessor because she's Hershel's daughter.)

    The closest person to get him there quickly (if he's straight) is Carol. She’s a strong enough character to land Daryl. The reuniting scene of the two of them will get him to exhibit enough emotion to make that happen (and instill hope within him.)

    If he's gay we need him to meet and forge a rapport with another gay character. I think the closest equivalent to a gay male character that had some characterization on TWD was Milton. Milton would have been too cerebral for Daryl, not to mention Milton threw verbal rocks at Daryl in the episode 'Arrow on the Doorpost' during the meeting with the Governor.

    You have made some great points about show runners in Podcast S4E12. I think the show runners mark the changes in focus from action back to character development and in the pecking order of characters it's taken them a little while to get to Daryl.

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