This week’s episode of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon brought us some much sought after information and one giant clue as to the future of this universe. But, before we get to all of that, we’re going to do something a little different this week. We weren’t able to get a review out for Episode 4 “La Dame de Fer” last week so we’re going to start off with a brief recap and impression of it before we get into this week’s episode.
This episode primarily deals with Daryl and Isabelle’s frantic search to find Laurent after the chaotic ending of the previous episode. The two take a lucky guess that Laurent would be heading to the Eiffel Tower after a comment he had made earlier. Upon reaching the landmark, they find Laurent who had just unknowingly let out a horde of walkers who had been trapped below the tower. As Daryl and Isabelle fight off the walkers, Laurent is suddenly taken by masked men who drive off with him. One of these masked men is left behind and gets the unlucky honor of being interrogated by Daryl in the most Negan-like manor I’ve ever seen Daryl do. They find out that it’s Isabelle’s ex Quinn (Laurent’s father) who took him. They are given a secret way to get into his nightclub again.
After regrouping with Fallou and the rest of the group, they set off to the club and Daryl gets to have a badass catwalk fight with Quinn and almost gets to kill him but decides not to because of Laurent being nearby. The group escapes to a boat and Isabelle makes the sacrifice of going back to Quinn so that Daryl and Laurent can get out of Paris and finish their journey. Overall, this was a fantastic Daryl episode with a lot of great character moments, action sequences, and depth that reminded the audience of why we willed him to survive for the last decade.
And now we get to this week’s Episode 5 titled “Deux Amours.” The episode picks up on the boat as Daryl and Laurent slowly continue their journey to The Nest. Now, we finally get to see how Daryl made it from America all the way to France. It all started in Maine, where we find Daryl walking his motorcycle down a road all alone. A man stops him and asks if he needs fuel and if he is any good at using his crossbow. The two go head to an old car repair shop where Daryl is introduced to a group of individuals who all seem to be contract workers. The men are told by a French doctor that they will get a pint of ethanol per walker head they can retrieve — a simple task for Daryl. The reason for this request is not disclosed to them.
In the present, Daryl and Laurent make camp for the night with the boat driver. Daryl shows Laurent how to fish and prepare the fish to be cooked. Laurent shares how much he misses Isabelle and Daryl tells Laurent about his loved ones back home in America that he misses, like Judith and RJ. Meanwhile, Isabelle wakes up in Quinn’s fortified mansion. Quinn tries to appeal to Isabelle who seems to be a shell of her former self now that she’s returned. Once alone, it’s revealed that she has a small shiv. It’s not clear what she plans to do with it.
We then return to Maine, where Daryl begins to connect with one of the young men working with him. He teaches him how to chop wood. Later, Daryl goes to the radio communication room. On a call, he connects with a voice that all fans will cheer when they hear it — Carol. The two catch up as Daryl asks how life is going at the Commonwealth. Carol says everything is fine but that she misses her best friend. As the transmission begins to cut out we get a jaw-dropping reveal: “Hey, Daryl … came back.” As Daryl frantically says “Who came back, Carol? Who came back?” the line goes dead, and we’re left with the exciting thought of who just came back to the Commonwealth.
In the present, Daryl and Laurent awaken to their boat captain being attacked by a walker. As he dies, he tells Daryl the way to continue their mission and they decide to bury him and pray for him. When Daryl goes to retrieve the boat, it’s gone, and he immediately freaks out on Laurent who very obviously cut the rope that tethered it. Laurent admits to Daryl that he didn’t want Daryl to leave once they got to The Nest because everyone else in his life has left him.
The young boy Daryl befriends turns up as a walker and Daryl realizes he was killed by one of the other men. This causes Daryl and the other man to be detained and thrown onto a cargo ship filled with the French doctor’s walker experiments that is setting sail to an undisclosed location. Daryl and the man quickly devise an escape plan and manage to free the walkers from their cages, sending the ship into chaos. They find a lifeboat, but only Daryl makes it on as an explosion goes off on the ship. This leaves Daryl knocked out cold on top of the overturned lifeboat where we find him in the premiere.
As Daryl and Laurent trek through the woods, they are captured by soldiers and brought to a jail cell. There, they come face to face with Codron and Genet. Quinn and Isabelle arrive, and it becomes evident that Quinn has been sold out to Genet. Daryl is thrown from his cell into an arena with tons of spectators above him. Genet gives a speech to the masses as Daryl comes face to face with one of her walker experiments, forced to fight like a gladiator as the episode comes to an end.
Every penultimate episode comes with shocking reveals and setups for the finale. In this case, we get the mystery of Daryl’s arrival in France unraveled and a shocking mention of an unknown member of Daryl’s group returning to the Commonwealth. Over these last few episodes, Daryl has been put in the spotlight and allowed to shine and develop like he was never able to in the original series. Seeing Norman Reedus able to actually act and emote and show off his fight choreography is something that I have been waiting for as a longtime fan. Furthermore, seeing Daryl and Laurent go through their own emotional journey this episode brought back Daryl’s humane and caring side that is sometimes forgotten about.
With all the characters now in the same place and the multiple story threads crashing together, the season finale next week is sure to bring the excitement. Having now been through almost two of these new spinoff series, I am extremely pleased with this new direction for the franchise and the idea that both of these shows have been renewed for a second season. And who knows, maybe that mystery person returning to the Commonwealth will lead to some crossovers in the future?
Featured images courtesy of Emmanuel Guimier/AMC
'The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon' 1x04-1x05 - 8/10