I think we can all agree that this season of The Walking Dead so far has been nothing short of amazing. Within six episodes now, we have seen surprising deaths, Michonne slicing up walkers, and Rick going crazy. Everyone’s favorite redneck Daryl Dixon, however, hasn’t missed a beat himself with his best moments shining through lately. Why do we love this guy so much? It’s time to “come in for the real thing” and find out!
Probably the perfect weapon in a zombie apocalypse, the crossbow is one of the only ranged weapons on the show that keeps hunting for walkers as silent as possible. Not only that, Daryl can always reuse the arrows and would always be making more when away from the group during the second season. Carl seemed to take after this approach by adding a homemade silencer to his gun. Still, nothing beats a weapon like this with a fair bit of accuracy on your side.
Taking a page from Clint Eastwood Westerns, the poncho suits Daryl quite well. This ain’t just for fashion either. You can stay surprisingly warm during the winters while keeping dry in the rain. “Simple but effective” is the motto to take after in the world of The Walking Dead and this defines it in spades. If there’s one thing Daryl knows how to do, it’s to survive with what little resources there are available.
Mr. Boondock Saints
A lot of folks in my generation were first introduced to actor Norman Reedus in the college cult classic The Boondock Saints. I personally loved the film yet didn’t see Reedus in anything else until I started watching The Walking Dead. It was at that point I knew I would be a fan of the show and that Daryl would become one of my most-liked characters.
While shooting for this season, Reedus let out the possibility of a third Saints film with him reprising his role as Murphy MacManus. It’s good to see that despite his success on this show, he hasn’t forgotten about his most popular movie role or the people he worked with.
Tough Bastard with a Heart of Gold
Despite the tough exterior and ear necklace, Daryl showed a sweet and compassionate side in Season 2 during the search for Sophia. It was at this time that Daryl and Carol bonded through a story the former told about the Cherokee Rose.
“It’s a Cherokee Rose. The story is that when American soldiers were moving Indians off their land on the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee mothers were grieving and crying so much ’cause they were losing their little ones along the way from exposure and disease and starvation. A lot of them just disappeared. So the elders, they said a prayer; asked for a sign to uplift the mothers’ spirits, give them strength and hope. The next day, this rose started to grow where the mothers’ tears fell. I’m not a fool enough to think there’s any flowers blooming for my brother, but I believe this one bloomed for your little girl.”
Why Daryl, you cultured softie you! It’s also worth mentioning that the Cherokee Rose is the state flower of Georgia where The Walking Dead takes place. It has become a symbol of not only Daryl but the show’s theme of keeping hope alive.
Everyone Else is Better with Him Around
This side of Daryl didn’t fully show itself until this current season. With Shane gone, Daryl became Rick’s “right-hand man” thanks to his hunting skills. The season premiere showed the group working cohesively as a unit with everyone pulling their weight to take out walkers and survive. I want to say Daryl made a major impression on everyone’s ability to step up.
We can also thank Daryl for turning two particular characters around; Carol and Carl. Carol was nothing more than the whiny mother until forming a bond and becoming a love interest for our favorite guy. As mentioned earlier, Carl made himself a silencer for his gun which is a clear taking after of the aforementioned badass crossbow. The most recent episode, “Hounded”, also had a nice scene with the two sharing stories on how each other’s mothers died.
Nanny of the Year
This pretty much speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I’m quite certain the moment Daryl picked up the baby, feeding her, and calling her “little asskicker”, every woman on the planet swooned in unison. For an episode that had him shining bright already, this moment from “Say the Word” brought Daryl out as someone who genuinely cares for the well-being of the group as well as a surrogate leader without Rick around.