Ever since The Walking Dead Season 1, the franchise has often struggled to deliver satisfying season finales because the creatives were far more concerned about viewers tuning in for the next season.
With the impressive quality of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1, I was cautiously optimistic that the show would stick the landing.
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1 Episode 6 brought all of the season’s significant conflicts simmering to the surface while flawlessly planting seeds for The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 2.
It’s hard to believe that the season is already over, but AMC’s decision to cap the spinoffs at six episodes per season is probably to thank for the breakneck pace of it all.
Daryl’s journey to France has been chock-full of shocking encounters, but fighting in that arena must have been one of the most harrowing scenarios he’s ever faced.
The scientifically enhanced zombies were terrifying, but it’s clear that Genet’s scientist still has plenty of issues to iron out.
What should have been Daryl’s demise was more of a way for him to practice his kills because many of the zombies simply didn’t do what Genet or the scientist expected.
Can you imagine what was running through her mind after her kickass speech?
She was on a high as she buckled up to watch this battle unfold, so it was oddly satisfying watching her unease as her plan royally backfired.
If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know Daryl has been in many sticky situations; somehow, he always prevails.
We’ve learned never to count him out, and Genet and Codron got a front-row ticket to witness that in action.
The best part of the arena royale was Quinn being thrown in for good measure.
These two men have been at odds all season, but they realized they needed to lean on each other if they could get Isabelle and Laurent out of the building safely.
For the most part, they worked well together, which is surprising when you consider how much they hated each other upon their first meeting.
Their only thing in common was their dedication to saving Laurent and Isabelle.
The sad part about Quinn’s journey is that, although he seemed irredeemable, shades of good appeared in his final days alive.
Allowing his hand to be cut off in the name of saving people brought his arc full circle, and it’s just a shame we won’t witness any more of his antics on The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 2.
Laurent putting the zombie version of his father down wasn’t on my bingo card, but it needed to happen to allow the kid to realize just how dangerous the world outside of communities is.
One of the biggest problems with TWD: Daryl Dixon is in how it highlighted how everyone at the monastery could defend themselves and how Isabelle managed to go out into the zombie wasteland and survive.
Yet, on multiple occasions now, she’s struggled to fight the undead. Granted, both events have been people she knew, but still, she would have been dead if she didn’t have people like Daryl and Laurent around.
My biggest hope for Isabelle is that she won’t be sidelined on Season 2 because of Melissa McBride’s return.
If the franchise has taught us anything, we can have many characters at the wheel, and Isabelle is one of the best new characters in years.
Codron allowing Daryl, Laurent, Isabelle, and Sylvie to leave their fateful encounter was another left-field moment, but it highlighted that he was only interested in taking Daryl down.
Everything changed for Codron when he realized the order was to kill the kid. You have to be pretty evil to go to those measures, but there’s a part of Codron that was forever changed the day his brother died on The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1 Episode 1.
If he knew the truth, there’s a good chance he would have been fighting alongside Daryl to take Genet down.
The sad part is that Codron not following orders and returning to Genet might have sealed his fate.
I cackled when he blew the smoke on Genet, signifying that he wasn’t scared of whatever torture tactics her men were cooking up for him.
Mont-Saint-Michel. The Nest? A day’s walk north. Not even. Burn the truck. Easy to track.
Codron is the most surprising character of the season, and it’s thanks in large part to Romain Levi’s ability to play this man who is very much in the gray area.
My best guess is that Carol will touch down in France, hear about the drama at the arena, and head there, only to find herself crossing paths with Codron, who can point her toward the Nest.
Melissa McBride’s badass return as Carol was memorable for many reasons. Carol has proven to be resourceful when her friends are in danger.
She’s also cutthroat, which doesn’t bode well for Genet or anyone who gets in her best friend’s way.
There’s a good chance Carol will find out everything there is to know about the scientist and Genet before boarding a boat to France.
Carol is unpredictable when she’s pushed to the edge, and knowing that there’s a chance Daryl has been killed will drive her to do unthinkable things.
Anyone who gets in her way won’t live to tell the tale, and that’s very exciting as a longtime viewer.
The big question will be whether she can convince Daryl to return home to the Commonwealth because, as teased by those final scenes, he’s starting to ponder whether he should remain in France.
Isabelle: I just heard. You weren’t gonna say anything?
Daryl: I made a promise to them, just like I made to you.
Isabelle: Which you kept, and I appreciate it. But you also told me that you left Commonwealth to see what was out in the world. I think you found something. Maybe not what you were looking for, but…
Daryl: This has always been the story, ever since I washed ashore here.
Isabelle: What about Laurent? Are you going to leave without saying goodbye? Are you gonna abandon him, like your father did to you?
Daryl: This is not that.
Isabelle: I think you care about him… and I think it scares you. You think you’re escaping history by doing this, but you are not. You’re repeating it.
Daryl: You know, you believe what you believe, and I respect you for that. And this place feels like home to you, and I truly hope it is for both of you. But I have my own home to get back to.
Isabelle: Well, I’m glad we met. Godspeed on your journey.
One of the most prominent themes of the series so far is that everything happens for a reason, so finding the grave as he’s waiting for his boat, only for Laurent to show up and be attacked by walkers, leads to quite the dilemma.
Does Laurent being pursued by the walkers rule out the fact that he has immunity? It certainly rules out Daryl’s dream.
It’s still possible the walkers were only drawn to his voice, and for now, it will make Daryl think about whether he should stay in France or return to the U.S.
Carol did sound worried on the radio on The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1 Episode 5, so there’s a good chance that many things have happened following the series finale of The Walking Dead that will make it crucial for them to return home.
Daryl: I’m sorry. I, uh, didn’t mean to interrupt.
Isabelle: Wait. Can you help me? I can’t reach my back.
Isabelle: Is it that bad?
Daryl: It’s a pretty impressive battle wound for a nun.
Isabelle: I think you said “killer nun.”
Daryl: Killer nun.
Isabelle: Do you like it here?
Daryl: It’s not what I expected.
Isabelle: What did you expect?
Daryl: Bunch of Amish people running around. Straw hats, people churning butter, bonnets.
Isabelle: It hurts to laugh.
DaryI: I like it here. Yeah. Kind of grows on you. Feels like home.
For now, can we all take a moment to appreciate the creatives and stars for reinvigorating a dying franchise?
The Walking Dead: Dead City was the first step, but TWD: Daryl Dixon upped the ante somewhat.
All eyes will be on The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live to see if the franchise truly is back.
I feel bad talking about the franchise without addressing Fear the Walking Dead, but the first spinoff isn’t on the same level as these new series.
Man: Easy, lady. Don’t kill me.
Carol: Where’d you get the bike?
Man: I swear to God, I traded some shit for it.
Carol: With who?
Man: Some dudes. Camped back down the road a few miles. Go right when you see an old gas station.
Carol: If you’re lying, I won’t be back.
What are your thoughts on Carol’s return?
Do you think it spells curtains for Isabelle?
What’s your take on Daryl’s dilemma?
Hit the comments.
The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon Season 2 airs on AMC in 2024.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.