Episode 5 of Daryl Dixon has just dropped and it is definitely one of the best episodes of the entire season so far. Norman Reedus truly shines in this action-packed thriller, full of intriguing dialogue and exciting moments. After this episode, it’s safe to say that Daryl Dixon has truly cemented itself as being the superior Walking Dead spin-off. Whilst some could argue that Fear The Walking Dead or Dead City deserve that title, we believe that this show better resembles everything that The Walking Dead universe is supposed to be. That being said, this is our Daryl Dixon episode 5 review.
Daryl Dixon is available now on AMC+. Episodes are released on Sundays with episode 6’s release date being next week on October 15, 2023.
Story – Context Through Flashbacks
There is almost too much to unpack here so let’s dive right in! The beginning of the episode is a bit slow, presenting us with back-and-forth scenes that switch between past and present. We learn a lot about how Daryl got to Paris, France and the obstacles he faced along the way. This episode is extremely well-written. Not only is the dialogue perfect, but this episode made us audibly gasp many times, something The Walking Dead had lacked for a while.
With mentions of the past, incredibly interesting flashbacks, and insane action scenes, episode 5 truly had it all. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting parts of the story and break them down.
Rick and Michonne Reference?
Daryl finds a working radio and immediately tries to contact Carol. They both check up on each other before Carol says something ominous that made every single Walking Dead fan shriek in excitement. She said ‘they came back’. Unfortunately, the connection cuts, and the flashback ends before we get any more context.
Immediately, Rick and Michonne are the ones who pop into our minds as the people who returned. However, could that be just a bit too obvious? We’ll have to wait for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live in order to find out! There was also some fan service sprinkled throughout the episode, with mentions of Ezekiel, Judith, Carol, and Connie.
Two Sides to Every Coin
One of the striking themes in this episode was the emphasis on there being two sides to everything. First, we get to see some great Islam representation go alongside the prevalent Christianity that has been present throughout the show. Afterward, we’re presented with a conflicted Isabelle, juggling her religious nature with her criminal-minded past self. She’s trying to kill Quinn but is unable to muster up the courage to do so. Ultimately, she does not go through with it due to Quinn heavily attempting to redeem himself which positively triggers the nun side of Isabelle.
However, the most significant example of said theme is when Daryl finds out that Laurent set their boat loose overnight. Not only do we get to see a raw, unfiltered, rage-filled Daryl, but we also see Laurent going against his religious path in an attempt to avoid being alone later. This dark side of Daryl is further explored in the flashbacks and the episode itself overall had a very gritty tone to it.
Action & Walkers
Throughout the episode, we are introduced to new systems being put in place to deal with walkers. In one of the flashbacks, we learn that Daryl was working for a group that experimented on walkers (this group is run by Genet). Daryl among others had to hunt fresh walkers and deliver them to the community in exchange for fuel. However, after learning that one of the people had killed a young man, Daryl’s heroic side arises.
Daryl and the murderer then get into a fight which directly violates one of the group’s main rules. As a result, they are both taken hostage on a ship, waiting to be walker bait. Luckily, Daryl is protected by some immense plot armor. Therefore, he was able to take down the people who held him hostage despite him coughing up blood a few seconds earlier. We know that this sounds a bit unrealistic, but we’ll give AMC a pass because the scene was incredibly shot, especially with Genet’s speech echoing in the background.
At the end of the episode, Daryl is thrown into a mini arena, and forced to defend himself against a mutated walker. The visuals were fascinating and we finally get to learn more about these experiments being conducted on the undead. We don’t see much of Codron but Genet’s antagonistic ways make up for it. The episode ends before we can see the fight unfold, but it’s safe to say that now we have so many questions that desperately need answering.
Pacing and Editing – Almost Perfect
Reviewing the pacing of episode 5 of Daryl Dixon was an easy task. Nothing felt rushed or too boring. In fact, every scene had a smooth tempo to it. Additionally, everything flowed in a very cohesive manner, allowing the audience to properly grasp the situations at hand. The transitions between past and present were well done, not ever leaving the audience puzzled or confused. Hopefully, this level of quality can continue in future episodes as well.
Cinematography and Music – Consistently Great
As always, the music in this episode was fitting and haunting. Each scene was accompanied by a score that felt bittersweet, properly setting the mood for what’s to come. However, the cinematography is truly astounding. Most establishing shots are eye-catching and the shots generally tend to be somewhat creative.
Of course, the camera angles aren’t are interesting as those from Better Call Saul, but you’ve got to give this show its flowers for making everything look so visually pleasing.
Final Verdict – One of the Best TWD Episodes in Recent Memory
Overall, we left the episode overwhelmed with emotion. We hadn’t felt this intense rush of anxiety, excitement, and joy while watching The Walking Dead in ages. Thankfully, this episode proved that you do not need over-the-top set-pieces or Deputy Rick Grimes to have a top-tier episode. The writing is commendable and the show itself simply feels like it truly is part of The Walking Dead. In Dead City, it felt as though some aspects were rushed or forced. For example, Negan and Maggie’s relationship completely reset and all the growth and progress were lost. In this show, we’re greeted with consistently captivating stories that make sense in the grand scheme of things.
This was our review of Episode 5 of Daryl Dixon.