The sixth and final episode of Daryl Dixon is here which marks the end of season 1 of the show. With many questions left unanswered, viewers are eagerly tuning in to seek closure. The Walking Dead universe is vast, full of many spinoff shows, games, and more. Daryl Dixon has proven to be one of the better spinoff projects using this specific IP. We aim to dissect the finale’s story, plot, pacing, cinematography, and more as we recap the episode. That being said, this is our review of Episode 6 of Daryl Dixon.
Daryl Dixon is available now on AMC+. Season 2 has been confirmed but a release date is still undetermined.
Story – A Downgrade But Still Great
Overall, the writing has been consistently solid throughout the season. Despite there being a few elements that are lacking, for the most part, the dialogue and plot hold up immensely well. This review of episode 5 of Daryl Dixon will go through each and every aspect of the story, highlighting the most interesting parts.
One of the best parts of the episode is when we get some more context regarding Daryl’s backstory. We learn that his grandfather served in the army and died fighting in France. In fact, we even are treated to a scene where Daryl stumbles across the burial site of Americans, in which he finds his grandfather’s grave.
Although this little plot line came out of nowhere, it is fitting with the character of Daryl as he tends to be mysterious and doesn’t reveal much about his past. We get a lot of insight into the mind of Daryl, especially when Sylvie asks him if he’s ever been in love. He ignores the question but his eyes tell a whole different story. Both the audience and Daryl are reminded of Leah’s character from The Walking Dead. It also extends beyond that, making him remember everyone he has loved and lost including; Beth, Glenn, Rick, and his brother Merle.
Action Scenes & Walkers
The zombie threat just got a whole lot worse with Genet’s men shooting darts that mutate the walkers into crazed, uncontrollable monsters. Daryl and Quinn are forced to fight against said monsters in what was a very entertaining action-filled scene. There were many interesting and unique walker kills, testing Daryl’s creativity and strength simultaneously. We’ve come a long way from simply using the crossbow as Daryl now uses a mace as his weapon of choice. Well, in this instance, he used a flag and some chains. 10/10 improvisation skills.
Near the end of the episode, Daryl engages in a fight with a horde of walkers on the coast. During this, we are presented with combat that looks practically effortless for Daryl, signifying his endurance. On top of that, we got to see Laurent kill his first walker. In fact, there was an underlying theme of apostasy, which creates a great contrast with the theme of rebirth present at the beginning of the season.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to the antagonists of this show. First of all, there wasn’t much explanation regarding Madame Genet’s motivations and why she wanted to kill the child (Laurent). We do get a line or two of dialogue in the episode clarifying that Genet wants everyone alive to join her new world order. With Laurent alive, there are a number of French people who are not interested in Genet’s plans and would rather follow ‘The Messiah’ and build their own community at ‘The Nest’.
Unfortunately, things don’t quite add up. First, why is she so obsessed with Laurent when in reality he and his influence are practically harmless to her and her cause? Secondly, she wasted an awful lot of resources in these scuffles with Daryl, Laurent, Isabelle, and the others, when she could have been expanding and recruiting.
All in all, we feel as though we could have gotten a bit more context behind Genet’s thoughts in order to fully understand her actions. Regardless, she definitely is an intriguing villain whom we cannot wait to see more of in season 2.
Furthermore, Romain Levi’s character Codron, and his motivations are unclear. The plot twist of him suddenly turning against the militia and killing them in order to spare the person who murdered his brother is extremely unrealistic. Especially seeing as how he spent the entire season chasing Daryl and doing whatever it took to kill him. He could have refused to kill the boy, but still killed Daryl. It is a bit confusing and feels out of place as we didn’t really get to explore the soft side of his character. While reviewing episode 6 of Daryl Dixon, we noticed that Codron suddenly showing mercy in favor of Daryl’s survival simply feels like another case of plot armor for Norman Reedus.
“Not today Dixon, next time” is the final phrase uttered by Codron after letting Daryl and his friends walk unscathed. Obviously, this perplexes the audience as we assume that Codron is letting them walk free as an act of mercy. Instead, Codron’s words imply that he is still going to seek revenge against Daryl later on. This revokes any possibility of character development and acts as an example of weak, shock-value that takes away from the realism of the episode.
A Familiar Face
The highlight of the episode was definitely Carol and her expected yet exciting cameo. We got to see our beloved Melissa McBride reprise the role of Carol Peletier as she searches for Daryl. Fans of The Walking Dead shouldn’t worry too much about their joy fading as it has been officially announced that Carol will return in season 2 as a series regular. At the end of the episode, we get a cool shot of Carol riding on Daryl’s motorcycle which is exceptionally badass.
Of course, we were all eagerly awaiting a reunion between Daryl and Carol, but at the end of the day, we’re still glad we got to see her on-screen again. Hopefully, season 2 will include a lot more scenes of the two together as their chemistry is through the roof. This is one step closer to a somewhat happy ending in The Walking Dead universe, with everyone reunited again.
Speaking of endings, the episode closes with Daryl realizing that Laurent followed him all the way to the coast, leaving the audience on a cliffhanger. We’re not really sure what this entails, but there are a few possibilities that could happen. First, Daryl could end up staying, attempting to return Laurent back to The Nest. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see Daryl take Laurent with him to Alexandria as they reunite with Judith, Ezekiel, Connie, Carol, and the others. Of course, that is wishful thinking as The Walking Dead tends to lean towards complications and darkness.
Pacing & Editing – Perplexing and Slow
Unfortunately, the pacing of the episode was close to dreadful. At times, it felt like nothing was really happening and it felt as though not many actions had consequences. The start of the episode was strong, giving us a balance between action and dialogue, both interesting in their own way. However, as the episode progressed it felt as though we were waiting for something to happen that never did.
While the pacing wasn’t completely horrible, it definitely doesn’t hold up when compared with other episodes in the season. It feels as though the rest were more eventful, giving us the perfect balance between slow and fast-paced scenes. In this review of episode 6 of Daryl Dixon, we were especially disappointed at how slow some scenes felt, making them seem forgettable and bland. It gave us flashbacks to The Walking Dead seasons 7 and 8, which saw a downfall in viewership due to poor pacing and terrible creative decisions. (Carl Grimes deserved better).
Cinematography & Music – 10/10
In our reviews of past episodes of Daryl Dixon, we’ve always praised the cinematography as the visuals of the show are truly captivating. This remains true for the finale, giving us incredibly-shot scenes. This is especially the case in the scenes with Mont Saint-Michel. We are presented with numerous establishing shots and wide-camera angles that show off the beautiful architecture and nature.
There’s not much more that needs to be said in terms of cinematography as everything was very well-produced. A polished viewing experience is perfect, especially when the setting is a place as exotic as France. Hopefully, this near-flawless quality carries on into season 2 as well!
There are a few parallels between the pilot and the finale. The first example of this is the scene where Daryl is tending to Isabelle’s wounds. This is very similar to how she took care of him in episode 1.
Another example is Daryl’s solo journey as he ventures through France in the pilot is recreated in the finale. Both scenes share visual similarities including how they are shot and the music used. Speaking of, let’s take a brief look at what the music in the finale was like.
The soundtrack is great as always but the best detail is that they used the same score in both the pilot scene and the finale scene of Daryl traveling through France. Overall, everything from the opening title track to the background music is amazingly composed and well-chosen. Music was never really a weak point in The Walking Dead, presenting us with tracks such as Serpents, The Parting Glass, and Civilian. Therefore, we are not surprised by the amount of quality poured into the soundtrack.
There also was a calm and somber French song that was used during the episode, which was perfectly fitting for the show’s atmosphere. It gave us a strong, bittersweet nostalgic feeling that translates all of what Daryl is going through by being away from his family and friends.
Final Verdict – We Can’t Wait For Season 2!
Despite the flaws we listed, we are still impressed with the overall quality of the episode. There is much to be desired in terms of pacing and the episode’s content itself as it felt a bit empty and soulless at times. The plot twist was unnecessary and simply exists to keep both the antagonists and protagonists alive for season 2. However, this is the first episode that we aren’t ecstatic about so we’d say that they hit the mark on 5/6 episodes which isn’t bad at all. The only problem is the episode that was lacking happened to be the finale. Regardless, season 2 is going to be an exciting watch that we truly cannot wait for!
This was our review of episode 6 of Daryl Dixon.