The Big Picture
- The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon takes a slower-paced approach, establishing new characters and setting a darker tone for the series.
- The second episode, “Alouette,” increases the action while maintaining high production values and storytelling.
- Exploring ground zero of the outbreak in Paris adds a thrilling and brutal element to the show, but it shouldn’t ruin the larger mysteries and human stories of the franchise.
The Walking Dead spin-off The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon proved to be a massive success, with its Season 1 finale teasing an epic Season 2 with fan-favorite character Carol (Melissa McBride) reuniting with Norman Reedus‘ Daryl. The premiere provided a much slower-paced installment to the franchise, taking its time establishing new characters, expanding on the titular Daryl, and most importantly, setting a unique tone for the series – one that’s slightly darker and more decaying than we’ve seen in the past, more in tune with the world of The Last of Us. The show’s second episode, “Alouette,” definitely upped the action, while maintaining the high production values and storytelling the premiere offered. The stakes grow higher and the scope expands larger, a precedent set in the episode’s title sequence where, for the very first time, The Walking Dead takes us to where it all began: ground zero.
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon
Daryl’s journey across a broken but resilient France as he hopes to find a way back home.
- Release Date
- October 1, 2023
- Norman Reedus, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Avant Strangel, Adam Nagaitis
- Main Genre
‘The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’ Shows the Horrors of an Unexpected Outbreak
The Walking Dead has depicted the iconic walker outbreak before, with Fear the Walking Dead Season 1 providing the most in-depth look at how the virus spread around the globe, but other than a brief reference in The Walking Dead Season 1 and in an end credit scene in spin-off The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the AMC series has never explored ground zero of the apocalypse, where the civilization-destroying outbreak all began. “Alouette” opens in Paris, following Isabelle (Clémence Poésy) on the night it all went wrong. What started as an intoxicated night out turned into a violent, heart-thumping escape, as the city began to crumble around her. The biggest difference with this iteration of the outbreak (other than its stunning Paris location filming) is that Paris seemingly had no warning of what was coming. While the U.S. and other countries had a short period to respond, Paris was left at the mercy of the walkers… and as one may suspect, it didn’t go well.
Isabelle’s first encounter with the undead comes at the conclusion of her night out. A small commotion takes place not far from her – a bit of screaming, then a push and shove followed by a car accident. Finding refuge in an underground train station, a now cautious Isabelle is confronted with a horrifying site, and this is where the true horror begins. As a train zooms past, newly infected walkers smash on the car’s windows, cracking them violently. Obviously, the nun-to-be begins to panic. Hastily making her way to the streets above, the city is now in full chaos mode, alarms are ringing, cars are speeding down the cobblestone streets, and Isabelle comes face-to-face with her first walker.
Seemingly killed by an out-of-control car, Isabelle inspects the victim of the accident… but he slowly twitches to life, going all-out walker and pursuing our unsuspecting hero. The surrounding drama continues to rise as waves of people flee into the streets, some find themselves being violently torn apart as a familiar face speeds in. Quinn (Adam Nagaitis) runs down Isabelle’s overly keen walker and the two speed off to safety. The scene is violent and action-packed, showcasing the brutality of the unsuspecting city at the center of the outbreak. The series’ location filming sells the scale of the event, with Isabelle’s first walker encounter taking place with the iconic Eiffel Tower beautifully in the background. A contrast between what life was and what it is soon to become. If The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon posters are anything to go by, we’ll certainly be seeing the iconic landmark again, though years later, it may have seen better days.
‘The Walking Dead’ Teased Ground Zero Before Daryl Dixon’s Spin-Off
Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead comics and a writer of its screen adaptation, has expressed regret regarding how much the Season 1 finale gave away about the origins of the pandemic, where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group found themselves trapped in a lab, shortly before it was scheduled to explode. The episode gave context as to how the walkers work and clarified the virus’ scope, briefly mentioning a lab in France. Little did we know just how important that lab would be.
Many years later, in the end credits scene of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a French scientist arrives in a decaying lab, intending to pick up the work that she left off when the outbreak began. The scene sets France up as ground zero, with the virus having escaped from that very lab. The scientist opens a laptop, viewing footage from Dr. Jenner (Noah Emmerich), the scientist who gave Rick all that information, way back in the early days of The Walking Dead universe. The two labs had seemingly been in communication with each other until the French lab fell. Unfortunately, the returning scientist is quickly shot by a scavenger, leaving many questions left unanswered.
Will ‘The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’s Ground Zero Ruin the Mystery?
With The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon set in France, there is certainly a strong possibility that we may see a return to the exact place it all began in the near future. As mentioned earlier, comic creator Robert Kirkman expressed regret over his decision to expand on the origins of the virus in The Walking Dead Season 1 finale, feeling that it ruined the show’s biggest mystery. If the outbreak and virus were still the core of the show, then sure, Kirkman’s argument definitely would still hold up, but over the last decade, the franchise has evolved and become more than just a “zombie show.”
Exploring the origins of the virus would prove a rewarding story all these years on and wouldn’t affect the larger, human stories being told back on U.S. soil. That is unless The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon shows its characters finding a cure to the virus. Such a twist would definitely damage the stakes of the franchise and reduce the threat of walkers in spinoffs to come. “Alouette” certainly brought us the closest we’ve ever been to ground zero, providing a thrilling look at the moment the world changed forever. Seeing the world fall apart through Isabelle’s eyes developed her character further, but we’ll have to wait and see if she and Daryl make their way to the lab where it all began.
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is available to stream on AMC+ in the U.S.
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Khushi Patel is a science fiction author who lives in Austin, Texas. She has published three novels, and her work has been praised for its originality and imagination. Khushi is a graduate of Rice University, and she has worked as a software engineer. She is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and her books have been nominated for several awards.