The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Review: Norman Reedus cements that he can carry the TWD franchise solo on his back -if needed- with a mysterious, yet commanding screen presence in Episode 1.
This ‘Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’ Episode 1 Review contains minor spoilers for the purposes of critiquing “L’ame Perdue”.
The Pros of the Daryl Dixon spinoff:
– Norman Reedus’ screen presence is one of a kind, he manages to convey so much despite being a man of few words as Daryl Dixon. Loner charisma in contrast to JDM’s quick one-liners as Negan on Dead City. The reset was what Daryl Dixon needed, a chance to shine anew without the shadow of Rick Grimes cast over him.
– Outstanding costume designs, cinematography, and general aesthetics. Initial French scenery and can tripwire alarms are reminiscent of The Last of Us game series in a good way.
– Action scenes are strong, Reedus has been on a roll with these ever since his on-screen fight with Beta.
– First encounter with another character appears to begin generically at first and yet ends on a satisfying big twist. Keeps your suspense levels up to expect the unexpected.
– Norman Reedus gets the finer details of acting. Great prop work. Daryl subtly inspects every item (prop) available to him by feel.
A water bottle shake before drinking it is such a minor thing but it makes a difference on-screen to convey personality. Dixon is presented as a character highly attune to his surroundings, noticing missing weapons and such. Akin to a detective.
– Daryl is portrayed as vulnerable and gets overpowered by others quite often in Episode 1. Sure, you never expect him to truly perish. After all, there’s already two confirmed seasons of the Daryl Dixon spinoff. But the show toys with viewer emotions.
– Worthy villain/antagonist Codron (seen below) in Episode 1. Though most of his fury is based on his brother’s murder and a lie.
– New type of walker that can physically inflict burns.
– Daryl Dixon as a character adapts really well to running solo on-screen. Similar to when he joined the Claimers or even held prisoner by Negan.
– Daryl picking out select weapons like freebies at a supermarket is quite entertaining. “I’ll be borrowing these if you don’t mind.”
– Merle reference. Daryl mentions ‘having siblings once’ when asked about his family.
Neutral thoughts on the Daryl Dixon spinoff:
– Some feelings of Déjà vu early on, with the leading villain gang feeling like the Saviors. A walker preacher being kept in jail until he can be “brought back” reminds of Woodbury.
– Villain calling out his brother’s name only to have come out as a walker feels like a retread of Sophia coming out of the barn visually. Or Daryl seeing zombie Merle for the first time. Not bad, but doesn’t bring something new to the table.
– Story about a child in a convent being the ‘future messiah to lead mankind’ steers the show in a very religious direction. “Everything happens for a reason” repeated constantly.
We’ll see where it goes, right now it’s heavy on Daryl being part of the prophecy as “the messenger”. A cult twist would be more interesting than the expected.
– Drawing of Daryl at sea by the child seems very mainstream Hollywood-ish. Speaking of that, Daryl lands on shore tied to a boat like Jack Sparrow in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Really requires suspension of disbelief.
– The Daryl Dixon spinoff starts as a slow-burn. Not as in-your-face as Dead City.
The Cons of the Daryl Dixon spinoff:
– Lackluster dialogue. “I was looking for something but all I found was trouble.” Cringe. Unnatural, inorganic discussions.
For example, a character spontaneously going off about a story on her father to someone she’s intimidating in real-time. Feels very “only in the movies” and breaks your immersion entirely.
Also, somewhat contrived explanations for why characters understand and speak perfect English for the purposes of the show.
– Looking for working radios, flashbacks of Judith and other mementos of the mainline TWD series might be nostalgic & exciting to some dedicated fans. But at the same time…
It pulls Daryl into the routine, predictable ‘get separated from group, look for group, get separated again’ loop that TWD is notorious for repeating.
– A young boy’s (Laurent) conversation with Daryl about solving a Rubik’s Cube feels labored.
Daryl Dixon Spinoff Review Score: 8.0
About The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Episode 1
Episode 101 Title: “L’âme Perdue” – Premieres on Sunday, September 10 on AMC and AMC+.
Written by: David Zabel
Directed by: Daniel Percival
Daryl Dixon’s arrival in France puts a young boy under the care of nuns in danger.
More Walking Dead spinoff reviews
Be sure to read:
Visit The Walking Dead section for more reviews, recaps, exclusive interviews and much more!