Will Daryl Dixon survive series 4 of The Walking Dead?

*WARNING* If you are not up to date with this series 4 of the TV series, this post contains MASSIVE spoilers.

Those that know me well, know that one of my favourite TV series running at the moment is The Walking Dead. I remember when I saw the trailer prior to the first series, I knew I would love it, and I do. I have heard one or two people claim it is boring, but I don’t find it so at all. I wonder if these people are even watching the same show as me. They obviously just don’t get it.  The overall story arc has had its lows and highs, like any TV series that has lasted longer than one series, but even the lows are more interesting than 90% of the TV out there.

I have also heard people  say they won’t watch it because they don’t like shows about zombies. Saying The Walking Dead is about zombies is like saying The West Wing is about politics. A zombie apocalypse is the backdrop for this drama, and sure, they put in enough zombie action to keep the gore fans happy, but they really just serve as an ever present spanner in our protagonists’ works. My interpretation of TWD is that it is a character study. Rick and his small group are a microcosm of society. We watch as they navigate the collapse of civilisation, while trying to reconcile this new world order and retain their humanity. What that humanity is, varies from character to character.

If_Daryl_dies_we_riotWhen he was introduced in series one, Daryl Dixon was meant to be a temporary character. By the second series, it was clear that he was a fan favourite, and the writers chose to keep him in. He was not just a fangirl favourite because he is played by the delightfully dorky Norman Reedus, either. Daryl is appealing to men because he is a total bad-ass, he can take care of himself, and he doesn’t need anyone in the group. Women respond to Daryl because he is a total bad-ass, he can take care of you, and he needs everyone in the group even if he won’t admit it.

The down side of loving a show like TWD is that there is a good chance that a character you have grown to love or hate will invariably get killed off. Usually, in a rather spectacular fashion. There have been several memes from fans over the last couple of series that joke that if Daryl dies, we riot.

Well, guys. Get your riot gear ready. I may be (and I hope I am) guilty of over analysing things here, but I have an increasing fear that Daryl will die at the end of series 4. This may just be my fear of losing my favourite character, but looking back at the deaths of other main characters, with the benefit of hindsight’s 20/20 vision, the signs were as clear as day. There were clues to their demise and each one has followed a subtle pattern. I put forward my hypothesis on why I think that Daryl Dixon will die by the end of series 4.

  1. There has been a general softening of his acerbic character over this series. He has, over recent episodes, started to reveal something about his past. The very first episode of this series had him being questioned by another survivor about what he did before the shit hit the fan. It was something he was reluctant to reveal, which was inline with Daryl’s mysterious character. Revealing his humble origins only serves to make us empathise with the character even more, thus feeling the inevitable loss all that more keenly.
  2. Robert Kirkman is well aware of the fact that Daryl is a big draw. He is also very aware that if he intends to continue to loosely follow the plot of the original comics, then having a pivotal character that does not exist in the source material, could prove a problem. However, there are already huge differences in the fates of characters that appear in both the TV and comic version, so you could argue a skilled writer such as Kirkman would be able to work around this.
  3. Kirkman is also extremely aware of the fans threats to riot. His response was, ‘Oh, really? You’re going to riot? We’ll see. No one is safe.’ It is as if he is taking the fan’s threat to riot as a challenge. He is a scamp.
  4. A main character death usually occurs shortly after their centric episode – episodes 12 (Still) and 13 (Alone) were very Daryl-centric.
  5. In ‘Still’, Beth said to Daryl ‘you will be the last man standing’, relating to the fact that his old way of life of fending for himself, hunting, tracking etc means he is perfectly suited to the world as it is now. Daryl was clearly not happy with this. I think that he has gotten used to not being alone, and being the last man standing is actually what he is most afraid of. The revelation that he was nothing but a piece of shit redneck prior to the apocalypse shows that he still does not see himself as valuable or worthy as some of the others. I fear this will cause him to do something futile and heroic.
  6. In the developing older brother/little sister relationship between Daryl and Beth, he has been teaching her how to hunt and how to track, how to fend for herself and essentially do what he does. Almost as if he was setting her up as his protege.
  7. Also in ‘Still’, there was the implication that you can’t go back to what you were because it will kill you. At the end of ‘Alone’, Daryl is found by an unsavoury group led by a man called Joe. While the initial contact was hostile, lots of male posturing, by the end Daryl lowers his guard and introduces himself. Is this him returning to his scumbag ways, therefore signalling his demise, or is it a bluff to get them to allow him to live long enough to find who captured Beth. In someways, this is similar to Merle’s storyline when he joined up with the Governor and his henchmen. Ultimately, Merle did the right thing, but at the cost of his own life. Is Daryl destined to follow the same path?
  8. Many jokes and memes have been made about Daryl and his endless supply of arrows – or technically, crossbow bolts – but in recent episodes, we have seen the bow broken and the bolts crumble. Is each bolt lost a subtle countdown to his death?
  9. When Norman Reedus first took on the role of Daryl, he was a little known actor, famous only for a few cult and indy movies. Now, everyone knows his name. He must be getting job offers thrown at him left right and centre. While I think the actor has an unusual level of integrity, compared to a lot of his colleagues in showbiz, no actor can continue to refuse such offers for ever. It is his craft after all. It has already been announced that he is involved in a new Kirkman scifi movie project called Air.  TWD famously has a punishing shooting schedule that pretty much takes up half of the year. Can he really commit to TWD and a block buster movie?

does_dary_dixon_dieReedus is credited for appearing in the final three episodes of season four, but that could be a misdirection. A fifth season of the show has been ordered by AMC and filming is expected to begin outside Atlanta in May. However, no cast members have been confirmed as returning and most likely won’t be until after the season four finale airs at the end of March.

On the flip side to all this, in recent interviews, Reedus has said ‘Maybe I die in these back eight, we don’t know.’ I like to think that if his character was to die, then he would not so flippantly reveal such a massive plot point.  Unless, of course, this is a double bluff!!

This is all just one fan’s supposition. Of course, I dearly want to see Daryl go on. A personal wish is that if he does have to leave the show for other commitments or pastures new, then I hope that he rides off into the sunset, filthy poncho flapping in the wind, with the hope that he may return one day.

 

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