A lot of people, especially in the critical community, were not pleased with last night’s episode of The Walking Dead (in fact, Sepinwall says that, unless it’s redeemed in the finale, he’s swearing off the series after this season). I think I can still appreciate and enjoy it because I don’t have huge expectations for it. After Glenn’s death scare, I realized that this is just how the show is going to be: They’re going to fuck with the viewers. It’s not that the series is chickening out on killing characters; it’s that they’re taking their sweet time about doing so. Negan is going to kill someone. It may not happen next week. They may leave us in limbo for seven months. But eventually he will. It will also probably be a major character.
But it won’t be Daryl Dixon.
What I am certain of is that Daryl is not dead. It’d be nice if the series had the balls to kill off Daryl, but the downside is, then there’d be no more Daryl. Even if his character has essentially become a third-wheel to comic-book plotlines (of which he was not a character), he’s still the most beloved character on the series, and without him, The Walking Dead wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to watch. Part of the reason that it is sometimes so tense is the fear that Daryl might actually die; kill him, and that tension vanishes.
What is irritating, however, is that the series clearly went out of its way to scare us about another death, and we all know that Daryl is not going to die in such a anti-climactic manner. Still, Norman Reedus is trying to convince us that he may be dead, telling USA Today that there was no sleight of hand or funny camera tricks in last night’s scene:
“It’s exactly what you see. That’s (Daryl’s) blood that hits the camera. There’s no trick there,” he says. As to whether the shot kills Daryl, “You don’t know, but he’s definitely not looking good.”
He got shot in the shoulder, you guys. Does anyone not believe that? Don’t build something up that the series is not going to be able to pay off, Reedus.
Reedus … suggests not reading too much into Dwight’s post-shooting final words: “You’ll be alright.”
“You don’t know who he’s talking to,” he says. “He could be saying that to anyone there. There’s other people standing there.”
Sure, Norman. Sure. Give us a goddamn break and don’t insult our intelligence. We know how this goes. If Daryl Dixon were actually killed, it would’ve been a headshot and we’d have been left with absolutely zero doubt. The most popular character in the series doesn’t get a shot in the back of the head in a cliffhanger in an episode that’s not even a season finale.