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Home > The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Episodes 4-6 (2023): A Review

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Episodes 4-6 (2023): A Review

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Episodes 4-6 (2023): A Review

The Continued Milking of a Franchise

The first half of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon was a bit sluggish and meandered around with the story. Despite the season only consisting of six episodes, the first three felt as if the filmmakers were trying to stretch out the story to fill time. It established a goal for Daryl to accomplish over the course of the season, but not every minute of screen time felt necessary. 

Certain elements of the story midway through the season began feeling slightly outlandish for the tone and vibe set-up in the beginning, making the series feel uneven. However, in the back half of the season things began to pick up. The story became more engaging, and the tension was strategically built. The series still suffered from some glaring issues, in particular with the season finale, but the show did redeem itself and kept from becoming a complete disaster. 

Creative Uses for Zombies

With The Walking Dead universe going on roughly 13 years, it’s become hard to find unique ways to keep the franchise feeling fresh and original. Since the premise of the Dead universe revolves around groups of survivors trying to navigate their way through the zombie apocalypse, there doesn’t leave much room for creativity. With five series already made before the Daryl Dixon spin-off, including the original Walking Dead series, Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Tales of the Walking Dead, and The Walking Dead: Dead City, it left this new spin-off in a vulnerable position of trying to prevent the post-apocalyptic, zombie-ridden landscape from feeling dull.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon was able to avoid making the mistakes some of the other spin-offs did by introducing new creative uses for the Walkers. From how they are killed to the new type of Walkers created, it adds an extra hint of spice into the mix. The Walkers introduced at the beginning of the series have new characteristics from other zombies we’ve seen, and this alone makes the series stand out from the others. As the season continues, the Walkers appear more interesting and the interactions they have with the survivors becomes more engaging.  

The Characterization of Isabelle

Although the majority of the new cast of characters has been underwhelming, one in particular has had some interesting character developments. Isabelle, portrayed by Clémence Poésy, plays a primary supporting role, being given the bulk of effort into developing her character and fleshing out her backstory. While her backstory isn’t wildly creative or unique, it does offer audiences the desire to latch onto her and want to see more from her. 

Isabelle’s interactions with Daryl also provide her with the opportunity to stand out. While Clémence Poésy and Norman Reedus have great on-screen chemistry, it doesn’t go to the extent of surpassing the relationship Reedus had with Melissa McBride, the actress who portrayed Carol in the original series. However, this relationship does provide audiences with a pairing that resembles the Daryl/Carol connection.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Episodes 4-6 (2023): A Review

Feeling Out of Line

The series starts with a traditional The Walking Dead style, tone, and feel. It fits in line with what has come previously in the series and follows the rules established in the apocalypse. However, around the third episode, the tone that was established early on is thrown off slightly. Odd activities, settings, and features are introduced that go against what was set up early on, while not fitting in with the apocalyptic feel. For example, there are certain places the characters go to that don’t necessarily make sense for them to be there more than a decade into a zombie apocalypse. Likewise, there are certain objects and items characters interact with and use that, realistically, they wouldn’t have had access to. Understanding that the series is a work of fiction, it still feels off seeing characters use certain things, especially with how other Walking Dead shows have demonstrated the state of civilization at that moment.

Early on in The Walking Dead universe, the series attempted to establish a sense of realism for the zombie apocalypse. Other Walking Dead spin-offs have already traded the sense of realism for a more fantasy setting, but the beginning of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon made it seem as if the creators were wanting to revert back to the realistic ambiance. As the series heads into the finale, it continues to add elements that kept it feeling grounded in its approach.

Overall, these aspects of the show don’t necessarily ruin the series, but it does create more questions. Since the apocalypse has been occurring for at least a decade, the logistics of how certain activities are able to be performed become more glaring and harder to ignore. Since the Walking Dead universe has had some level of realism in its approach to the subject matter, it feels odd incorporating activities, such as night clubs, and having characters use certain items that logistically wouldn’t be available, especially since there are ways to work around them in the story, or simply not include them at all. 

Slow Pacing

The first few seasons of the original Walking Dead series had a particular energy to them that quickly fused out as the series went along. The other spin-offs continued at a slower pace and focused on other things, rather than the remaining survivors simply trying to survive. A slow burn is perfectly fine when utilized correctly, but the problem with The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is that the other elements are not strong enough to support the show having a slower pace. Outside of Daryl and Isabelle, the characters are not interesting, the story itself isn’t gripping, and the zombie apocalypse has run its course to the point that the series concept is tiresome. 

Ultimately Feeling Underwhelming

When this season finally ends, it ultimately feels underwhelming. Daryl Dixon is a beloved Walking Dead character who, out of all of the surviving characters from the main series, has the best potential to carry a series. He does carry the series to a certain extent, but the story simply needs to match his potential. As with many other Walking Dead spin-offs, the Daryl Dixon series continues to open the story up for more stories to be told and ways to continue the series, but it isn’t exciting anymore. Rather than trying to continue opening the world up to continue growing, the series could have been more satisfying by providing a conclusion for Daryl’s character. After everything the character has experienced, it seems right that he should be sent off into the sunset to live out a happy life, rather than face more life/death adventures that begin to feel the same.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon premiers on AMC on September 10, 2023.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Episodes 4-6 (2023): A Review

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon (2023) Official AMC+ Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Mason Kupiainen is a recent Butler University graduate with a degree in Creative Media and Entertainment. His work has been published in Butler Collegiate, The Mall, and Byte BSU. Along with written work, he has a videography portfolio with Indy Blue Video, Byte BSU, and Ball Bearings.
Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.