The Walking Dead: Daryl’s silence may be his power

Saviors, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Saviors, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

We all wanted Daryl to say something so Negan might let him stay with Rick in Alexandria on The Walking Dead last Sunday, but his silence might be his power.

Daryl has changed and grown just like everyone has in this crazy world where the dead have started to walk the land and eat the living. Loss and hunger and fighting changes you. That’s what The Walking Dead is all about. Watching how it changes people.

Daryl used to react. Outbursts were the norm. Think back to the quarry and the farm. As Daryl changed and grew, he continued to have outbursts, but sometimes if you looked beyond the outburst, you could see his heart was opening.

His first outbursts were all about his brother Merle. “Let me process this. You handcuffed my brother to a roof and you left him there.” He was afraid of losing his guide. What would he do without him.

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As he became part of the group, he focused on finding Sophia. He saw himself in her. His outbursts became more selfless, yet still selfish. He wanted to save her to save himself. He lashed out at Carol when he couldn’t find her. His frustration at not finding Sophia became a weapon against her mother.

Beth taught him there were still good people and he started to believe he was one of them. But when he realized that Beth might have thought of him as a jailbird during the drinking game, his outburst game returned to pissing, shouting, and forcing her to shoot his crossbow to avoid facing his own emotions.

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People are blaming Daryl for getting Glenn killed. Glenn himself made an emotional outburst as a plea to save Maggie. Daryl couldn’t have predicted that result from his own emotional outburst to protect Rosita. His outburst may have seemed irrational or immature, but that situation was pretty stressful. It would be difficult to make the right decision. And Negan could turn any decision into the wrong decision.

Now Daryl is with Negan. He hasn’t had one outburst. For many people the lack of anger and outbursts means they have been broken. They have given up. The fight is gone. For Daryl, it may mean just the opposite.

Maybe his outbursts scattered his strength. Spit it out into the world. His silence might be gathering his strength. Maybe he can start to take all that Dixon fire and let it start to build up inside him. Gather heat and become beautiful flames instead of those sparks that fizzled all the time.

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Daryl didn’t speak up to plead his case to stay in Alexandria because he knew that Negan would be laughing at him. He’d listen to him and then shut him down. His silence was his way of speaking up. It let Negan read into it whatever he chose to read into it. But it was also a nice nod to Merle Dixon when he was facing The Governor at the end.

“I ain’t gonna beg.”