The Walking Dead: Episode 606, ‘Always Accountable’ and Daryl’s dilemma

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 18 - Photo Credit: Eli Ade/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 18 - Photo Credit: Eli Ade/AMC /

Though Daryl wasn’t featured too prominently in the first 5 episodes of season 6 of The Walking Dead, “Always Accountable” is very much a Daryl-centric episode.  After being harassed by men in a car, Daryl escapes but is separated from Sasha and Abraham.  Being crafty, it seems he would have the supplies and information necessary to locate the others, but he is captured by people named Dwight, Sherry, and Tina, who are themselves on the run from some group of people.

In the previous episode, Maggie was highlighted as questing to find her husband Glenn, and Lauren Cohan pretty much carried the episode.  It also established a partial theme.  Rather than being saddened or angry after discovering that Glenn disappeared, she was determined to set out and locate him.  That sort of mission-like approach has dominated season 6, and it carries over pretty well into Daryl’s story here.

The Walking Dead, Daryl, and the unknown mission

The Walking Dead has never shied away from dramatic tension-building unknowns, and it’s certainly been the bread and butter for its actors, be they Steven Yeun or Michael Rooker.  Here, we have to wonder what kind of people Daryl has faced out in the woods. Though Daryl is relatively skilled as an outdoorsman, he does not know what kind of people Dwight, Tina, and Sherry are.  To complicate things, they appear to be on the run.

Along this little side-journey, Tina gets killed by a walker, and Daryl learns the other two are being hunted by an unknown group (though one of their members is named Wade).  So, basically, this is another instance where Daryl tries unsuccessfully to avoid further trouble. This time, he is actually forced to flee, despite his proven ability to make a stand.

Also, it’s a safe bet that the non-Daryl characters feared walkers would find them as well.  The walkers are always so hungry for tasty human meat and entrails (or, of course, something like horse meat)!

How Daryl compares to Maggie and others

One interesting element of this episode is how it contrasts with Maggie, with Daryl being more of a lone-wolf type and her obviously being married.  Daryl is sort of the soldier of Rick’s group, or Alexandria, or whatever we want to call it in season 6.  He’s more concerned about not leaving the whole group behind, which is why he so often teams up with Rick (in addition to his own acting chops, Norman Reedus often substantially boosts Andrew Lincoln’s performances, and this is not intended to slight the Ricktatorship).

With the loss of Merle, Daryl also doesn’t have a family connection.  The group is his family. This is not to say Daryl has no individual connections to the group, but he’s no Hershel-like family man at this point.  In fact, part of why he’s so ready, willing, and able to head out into the countryside is that he grew up roughing it out in the woods, making do with what he had, cultivating his survival skills, and even a relatively hard-won set of ethical standards (which Merle had lacked).

What’s going on anyway?

“Always Accountable” has another interesting dynamic:  It’s another example of a mission that’s basically falling apart.  It ties into the regular theme of The Walking Dead that its characters are always on their way but to where?  In that sense, there’s almost a bitter irony to Daryl being such a skilled tracker.  While he’s on this random, improvised mission of survival against unknown odds and attackers, he can’t be sent off to find the trail that Glenn was supposed to have taken.

If you recall, Daryl had even dumber luck in season 2.  Remember that?  He was bucked off by that horse, ended up with an arrow protruding from his side in the river, fended off a few walkers, and ambled back to Hershel’s farm where he was mistaken for a walker by Andrea, who grazed his noggin with a bullet.  Good times!

While, in some ways, this episode almost seems like a side story, it does introduce new characters and keeps building tension about whether Glenn is dead or alive (and Maggie is doing her best not to be devastated).  With Daryl being such a lone wolf, there’s a sense that he’s prepared never to be consoled by anyone (which, interestingly enough, is where Carl seemed to be headed before he met Enid).  However, Daryl is rarely alone, making one wonder how much he truly wishes to be independent.

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What are your thoughts on this Walking Dead episode?  Let us know in the comments!