While The Walking Dead can certainly be bleak, the show is full of choices for all the characters. The Alexandria safe zone presented a far wider range of choices than the group had before.
Norman Reedus’ character Daryl Dixon was a lot less excited about moving into the Alexandria safe zone than the rest of Rick’s group. Daryl saw the hidden dangers of relative safety in an unsafe world.
As The Walking Dead Season 7 draws nearer to a conclusion, it might be helpful to look back at the choices, the conflicts, the temptations and the ambitions that the group felt when first introduced to Alexandria.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon was most skeptical, but Melissa McBride’s Carol and Chandler Riggs as Carl were also a bit wary of the new situation. While the rest of the group were eager to dive back into recreating the consumer based civilization with hot showers and comfortable beds, Daryl felt uneasy and so did Carol and Carl.
The Walking Dead’s Daryl, Carol, and Carl feared to allow themselves to become softer, and losing the sense of reality, the group had gained. Carol portrayed by Melissa McBride is quoted in IMDb.
“We get comfortable here, we let our guard down, this place is gonna make us weak.”
The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes saw part of Norman Reedus’ Daryl’s and Melissa McBride’s Carol’s concerns as well. Rick, though, also saw the opportunity in Alexandria, one way or another, as illustrated in a telling little statement quoted on IMDb.
“Carl said that. But it’s not gonna happen. We won’t get weak, that’s not in us anymore. We’ll make it work. And if they can’t make it… then we’ll just take this place.”
Norman Reedus as Daryl eventually concedes to the needs of the children. But in hindsight, were Daryl, Carol, and Carl right, or was Rick right?
“The boy and the baby, they deserve a roof, I guess.”
The Walking Dead characters each saw something different within the walls of the Alexandria safe zone. One thing that stood out, though, was the difference between the original residents of Alexandria and Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, and Carol, the veteran cast of The Walking Dead.
Norman Reedus as Daryl saw that difference as a danger. Norman Reedus’ character put up more resistance to the soft comfy life of Alexandria than he had since the days right after Daryl Dixon’s brother Merle, portrayed by Michael Rooker, got killed as a result of Rick Grimes and T-Dog’s actions. At least, it was believed at the time Merle Dixon was killed, but that was another The Walking Dead story.
Perhaps Norman Reedus as Daryl felt less fond of the upper middle-class lifestyle than the others because he hadn’t lived like that before the zombie apocalypse. Daryl Dixon grew up poor and was accustomed to a rough life, according to this quote from Star Pulse.
“You want to know what I was before all this? I was nobody. Nothing.”
Norman Reedus as Daryl withdrew from the politics of Alexandria and concentrated on staying tough, staying to himself, and working to provide for the group. Rick and Michonne, however, did a lot of posturing during the rough period of integration between the idealistic Alexandrians, with their self-important drama, and Rick’s rugged zombie fighting crew.
The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln postured as Rick Grimes, letting the Alexandrian people know they had no idea what was actually going on outside the walls of Alexandria.
“You really think you’re gonna take this community from us. From Glenn? From Michonne? From Daryl? From me? Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?”
Michonne of The Walking Dead added pointedly to the conversation as quoted from The Daily Dot.
“Have you ever had to kill people because they had already killed your friends and were coming for you next? Have you ever done things that made you feel afraid of yourself afterward? Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn’t know if it was yours or walkers’ or your friends’? Huh? Then you don’t know.”
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon had very little to say during that time, choosing to let Rick, Michonne, and the others discover for themselves what they were getting into. He was always ready to leave Alexandria in the early days. Carol eventually started baking cookies and other treats in her real oven and seemed happy to be out of the fray. Somehow, though, Carol stayed tough.
The Walking Dead zombie apocalypse scenario had been rough on the group. Daryl, Carol, and Carl, though, feared that becoming too comfortable and forgetting the ever present dangers would weaken them. The people of Alexandria were soft, comfortable, and noticeably different than Rick’s group.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon is portraying a rugged outdoorsman. Daryl was not comfortable in this preppy haven, for many reasons, but he was willing to sacrifice for the good of the group and especially the children.
As The Walking Dead Season 6 progressed viewers saw at least some of the Alexandria citizens getting a bit tougher, but most never became as hardened as Rick’s group. What viewers may have noticed, though, is that very subtly everyone became more comfortable, more civilized and perhaps weaker.
Suddenly, Norman Reedus’s Daryl, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick, Melissa McBride’s Carol, and Danai Gurira’s Michonne were spending more and more time trying to deal with the petty concerns of the townspeople. Civilization, as sweet as it was, became a distraction from survival, even though it provided more apparent safety and comfort.
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In The Walking Dead Season 7, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan takes away many of the luxuries the group became accustomed to last season. Andrew Lincoln as Rick winced when his bed was taken, though only a season ago, Rick was more than willing to sleep on the ground and would have been delighted to sleep on the floor.
Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln as Daryl and Rick knew that they were making Negan and the Saviors more powerful by giving them food, guns, and ammunition, yet they were forced to contribute so much and give up their guns. This only weakened their position further.
The Walking Dead with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus is about to enter Season 8, which will be “all out war” with the Saviors. How will the Alexandrians and the Hill Top community deal with the hardships of war? Will they too stand and fight effectively, or will they be a liability?
As The Walking Dead prepares for Season 8, how will Norman Reedus’ Daryl, and Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes deal with the weaker townspeople as they enter into “All Out War?”
[Featured Image by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images]