I know Daryl Dixon is the resident bad ass of our merry little band of survivors. Killing walkers is like a Sunday stroll through the park for Double D; but as great as he is, he is not invincible.
We have seen Daryl take walkers down with minimum fuss in a variety of ways. Hunting knife, tree branches, crossbow. We’ve even seen him pull an arrow out of his own side to use on a walker, so he’s tough. To use his own phrase “Feed him a hammer and he’ll crap out nails.” Doesn’t change the fact that anyone can have an off day, even Daryl Dixon.
As a matter of fact we’ve already seen him have an off moment with the Randall Walker. Daryl is still here thanks to Glenn. It’s Glenn who stepped in and put Randall down. So even the mighty Daryl Dixon needs help now and then.
This is one thing this group of survivors need to all understand. Even the toughest member of the group is going to have his hands full or just plain need help. They can’t depend on Daryl to always play the savior, they have to be able to be their own savior first, and when needed know that the others (not just Daryl, but everyone in the group) will have their back.
The time for easing into it is way past over, it’s way past time to deal with reality. Everyone has to stand on their own and fight together side by side. No one gets to sit on the sidelines being ‘fragile’ while other people fight their battles for them. I think it’s time Rick and Daryl switch to the Lt Rasczak (Starship Troopers) method of command:
I only have one rule. Everyone fights. No one quits. You don’t do your job, I’ll shoot you myself. You get me?
That would take care of any ‘burdens’ and make the group stronger when they are attacked. And everyone in that group will be be able to trust in the fact that everyone is fighting for their survival together. No one is sitting back slacking. The last thing they need is a weak link hanging around to get them killed.
Andrea has made some mistakes no doubt, but with season two she has redeemed herself as a vital and necessary member of the group. She is probably the best suited to defend the group next to Daryl.
At the end of season one, Andrea was at a low point and ready to end it all at the CDC. Did she really want to end it all? I doubt that; if she had really wanted to die, then Dale could not have made a difference in her decision. Dale simply gave her an excuse to live, another option which she took. She says Dale took her choice away but she certainly fought for her life in the RV killing a walker with a screwdriver.
She applies herself in gun training, but has a problem with moving targets. When Shane stands down and leaves it to her to defend herself from the oncoming walkers, she does it. And she proves that she is willing to do what is necessary to protect the group when she shoots Daryl. Luckily she is not a great shot at this point, but a good shot.
And when the farm is overrun she really shows what she is made of. Unlike someone else who shall remain nameless, Andrea fights for her life with every thing she has and when everything she has is gone, she digs deep and finds a hidden reserve to fight on until it is just physically impossible for her body to do anything else. When she runs out of bullets, she uses whatever is at hand. This is a woman who wants to live.
Andrea is determined not to be a victim and takes responsibility for that decision. She is not sitting around waiting for someone else to defend her, she is defending herself and the group that she is a part of. She understands that she has to do her part and be responsible for herself.
I’m sure she thinks it is a blessing to have a Daryl around willing to save everyone’s ass just like everyone else, but he’s not Superman. Daryl has his own ass to protect too. Andrea understands that you survive by being able to watch your own ass, you can’t depend on someone coming to your rescue when they may very well be in a fight for their own life when you need their help. Andrea has to depend on Andrea if she wants to survive. And she has proven that she can do just that.
Remember the old TV show Good Times? Well Florida Evans fell into a vat of bleach, changed her name and made it to the apocalypse!
Now she is known as Carol. Carol and Florida are so much alike it’s not funny, they have the same stupid habits and beliefs. And those habits and beliefs work just as well during the apocalypse as they do in the ghetto. Which is to say not at all. Had Florida just left James alone maybe they would have made it out of the ghetto. If Carol will sit down and shut up maybe the group might survive another day.
Florida believes the Lord will provide and deliver her family from poverty. Carol believes the group will provide and deliver her from walkers. Sorry Florida but the Lord helps those who help themselves. Now the group of survivors need to take a hint from above and help those who help themselves too. Funny but everyone in the group seems to be able to help themselves except for Carol.
Florida believes that a woman cooking and cleaning is enough. Carol believes that a woman cooking and cleaning is enough. Sorry ladies but in both cases the people around you are not helpless. They can cook and clean for themselves. In Florida’s case eventually she did have to go out and find a job beyond being a maid. Carol get off your rear end and find something to do that contributes to the group in a meaningful way!
Whenever James did a little ‘hustling’ to provide for his family, Florida had a conniption. Whenever Daryl (Or any of the men for that matter) do a little ‘hustling to keep the group safe, Carol has a conniption. Every time James came home with a little extra money from hustling pool or shooting craps Florida lit into him about ‘dirty’ money. That ‘dirty’ money spends too Flo. How many times did James make the rent or keep the lights on by hustling? When Daryl interrogates Randall he gets a dirty look. When the guys go out to look for an escaped Randall they get a lot of grief. When Rick keeps Jenner’s secret preventing a panic (and Jenner was a fry or two short of a happy meal), Carol immediately tries to convince Daryl that Rick is inept. How many times will the actions these guys take keep you from being lunch for a walker Carol?
Yes this is Florida Evans in all of her stupid holier than thou glory. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this Daryl but what you went back for was Florida Evans and Florida was quite happy in the ghetto. Carol is no different. She’s quite happy with her precarious position. Both of these women are comfortable with the way things are because they can always blame someone or something else for their predicament. It’s much easier than taking responsibility for themselves and their lives.
We had several losses this season and they deserve a proper goodbye. So allow me to take this moment to properly say goodbye (Or good riddance).
Sophia, Sophia. There is a reason that children should listen to adults and you learned that the hard way. Too bad your little friend Carl isn’t learning from your mistake. But your whole plight was necessary. You made Rick step up and realize that someone had to take charge, and for a moment you gave Daryl hope and the chance to prove he wasn’t just another Merle. It was hard to watch you come out of that barn, but your appearance showed everyone just how precarious life is. It’s a ZA. Sh*t happens.
Dale the voice of reason you weren’t exactly wrong in your beliefs, you just couldn’t adapt to the situation anymore than your nemesis, Shane. You said that you couldn’t believe anyone wanted to live in a world of survival of the fittest and you are right. No one wants to but if you are going to survive that’s what you have to do. You just couldn’t grasp that there’s a time to be humane and a time to survive. Part of growing up is realizing that things are the way they are and you may not like it, but you deal with it.
Randall, Dave and Slim Tony
For too long there was no human threat represented. Okay I know we met a street gang called the Vatos, but the Vatos were no more threatening than the Atlanta survivor group. Shane was the closest thing we had to the human predator that will not only rise in a situation like this but thrive by victimizing others. Dave and Tony gave us a hint of the threat and then Randall confirmed it during his little man to man with Daryl.
Boy did you go off the deep end! Yes there were extenuating circumstances namely Lori and her manipulation, but you didn’t have to fall for it. If you had just put a lid on your own ego she wouldn’t have manipulated you the way she did. Your jealousy didn’t help either. You were jealous of Rick because he had Lori. You were jealous of Daryl because Rick began to put more trust in him but once again, you were your own worst enemy. Do you really think Rick would have turned to depending on Daryl if you hadn’t let him down. When you let Rick down you were practically shoving Daryl into your place. If you had been a true ‘wingman’, there would have been no reason for Daryl to step up and put Dale out of his misery, you would have done it. When Sophia came out of that barn Rick wouldn’t have had to put her down, you would have done it. You just couldn’t let go of that ‘tin star’ mentality.
The calm before the storm. Everyone needs to rest and gather their strength before battle and the farm gave us the’ environment to do just that. Unfortunately many came to see the farm as safety. It was nice while it lasted and it gave us a chance to separate the wheat from the chaff and shed a few weak elements. It gave some people the chance to grow stronger and more confident. It gave people a chance to grow closer and find their place in the group and with each other, but sooner or later it had to end.
(POS)Piece of Sh*t, the RV
How did POS last as long as it did being everyone knew what a POS it was and made no effort to correct this? We knew in the quarry camp. The radiator hose was held together with duct tape then. On the way to the CDC what happens? The hose blows! Just in time to ditch Jim on the side of the road. And with all of the preparations made to leave Atlanta after the CDC blew up, why didn’t someone think about the radiator hose? You were in Atlanta. There had to be an AutoZone, Pep Boys, Western Auto that you passed by on the way out of town. Instead of fixing the obvious problem with POS you drive out of Atlanta and then act surprised when POS blows again just in time to lose Sophia? Well that burden was left on the farm. Goodbye and good riddance!
Yay! Shane is history I’m so glad! Wait a minute…I really liked hating on Shane, now who do I focus my ire on? Time to determine the next survivor to hate on and this time it’s a woman.
Andrea? No not Andrea, she kind of redeemed herself by standing with Dale. Dale had a point but chose the wrong moment to make that point. If human society is going to survive, they are going to have to hold on to what they can of their humanity (Just understand there’s a time to be human and a time to survive). And with Shane out of the picture that influence is also gone.
Lori? She’s a manipulative bitch, but with Shane out of the picture her manipulative days are behind her, I don’t see Olive Oyl manipulating Daryl Dixon. He’s pretty smart and he sees through BS pretty clearly so he would see through her plotting with no problem.
There’s another reason I won’t Hate on Lori or Andrea, when push comes to shove they will both fight to survive. They have put down walkers before. Unlike the new target of my hatin’, the weakest link is (insert drumroll here)…Carol!
The appendix of the Atlanta survivors. She’s there but she serves no identifiable function other than being a maid and she could very easily be the cause of death for the people in the group. She is WEAK!!!
Carol is so weak she makes a limp noodle look strong in comparison. And the past few episodes she is not only weak herself, she wants company in being weak. She doesn’t want to take part in making decisions that directly impact her survival (Randall discussion), and she doesn’t want anyone else taking actions that impact her survival (Daryl’s interrogation of Randall and later the guys search for Randall).
A lot of people on Walking Dead forums want to see a Carol/Daryl romance, that’s one idea I hope gets nixed if any of the writers attempt it. If that happens everyone can kiss their rear ends goodbye. Daryl has grown up a lot and become one of the key leaders in the group; that’s baggage he doesn’t need, and it wouldn’t end well. She would either make him as weak as she is with her judgmental attitude or she would push him into becoming another Ed just to hang on to his balls. She’s already looked at him like a dog that crapped on the carpet after he interrogated Randall. Nope don’t even go there.
Carol has another issue, she won’t fight back. When walkers attack she is going to stand there cowering and waiting for someone to come save her. She’s conditioned to be a victim from years of abuse at Ed’s hands. And her many weaknesses shows that she still has a victim’s mentality. How many times are people going to come to her rescue before they die because she is to weak to do what everyone in that group has done-kill a walker? Even Carl, a little kid has a walker kill under his belt now and he’s what 10 years old?
The best thing the group can do where Carol is concerned is to let her become Zombie take out. It would save them all a lot of grief in the long run.
A lot of people equate rank with being a leader, after my time in the army I can tell you that they are two different things. You can hold rank but have absolutely no leadership skills while the lowest ranking Private can rally people to follow them. It’s because leadership takes skill. A lot of leaders hold their position not on their own but because they understand the need to have a ‘power behind the throne’. Those who did not develop tunnel vision with the Shane/Rick power struggle in the past couple of episodes have been watching exactly this type of dynamic develop between Rick and Daryl.
Let’s be real here, neither Rick nor Shane is qualified to lead anyone in a situation where survival is minute to minute. They don’t have the experience or the skills needed, Daryl does. While there still may be a few modern conveniences around, this is a primitive world and things are only going to get worse; at this point you need someone who can not only survive, but keep the people around them alive too.
However one thing that has survived intact is bias. We’ve seen that more than once. As a result, a dynamic has evolved in which Rick holds the rank but Daryl is the power behind the throne. It’s a truly symbiotic relationship.
Rick as a law enforcement officer is the face of authority (Shane was als0). Cops are given a certain ‘power’ over our lives. They represent law and order. When things go to hell we look to find some stability. Rick is the very image of stability to these people. He is an acceptable representation of a leader and very strong on diplomacy and politics, but when it comes to keeping people alive he has about as much chance as a snowball in hell and he knows it.
Rick shows the qualities of a good leader in that he realizes there are times when you step back and follow someone else. This is what Shane could never learn. When you are not the best person to be out front, you get the hell out of the way and let the best person take the lead. We have seen Rick get out of the way more than once and with different people, usually Daryl and Glenn.
Rick has developed into an excellent figurehead. He knows his weaknesses and will delegate others when needed. He shows this tendency from day one when he turns to Glenn to lead Merle’s rescue party into Atlanta. In Season one he would reason with Shane to get Shane’s backing on decisions he would make. Not always the right decisions, but at this point many right decisions will still turn out wrong. In Season two he has more and more often turned to Daryl who has proven to be the dependable right hand that he needs.
Daryl is the farthest thing from a leader any ‘genteel’ person wants to see. That bias I spoke of before is in full play here. Daryl knows what he is capable of and keeps the welfare of the group in mind, even when he’s off sulking. He knows what needs to be done and will do it without hesitation, but he also knows his weaknesses.
Diplomacy and tact are not Daryl’s strong points. He’s blunt to the point of being offensive at times. He also knows that he is not what these people see as a leader, he’s the ‘other token’ (T-Dog is the token Black and Daryl is the token Redneck). Not too many people go out of their way to communicate with, trust or respect Daryl unless they want something (a la Lori’s ‘Daryl go get my husband’ demand). Pretty much just Carol, Dale (just before his death), and Rick.
Rick trusts Daryl’s counsel. When Daryl points out that they can scavenge through the cars on the highway while waiting for the RV to be fixed, Rick doesn’t argue he sets people to scavenging. When they are searching for Sophia Rick doesn’t question Daryl’s actions, he backs them. When they need information from Randall Rick gives the task to Daryl. None of this is lost on Daryl. Rick may be the ‘leader’ but he recognizes Daryl’s value and treats him as an important and valued member of the group.
This changing dynamic in leadership is clear to Shane who calls Daryl Rick’s new ‘wingman’. In it’s traditional meaning a wingman’s role was to support and protect the lead pilot in a formation. It’s a position of great trust, you can’t hold that position if you are going to constantly challenge every decision that is made. When Dale was injured and Rick couldn’t pull the trigger; Shane didn’t step up, Daryl did. Shane didn’t fill his responsibility as Rick’s wingman. Shane is wrong in his comment, Rick didn’t make Daryl his new wingman. Shane gave the position to Daryl by failing to shoulder the responsibility that rightfully belonged to him as Rick’s wingman.
Rick and Daryl together provide the group a strong and stable leadership. Rick is the one with the political and diplomatic skills. Rick is the one that can defuse tempers and reason with the members of the group and any outsiders they encounter. Rick can spend his time playing politics secure in the knowledge what what needs to be done will be done without a lot of drama. Daryl is the power behind the throne, the one with the knowledge to keep people alive and the ability to pull the trigger to protect the group. Unlike Shane, Daryl is perfectly content in the support role. Daryl can fully concentrate on doing what he needs to do for the good of the group, without dealing with all the politics.
Have you ever looked at someone and thought ‘What a dumba$$’? Of course you have, we all have at some point. We tend to make judgements about people but that judgement isn’t always right, they prove to be smarter than we give them credit for being like my favorite redneck, Daryl Dixon.
Daryl is a lot smarter than people give him credit for being. We really don’t know what his level of formal education is. For all we know he could have dropped out of school in the 9th grade or he could have a few semesters of community college under his belt; but based on his appearance he doesn’t look like the smart one. Rick, Andrea, Shane; we think that they are all ‘smart’. You have to have schooling in law enforcement to be a cop, and we know Andrea has a law degree so we think that they are automatically the smart ones. But smart doesn’t always equal ‘book knowledge’.
The second half of season 2 has been a constant revelation of just how smart Daryl is. We know he’s got survival smarts, we saw him survive being thrown by a horse, impaled on his own arrow, take down two walkers while injured and he still makes his way back to the farm. There’s no doubt the boy knows how to survive but the last couple of episodes have shown that his smarts go beyond survival.
Daryl sees what is going on around him. More importantly, when he sees he correctly evaluates the situation. He sees through Shane’s actions like he’s been blessed with X-ray vision. He knew all along that Shane was responsible for Otis death and he also sees through Shane’s ‘Randall hit me with a rock and escaped with my gun’ story. He knows there is more to what Shane told them and then makes it a point to find out what happened; by doing what Shane did not want him to do, track Randall.
There’s one more thing he sees, the danger to the group that comes from infighting among the leaders. Daryl realizes that he is in a leadership position the minute that Rick turns to him. The exchanges between Daryl and Rick clearly lay out this new command structure. Daryl understands that the only way the group will survive is to have one person in charge, but that one person can’t do everything. Someone has to help with the ‘heavy lifting’, but helping does not mean second guessing the decisions made or trying to stir up an insurrection.
Daryl understands this:
I don’t see us trading haymakers on the side of the road, ain’t nobody gonna win in that fight.
With those words Daryl lets Rick know that whatever happens, Daryl will live up to the trust Rick puts in him for the good of the group.
So last night a shocker as we lost a core member of the group, Dale. With everything that was going on and Dale’s opposition of it all, in a way Dale got his wish by dying at the end of the episode. He didn’t want to live in a world that boiled down to survival of the fittest.
Before we get to Dale, let’s talk about Carl and the unbelievably lax parenting by both Rick and Lori. It’s the middle of a Zombie apocalypse, Sophia has just been found as a zombie and Carl has almost died of a gunshot wound, yet these two let this child wander around unsupervised? There is no way as a parent I would let my child out of my sight even if he hadn’t just recovered from being shot. Too bad there aren’t a few child welfare workers around to remind them of the concept of parental responsibility.
Carl is running around snooping in Daryl’s private belongings and stealing Daryl’s gun, taunting walkers in the swamp which leads to him losing Daryl’s gun and also leads to the walker freeing himself and showing up on the farm later. Thanks a lot Carl, may you have nightmares for the next six months for being such a brat. And tell your mom and dad that if they had been doing their job as parents, none of that would have happened.
Finally someone takes the time to ‘question’ Randall and it’s not Shane or Rick the two cops, it’s Daryl who is finally over his ‘time of the month’. Thank goodness, it was getting old. Daryl lets the group know exactly what kind of people Randall has been hanging with. It is pretty clear to everyone that Randall has to go. The picture Daryl paints is pretty straight forward, “If they roll through here, our boys will be dead and our women will wish they were.” There is no other option, Randall is too big of a risk to live and everyone gets it except Dale. Even Glenn understands that the group has to protect themselves. I’m sure that none of those who understood looked forward to it but there is no legal system now, it’s wild west justice. You do what you have to do to protect the homestead.
And yes I must say that hell has officially frozen over. As much As I hate to admit it, I actually agree with Shane on something! As Dale asks that they give Randall a chance to prove himself, Shane points out that even if Randall turns out to be nice and helpful, there will always be the chance that it is just an act to get them to lower their guard. It is nice to think that we could hold onto being civilized but there is no civilization left, only groups of humans doing what they have to to survive.
And Carl hasn’t yet done enough damage for one day, now the little snot wants to watch the execution too! Rick stop talking and start going upside this kid’s head. Your child is a thief, disrespectful, and he’s is a liar by omission. Because he knows he has done wrong. Had he mentioned that there had been a walker in the swamp that was now loose around the farm maybe Dale would still be alive. God forbid Daryl needs his gun because Carl stole it and lost it. Who else has to die because Carl needs a good old fashioned whipping?
An apocalypse can be caused by a variety of events. Everything from an asteroid hitting the Earth to war to plague. The one constant in an apocalypse is that human civilization goes out the window, but we would all still need food shelter and protection. Survival is going to come down to brains and brawn. So here’s my list of BAMFs I’d like to have around.
They don’t come much better prepared for survival than Mac. Just give him a roll of duct tape and a few odds and ends and he can rig a booby trap in no time flat. Not to mention all that arcane knowledge of science would come in very handy in providing clean drinking water and you will die of thirst before starvation. However Mac is not really a fighter; if forced he’ll throw a punch but he really, really would rather not. He’d much rather catch someone in a snare while he escapes to safety. The thing is he is usually able to avoid most fights which could work out in your favor, since he would be more apt to convince you to pick your fights and fight only when really necessary.
Indiana Jones(Raiders of the Lost Ark)
Mac can rig a trap but Indy knows how to avoid them. Indiana’s knowledge of the Ancient world would come in very handy too. No more modern technology, but Indy understands ancient technology. I just wouldn’t ask him to kill any snakes you might encounter. Indy can also handle himself in a fight. Indy won’t expend a lot of energy fighting either. Go ahead and show off how skilled you are with a sword, Indy will just pull out his gun and shoot you. Funny thing is that age doesn’t slow Indy down one bit. Maybe he’s not quite as physical as he was in his youth but no signs of senility with this guy. His mind is still sharp as a tack.
Daryl Dixon(The Walking Dead)
Daryl has plenty of experience surviving in the woods on his own. He can navigate his way around without getting completely lost and he has the most intelligent ‘weapon’ of any post apocalyptic survivor yet (Except maybe that little feral kid with the boomerang in the Road Warrior movie). The Crossbow is quiet, deadly and all you need to maintain it are natural materials that are easily available. As long as there are deer and squirrels in the woods you won’t starve. Daryl also understands that there are times when you let sleeping dogs lie, if it is not an immediate threat you leave it alone and concentrate on the immediate issue so as not to waste what little resources you have. He’s also loyal to his group and understands that the good of the group comes first if people are going to survive.
These are my more ‘brainy’ picks. In every case they have knowledge and skills that would help any group survive. When civilization goes to hell, courtesy and decency will go right along with it. You will have human predators who will prey on other survivors and that where the brawn comes in. You will need guys who can and will take out your enemies permanently.
The MacManus Twins(Boondock Saints)
Connor and Murphy have a simple motto and it’s well suited to any apocalypse. “Destroy that which is evil so that which is good can flourish.” These two can do more in a matter of days to clean up organized crime in the city of Boston than the entire police force can do in years. A handful of human predators wouldn’t have a chance. Target located, acquired and destroyed with very little fuss. Although you would have to put up with a lot of childish sibling rivalry bickering. If all else fails you could ask Daryl Dixon to referee the two of them.
Jack Mason(Surviving the Game)
Jack Mason is already homeless so the apocalypse really wouldn’t shake him up that much and he already knows what it is like to be human prey. After all he had to survive being hunted by a group of wealthy businessmen who have nothing better to do with their time than hunt other humans. Jack not only survived he gave them a taste of their own medicine. He knows how to use the terrain to his advantage and will kill who he needs to kill to survive.
Max Rockatansky(Mad Max)
He has taken out a biker gang, a group of predatory nomads, managed to help ‘Master’ escape from Aunty Entity and led a group of children to a new home where they would be safe. The thing about Mad Max is that you can’t keep him down. Just when you think he’s done for he comes back from out of nowhere to put more bad guys down. The problem is that this guy just disappears into the sunset once he’s done his job. But he has been surviving for a long time in that apocalyptic world of his and that means a lot.