Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of The Walking Dead: Daryl DixonThe Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon wraps up Season 1 in an ambiguous conclusion, hinting at big decisions being made and a flurry of new stakes for the future. The Season 1 finale, “Coming Home” picks up right where the penultimate episode leaves — with Norman Reedus‘s Daryl Dixon stranded in a gladiator ring up against a super-powered walker and Sister Isabelle (Clémence Poésy) locked up with Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi) by her side. With the help of the L’Union, Daryl manages to escape Genet’s (Anna Charrier) compound and finally completes the nun’s quest to deliver Laurent to the Nest. Receiving a joyous reception at the island, Daryl is given the opportunity and resources to return home, the question is: does he?

Does Daryl Dixon Go Home in the Season 1 Finale?

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When Daryl, Laurent, Isabelle, and Sister Sylvie (Laika Blanc Francard) reach the Nest, the frantic scenes of action are replaced with deliberate and earned bonding moments. Interestingly, there is a hint of romance between Daryl and Isabelle, especially as Daryl tends to her wound, recalling a scene in the first episode where the roles were reversed. Since then, they have grown alongside each other, grappling with their pasts and moving beyond the mistrust and secrecy that plagued their initial relationship. Isabelle has somewhat resolved her more seemingly immoral traits shown in her backstory, and found a use for them when escaping Genet’s compound when she pickpockets the keys from the guard and escapes with Laurent.

In comparison, Daryl reminisces about his grandfather who died in France during the war, eventually finding his grave near the coast as he is leaving for America. It instigates thoughts about his childhood and how history tends to repeat itself. His grandfather was absent from his father’s life and thus his father neglected him. However, confronting his grandfather’s grave coupled with Isabelle’s declaration that he died fighting for what he believed, Daryl seems torn between his personal motives and his more humanitarian ones. Maybe, history was bound to repeat itself again and Daryl will have to abandon his loved ones back home to help the new loved ones that need him now.

Daryl’s growing bond with Laurent is depicted similarly at the Nest. There is a light-hearted scene where Daryl hands Laurent a nearly completed Rubik’s cube, once again echoing the first episode where Daryl hands it back to Laurent while gruffly muttering “I’m no good at sh*t like this.” Daryl’s growth as a parental figure and in his patience is wholly encapsulated in this mere moment. The way that both relationships with Isabelle and Laurent cycle back to the first episode gives their development a sense of resolution while also complicating Daryl’s necessity to return home. His newfound family unit gives the episode title a whole new meaning; perhaps he was finally “coming home” to his new family. Daryl’s storyline in Season 1 ends with him standing by the coast, gazing out at the oncoming ship that will begin his journey to America, but he is pulled back by Laurent’s sudden appearance at the beach. Though it is still unclear if Daryl will embark on the boat, his newfound family and stakes in their fight suggests Daryl will stay in France.

Quinn Ends Up Saving Daryl’s Life

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Quinn (Adam Nagaitis) is the biggest character that doesn’t make it out of Season 1 alive. After both Daryl and Quinn escape the arena while chained together, it is revealed that Quinn had been bitten on the back. With no hope of surviving that bite, Quinn reluctantly decides to sacrifice his life only if Daryl tells Isabelle about it. Right up until the end, Quinn’s motives remain selfish, which begs the question, did he actually earn redemption? We’ve seen doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, but Quinn gives us doing the right thing for the somewhat wrong reasons. Whether he was redeemed or not, by allowing Daryl to chop off his hand and subsequently holding off Genet’s soldiers until Daryl reached safety, Quinn is the reason Daryl escaped from the compound alive.

Interestingly, Daryl decides to uphold Quinn’s wishes and doesn’t tell Isabelle about Quinn’s request, though she did suspect it. It seems Daryl found Quinn’s final moments of remorse over using Laurent to get to Isabelle genuine. As such, it fulfills Quinn’s not so selfless dying wish while bestowing Isabelle with one final positive memory of Quinn. If Daryl believes Quinn is redeemed, who are we to argue?

Is Laurent as Powerful as We Think?

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When we first witness Isabelle trying to recruit Daryl as an escort for their plan to deliver Laurent to the Nest, she reveals a drawing done by Laurent of a man washed ashore in France. Although it would be strange to see The Walking Dead include an otherworldly element into the universe, considering this is a spinoff so unlike the original show, it wouldn’t be a complete shock. Fortunately, the spinoff dismisses our fears in the finale as Isabelle reveals that she had asked Laurent to draw it after Daryl arrived to convince him to join the cause. So if not foresight, what are Laurent’s powers? His talents seem to lie in his innate ability to connect with people, providing him with a solid foundation to become a powerful leader.

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When the truth about Laurent’s birth was revealed, it seemed like Laurent’s power was actually just his genetics and the potential immunity that would come with that. However, this was never expanded upon and instead, Genet seems more threatened by Laurent being a symbol of hope rising from the dead. As such, it seems the spinoff is taking a more symbolic and war-like approach to Laurent being the messiah in lieu of a scientific based one like in The Last of Us. Throughout the season, Daryl challenges Laurent’s view of the world and pushes him to be as tough as this apocalyptic universe requires. This culminates into Laurent killing his first walker (his father, Quinn) after Daryl appeals to his religious mindset and claims “God will forgive you.” Laurent undergoes the most maturation and growth in the season, where his empathy, resilience and newfound toughness will theoretically allow him to eventually lead the people of France out of the outbreak and Genet’s tyranny.

Why Does Codron Save Daryl?

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Earlier in the finale, we witness L’Union storm Genet’s compound, saving Daryl, Isabelle, and Laurent’s lives while also further undermining Genet’s credibility as a powerful leader in France (though Laurent’s existence and Daryl’s performance in the arena also contributed to this). We had already seen that there was a tentative agreement between the two opposing forces, but L’Union’s actions now completely eradicates this, foreshadowing major conflict in Season 2 of Daryl’s spinoff. Their time at the Nest also consolidates Genet’s future threat, as Daryl is earnestly told that the residents of the Nest are prepared for any counterattack. The preparations already begin while Daryl is still there as he trains groups of people to handle and shoot guns. Clearly, L’Union is the underdog in this fight and Daryl may be an integral piece to any possible victory in Season 2.

From the very first episode, Codron (Romain Levi) has a vendetta against the “American” (Daryl, that is) because Daryl killed Codron’s brother. After hearing about Genet’s own goal to kill Daryl, Codron and the gurriers join her team to exact out his revenge. In the finale he has the perfect moment to cause immense psychological pain to Daryl by killing Laurent, but fortunately, Codron has more honor than that. Shamelessly killing nuns and elderly men, Codron apparently draws a line at children. Instead, he betrays Genet and brutally shoots down her men that accompanied him. Yet, it is clear that Codron is not done with Daryl yet, menacingly whispering, “Not today, Dixon. Next time.” Whether or not there will be a next time is uncertain, as Genet quickly discerns Codron’s betrayal and he is forced to face unknown repercussions. Although there is no love lost between Daryl and Codron, with both of them being in bad graces with Genet, there is a small possibility of them forming a show-stopping team in Season 2.

Season 2 Will Be Called ‘The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon: The Book of Carol’

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The closing scene of the finale absolutely left all Daryl-Carol fans screaming. Melissa McBride expands her voice cameo in a previous episode with an epic physical appearance as she reprises the role of Carol in search Daryl, her best friend. Carol has already found her way to Maine and is trailing a man who is riding Daryl’s staple motorcycle. In a deliciously brutal Carol takedown scene, she discovers the whereabouts of the camp Daryl was kidnapped from, hops on Daryl’s bike, and drives off, determined. Although much information about The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon — The Book of Carol is being kept under wraps, we can all look forward to a very teary and heart-warming reunion of the shows best friends.

The Big Picture

  • The Season 1 finale of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon leaves things open-ended, with Daryl unsure whether to return home or stay with his newfound family in France.
  • Quinn sacrifices his life to save Daryl, leading to a debate about whether he truly earned redemption.
  • Melissa McBride’s epic return as Carol teases a very exciting Season 2, which will be called The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon — The Book of Carol

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