First things first – I love zombie stuff. Always have, even before it was cool. I guess that makes me a zombie hipster. There’s just something raw and basic in the fight for survival that zombie flicks, books, and stories that has always attracted me.
Which brings me to the amazing, character driven AMC epic – The Walking Dead. It’s easily the #1 reason I still have cable in my home. From the moment a friend first showed me a teaser poster before season 1, I’ve been hooked. My wife who is NOT a zombie fan loves the show too. Every Sunday night we enjoy sitting together and watching the narrative of Rick and the rest of the walker slaying survivors.
All the characters on this show are deep. Even guys like Tomas who last less than one full episode have depth. How about those 2 guys from the Northeast who were in the shoot out with Rick? They had more of a back story than T-Dog.
But there is one character who is running the risk of being too big – Daryl Dixon. I love Daryl as much as the next guy but the problem as I see it is that his character has become too important to the show because of the love fans have for him. We’ve seen him go from angry southerner to reluctant hero to someone who seems to enjoy being the reluctant hero. He’s essentially the Walking Dead’s version of Sawyer from Lost. The character almost seems to be a direct response to fan appreciation and since he wasn’t in the (amazing) comic series as written by Robert Kirkman there’s no real story arch that Daryl has to take.
Again, Daryl is a great character but here’s why I think he needs to make his exit soon – ultimately, the Walking Dead is Rick’s story. It could be argued that it is Rick and Carl’s story, but at the heart, this is about Officer Grimes. From Season 1 on there has been one constant – no one is untouchable except for Rick. Early on it was just members of the group we saw that we never had a chance to connect with. In Season 2 we saw the departure of Rick’s best friend, Shane. Shane should have been as close to untouchable as anyone but his story line ended with a quick shiv from Rick.
In Season 3, we saw the death of Lori. If Rick’s wife isn’t safe then no one is. Except for some reason, Daryl. He has no real connection pre-outbreak with Rick yet he seems almost untouchable now and I think that is bad because it can draw away from the main story of Rick and holding his family together.
I don’t want to bash Daryl and offend all the ladies who love LL Cool D but either his role needs to be reduced or he needs to be killed off before this goes too far and the story stops being about Rick and starts being about Rick and others. What makes this show special is to see Rick’s emotional roller coaster. Adding too much Daryl or any character, will eventually draw away from the power of Rick’s story.