The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon spinoff brings fans back to the beginning of the apocalypse in its second episode, something seen before in past projects, but this time it is all the way over in France.
This is the second out of the six confirmed The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon episodes, with this being the first season of the series with the second season currently in production as of writing. Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride, among others, are all set to reprise their The Walking Dead roles in the second Daryl Dixon season.
See below for our full recap and review of the first season’s second episode.
Recap – What Happens In Episode 2
– MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD –
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’s second episode starts in a flashback that shows Clémence Poésy’s Isabelle walking the streets of Paris just hours before the outbreak started. Although we’ve seen this be done before in past projects such as The Walking Dead, World Beyond, and Fear the Walking Dead, this may genuinely be the best one yet in the entire franchise.
We get to see what Isabelle was like before becoming a nun, and before the zombie outbreak started. The flashback shows Isabelle partying, taking drugs, and seducing people until she gets close enough to steal something valuable from them – revealing she was a thief.
Isabelle walks through the pretty streets of pre-apocalypse Paris after doing a bit of partying, eventually ending up in one of the city’s underground metro stations. This is when the outbreak becomes apparent as a slow-mo shot of the metro train arriving shows a bunch of distressed passengers mixed with enough zombies to make it obvious what is happening.
This scene may just be the coolest “first zombie reveal” moment ever executed in The Walking Dead, especially when considering Poésy’s performance as Isabelle.
Naturally, Isabelle runs back to the overground of Paris to only find her fellow Parisians running in terror through fire-filled streets, along with getting her first real up-close look at a zombie. She’s luckily saved by Adam Nagaitis’ character Quinn who rolls up in a car just in time to get her out of there safely.
Opening Credits Open
Cut back to the present day, Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon and Poésy’s Isabelle plan the safest route to where they’re trying to get to. Daryl makes it clear that he thinks Paris would be the best bet, while Isabelle seems to be opposed to it.
Cut back to the past, while both Isabelle and Quinn are still driving, Isabelle asks Quinn to take her to her home so she can “change her clothes” and gather some of her belongings. Once she gets into her home, Isabelle quickly starts to shout for Lily, who is quickly revealed to be her sister who has no idea about what’s going on. Quinn agrees to take her with them.
Once outside, a young child shouts for Isabelle and tells her that her “papa didn’t come home last night”, and that her “mama’s crying on the phone.” Any fan of this universe will know exactly what this is implying, however, Isabelle being new to everything simply suggests for the young girl to go back to her apartment.
Once Isabelle and her sister get into Quinn’s car, however, it is clear by Isabelle’s facial expression that she doesn’t fully believe the words she gave to the child. Shortly after all of this, it’s revealed that Isabelle’s sister is pregnant, and Isabelle shows that she clearly doesn’t want Quinn to be anywhere near them as she manages to ditch him while also stealing his car, where she and her sister Lily drive away, leaving Quinn behind on foot.
Cut back to the present day, Daryl and his new group continue onward through the desolate and zombie-filled areas of France. Daryl quickly realises that using a horse as travel won’t work and sets the horse free, more so as a distraction so that he can get himself and his new small group through a walker-filled town.
Not long after, Daryl and his group are ambushed by a group of young adolescents, with no adults in sight. Thankfully, they all share similar religious beliefs to Isabelle and Laika Blanc Francard’s Slvie, who are both nuns. The group of young teenagers quickly loosen up and even feeds Daryl and his gang.
The main leader, who is also a teenager, reveals that they are all orphans with their building being an orphanage. Its main adult carer is too sick to look after them anymore, she is shown to be bedridden due to her sickness. The teenager informs Daryl and his group that a man who lives nearby has stolen a bunch of medical supplies, and has made it impossible to obtain any of them.
Daryl tells the teenage group that he can go and retrieve these medical supplies, while also feeding the main teenager false hope that these supplies will save the sick adult lying in bed upstairs. The morning after, Daryl sets out on foot to confront this medical supply hoarder, where he is soon joined by the main teenager who decides to set out with him to help get the supplies.
Meanwhile, back at the orphanage, Louis Puech Scigliuzzi’s Laurent gets picked on a little bit by the other young adults. He talks a bit about his father and tells them a story about how his father won medals, along with other stories that sound obviously false – making it clear Laurent has been lied to about who his father is. The young orphans pick up on these fantasies and quickly pick on him some more about how the nuns clearly “tricked” him.
Sylvie and Isabelle who watch nearby discuss in privacy how Laurent is curious as to who he really is, and how he “fits into the world.” Isabelle uses this as a segway to ask Sylvie the same, to which Sylvie confirms that she also has thoughts as to her true place in the world. This makes it a little bit clear that she may not fully be devoted to being a nun in this new world.
Cut back to the past, Lily says something is wrong with the baby, so in a panic, they both try to find something or someone that can help. They soon spot an ambulance parked on the side of the road, and they check to only find a bunch of walkers that they narrowly escape before driving away again.
Cut back to the present, Laurent finds the horse that Daryl set free, dead most likely to being killed by walkers, which he won’t be happy with for two reasons – one, it’s a beautiful horse, and two… he was told the horse would be fine. This revelation mixed with the children making him doubt the truth behind the stories he was told about his father quickly makes Laurent start to realise that the adults in his life just lie to him about everything, which he doesn’t appreciate.
Daryl and the main teenager find the medical supply hoarder’s main headquarters, a fortress of solitude surrounded by a zombie-filled moat.
Cut back to the past, Isabelle and her sister find the same convent that Daryl found, its nuns help the baby. It’s quickly realised, if not obvious before, that Isabelle’s sister is pregnant with Laurent. Quinn is revealed to be the father.
Cut back to the present, Laurent confronts Isabelle and Sylvie about them lying to him, but it cuts to Daryl and the teenager preparing to take on this hoarder. Daryl locks the teenager in a room though, in an attempt to keep her safe from the upcoming confrontation. Daryl says it’s to keep her safe as well as saying it’s because he’s “better off on his own” – another badass Daryl moment!
Daryl manages to get into the compound, armed with a rifle and some melee weapons, he quickly finds some supplies along with finding one of the orphans who is seemingly stuck in the hoarder’s base. Shortly after, the hoarder reveals himself by shooting rifle shots at Daryl, which almost hits him.
Daryl manages to run past the rifleman’s vantage point and sneak up on him, the supply hoarder is revealed to be a fellow American who got stuck in France when visiting the country while the outbreak started. He also seems to be under the impression that the outbreak only exists in France, or at least Europe, as Daryl shocks him by revealing that the whole world is full of zombies.
Daryl and the teenagers alongside him take the hoarder as a prisoner and fill a cart full of supplies, however, the hoarder quickly turns things south as he manages to get Daryl and himself stuck into his walker-filled moat while crossing its bridge. Daryl manages to fight off any incoming walkers, but the hoarder is quickly killed off by walkers who feast on his guts.
The teenagers help Daryl get out of the moat, but one of the other teenagers notices that his sibling who he believed to still be alive is amongst the walkers who fill the aforementioned moat. The main teenager learns a valuable lesson at this point as she is the one who fed him false hope, something that Daryl also did to her when claiming the supplies would save her adult carer and something the nuns have been doing to Laurent his whole life – a prominent theme.
Daryl shows compassion to his new allies by helping them put their lost one to rest, using his crossbow, although it’s saddening for the orphans, they appreciate Daryl’s act as he tries to console them as best he knows how. Daryl and the teenagers arrive back at the orphanage with pretty much all of the hoarder’s supplies, far more than they would have ever dreamed of having.
Isabelle smiles with joy at this sight, as well as clearly being extremely proud of Daryl for managing to pull this off. It’s soon revealed that whilst away from the orphanage, the adult carer sadly passed away. Daryl quickly has to take accountability for providing the main teenager with false hope, moments before she is told that she will have to be the main leader now.
They all hold a funeral for the adult carer, then the main protagonists prepare to leave and set out on their journey again. However, Laurent tells Isabelle that he doesn’t want to go and that he would rather just stay with the orphans instead. Isabelle manages to convince him to join them, but it’s clear that Laurent isn’t happy with his situation at all anymore as he discovers more about himself.
Cut to the convent, Romain Levi’s Cordron discovers more about who Daryl is due to finding a voice recording, as well as learning exactly where they are headed due to them having a trailed-out map on a wall. Cut back to the past when Isabelle’s sister gives birth to her child, where it is fully revealed that the child is indeed Laurent, meaning Isabelle is his auntie.
Isabelle’s sister sadly dies and turns into a zombie whilst giving birth to Laurent, similar to how Ellie was born in The Last of Us. This could potentially be hinting that Laurent may be a cure, or at least hinting that this is what the nuns believed.
The episode ends after this.
The second episode of Daryl Dixon, in my opinion, is one of the best episodes of the series and contains some of the best moments out of the entire franchise. Spinoffs such as Fear the Walking Dead have been known to saturate their screens with new characters, however, the new characters to join the universe in this new spinoff are developed extremely well throughout each episode.
Poésy’s Isabelle is the star of this episode, both the writing and the performances never fail at captivating you, pulling you in emotionally and immersing you into the post-apocalyptic streets of France.
The message behind this episode, its storyline, and its antagonist make up for an emotionally triggering ride, but one that you won’t regret post-watching. I’ve watched every episode of this series, thanks to AMC+, not all episodes will be rated this high by me but this one is a clear winner, at least in my eyes.
It’s hard to argue that the setting, plot, and performances, among everything else shown throughout this series, are anything but extraordinary. This is the perfect series for any horror fan, zombie lover, and The Walking Dead enthusiast.
As mentioned in my previous recap review, it’s apparent that the cast and crew behind Daryl Dixon had only one thing in mind, their loyal fanbase who have stuck around since Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes woke up confused in a hospital.
Episode Rating: 5 out of 5
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 1, episode 2 is now streaming on AMC+
This review was written during the 2023 WGA (now resolved) and SAG-AFTRA (ongoing) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series/movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.