It's already been a couple of weeks since we said goodbye to our favourite pizza delivery boy on #TheWalkingDead, but we're all still reeling from Glenn's introduction to Lucille. As fans struggle through the harrowing stages of grief, there's one emotion that keeps coming up: anger. Who are we angry at? Daryl goddamn Dixon, that's who.
The shock of Abraham's gruesome death following the most sadistic game of "eenie meenie miney moe" ever played soon gave way to relief over Glenn being spared. Of course, that feeling was short-lived once Daryl decided to be a hero and ruin it for everyone. If anyone's liable for Walking Dead fans' much-needed therapy sessions, it's him.
However, both Norman Reedus and show producer Greg Nicotero have spoken about the motivation behind Daryl's actions, and why it had to happen that way.
More on The Walking Dead:
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- Why Daryl Dixon Is The Most Emotionally Damaged Character On 'The Walking Dead'
- New Clip From 'The Walking Dead' Episode 3 Shows Dwight Offering Daryl A Choice
Daryl Is All Kinds Of Messed Up Right Now
According to producer Greg Nicotero, Daryl is "in really bad shape" right now. Understatement of the century, buddy. To Daryl's credit, he's been through a lot. He lost his BFF Beth. He blamed himself for Hershel's death at the hands of the Governor. And saddest of all, he had to kill his own zombie brother.
Suffice to say, the guy's in a pretty fragile emotional state. And people in fragile emotional states aren't exactly known for having logical reactions to bad things. Especially when one of those bad things is seeing your friend being taunted after her ex-boyfriend has been violently transformed into mince meat.
It's Not Daryl's Fault He's A Redneck
Let's be real for a moment: redneck dudes aren't exactly known for being emotionally equipped to deal with grief. Daryl has shared bits and pieces of his not-so-quaint childhood in prior seasons, and his older brother Merle (may he rest in pieces) was the definition of "macho douchebag". Let's not forget that this is the person who basically raised Daryl.
Just as Merle showed he had a preferred method of dealing with conflict, Daryl has also proven to be quick to anger. Whilst not quite so backward as his brother — remember his awkward-but-cute dinner with Aaron and Eric? — there's still some social conditioning that's hard to shake. Specifically, the ability to process painful emotions in a healthy way.
Not to trash talk Daryl too much, but would you expect any less from a guy enjoys eating roast squirrels and has worn the same shirt for four years? While lashing out was definitely the worst possible thing anyone could have done in that moment, Daryl probably wasn't raised to consider the implications of sudden displays of aggression. After all, sudden displays of aggression are what Daryl does best! We love you Daryl, please don't ever change. Just kidding, please don't get any more good characters killed. Seriously.
Daryl Thought He Would Be Punished, Not Glenn
If the latest episode is anything to go by, Daryl hasn't exactly learned his lesson. In Episode 1, he and Rick both stayed defiant after the death of Glenn and Abraham, but Rick proved to be easier to break than expected when Carl's limbs were suddenly on the line. So why the hell did Daryl not just stop and think abut his actions? Greg Nicotero has an idea.
"The reason he leapt out of that line was because Negan was bullying Rosita. The way he was standing in front of her screaming at her and shoving that bloody baseball bat in her face, he wasn’t going to take it. He wasn’t going to let Negan get away with it in front of anybody. I think he probably would have rather been the victim himself than have seen anyone else go."
Daryl never dreamed that one of his best friends would be punished for his reckless reaction. But despite what happened, Daryl is still determined to be a shining example of Southern defiance at its worst, even refusing to address Negan by his name in this week's episode. According to Norman Reedus, "It's not a 'Fuck you' to Negan. It's a 'You can't have me.'"
Of course, there's a reason for that, too...
This Is All Just Build-Up To Daryl's Epic Revenge
Daryl's potentially looming death has been a topic of speculation for a while now. Quite frankly, it seems like Negan's only keeping him alive to amuse Dwight. He also serves as a convenient blackmail tool against Rick.
Given the show's history of ruining our lives by killing of our most beloved characters, what reason do the producers have for keeping Daryl alive? Norman Reedus has a theory on why Daryl and Rick are being royally screwed with, and it means another untimely death might not be on the cards just yet.
"We're not used to not being badasses and fighting and winning, but it's been explained to me that heroes need to fall really far down to be able to go really far back up again. Hopefully there's a light at the end of that tunnel."
Things have to get worse before they get better, and Daryl is certainly in the middle of the worst of it right now. While things are tough now, it's likely that this is all leading to potential justice for Glenn. Move over, Harambe!