The Bride had her Hattori Hanzo, Luke had his lightsaber, but look out Hollywood, now Daryl Dixon has a rocket launcher! Could this mean The Walking Dead's bad boy is hanging up his crossbow for good?
The Walking Dead's Season 6 mid-season premiere, 'No Way Out', showed us that a little fire-power goes a long way. As walking moustache and token shocked face (Abraham and Sasha) were about to be gunned down by the Sons of Anarchy rejects, everyone's favorite hillbilly saved the day. The first four minutes of the episode really looked as if someone was going to bite the dust, but we were not expecting that! Re-live the head bouncing fireball below.
Arguably one of the best episodes ever, 'No Way Out' gave us everything an episode could. One rocket launching Daryl wasn't quite enough for you and he was at it again, riding in to save the day; mounted atop a tanker like the Lone Ranger. Spilling the tanker fuel, RPG Daryl sets fire to a pond in the centre of Alexandria and lures the zombies to a watery/fiery grave. Life in the Alexandria Safe Zone will never be the same, and thanks to Daryl they have a shed load of charred walkers to sweep up!
Questions of where this mysterious weapon came from have been puzzling us. Also why has no one used this before? A rocket launcher would have come in pretty handy to dispatch the Governor and his tank during the Season 4 prison attack. We know that The Walking Dead can't go around having every obstacle blown up by rocket launcher (it would actually be pretty boring), but I'm surprised Rick's group hasn't pulled this one out of the bag earlier.
The Walking Dead's arsenal of weaponry has everything from a katana to a fire hose (and now a rocket launcher), but it is for his crossbow that Daryl is best known. A skilled hunter, Daryl has had his bow from day one, apart from the odd theft, but now could be the time to hang up the strings. Let's be honest, crossbows aren't the most effective weaponry - hard to reload, limited ammo, plus you have to fish around in walker brains to retrieve your arrow. A bit like Carl with an eye, or Rick with both hands, *spoilers* a bow-less Daryl just isn't right.
While Daryl doesn't appear in the comic books, (and according to Robert Kirkman 'never' will) I'm pretty sure a rocket wielding comic Dixon would be just as deadly as his on screen counterpart. There is something uber macho about stacking a cannon on your shoulder, it is the ultimate get out of jail free card. Zombie RPGs are pretty cool, but nothing tops dino RPGS. In the Jurassic Park novel, gamekeeper Robert Muldoon dispatched a velociraptor with a rocket launcher; while this never made it into a JP film, raptor blowing action may just pip Daryl to WTF moments.
Daryl isn't the first to swap a crossbow for a rocket launcher. Sarah Michelle Gellar upped her wow factor in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 'Innocence'; admittedly Buff's foray into projectiles was short lived. She only used it to destroy The Judge in this episode. Norman Reedus now joins a hallowed hall of fame for rocket launchees, including Rose McGowan in Planet Terror, Arnie in Commando, and Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop III.
With Reedus getting so much screen-time and promising a bigger season for Daryl, could showrunners be gearing him up for a fateful demise? As avid fans of the show will know, another big weapon is coming soon. Negan and his barbed wire wrapped baseball bat, dubbed 'Lucille', are on their way. Whether Daryl Dixon makes it out alive or not, we will just have to wait and see; in the meantime keep that rocket launcher warm. We salute you Mr. Dixon for flying the American flag high.