Is The Walking Dead’s Moral Compass Pointing to Daryl Now?


Is The Walking Dead’s Moral Compass Pointing to Daryl Now?

Bicycle Girl reflects on Episode 606 and discusses the potential risk of Daryl’s decisions to do what’s right in The Walking Dead


With no working tear ducts, I couldn’t cry when Hershel and Dale died in The Walking Dead but I died a little extra inside when they both had their final moments on the show. Being the moral compass on TWD wins over the hearts of fans, but it also seems to put a giant target on the backs of characters.


After watching Episode 606 “Always Accountable” last night, I can’t help but be a little worried about Daryl. In the episode, he proved the kind of person he is inside, leading me to fear he could swap his trademark winged vest for a red shirt sometime soon.


Daryl’s always had a good heart beneath his rough exterior. We saw evidence of that early on when he refused to give up looking for Sophia and gave Carol the Cherokee rose to boost her spirits. We were even reminded of it last night when the Swamp Walker he killed was shown to have a Cherokee rose on its back.

But there have been more and more examples of Daryl differing from the path the rest of the group has taken during the last season. Here are just a couple of examples:

1. Supporting Tyreese’s Plan in “Crossed” Episode 507

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When Rick and the others were debating the best way to handle Beth’s rescue, Tyreese suggested the idea of exchanging hostages to prevent bloodshed. Rick was skeptical of the idea, saying


Yeah, I get it. And it might work. This will work.


Immediately, Daryl spoke up, saying



Nah, that’ll work, too. You say this Dawn, she’s just trying to keep it together, right? Trying and doing are two different things. You take two of her cops away, what choices does she have? Everybody goes home. Like he says.


It was one of the few times I can remember Daryl disagreeing with Rick so openly. Later in the episode when they were capturing the cops, Rick contemplated killing Officer Licari, but Daryl stopped him despite the fact that the cop had nearly caused him to be bitten moments before. The look he gave Rick at the time showed both disapproval and concern over how long it took for him to lower his gun:


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2. Refusing the Gun in “Forget” Episode 513

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Carol went through a lot to get guns from the armory for herself, Rick and Daryl, including threatening to tie Sam to a tree and let walkers eat him! Still, when Carol tried to give him one of the guns, Daryl said,


Look, I’ve been thinking. Do we really need these? I mean, things go bad, yeah, sure. We do what we gotta do, but it’s like you said. We don’t need these for that.

This was another example of Daryl acting as the moral compass, this time breaking from the two people he has grown so close to over the course of the series.


3. The Way He Interacted with His Captors in “Always Accountable” Episode 606


Last night, we saw two good examples of how Daryl has become a positive force in the world of The Walking Dead. The first was when he returned the cooler with the insulin to Tina, Dwight and Dwight’s wife. Later, despite the fact that they had taken him prisoner, he invited the couple back to Alexandria, only to end up without his weapon or his bike.


Is Daryl in Danger? Maybe.




The theme of last night’s episode was accountability. Sasha summed it up with the following,


You jump out of an airplane, you don’t have choices after that.

Maybe you play some chicken with the ground, but you pull the rip cord, you live. But if you have a roof over your head, you have food, you have walls, you have choices. And without walkers and bullets and shit hitting the fan, you’re accountable for them. I mean, hell, you’re always accountable. It’s just with all that other noise, you know people won’t notice.


While Sasha seemed to be speaking of choices that hurt other people, I think it’s clear that in the world of the walkers, people are held accountable for choices to do good as well. Daryl paid the price last night in a small way, but could he pay a bigger one in the upcoming episodes?


I hope not…cause we all know the riots will start if something happens to Daryl. Even Obama is apparently on board!




Still, I can’t help but think that the needle on the TWD moral compass is pointing to Daryl, not to Morgan, who seems to be making the choice to preserve life to protect his own sanity, not because he feels compelled to make good choices.


It’s possible that Daryl’s days could be numbered, but at the same time, if anyone can live through being a force of good on The Walking Dead…it’s Daryl Fucking Dixon.


What did you think about Daryl’s choices in last night’s episode?

Do you agree he may be becoming the force of “what’s right” in the group? I want to know!

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Bicycle Girl

Freelance writer from Pittsburgh. May or may not be a walker whose bicycle was stolen by Officer Friendly.

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