The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1 - Episode 1: "L'âme Perdue" Daryl I: Dixon is strapped to a capsized boat, which floats toward a shore. Daryl falls into the water, but recovers in time to make it to the beach. Seeing French print on various signs, Dixon probably realizes where he's landed. Finding an abandoned marina, Daryl gathers supplies and makeshift weapons and a map. He finds a tape recorder, listening to the account of a man who states there are no safe places. He had a wife and child, but the wife died of a heart attack, leaving him no choice but to kill her. His daughter only wanted to go home--or to the way things used to be. In his frustration--records his own message: "My name's Daryl Dixon. I come from a place called The Commonwealth. It's in America. I went out lookin' for somethin'. Al I found was trouble. If I don't make it back...I want 'em to know I tried. Hell, i'm still trying." Dixon makes his way across the French landscape, crossing the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, among other markers of a civilization long gone. Eventually, he enters a town, and finds a dilapidated building to search, but soon, his noise attracts dormant walkers to rise for a meal. Daryl fights off the small group, but to his shock, a walker grabbing his forearm leaves a corrosive residue, burning Daryl's arm. Once the walkers are put down, Daryl contemplates his burns, holding his head as if he believed his life is as threatened as one who suffered a bite. Daryl II: Heading out, he stops to wrap his burned arm while taking notice of a hand-drawn sign with the statement, "Dieu vous aime" ("God loves you"). From a nearby hill, a woman watches Dixon while posting one of the signs. Daryl encounters a young woman and an elderly blind man gathering crates of supplies--including food, which the woman trades for Daryl's medical bag. Learning that Dixon is an American looking for a way back home, the woman offers to help him, but the trio's dialogue is cutoff with the arrival of two men--aka Guerriers (warriors) in a truck--one armed with a musket, the other with a flintlock. Tensions mount quickly, with the leader of the armed men barking at the woman, then attempting to take her away. Daryl uses the chaos to attack the other man, but he's grazed in the neck by the leader. In turn, he is knocked to the ground and stabbed in the chest by the woman. Daryl--in pain and bewildered--is in for another shock as the allegedly blind man whacks Dixon over the head with a cane, as the woman rifles through his bag until a shot scares the two off, fired by the woman who observed Daryl earlier. Daryl III: Daryl passes out, but when he comes to, he finds himself in the half-ruined Abbey of Saint Bernadette, tied to a bed where a group of nuns use a white-hot fire poker to cauterize Daryl's walker-acid wound--his screams alarming another group of nuns in the chapel. Sometime later, Daryl is visited by a young nun named Isabelle (the one posting the signs), who checks his wound & prepares a bath for him. Both are suspicious of the other, but Daryl accepts the hospitality. While bathing, he notices a shelf packed with iconography from many religions. Questioning Isabelle whether her group was keeping their "..options open", an amused, Isabelle informs Daryl that her abbey is part of a collective of other faith groups known as l'Union de l'Espoir (Union of Hope), who are--as she puts it--open to all messages of faith and perseverance. Isabelle: "We believe humanity is enduring a test from which we soon be delivered." Daryl: "Yeah, I never put much stock in, uh..." Isabelle: "God?" Daryl: "Mm-hm." Isabelle: "Well, He put stock in you." (SEE NOTES) Isabelle takes notice of the burn marks on Daryl's back, which he casually refers to as the work of his father. Daryl spots a series of healed slash wounds on one of the nun's wrists, which makes her uncomfortable, but she explains: "Parish priest used to say that our scars show that we have suffered, but more importantly, that we have healed from our suffering." Isabelle goes on to tell Daryl that no men are allowed in the Abbey's living area--except a young, orphaned boy named Laurent, who grew up among the nuns. Daryl takes stock of the armory, filled with Medieval weapons the nuns have trained to use. Soon, a nervous nun named Sylvie serves him a meal--her behavior likely brought on by the Mother, who warns Isabelle that Daryl does not belong there, as he's violent & lived a faithless life with no relationship to God. Isabelle insists Daryl could be the one they had been waiting for, based on witnessing how he fought the Guerriers. Daryl and Laurent: While Daryl eats, he notices Laurent mimicking his every move, which Daryl finds somewhat amusing. Laurent introduces himself to Dixon, info-dumping his strengths in math, science, geography & music, with an awareness of all countries and capitals as it existed before the fall, as taught to him by someone named Père Jean (NOTES). Laurent--claiming he feels things in his stomach, makes a quick study of Daryl, seeing that he's sad, homesick and eerily adds that he "...deserves a happy ending"--the same statement made by Judith Grimes. Laurent is called way for poetry with Père Jean. The Guerriers: The woman and her no-so-blind companion are confronted by members of the same group who attacked the duo earlier. The elderly man's attempts to lower the temperature are met with Codron--the lead Guerrier--hitting the man, and crushing his hand under Codron's boot. The men are searching for their two companions (now dead), which the woman says were attacked by one man. Codron runs the cane through the elderly man's head, and takes the woman as a prisoner--to guide them back to other Guerriers. Daryl and Isabelle: Left alone, Daryl attempts to break into Père Jean's office (where a radio set is stored) until he hears Laurent's voice...and that of a walker. Flanked by Isabelle and other nuns, Laurent reads poetry to the reanimated corpse of Père Jean--the creature wildly reaching out toward the living. Daryl sees this, hardly believing his eyes; Laurent states Père Jean is held while waiting for him to "rise again". Daryl's had enough, immediately packing his belongings, which prods Isabelle to reveal the nuns' belief in a Buddhist monk's prophecy that Daryl has been chosen as the "messenger" to lead Laurent to L'Union base where he's supposed to be raised to become the new messiah to lead the revival of humanity. Ignoring what he considers crazy-talk, and growing frustrated when learning the radio is missing a tube that might be found up north, Daryl demands to know the location of a functioning radio. Isabelle claims rumors have said it can be found in the port city of La Harve, which just so happens to be the route Père Jean selected to escort Laurent. Despite Isabelle noting how difficult it would be for anyone to make the trip to La Harve, Daryl knows his only way back home to is to get to that port. The Guerriers II: Arriving at the site where Daryl was attacked, Codron sees the corpse of one of his soldiers, then frantically calls out to the other--his brother, Michel. Codron is horrified to see his reanimated brother emerge--the boat hook still stuck in his chest. Through anguish, Codron puts down Michel, then turns on the woman--who is only spared thanks to one of the men finding one of Isabelle's flyers at the site. The convent: Daryl refuses to have anything to do with the nuns' mission, leaving the convent. As he heads down the road, he takes cover from the rapidly approaching Guerriers. The nuns deny any man has been at the settlement, but Codron threatens the women if they do not allow his gang to search. Elsewhere, the nuns all arm themselves with the Medieval weapons, in anticipation of what's likely to unfold. The men find Père Jean, and--as expected--question the behavior of the nuns. Codron orders one of his reluctant men to put down the walker if Isabelle does not spill all she knows about the mystery man, but her denials lead Père Jean's end--just as a panicked Laurent runs to the cell. Codron decides to take Laurent away to make him a soldier for someone named "Genet". Isabelle is nearly killed in trying to protect the boy, but the would-be assailant is struck in the back with a sword--wielded by Daryl. Several Guerriers chase after Daryl through the main house, while others (in pursuit of Isabelle and Laurent) are confronted in the courtyard by armed nuns. Wasting no time, the men shoot down several nuns, with the exception of Sylvie, who viciously stabs one guard to death, and quickly turns on another. Inside the house, Daryl takes out one man after another, but is nearly killed by Codron until Isabelle slices into his gun arm with a sword. Daryl retrieves Codron's gun, shooting the man twice, yet this does not kill or stop the man from making his escape. Daryl returns to the main house, where Isabelle holds a dying Mother. Reaching out for Daryl's hand, she says: "You don't believe? Maybe you never saw a reason to. But one thing I know...reasons...are everywhere." Turning to Laurent, Mother adds: "You are the cure for a sick world." Looking at Daryl, she wonders if he was the one (prophesied to be this "messenger"), then dies. That evening, the survivors--Daryl, Isabelle, Sylvie and Laurent--sit around a rooftop fire. Daryl finally reveals how he landed on the shores of France: he ran into bad people who tied him to a boat. No longer dressed as nuns, Isabelle and Sylvie will help Daryl find the ports at Le Harve, and in exchange, he will help the nuns transport Laurent. Unbeknownst to the survivors, Codron stands just on the outside of the Abbey, taking notice of the fire. Contemplating his next move, Codron drives away (SEE NOTES). Le Harve, Northern France: Aboard a large vessel, a woman named Genet questions its nervous captain about a recent disaster, one where a lone American named "Dixon" incited a mutiny, but worst of all, destroyed several experiments on walkers. Genet is informed that the man was killed by being thrown overboard, but she's not satisfied with this information. Genet orders her soldiers to find Dixon... NOTES: The episode's title--"L'âme Perdue"-- is French for "lost soul". The episode might lead one to believe its a reference to Daryl's current plight, but---that's not strictly the case, as it could be a reference to Isabelle's former life, where she tried to commit suicide. Daryl recorded that he's still trying to find something (rather than someone, but all found was trouble. It is possible this episode will lead to a flashback to the "trouble" he found, and if it teases the road the leads to Rick (and his own series). Isabelle telling Daryl God as "put stock" in him leads the generally atheistic Dixon to think for a moment about what that means. In the bigger picture, it could point to his surviving longer than almost every other character, being a beacon of hope to so many despite the endless moments where his life could have been snuffed out. Instead of selfishly running away, or serving his own ends within a community (the kind of man he was when he was introduced), Daryl was there to lift others up, almost in a Philippians 2:3 manner. Perhaps that single angel wing tattoo meant something after all. Plot implausibility 101: In a world where cars are a rarity, human hearing would have become quite sensitive to the loud noise of any functioning vehicle--including Codron's when he returned to the convent to spy on the survivors. We now have a new type of walker: "burners" with a touch that leaves corrosive residue on the flesh of the living. Daryl--like the audience--was shocked to see walkers punched back up to threatening again, as most of the creatures featured on The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead's most recent seasons were little more than cannon-fodder, needing large numbers to still be a threat. Daryl's signature crossbow is missing. The character Père Jean is named for the famous 19th century French missionary/ botanist Père Jean Marie Delavay. I'm hoping Laurent does not turn out to be the Second Coming (more than some sort of implied "replacement" messiah), as that status--and the casting of actor Louis Puech Scigliuzzi smells of the worst act of miscasting in world media history regarding the appearance of Christ or a Christ-like figure. I found Daryl Dixon's debut episode far more fascinating than Dead City's opener. Although Dead City is quite strong and promises much, Daryl Dixon is--at the moment--such a departure from the usual TV-WD patterns, that it forces the familiar (Daryl) to be challenged to his core, which is not the same as simply being threatened by the Big Bad and/or walkers. Next episode: Daryl talks to God... GRADE: A.