The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Finale Recap: “Coming Home”

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season finale begins on the beaches of Normandy. June 6, 1944. D-Day. An American soldier — one of 2,501 — dies fighting for the liberation of France. His dog tag reads: DIXON. “Dixon! Dixon! Today you die! For my brother!” In the present-day, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) hears the taunts of Codron (Romain Levi) and the cheers of the Pouvoir, who have come to watch the American battle the amped-up les affam?s, the hungry ones, engineered by Madame Genet (Anne Charrier). “Don’t worry, Issa,” Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi) assures his praying aunt, Isabelle (Cl?mence Po?sy). “Daryl will win.”

Daryl fights the acidic-blooded br?lants, burners, in the arena that Genet has assembled for De Gaulle Day marking the rebirth and rise of France’s Sixth Republic. He’s chained at the wrist to Quinn (Adam Nagaitis), forcing the American and the Brit to fight side-by-side to survive their trial by walker. Genet’s chief doctor (Fran?ois Delaive) injects the Pouvoir‘s zombie gladiators with a serum that amps up the hungry ones with blackened eyes and sharpened teeth. The Ampers are faster, stronger, and deadlier than the average les affam?s, but Genet’s pets fail to kill Daryl and Quinn.

“The point was to win these people to our cause,” Genet seethes as the crowd cheers for the American, holding a walker’s head up to the blood-thirsty spectators. Before Genet’s Guerrier can gun down Daryl, Fallou (Eriq Ebouaney), Sylvie (Laika Blanc Francard), and Emile (Tristan Zanchi) spark la r?volution, allowing Daryl and Quinn to escape in the chaos. “This American killed your brother?” Genet asks Codron. “You want your revenge? Go get it.”

In the halls of the Maison M?re, Daryl notices a wound on Quinn’s shoulder blade that he says was caused by the burning touch of the br?lant. Meanwhile, Genet imprisons Isabelle and Laurent, telling the boy: “God is not coming for you. The Messiah? I don’t think so.” Laurent questions if they’ve been abandoned by God, but Isabelle reminds him that “now is when we need faith the most.” She reveals a pick-pocketed key, a trick she learned in another life. As Quinn succumbs to his wound, he repents for his treatment of Isabelle and using Laurent — his son — to try to get her back. Daryl says he can still buy him time to save Isabelle and Laurent. With that, Daryl uses a belt as a tourniquet and severs Quinn’s cuffed hand with one clean cut. Quinn goes after the Guerrier, giving Daryl time to rendezvous with Fallou’s fighters before finding Isabelle and Laurent trapped on the other side of a gate.

The zombified Quinn attacks Isabelle, who uses a pipe to fend him off. Handing Laurent his blade through the gate, Daryl tells him he can save her. “God will forgive you,” Daryl tells the boy, who puts down his reanimated father. Later, Daryl, Isabelle, Laurent, and Sylvie head for Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy: The Nest. When their truck breaks down outside a small village, Daryl tells Isabelle how his dad used to have him and his brother, Merle, take apart engines. If they couldn’t put them back together, they didn’t get dinner. It was hard “when he was around,” Daryl says of his father, “which was hardly ever.” Daryl’s dad “grew up without a father. I guess history repeats itself if you’re not careful.” Daryl explains that his grandfather enlisted, left his pregnant wife back home, and died in France in World War II. When Isabelle remarks that grandpa Dixon “gave his life for France,” Daryl is almost churlish in his response: “Yeah, while his family fell apart back home. Hardly seems worth it.”

Isabelle admits that Laurent growing up without a father was “better than Quinn.” And then she confesses another truth: that she recognized Daryl was dangerous when she found him in Lourdes after he washed ashore in France, and she knew that he was the one who could deliver Laurent to The Nest. She lied about the drawing of Daryl on the beach that she claimed was Laurent’s premonition. But as she’s said, everything happens for a reason. Just then, Codron and Genet’s soldiers have taken Isabelle, Laurent, and Sylvie hostage. Daryl offers to trade his life for theirs, but Codron relays that “Madame said you all die today. The boy first.” Isabelle is stabbed protecting Laurent from a Guerrier, who hands Codron a gun so he can avenge his brother and let Laurent’s death be “the last thing the American sees.”

Daryl is at Codron’s mercy. “God loves you,” Laurent tells Codron, who finally pulls the trigger… and guns down the Guerrier. “Not today, Dixon. Next time.” He tells the travelers that Mont-Saint-Michel is a day’s walk north, and to burn the truck because it’s easy to track. With that, Codron walks off to face his fate back at Maison M?re. Codron tells Genet that the Guerrier were ambushed, and he is the only survivor. “A man cannot give more to a cause than his own life. Yet you return without a scratch.” Codron’s face is tattooed for the cause, but it’s his eyes that give him away. Codron confesses he couldn’t bring himself to the kill the boy, who has become the “hope” for l’Union de I’Espoir.

“The Union offers fairy tales. Every person who joins them makes us weaker. That’s why they must be snuffed out,” Genet explains. “Because we’re building the future. Not for ourselves. But for those that come after. We have to do the hard, unspeakable things, so that they won’t have to.” Genet tells him to give up the location of The Nest, but Codron refuses. “It’s only going to get more painful,” says Genet, ordering her men to take Codron away.

At The Nest, the people of l’Union welcome Laurent like the messiah they believe him to be. Daryl meets with their leader, the Buddhist monk Losang (Joel De La Fuente), a Hoboken-born Paris transplant who traveled to Europe as a student in the ’90s. Daryl warns Losang that Genet will be coming for The Nest. “We’ll pray not, but if the day comes,” he says confidently, “we’ll be prepared.”

In a montage, Daryl teaches the Nesters weapons training as Laurent learns from Losang. Daryl raises a toast — Sant? — to l’Union. Isabelle has healed from her knife wound. Daryl tries his hand at Laurent’s Rubik’s cube. The nun, who treated Daryl’s wounds when he first came to France, now asks him to help her with what Daryl jokes is “a pretty impressive battle wound for a nun.” “I think you said ‘killer nun,'” she replies. Daryl admits The Nest isn’t what he expected: “Bunch of Amish people running around. Straw hats, people churning butter, bonnets.” It hurts to laugh, but she does it anyway. “I like it here,” she tells Daryl. “Feels like home.”
I Feels like home.

Later, Losang tells Daryl that he was skeptical when P?re Jean (Hugo Dillon), the priest from the Abbey of Saint Bernadette, first sent word of the boy. While making the 500-mile pilgrim’s camino to Santiago, Losang stopped at Abbey de Bernadette to meet Laurent — and that’s when he knew Laurent is the boy prophesied to “lead the revival of humanity.” Losang then reveals that l’Union has held up their end of the deal: for delivering Laurent to The Nest, Losang secured Daryl passage home. A fisherman from Dover will bring Daryl to England, where they know of boats that can get him as far as Newfoundland. Daryl will have to manage from there. Daryl has two days to walk to the north coast and take his boat home.

“I got family waiting for me back home,” Daryl says to Losang’s offer to stay at The Nest. “Well,” the monk counters, “you’ve got people here who hope you’ll stay.” Daryl says it’s not so easy, and the Pouvoir isn’t his fight. Losang has faith Daryl will make his way home — wherever that may be. “Who knows what tomorrow will bring? And an ocean away, the world being what it is. But we need you — here, now. Maybe the fight’s not the reason you’re torn. Sometimes, when a person leaves home, he comes to find he belongs someplace else.”

Daryl quietly packs his belongings — his angel wings vest, a map — when his no-goodbye goodbye is interrupted by Isabelle. “I made a promise to them, just like I made to you,” Daryl says of his people back home. Isabelle, recalling how Daryl told her he left the Commonwealth to see what was left in the world, found something. “Maybe not what you were looking for, but–”

Daryl doesn’t want to say goodbye to Laurent. “Are you gonna abandon him, like your father did to you? I think you care about him,” Isabelle says. “And I think it scares you. You think you’re escaping history by doing this, but you are not. You’re repeating it.” To that, Daryl says: “You believe what you believe, and I respect you for that. And this place feels like home to you, and I truly hope it is for both of you. But I have my own home to get back to.” Daryl’s leaving, and there’s no changing his mind. “I’m glad we met,” Isabelle says. “Godspeed on your journey.” Daryl leaves the Rubik’s cube on the bed of a sleeping Laurent, leaving without a word. After one last look back, Daryl leaves The Nest and makes the trek across Normandy.

His journey brings him to a weathered American flag at a graveyard for the freedom fighters who died on the shores of France. Scouring the tombstones, Daryl finds it: WILLIAM T. DIXON. PVT. 490 INF 23 DIV. GEORGIA. JUNE 6, 1944. Daryl is overcome with emotion. And then he sees it: the boat home. He waves it down, receiving a reflective signal in response. Daryl Dixon is going home. As he makes his way across the beach, fighting through the walkers that have risen from the sand to see him off, Daryl is seconds away from getting off the shore when he hears it. “Daryl! Daryl!” It’s Laurent, calling out to him from the walker-plagued beach. U2’s “Seconds” plays as Daryl looks to the approaching boat home, then back to Laurent. “It takes a second to say goodbye. Say goodbye. Oh, oh, oh, say bye bye. Where you going to now?”

America. Daryl’s motorcycle races down the road in Freeport, Maine. America. The rider is… someone we don’t know. In hot pursuit is a classic mustang, its driver stepping out with their hands up. It’s Carol (Melissa McBride). “I’m looking for a friend of mine,” Carol says. “Name’s Daryl Dixon. That’s his bike you’re riding.” The rider says he found it. “Sure about that? I’ve come a long way trying to track him down,” Carol says, disarming the man when he goes to help himself to her trunk. Carol shoves him inside the trunk and forces a confession: he swears to God, he traded “some dudes” for it camped down the road a few miles outside an old gas station. “If you’re lying, I won’t be back.” Carol shuts the trunk and rides off on Daryl’s bike past a sign reading: “Welcome to Freeport, Maine. Population: DEAD.”

So begins the first chapter in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon — The Book of Carol.

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