Why Is Daryl Dixon in France? Explained

[This story contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon episode 5.] “How did you end up here, so far from home?” asked Azlan (Hassam Ghancy) in Sunday’s “Deux Amours” penultimate episode of Daryl Dixon. The first episode of the Walking Dead spin-off started with Daryl (Norman Reedus) adrift at sea and washing ashore in France, somehow thousands of miles from his home at the Commonwealth in Ohio. As Daryl trekked the French countryside from Marseille to Lourdes, it wasn’t until the premiere’s final scene — set in a port at La Havre, northern France — that we received clues about “the American” who went overboard in the Gulf of C?diz.

We saw the ship’s captain (Gr?gory Kristoforoff) report to Madame Genet (Anne Charrier) that its prisoners escaped during a mutiny. We heard a French doctor (Fran?ois Delaive) reveal the ship was transporting zombie test subjects. And we learned that the doctor’s research was “largely destroyed.” Who was it that destroyed a ship that took three years to make seaworthy? “He was named… Dixon,” the captain answered. But why was Daryl on a transatlantic vessel freighting zombie test subjects overseas?

That was answered in “Deux Amours” when Azlan, a member of Union de L’Espoir (Union of Hope), shepherded Daryl and Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi) to The Nest up north. As they made the 124-mile trip toward Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, flashbacks revealed that Daryl was in Freeport, Maine, when his bike ran out of fuel. A camo-clad man named Jones (Gilbert Glenn Brown) happened across Daryl and brought him to an auto repair shop, where he laid out the ground rules for a motley crew of strays: no fighting, no stealing, no sexual deviancy of any kind. “No children will be accepted, nor elderly or shorties. Five foot, four inches is the cut-off.” It’s one pint of ethanol per head, or a quart for “fresh ones.”

“What do you want ’em for, anyway?” asked Juno (John Ales), only to be told “this is not your concern.” As it turned out, Jones was working with the French doctor who has been conducting experiments on zombie test subjects for Genet. After contacting Carol (Melissa McBride) and promising to return to the Commonwealth within the week, Daryl set out with his crossbow and ropes to wrangle walkers and turn them in for enough fuel to get home. But when Daryl deduced that Juno murdered an inexperienced younger guy named TJ (Martin Martinez) to exchange his freshly-turned trophy for an extra quart of gas, a fight broke out and landed Daryl and Juno in the brig of a cargo ship. The French doctor was aboard conducting experiments on walkers, some caged with a warning sign reading “fast ne pas nourir“: FAST DO NOT FEED.

The cargo: shipping containers filled with walkers. After watching French guards manning the ship throw a man to the les affam?s — the hungry ones — to be eaten alive, Daryl and Juno plotted an escape and mutinied against the guards. Daryl unleashed the caged hungry ones on the crew before freeing the other prisoners, racing for a lifeboat as the zombies flooded the ship. During the chaos, the French doctor’s experiments got loose. A super-strong variant walker ripped free from its restraints, ran up stairs, and tore Juno apart with its bare hands, sending the lifeboat plunging into the ocean. Daryl went overboard just as the ship exploded, strapped himself to the overturned lifeboat, and drifted through the Mediterranean Sea until he washed ashore in Marseille.

There are rumors of active ships going in and out of La Havre, but the port is controlled by Genet and her Guerrier (warriors). If Daryl hopes to make it home, he’ll need to deliver Laurent to The Nest at Mont-Saint-Michel so that Union de L’Espoir’s leader — the Buddhist monk Losang — can secure him passage back to America.

New episodes of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon premiere Sundays on AMC and AMC+. Stay tuned to ComicBook/TWD (and find us on Facebook) and follow @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for more TWD Universe coverage.