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AMC's The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 1 ending explained

What goes down in the season 1 finale of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon

Anne Charrier as Genet - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 5
Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

Under other circumstances, Paris is a popular destination due to its rich culture, history, and nightlife. However, during the zombie apocalypse like in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, it's another rundown metropolitan filled with dangers alive and not. At the center is the conflict between two sides. The Pouvoir du Vivant (Power of the Living) is a paramilitary nationalist group led by a cold and ruthless woman named Genet. The Union de L'Espoir (Union of Hope) is a resistance movement who believe a young messiah named Laurent will revive humanity.

Spoilers ahead for AMC's The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 1, episode 6, 'Coming Home.'

Daryl Dixon sides with the good guys in exchange for travel back to his home in the United States. He spends the season escorting and protecting Laurent across France. Unfortunately, Pouvoir du Vivant henchmen capture the pair and bring them to their boss. Genet plans to make an example, and a spectacle, of the two to further her own agenda.

Is this the end for our hero? Will he see his loved ones back in the Commonwealth ever again? Who else pops up in the final episode of season one? Allow us to explain the ending.

How does Daryl Dixon escape from the Pouvoir du Vivant?

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 5
Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

The episode picks up with Daryl in an urban gladiator pit surrounded by Genet and her followers up above. A serum is administerd to a walker, who develops enhanced powers, and it is let loose in the pit. Dixon vanquishes several waves of super zombies, even when chained to his rival and Laurent's father, Quinn. All hell breaks loose when Daryl throws a still active super zombie head towards Genet, and Union de L'Espoir allies open fire on some guards. Daryl, Laurent, and Isabelle, Laurent's aunt, escape in the chaos, but not before Laurent must kill his dad, who is bit and turned.

The group isn't out of the woods when Stéphane Codron, a man who blames his brother's death on Daryl, and Genet's goons ambush them while on the road. The superior officer orders Codron to shoot Laurent, but he can't bring himself to murder a child. Instead he kills all of his colleagues and lets everyone else leave. He still proves a threat because he knows the secret location of the Union de L'Espoir's base, the Nest. When Codron debriefs Genet, she sees through his lies and plans to interrogate him for that valuable information.

I'm sorry. Did I read that correctly? Super zombies?!

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 5
Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

You sure did. The Walking Dead Universe has played with the idea of variants from the beginning of the flagship series. We've seen walkers that could interact with objects, and there were varieties that could climb and open doors.

France is the home to some of the most dangerous variants. In the credits scene during the series finale of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a French scientist is killed and quickly turns into a zombie that exhibits superspeed and agility. Earlier this season, Daryl encountered ones that contained acidic blood and burned anything they came into contact with.

Genet has her people develop a Captain America type super serum for zombies, and we witness the fruits of their labor in the season finale. These versions are quicker, stronger, and more aggressive attacking other zombies sometimes. When equipped with metal helmets that shield its brain, they are a scary site to cross. The serum needs fine tuning since it can kill a zombie during transformation.

What is the Nest in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon?

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 6
Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

Daryl spends the entire season trying to escort Laurent safely to the Union de L'Espoir's main base of operations, called the Nest. Viewers discover that the location is the island of Mont-Saint-Michel. The commune's geographical features make it a favorable place to settle and stay safe from the undead. It is isolated from the French mainland one kilometer off the coast, and has unobstructed visibility on all sides to detect any would be invaders. The tides provide a limited window to access the island by foot and a natural water barrier to keep unwanted visitors at bay during other times of the day. Then there are the fortified castle walls that have made the area a safe haven since the 8th century.

The Union de L'Espoir community is a diverse population from all walks of life. Losang, a middle-aged Asian man from Hoboken, New Jersey, serves as leader. He came to Paris in the 90s as a student. Losang has built a thriving village where children can openly play, and the residents train to survive the darker reality while keeping up with spiritual and philosophical teachings. The Nest is an ideal place for Laurent to grow into the savior many believe him to be.

Does Daryl find a way back home to the Commonwealth?

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Louis Puech Scigliuzzi as Laurent - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1
Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

Losang uses his contacts and secures Daryl passage on a boat. Before his departure several people try to convince him to stay, including Isabelle. Though conflicted since he has grown close with his French companions, Daryl sets out to rendezvous with his ride back home.

In a surreal journey to the coast, Daryl passes by a graveyard where his grandfather coincidently was buried after the Normandy Invasion during World War II. As Daryl makes first contact with his ship, walkers sprout up from the ground like weeds and attack him. He fights through the horde and has a clear path to the boat when Laurent magically appears on a hill and calls out to him. Our hero must choose to return to his old friends or fight through the same zombies he escaped and reunite with Laurent.

There is the question whether this sequence happens in real life or is a misdirect. We've seen Laurent exhibit mystical powers before when rushed by a mob of walkers in a tunnel and leaves unscathed in the opening of episode four, 'La Dame de Fer.' That was played as a dream sequence when Daryl wakes up in flooded building. With the ethereal aura, could this be another vision? It's left ambiguous.

What about that final scene in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 1 finale?

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24
Image credit: Jace Downs/AMC

There is no credit scene, but in the final minutes, we return to the United States near Freeport, Maine, where Daryl was abducted. Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) chases down a rough looking biker riding Daryl's old motorcycle. After subduing the man, The Walking Dead OG interrogates him for intel on her missing best friend. Though we hear her voice in the previous episode, 'Deux Amors,' when Daryl radios home during a flashback, this is the first time we see the character on the series.

The show originally planned to feature Daryl and Carol, but McBride had to drop out due to logistical problems relocating to Europe. Then, this past June, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the actor who plays Negan in the franchise, tweeted out a behind the scenes photo of Reedus and McBride in France, confirming that the latter would be involved in the spin-off in his comment. The way the episode ends, it seems she might play a role next season.

Will there be a The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 2?

Fans could expect more of the series even before the premiere. During The Walking Dead Universe panel at San Diego Comic-Con, AMC announced that the spin-offs Dead City and Daryl Dixon received renewals for a second season. Also, you don't have to worry about any drastic strike induced delays. At the end of August, AMC networks negotiated agreements with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to restart production on three of its shows, including The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon.

Here's how to watch the complete The Walking Dead universe in order.

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