The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon – La Dame de Fer – Review

  The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon “La Dame de Fer” was written by Shannon Goss (The Terror, Outlander, Reign) and was directed by Tim Southam. Whether it’s because of a dirth of new content because of the strikes or simply the massive popularity of Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), this show is set to be the biggest success of the TWD spinoffs. I think it’s a combination of Daryl’s popularity, and the simple fact that this is easily (so far) the best spin off to date – and I include Fear the Walking Dead as a spin off too. The writers’ room has a lot to do with this – yeah for the strike getting them such a good deal! The fact that most of the writers have worked together on good shows before is definitely paying off. Greg Nicotero on board is a key factor too. Reedus is really excellent in this episode. He gets to show a lot of emotional range, from the opening scene, to the interrogation, to the final shot of the episode.

The episode begins with Daryl dreaming about Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi). Daryl is trapped behind a gate and Laurent is surrounding by walkers. Daryl yells at him to run, but Laurent just closes his eyes and prays – and the walkers leave him alone… It seems like this is really happening until Daryl’s eyes fly open and we see that when he fell through the roof in the last episode, he fell into an old pool – which helps explain why the roof was rotted. Just as Daryl regains consciousness, he’s attacked under water by some pretty slimy looking walkers. Naturally, he fights them off and make it to the surface, but that couldn’t have been fun to film.

Daryl walks through Paris. It’s eerily creepy that this was what it was like during covid – he passes an apartment where someone is playing the cello. In another open window he sees a loving couple. Meanwhile, there are walkers also milling about and cars looking for him. 

At the rooftop, Codron (Romain Levi) interrogates Sonia (Sabine Pakora). She tells him Daryl was just there to help deliver Laurent, who isn’t just some kid – he has a greater destiny. Genet (Anne Charrier). She says she’s heard rumours – foolish tales that the weak and credulous believe and the sort of thing that got everyone into the mess they’re in. Sonia tells her that fools follow her. Genet meanwhile takes a crying baby from its mother, and as she looks at it, she tells Codron that this is a disease that must be rooted out. Codron tells her that he’ll get them both. I was just waiting for her to do something to the baby…

Daryl bumps into Antoine (Dominique Pinon) who is escaping on his bike with some of his pigeons. He tells Daryl that Genet’s people are hunting for Laurent because he is their hope. He is about to show Daryl the way to Isabelle’s (Clémence Poésy) when soldiers show up. Thinking to save him, Daryl makes him abandon the bike to hide, but the soldiers pull over to grab the pigeons for dinner. Antoine tries to save them and they kill him, so Daryl kills them. Antoine’s last wish is for Daryl to release the pigeons – and he sees them fly away before dying.

Daryl finds Isabelle at the apartment. She looks shell shocked and throws herself into his arms. She tells him that she searched all night and couldn’t find him. Daryl tells her he’s smart and he’s sure he’s fine, but Isabelle points out that he doesn’t know Paris. But Daryl – like all of us – knows where he’s gone. Was anyone surprised he was at the Eiffel Tower?

Back at the club, Quinn (Adam Nagaitis) is working, while Nadine (Chrystal Boursin) is trying to get his attention. She knows that Isabelle is a threat to her, and her relationship with Quinn. But when Quinn shows a particular interest in the fact that the Pouvoir are hunting Laurent, she begins to see he might be the biggest threat.

Daryl apologizes for what he said the previous night in front of Laurent. He feels partially responsible that he’s gone. 

Laurent arrives at the Eiffel Tower and it is really a mess, creaking and groaning in the wind. The base is surrounded by sandbags. There’s no way for Laurent to stand under it because there is a huge swarm of walkers there. And naturally, even though they’ve likely been there a very long time, they pick the moment Laurent is there alone to burst out – in several spots. Isabelle and Daryl arrive in the nick of time. I adore Daryl’s new weapon as he keeps swing the mace. Laurent meanwhile hides under a piece of metal – until a walker gets down on the ground and tries to go under after him. A strange guy rescues Laurent and puts him in a car. Daryl manages to grab out one guy – who ends up eaten – but can’t get Laurent out… and he’s carried off to Quinn.

Isabelle and Daryl take one of the guys – Armand (Genc Jakupi) captive and interrogate him. It turns out that Armand was a Disciple. Isabelle plays to that, suggesting the killing and violence must weigh on him and giving him a chance to repent. She asks him to tell them where the boy is – and then he can go. But Armand knows about Izzy from before – that she’s a thieving slut. Which of course, tells Isabelle that Quinn has Laurent.

Quinn and Nadine have given Laurent candy. He tells them it tastes old. Nadine says at least the jokes are funny – on the wrapper. Laurent isn’t killing himself laughing… Quinn asks if he knows who he is. Laurent says he was friends with his mother and aunt… and he’s his father. Quinn asks how he figured it out, and Laurent just shrugs. Laurent tells Quinn what Isabelle said about his father – that he was brave and went off to fight. Quinn admits that’s a stretch, but he did save Laurent at the Tower. Laurent points out that he didn’t see Quinn there! LOVE it! Easy to be brave when you send others to do your fighting for you. 

Quinn tells him that he’s safe now, and he’s going to take care of him. Laurent wants to know about Isabelle and Daryl. Quinn says Isabelle will join them – Nadine is NOT happy. And Laurent sees it. Quinn doesn’t mention Daryl.

Armand taunts Isabelle to tell Daryl the truth about her past. She refuses, and she tells Daryl they aren’t going to get any help from him. Daryl gets up and goes over and punches Armand really hard twice. Isabelle is startled. Daryl then walks away and tells a story about Jimmy who he knew when he was a kid. Jimmy was really little and got picked on. His dad was a drunk, and one Christmas, Jimmy got a piglet as a present. It followed him like a dog and everything. As he’s talking Daryl picks up what looks like an icepick. Daryl relates that one Christmas, Jimmy’s dad tells him he has to kill the pig for Church dinner – as he says this, he stabs Armand several times, leaving him gasping. 

Daryl continues with the story. Dad says if Jimmy doesn’t do it, he’ll beat his brother. So Jimmy takes the pig and ties it to a tree in the backyard. He wants to make it quick and painless – this is also accompanied by Daryl’s stabbing Armand some more. Daryl goes on. By trying not to hurt the pig, Jimmy made ir worse, prolonging its suffering. Daryl tells him the pig screamed all night – and no one ever fucked with Jimmy again! Isabelle tries again to get Armand to tell them what to know. Armand says Quinn is just using Laurent to  get what he wants. And Isabelle knows that’s her! They know they can’t go in the front door. Daryl tells Isabelle she might want to leave while he finishes Armand – he is suddenly eager to tell them about the way in. Daryl says that they don’t need a map – they’ll take him with them.

Isabelle is convinced that the story was about Daryl, but he assures her that he made it all up! Do we believe him?!?! They meet up with Sylvie (Laïka Blanc-Francard), Fallou (Eriq Ebouaney), Emile (Tristan Zanchi) and a couple others from the rooftop. Isabelle tells them that Azlan (Hassam Ghancy) will be waiting with a boat when they come back out of the tunnels. Fallou tells them that they are strongest when working as a unit. They go in as one and come out as one. They move off and Sylvie asks Emile if he’s scared… he shakes his head and then admits “very much.” She kisses him before he leaves with the others!

Isabelle tells Daryl there’s something she wants to tell him, and he tells her to tell him at the river. Daryl has Armand on a rope and pushes him to lead.

We get a beautiful shot of Notre Dame – pre-fire – from the banks of the Seine. Sylvie asks Isabelle if she’s ever had romantic feelings for anyone since taking vows. Isabelle says no, and Sylvie asks about Daryl. Isabelle says that was just concern. For him and for Laurent. Sylvie admits that she kissed Emile and it was nice but also confusing. She’s considering staying in Paris to help with the community they are building. Isabelle assures Sylvie she’s not disappointed. And adds that Sylvie never got to have a life before… I’m hoping they don’t go the romantic route with Daryl and Isabelle – I prefer them as friends…

Genet is at the club, and Quinn tells her he’s brought her there to negotiate for the American. He wants a Monet that she has: Japanese Footbridge. Genet doesn’t care – impressionism doesn’t impress her. Genet assures Codron that Quinn will bring them Daryl, but they still need to find a way to make sure Laurent doesn’t leave the city.

Nadine tells Quinn he could get a lot more than a painting from Genet. She knows that he’s keeping Laurent to get Isabelle back. Nadine complains that she only told him about the kid and the Eiffel tower to get the reward. She’s not happy that she’s going to be left babysitting.

We gets some beautiful shots of Daryl in the tunnel. Meanwhile, the others, lead by Fallou, approach the front door of the club with Molotov cocktails and open fire. They also have some grenades! Miraculously only Emile ends up getting shot in the leg. Armand pops Daryl in the face and runs ahead. He ends up hurting his leg… and Daryl wishes him bon apetit before abandoning him and going on! LOL! Daryl makes it into the door via the back tunnel.

Laurent is looking at Nadine’s necklace. She tells him she’s sorry it doesn’t look like that anymore. He assures her that the Eiffel Tower will be beautiful again. She tells him that she hopes he gets to go home soon – she wants him where he’s happiest. He tells her that she’s a good person but she doesn’t want people to know it. Daryl comes in, and Laurent runs over and asks where Isabelle is. Daryl says he’ll take him to her. Laurent turns around and Nadine has a gun on the both of them. She tells them both to just go…

Quinn goes to the front door, sees the devastation of the assault and immediately knows Daryl came in the backway. The two meet on the elevated catwalk over the club and fight. The body doubles in this scene weren’t terribly convincing, but at least it was a fairly short fight. Daryl wins and is about to cut Quinn’s throat when he looks up and sees Laurent watching – of course, he can’t kill Quinn in front of his son, so he knocks him out instead. Daryl tells Laurent, “Let’s go.” Laurent hesitates as he looks at Quinn. 

Fallou and Emile arrive at the boat. Fallou tells Isabelle that Genet is posting guards at the city limits and there will soon be no way out. Daryl and Laurent arrive soon after, and Isabelle clearly shows how much she loves Laurent. Daryl tells her that the boat’s her ride and she’d better get going. She then starts babbling that they need someone with influence and Quinn will do it for her. Daryl is also confused… She tells him she has to stay, and he says he’ll take care of Quinn. She insists its not about ‘them’, and he tells her to get on the fucking boat – no way is Daryl ever going to be ok with someone sacrificing themselves! She insists she has to stay, and she also says she knows it’s not his fight, but Daryl is the only one who can get Laurent to where he needs to be. 

Daryl sees there’s no changing her mind, so he tells her he guesses this is it then. She says she hopes not but that if it is that he gets home. Laurent then wants to know when he will see her again. She tells him she will do everything in her power to get back to him. She tells him to trust her and that he’ll be safe with Daryl. Laurent says he won’t go, and then begs her to come and Sylvie, but Sylvie is also staying. 

Daryl and Laurent get on the boat with Azlan. If you’ve ever been to Paris and taken a boat tour on the Seine (and if you were there and didn’t do this, what were you thinking?!?), the final shots of the episode will look very familiar. It’s a delightful way to use the scenery of Paris. I can only imagine how much the terrific CGI in this scene cost. As the boat travels down the river, past the ruined Eiffel Tower, Isabelle floats into the club and walks up to Quinn. Nadine is clearly not happy to see her. Is the tower also a symbol of Quinn and Isabelle’s former relationship? The last thing they pass on the river is the smaller statue of liberty that is the sister to the one in New York – the French sent that one as a gift remember. Is Daryl the gift that the US sent back? Or is this just a reminder for Daryl of what he’s fighting for?

This was another tightly packed episode. It’s so nice to get back to a series that actually has payoff in each episode and doesn’t feel like it’s just spinning its wheels. I also have to credit the excellent special effects in this series. Lots of great performances in this episode to. I also wanted to pause and reflect a bit on the French used in the series. Are people ok with the subtitles? Do you find it distracting? Personally, I totally ok with it and I think they find a nice balance. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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