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Spoilers below if you aren't caught up on The Walking Dead.
Within the ranks of The Walking Dead’s main characters, Rick Grimes can easily be seen as “the establishment,” while it’s hard to imagine anyone replacing Daryl as the show’s biggest rebel. Their differing ideologies made for small scraps in the seemingly distant past, but showrunner Scott Gimple hints that the rest of Season 6 will involve both men continuing to head down different paths, which could cause some conflict in the future.
[Daryl] was one of the people going out to find more people and he told Rick, ‘We should keep doing this,’ and Rick disagreed. The experience he had in the forest, with Tina and 'not-Dwight' — that really affected him. He came away from that feeling like a sucker; like he would have been safer to not befriend them, which is the opposite of everything he'd learned at the end of last season. He's still carrying that. He fought along with everyone else in Alexandria to win it back but he didn't have the same experience that Rick did; he had opposite. He had an experience that drove him to feel less good about people and strangers. He's on a bit of a different and darker track than Rick.
Now on opposite sides of the same coin, at least as far as the worth and growth of the community is concerned, Rick and Daryl will definitely have some things to discuss in the near future as the show expands beyond Alexandria’s boundaries to other places, some far more dangerous than others. If Rick truly is now more accepting of others and intent on limiting his dour initial impressions of people, that will go a long way in expanding the scope of a future society for this group. But where will Daryl’s place be in this future, now that he has had all of his hard-earned optimism stolen along with his motorcycle and crossbow?
I’m guessing we’ll get a version of Daryl that is closer to Rick at the point when Aaron came out of nowhere and introduced himself to everyone. “Who are you, you rapist killer and possible cannibal, and what is it of ours that you want to steal?” Now that Carl’s had his eye blown out, Rick will pretty much have carte blanche on all emotional decisions in the future, and I’m not sure Gimple and creator Robert Kirkman have it in them to let Daryl really win in an argument between these guys.
It’s so weird that Rick and Daryl are each in the headspace that the other was in just days previously, at least within the show’s timeline. And that each was driven into a different state of mind in a fairly ridiculous way. Daryl, the outsider with a general distrust for people, finds temporary hope in humanity that is dashed hardcore by people he shouldn’t have trusted (probably because they kidnapped him), which is basically just a sign that he never should have shifted his instincts in the first place. And Rick now has regained faith in others after one idiot son of the woman he fell in lust with got them both killed, and also after her other idiot son shot Carl in the face. But hey, he is totes inspired by everyone chipping in and taking on the massive horde of walkers they’d spent the day being afraid of. I mean, who wouldn’t be inspired by Eugene?
Gimple also told THR that we probably won't be seeing the Saviors again for a while, and I'm wondering how it will go when they reappear. Will Rick attempt to make peace, while Daryl knowingly advises against that?
While we thought in the past that it would be Rick and Morgan butting heads this season, the bo-swinging Morgan is now at odds with Carol, which doesn’t bode well for him. And next week’s episode, which will jump forward in time a bit, will pair Rick and Daryl together for a spell, which could easily take a downward turn. However it goes, here’s my advice to Daryl: hang on to any and all explosive weapons.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.