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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Alouette |1x02| The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon

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The second installment of TWD: Daryl Dixon rolls on with some emotional development: assessing the value of "hope", sure, but mostly the weight/cost of promises broken. RJ Gaines from Giddings, Texas the Lonestar State is the MVP of this episode, followed by Mork & Mindy, with all the ways the latter is deeply intertwined with this particular episode.
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David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:


  • Dave remixed the intro music for the podcast from the following two songs by the Canadian band The Tea Party, off their album Triptych: (mostly) The Messenger and Heaven Coming Down.
  • We just released our SQUAWKING Dixon logo design for purchase in our merch store, with (possibly hilarious?) art design to, hopefully, follow soon.

  • Bridget shares a drawing her husband, Travis, drew as a child of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist to illustrate how Laurent could've at least been inspired by all the religious iconography he was surrounded by, daily. It devolves into further mock-bullying of Laurent, or at least the crew responsible for Laurent's supposed depiction of Daryl in the water.

  • Takeerah, A walker had a baby! This component is what a significant portion of the audience was referring to, both this week and last, about how this series is compared to The Last of Us (video game/television series). Aside from the obvious comparison to both Laurent and Ellie Williams both being born from a mother who was infected, Sherrandy also compares Daryl Dixon taking-out RJ Gaines to Joel Miller taking out the old man sniper attempting to take of the children in TLoU episode 1x05 Endure and Survive.

  • It seems like the majority of hosts really enjoyed seeing the flashback of the fall of France from Isabelle's perspective, but Bridget reminds the audience that it isn't the main reason we enjoy both The Walking Dead Universe and Zombie entertainment that precede it.

  • Rachael usually tilts towards favoring momentum in a series and often gives the first few episodes a pass to establish character development. She does appreciate the show taking baby-steps forward while filling in gaps about each character's headspace and motivations.
  • It is interesting to see how the apocalypse developed in France, even though the timing of events in France compared to the United States is questioned. It seems as though characters in Zombie horror - not just TWDU - have never heard of zombies or the dead rising, save for Tobias perhaps (from Fear The Walking Dead). Sherrandy appreciated the fear and disorientation we experience through Isabelle's perspective, through both the camera and audio.
    @editsaudiosandmore It was such a great episode to see how the virus started in paris #paris #twd #daryldixon #viral #foryou #thewalkinkdead #outbreak ♬ Silence 4 Minutes - Silence for Meditation
  • Speaking of Isabelle, as she left the club in her flashback, you can not only start hearing people turning inside the club as she exits, but she surveys her haul after having pickpocketed the men she met inside. But you also notice the scars on the inside of her arms, which show the self-harm she inflicted was pre-apocalypse. Compared to the existence she was living, the fall gave her a more righteous purpose.

  • Dave theorizes that she may have been taking care of her sister, Lily, after their parents passed away. Her partying was not only a way for her to act out, but a means to support Lily and maintain their standard of living. Usually, the zombie apocalypse frees a character from daily restraints and obligations, but there's an tragic irony of Isabelle having to raise yet another child from birth. And just like her trajectory in life changed, a few times, so too has Daryl's: at the beginning of this episode, he wanted to do anything - even lie to children - to get back home; however, by the end, he fesses up and becomes at least a little more open to listening to the universe.

  • But the pre-fall sequence provides actual context to present moments, not for its own sake. As Isabelle, Quinn, and Lily flee Paris, Isabelle comforts her neighbor, a child named Aimée, in the street. It ties to present day as a reflection of the children whose parents never picked their children up from L'École Maternelle Simone Veil (Simone Veil Nursery School). During his first watch, before we get the name of the leader of these children, Dave had a passing notion that maybe she was actually Aimée, but aside from her name being referred to as Lou, there are other factors that make it unlikely. Actually taking notes and discovering the sad stories of children winding up with them, over time, made us particularly emotional. And speaking of emotional, the walker we see in the full-length trailer to the series looks exactly like Aimée...

  • The scene where Isabelle is on the subway platform was among everyone's favorite of the episode, mostly because of the way it was shot and how shocking it felt for both the audience and Isabelle. Just as Isabelle exits the subway, she receives an immediate education on the horrors of this world: as her perspective pans across the roundabout, she not only witnesses the newspaper stall owner rise from the dead, but watches a motorcyclist being bitten in the neck by another walker. Lily had been shielded from this experience and never understood the significance of having been bit just after attempting to receive help from the paramedics, while attempting to evacuate the city.

  • Turning our attention to Lily's demise during childbirth, it's quite possible that Père Jean kept her as a walker for quite some time in order to alleviate her condition by way of exorcism (until, perhaps, he, too, might've been bit). It's possible that Laurent aided, in some way, with stabilizing both Lily and Père Jean, or at least it seems there was enough evidence to suggest that Laurent was a crucial element in at least suppressing the outbreak. The residents of The Abbey may not have had any experience dealing with the undead yet, too, so they may not have known about the need to kill walkers with a headshot and perhaps treated it as if it was a more spiritual malady.

  • Rachael nitpicks on Laurent's fitness as a premature baby, since they usually need a lot of post-natal care. This can be explained by Lily not knowing exactly when she became pregnant, which passes muster with both Takeerah and Rachael who proceed to share their own experiences. But we continue to explore why Lily felt she needed to hide her pregnancy from Isabelle and all signs point to her handler/pimp, Quinn: many theories emerge from that conversation. We bookend this particular conversation by also nitpicking on the miracle that was Isabelle walking from the birthing room into the hall of saints with a completely different, more healthy looking baby.

  • Sherrandy muses on the Toulouse-Lautrec poster on the side of a newsstand and its significance. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a famous French painter/illustrator who suffered from a condition that is often named after him. Pycnodysostosis is a condition where the limbs grow at a slower rate than a person's trunk due to a growth hormone deficiency. The relevance: his gait would appear much like a walker's.

  • Dave proceeds to tell the tale of St. Laurent/St. Lawrence and its significance to the story at hand. Just as St. Laurent called the cities indigent, crippled, and blind the treasures of the church, so too are these children to both Laurent and Daryl, by the end of this episode. Though it's easy to attribute Daryl's sudden, solemn mood shift - after clearing feeling joy while watching Mork & Mindy with all these children embracing him - to remembering his brother, Merle Dixon, Dave also attributes this to not only dwelling on the past but remembering his own mission: getting to a radio and finding a way home.

  • Although we have a chuckle on the fact that Isabelle sounds like an disgruntled girlfriend in the bedroom scene just after this, the point is that she questions Daryl's ambivalence towards these children. It makes sense that she would feel this way if you consider Dave's theory about having to raise Lily is true: The apocalypse was supposed to release Isabelle from these kinds of obligations, yet she was left holding the bag by having to raise Laurent.

  • Isabelle questions Daryl's ability to make decisions for a child because he hasn't had any of his own, but we point out that he has been taking care of Rick Grimes' children, Judith Grimes and RJ Grimes, for years. We concede, however, that Daryl's never felt the need to lie to them since they were frequently exposed to dangerous situations from the jump and lying to get them to do what he wanted would probably be more dangerous. A major theme of this episode involves broken promises and whether it's appropriate to lie to get by or rip the band-aid off and be honest, however horrible it might be in the moment. To that end, Dave tells a story from his childhood and how his mother's lie yielded some long-term consequences.

  • Sherrandy remarks on the significance of all these children, thus far, allowing themselves to be drawn to a male figure after being predominantly surrounded by women. Daryl being a safe male figure for the children in the show, being a purported spiritual and father figure, is important since most of the dangers in this world come from men.

  • According to Bridget, who watched the particular episode these children had, Mork howls in order to wake up Mindy, which might've been the true basis for the children's howling when we first meet them. The series itself is relevant to The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon because Mork, like Daryl, is a fish-out-of-water character adapting to Earth/American culture. Daryl is also trying to call back to his home (planet), similar to Mork. We go through some of the origins of Mork & Mindy being a spin-off of Happy Days, as well as our own personal relationship to it and other movies and tv shows we used to repeatedly watch, as children. Is it any wonder why these kids are drawn to him? Daryl does things that are super strange to them, just like Mork would.

  • Daryl is asked to say grace and delivers a sincere, thoughtful prayer. Bridget discusses the importance of honest conversations with God. Dave brings up the concept of repetition having a higher ascendance in the hierarchy by which Jews observe holidays, not seldomness (which is often seen as special in the secular world), so the children watching the one episode of Mork & Mindy, over and over again, is somewhat holy. Going back to sincere prayer, this was also exhibited by Hannah who was silently praying to God for a child (who ends up bearing the prophet Samuel). This brings us to Lou's prayer to God to heal Madame Dubois: Isaiah's/Yeshayahu's prayer to Hezekiah/Chizkiyahu. Hezekiah falls ill and Isiah tells him to get his house in order because he will die. Isaiah then turns away and beseeches God that Hezekiah may be healed. Despite telling Hezekiah the reality of the situation, Isiah speaking from the heart moved the outcome.

  • All of this to really say that Daryl's prayer with the kids sets the stage for relinquishing his immediate desire to go home and be with his family. He, of course, had to act like he needed to do what he had to do to make it home, but prayer has a funny way of changing one's own course. Besides which, (Lou reminds him), family are the people you are with, which Daryl knows since he chose Rick as his brother over Merle.

  • We find out that nothing could've saved Madame Dubois suffering, since had long since ran out of her Metformin regimen to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Daryl ends up finding syringes and medications of all kinds in RJ's bunker, but even if they had found Metformin, it was already past the point of no return.

  • Takeerah takes a moment to reveal where she believes is the location of L'École Maternelle Simone Veil, as well as the accomplishments of the woman who it was was named after.
  • Reciting A Parent's Prayer to St. Joseph is the test Lou administers to nuns Sylvie and Isabelle in order to deem them worthy of their trust. It's poetic, too, since a parents prayer to St. Joseph is a reminder to parents that all children belong to God and the wish that he may foster them, as Joseph did Jesus. Rachael takes a moment to mention that she is named after Joseph's mother, spelling and all.

  • Takeerah reminds everyone that this is as much Sylvie's backstory as much as it is Laurent's and Isabelle's. Though they grew up in the same place, Takeerah describes Sylvie as a badass and Laurent as a wuss. Whether you agree or not, Sylvie's origin is a mirror reflection of these children whose parents never returned to pick them up.

  • At this point, we deeply discuss Quinn's involvement in Isabelle's - and maybe even Lily's - life. Ritchie, Takeerah's husband, theorized Isabelle might've involved in a ring of females who pickpocketed men. Sherrandy also reminds the audience about a character from Fear TWD who bears the same name (the mirror reflection of June Dorie, from Fear TWD 4x14, MM 54). Many hosts had a darker thought: Quinn was Isabelle's pimp and may have somehow either gotten Lily pregnant or Lily secretly worked for him, as well, which would've been against Isabelle's wishes (hence the reason why Lily thought Isabelle would be angry for keeping it from her). There's a strong belief that Quinn might reappear. Meanwhile, these theories remind Bridget of how the pimp from Idiocracy, like Quinn, had such a strong influence on the film's plot.

  • Dave explains that RJ Gaines is a dark-mirror reflection of Daryl: somewhat similar backgrounds, but RJ was willing to do whatever it takes to "get home" (dubious, but crazy is crazy), even if it means pilfering supplies from children, unlike Daryl who can't help himself from saving people in need. What Daryl specifically saw in Gaines was remaining ignorant to the present and lying to children in order to achieve his aims.

    Editor's note: we failed to discuss the detail Daryl yells at RJ to prove there's nothing to come back home to, namely that he's been to Texas and it's absolutely devastated due to the nuke that went off, years prior, in Season 6 of Fear The Walking Dead.

  • Meanwhile, even our hosts try to find some redeeming qualities in RJ: who doesn't admire a hoarder and prepper? Him talking about eating toothpaste on crackers reminds us of episode 6x10 of The Walking DeadThe Next World. As RJ faces his maker (and a teeming horde of moat-walkers), his last yelp, I'm an American! is seen as an amusing but absolutely unrealistic response. As Americans ourselves, we're somewhat glad this series isn't airing in France, at the moment.

  • Irish actor, Ned Dennehy, who plays the character RJ Gaines has been in a supporting role in many shows, like Outlander and Peaky Blinders, and a main character in the Australian sci-fi drama, Glitch. Glitch's premise: recent and centuries-long dead individuals from a fictional country town, Yoorana, are mysteriously and suddenly alive again. Later on in the series, there's a more spooky, spiritual explanation for the occurrence, which dovetails neatly with TWD: Daryl Dixon.

  • Sherrandy points out that Daryl blowing up the compressed air tanks among the fuel to take out the moat walkers is an homage to the movie Jaws. Finally, one of our TWDU protagonists destroys a place, though the overall structure still holds-up.

  • We discuss the two mythical legends that were brought up during the episode: La Bête du Gévaudan and La Tarasque. The presence of The Beast of Gévaudan, which ravaged the rural region in France by hiding patiently and pouncing at it's unwitting prey, is ironic since it's the origin story of the game they were playing: Hide and Seek. What's great about this story is the seek part: the people were desperate to find the beast and slay it to finally lay their fears to rest. Of many heroic accounts, one involved a few of Gévaudan's children.
  • La Tarasque was a Sphynx-like beast with the head of a lion, body of a turtle, claws of a bear, serpentine tail, and could blow poison smoke. The latter feature may have been a reason for the children in this episode wearing gas and plague/pandemic masks earlier on in the episode. The monster was slayed by St. Marthe (St. Martha), who doused a cross with holy water, stunning it, then tied her girdle around its neck, lead the beast into town, where the townspeople threw spears and rocks at it until it died.

  • The legend of La Tarasque is tied to a fictional story by Alphonse Daudet, Le Tartarin de Tarascon, whose protagonist is a boastful, yet bumbling middle-aged man who is easily deceived  (like Daryl has been, thus far) but has a good heart. This allows us to touch on a critique entertainment critics had on this series: Daryl is often the butt of jokes in his own series. We argue that critics don't fundamentally understand or, at least, refuse to embrace the fish-out-of-water trope/cliche, which often pokes fun at the protagonist as they attempt to navigate a world whose customs are, from their perspective, strange. The other baffling critique is that Daryl talks too much, but we argue that the main reason for this is because he was previously among a larger ensemble of characters.
  • RJ Gaines is a foil for Daryl: though RJ represents the way in which other countries may view Americans, Daryl serves as an alternative. We discuss how it even came to be that RJ even winds up in France. He may have actually been on vacation with his family and, after losing them all, he suffered a mental break. It could also be that he was somehow involved in France's downfall by either bringing the virus from the states and/or working on the cure while he was here. It may have even been the case that the whole wife-and-kids routine is nothing but a sob story, but maybe there's a kernel of truth in every lie: it could be that he left them several years prior to the outbreak and is using that fact as motivation to return to them decades after abandoning them.

  • Takeerah explains that immunity to most diseases works outside of pregnancy, while breastfeeding. Mother's milk contains many antibodies against most diseases. Dave reminds the audience that the placenta can filter out many diseases from the child that afflict the mother, even several forms of radiation exposure. One exception to the latter rule is Ionic Radiation, which had the exact opposite effect and was the source of Athena's demise (Grace Mukherjee's stillborn child: In Dreams, 6x12 of Fear TWD).

  • Before Rachael leaves, we mentioned that she's a contestant in the Face of Horror competition! She has the chance at winning $13,000 and a photo shoot with Kane Hodder, who played Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th series. She's made it past the first two rounds and could use your support by voting for her every day. The money you spend on Scare Votes for Rachael goes to a fantastic organization called the Be Positive Foundation which, much like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, funds financial assistance to families of kids with cancer and supports cancer research.

  • Out of all the promises that were broken, which we discussed throughout this entire episode, Isabelle's promise to Lily that she would raise Laurent was the only one that was actually kept; however, we were heartened to see Daryl fess-up to Lou about the medicine not having a chance at saving Madame Dubois and apologizing for lying to her in order to get what he wanted.

  • Takeerah admits that, though many of us have seen a variation on this theme in zombie horror, seeing a walker have a baby hit her differently. Dave mentions that it's undoubtedly because she is far more emotionally invested in the show (and perhaps the universe built around it), to the point where it's difficult to sometimes comprehend, immediately, that it's fiction. To that end, Dave admits that he became emotional when he realized, on second watch, that Laurent was the one who initiated the Nanu-Nanu during Madame Dubois' funeral.

  • Whistling is never a good sign. Dave points out that the children's whistle that our protagonists hear during their first encounter was to the tune of Alouette. Turning our attention to the actual song, it originates from French trappers in North America whose alarm clock was the horned lark. Essentially, it's a song about eating the bird out of spite for waking them up. The reason why American children know this song is because American G.I.s brought it back from fighting with The French in World War II. Dave's family, from Syria, is familiar with it because of France's influence in the Middle East, after Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the region.

  • Bridget is particularly focused on the purpose of Genet's research vessel its potential connection to the events in the stinger to the final episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. Were walkers in the U.S. of a weaker viral strain or variation and the ship is meant to gather data to introduce that strain to the more aggressive variants in France? Dave suggests that the boat may be a way for Genet to conduct experiments without interference or massive collateral damage, considering that he believes the stinger to TWD: World Beyond depicts what happened when The French tried to facilitate a cure and made things massively worse by introducing more aggressive walkers. Of course they are mad at Daryl Dixon for disrupting their research, after trying so hard to limit casualties!
  • We briefly speak about the logo in the anatomy book in the title sequence belonging more to Genet's group than Codron's, which was basis of a post episode thought relayed in the last blog.
  • Codron and the remainder of his group does make a small appearance in this episode, mainly by way of him discovering Daryl's recording and the original route to Paris. The map has notable points representing different locations of people with radios - Jupiter, Carbone, and Poseidon - which Daryl needs to reach in order to potentially call home. It's serendipitous Isabelle decided not to take this exact route to Paris, considering Codron is after Daryl. Bridget draws a parallel between the wise men visiting Jesus after his birth and our group's present situation. As the story goes, Joseph has a dream to go to Egypt while, elsewhere, the wise men spend two years following the bright star in the night sky. Unbeknownst to all involved, their actions - divinely guided - avoid King Herod's wrath, having heard these men were seeking out The Messiah. This reminds Dave of the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years in order to remove an entire generation as punishment for their involvement in The Sin of the Golden Calf.

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Sunday, September 17, 2023

L'âme Perdue |SERIES PREMIERE| The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon

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TWD Universe continues it's season of spin-offs with the long-awaited The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, which has already pleasantly surprised skeptics and is already heartily filling the vacuum that was left behind since the flagship series had its finale almost a year ago. We can already tell that Daryl Dixon's journey through France will be one to watch.
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David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Bridget Mason-Gray:


  • Bridget has been very busy on her YouTube channel!
  • Dave also wanted to remind everyone of the last blog, just prior, containing video & audio from the panels we moderated at The Camp - featuring Mo Collins (AKA Sarah Rabinowitz), Colby Minifie (AKA Virginia/Ginny), Robert Hayes (AKA Paul Wells), and Ethan McDowell (AKA Ira Washington) - has dropped and you should definitely check it out!

  • It's also worth mentioning that Takeerah just started her own YouTube channel.

  • Rachael's first impressions: like The Walking Dead: Dead City, she was a little guarded (since the series finale of The Walking Dead), especially knowing that Daryl Dixon ends up in France and would want to know how he got there (so thank goodness the show didn't waste too much time exploring that). Dave didn't want to forget to mention, amidst Rachael's first impressions: last Tuesday night, he attended an advanced screening, held by Rooftop Films, in (Industry City) Brooklyn for the first two episodes. All this to explain to Rachael that it seems more answers on how Daryl ends up in France will be revealed as the series progresses. She also likes that Daryl has actual purpose.

  • Takeerah jokingly suggests that the reason why the answer to how and why Daryl ends up in France are because Daryl barely talks, which is something Dave was concerned about during our discussion on Melissa McBride's departure from the proposed spin-off series. It's nice to see Daryl act as a springboard for new characters and reacting to his environment as our avatar into this universe. Takeerah also loves some of the more comedic breaks (what's crackin', n00b?), even Daryl's reaction to more serious moments like Isabelle telling him how Laurent is training to be the messiah and that Daryl is his messenger.

  • Bridget's take, clearly a fish out of water story. She also drills down on some of the critiques of this series, thus far, particularly the comparison to The Last of Us: it's unfair because shepherding someone with (knowledge of) the cure is a trope in post-apocalyptic media that precedes it. Bridget sees Laurent been a figurative symbol of hope rather than the cure, especially since the (biblical) rapture was not supposed to be like this.

  • We drift to the subject of religion: how France is rife with religious iconography while the people themselves treat it as feast or famine (really religious versus super atheist). La Union De L'Espoir (Isabelle's order, The Union of Hope) might've been originally part of greater order that had to expand or reimagine itself when it lost contact with The Pope and/or the greater hierarchy and in order to be more inclusive. We also work out that their mission is to take Laurent to Paris, not the port in Le Havre (the latter which Daryl is eager to reach, in order to return to The Commonwealth). They may end up in Mont Saint Michel, if the title sequence is any indicator (should they continue traveling further north of Paris).

  • Parallels to The Walking Dead:
    • Don't Open | Dead Inside = Attention! les Affamés Ici

    • Maribelle & Gauillaume, the grifters Daryl meets, are a mirror of his first encounter with Dwight & Sherry, who took everything he had, even after having saved them.
    • The Pouvoir Des Vivants group (assuming that's what Codron's group is called) sounds a lot like The Saviors in that they've established their version of order, but most likely using authoritarian means.
    • And, come on: Daryl posing like Rick Grimes with his Colt Python, after having just blown the head off of the recently reanimated guerilla soldiers.

    • Lastly, Bridget says the rage Codron feels towards Daryl (wrongfully alleged) for killing his brother, Michel, is how Daryl felt towards Philip "The Governor" Blake after killing his own brother, Merle Dixon. Rachael goes as far as to say that she's not ready to consider Codron a bad guy, just yet, even though Dave points out evidence to the contrary.
    • Focusing on the fact that the convent has kept Père Jean around as a walker, it reminded Bridget of Hershel Greene's barn full of walkers and how he thought these were still people who could still be saved.

  • Takeerah was particularly interested in finding out where in the ship's journey was Daryl thrown overboard and how did he end up on the shores of Marseille, floating through The Strait of Gibraltar and into The Mediterranean Sea, when the destination was the port in Le Havre in northern France?

  • Dave was more interested in what got him on the ship in the first place: in this episode, Daryl says he was looking for something. In the look-ahead sneak-peek into the remaining episodes of the season, he's seen telling Judith Grimes saying them. Many of us assume that the original goal was to find Rick & Michonne, but the something in his rant into the tape-recorder makes us think it's something bigger than just them. Dave reminds everyone what he said during our discussion on The Walking Dead's series finale, as Daryl heads out: the something could be a larger scale operation to what he initially set out to do with Aaron in Alexandria Safe-Zone, bringing in good people to The Commonwealth, now. Bridget says the writing is so vague and open-ended, no matter where it leads, the outcome will appear to be what was intended.

  • Being a person of faith, Bridget loves the more religious allusions on the show. Dave has always loved the way The Walking Dead Universe has handled religion: it just exists without judgment or indoctrination for the audience to decide to believe in or not (both can be seen as right and wrong). Schrödinger's God/Religion, basically.

  • Laurent as The Messiah/Cure/Symbol of Hope: This series is placing Laurent with Daryl in the center of it as many possible things, since Isabelle isn't completely clear about his purported role. First off, I think most of us don't enjoy the idea of a cure. Second, initially, it seems like most of us think he's intended to be more of a metaphorical figure, rather than a literal end to the wildfire virus, with Dave being the only one who thinks otherwise. Of course, we take a moment to laugh at the picture Laurent drew of Daryl in the ocean... or what could've been inspired by icons he's seen throughout the convent. Dave swoops in to add that Laurent also, word-for-word, use the same phrase as Judith about Daryl deserving a happy ending (which was also a quote from TWD's series finale). So, spooky-beta-shit, or can that be explained away, as well?

  • Speaking of drawings, poor or not, Dave was also lucky enough to receive a free tote bag from the advanced screening event, along with a free drink, popcorn that came in a box with TWD: Daryl Dixon branding, and even salvaged some cups with the logo on them. He also managed to pass out a lot of SQUAWKING DEAD stickers and discuss the episodes with a few fans, like Ritchie & Sean.

  • Daryl's response to Isabelle is to call Laurent creepy, but Dave was wondering if the gang thought so as well. Sure, he recites poems to an undead Père Jean, but the takeaway was, largely, that he was a charming, precocious young man who was sheltered by nuns with no true father-figure in the zombie apocalypse, so he's bound to be a little strange. Getting a little levity by watching him  endearingly pantomime Daryl is also nod to the French, who pioneered the artform.

  • Bridget addresses the noticeably incorrect reference to the fall of humanity having occurred only 12 years ago. Laurent is 12 years old, so he must've been born amidst, at least, France's collapse. While we joke about actors playing characters who are older or younger than them, one of the ways the ladies explain it away is by saying that it's possible that they didn't keep track of the days since the outbreak. Dave thinks it refers to something Doctor Edwin Jenner said in the original series, which was that France held out the longest: 12 years is probably correct and it just took them a year or two longer to collapse. One thing worth mentioning is that the Netflix release of The Walking Dead's final episode has the One Year Later title card removed, even though it's well-established that King Ezekiel Sutton (now Governor Sutton) and General Michael Mercer (now Lt. Governor Mercer) were celebrating the anniversary of the day they blew up The Commonwealth and reformed it.

  • Takeerah suspects that Isabelle, considering her scars, might've taken her vows a lot more recently, rather than many of the women who were there longer, some of whom were noticeably older. We go through some possibilities before Dave alludes to the fact that we will see more of her origin, as well as a flashback to the fall of Paris in the next episode (which there were cut-scenes of in the extended trailer).

  • And who doesn't love the medieval weapons? Their presence reflects where we are in the world as well as in the timeline: bullets have all but run out and practically no means to manufacture them, as well as stricter gun laws in pre-apocalypse France. Also, Murder Nuns. The use of musket balls and flintlock pistols, surrounded by more (necessarily defensive) ancient structures than we're used to (and Daryl in suspenders) gives the show a very French Revolution feel to it. Speaking of French history, Isabelle mentions how Père Jean's grandfather fought with the Maquis, who were the French and Belgian resistance against the Nazi occupation of France.

  • Takeerah pivots back to discussing one of the nuns, Sylvie, and since the actress who plays her, Laïka Blanc-Francard, is 19, how much older/younger might her character be? This rekindles the hilarious reaction everyone had to when Ali Muhammad and Charlie were kissing on Fear The Walking Dead 7x10, Mourning Cloak because Dave made a joke about she and Laurent eventually smooching. In all seriousness, Sylvie is a badass we are happy to see more of.

  • After Daryl listens to Isabelle's diatribe regarding Laurent being the Messiah, he rightfully decides, like any one of us would (religious or not), that it's time to go. In the process, one of the funniest lines delivered this episode was how many weapons Daryl said he was going to borrow from the convent, as if he was ever coming back to return them. And, lest we forget, he picks up a mace, which just looks like an adorable version of the one he was swinging around in The Whisperer War. Bigger is better, right?

  • It was interesting to reflect on Isabelle's lie of omission about the broken radio: it shows how committed she is to her vows; however, it did enable Daryl to unleash an F-Bomb when he found out that the radio was never going to work. More so, the nuns didn't attack Codron's men until they were about to be shot - or at least in defense of their holy crusade of keeping Laurent safe. Even Mother Superior Véronique, after being mortally wounded during the attack on the abbey, begs Daryl to allow Codron to flee, impressing upon him (and us) the quality of mercy. Not all of us appreciate this moral virtue.

  • So now it's time to talk about the burner variant of walkers, brûlent. Firstly, Daryl's wound and how cauterization was the most efficient way to treat the affected tissue. The conversation comes down to the possibility that, if there was an infection, it's possible that cauterization was the cheapest and quickest way to stop Daryl's arm from going necrotic. Second, it's still possible that it is similar to the chemical burn in Fight Club: the fluid that was once the walker's blood turns basic (rather than acidic) and reacts to (moistened) skin, with the caveat that it might need to be exposed to oxygen to activate (since the walkers, themselves, would dissolve, otherwise).

  • We take a second to discuss the actual poem Laurent recites to Father Walker Père Jean: Liberté, by Paul Eluard. The sense we're getting is that not only will this series extol the value of hope in a hopeless world, but also a revival of the virtues of Liberty that, arguably, the French had already abandoned pre-apocalypse. The one prescient line in particular that is being recited is the following:
    • French: Sur chaque bouffée d’aurore / Sur la mer sur les bateaux / Sur la montagne démente / J’écris ton nom
    • English: On every breath of dawn / On the sea on the boats / On the demented mountain / I write your name
  • We further explore whether the nuns believe (not us, this time) that Laurent is the literal cure/messiah. Is it stories we tell ourselves or do they literally hold to this belief, in much the same way many Catholics do? If literal, do they think Père Jean will be restored or, at the very least, be redeemed and collapse like a ragdoll? In the midst of this, we wonder how he turned to begin with (that the nuns are attributing to some sort of wickedness that afflicts him) and whether it will be revealed in a future episode.

  • Rachael hates that the name Isabelle is being recycled, since her name is also used by the same character as former Civic Republic Military helicopter pilot and Althea Szewczyk-Przygocki's love-interest on Fear TWD (first seen in 5x05, The End of Everything). And speaking of love-interests and Isabelle, many people are already up-in-arms about the notion that the series is attempting to couple-up Daryl and Isabelle. Outside our emphatic belief that men and women can actually be friends, nobody seems to want Daryl and Isabelle to hook-up (Dave is ambivalent/not mad at it), but Rachael, in particular, doesn't enjoy the idea that she might renounce her vows. Dave goes the long way of explaining that, in a broken world where borders are erased and blurs the lines between good and evil, he can see her finding a space where she can inhabit both her faith and a space in Daryl's heart (while waxing on his own feelings on religion).

  • Jumping to the scene before the credits, we meet (last name) Genêt, which literally translates, in Google Translate, to broom, which Dave attributed to the cleaning implement used to sweep (not far off since these brambles were used as sweeping implements in the 15th century). In the comments of our YouTube video, Linda corrects us: it's actually a shrub known as broom which belongs to a tribe of trees, shrubs, and plants known as Genisteae. They are most diverse in the Mediterranean and is a common French surname, from North African origin.

  • Genet is giving off major CRM-like vibes. Dave isn't 100% convinced that she is of their ranks - in a post-episode thought, he thinks it may be the case that we wrongfully fingered Codron as leader the group spray-painting Pouvoir Des Vivants everywhere, but it might actually be more aligned with Genet, instead, since their logo appears on the anatomy book in the title sequence (more on that, later). Daryl may have spawned a mutiny and wrecked their lab, but Dave wonders why Genet is hellbent on capturing Daryl since this is obviously a scientific pursuit and it would be more productive to cut their losses and move on. Everyone else says for revenge, but Jasmine (in the chat) explains that it might be just to find out how he escaped in order to improve their security protocols. Just like Rachael's thoughts on Codron, Dave thinks it might be too early to consider Genet evil since there's no tangible indicator that she is (other than the mood of the scene and the possibility that their test-subjects, now walkers, were alive prior to these lab experiments).

  • One specific cut-scene in the title sequence shows an anatomy book written in Latin containing notes, marked in red ink, in French. One clearly written note in the top left of the left page says, Contrôlez la mort which means Control Death. Another note on the right side of that page, si en suit recharge cœur sa va se diffuser plus vite, means if you then recharge your heart it will spread faster.

  • Speaking of the title sequence, an interesting amount of fans did not like it. It seems to be the same proportion of fans who didn't like the change in The Walking Dead's title sequence when Season 9 rolled around or, more specifically, the dramatic shift in title sequence between FearTWD's 3rd and 4th seasons. We thought this one properly set the tone and really honed in on themes of hope and nods to French history and culture. The music seals the deal with a somewhat classical music inspired theme, much the same way The Walking Dead: Dead City's title sequence and music felt more appropriate for a show that takes place in New York City. In particular, the blood clouds in the streets of Paris could be seen as religious imagery (being cleansed in blood) or even the French Revolution (with the streets running red with blood).

  • We also find it upsetting that France, at the very least, has no way of watching this series, whatsoever, much in the way global markets had no way of enjoying Dead City and Tales of The Walking Dead.
  • Dave muses on Daryl's very Daryl reaction to translating Le Union de L'Espoir's flyer that says Dieu Vous Aime which means God Loves You. He's a man of few words, but his reaction pretty much lines up with how we think he'd react to anything religious.

  • When comparing this spin-off directly with Dead City, most of our hosts couldn't find a basis for comparison, since the storylines are so different. In terms of hype, though, there's an abundance of Daryl fans behind the mic and they were more excited for this series to release than Dead City, especially Bridget who feels an emotional connection to Daryl Dixon. Dave takes a stab at comparing the two, though, by stacking the white-knuckling frenetic energy of Dead City against the more calm, French countryside pacing of Daryl Dixon. Both were great, but he believes there seems to be more breathing room to tell a fully insular story with a beloved character, especially having had a chance to watch the second episode. It's a lot closer to what the majority of fans hoped we'd get from Tales of The Walking Dead.

  • Reflecting on Mother Superior's last words to Isabelle about her renewed faith in Daryl as The Messenger, it was a particularly beautiful moment when you consider how close she is to the nuns in her charge and even Laurent - as both her (grand) child and the possible hope for humanity (in whatever form that takes). Like a parent, what more could one ask for than the knowledge that the people she's cared for all her life are in safe hands before she leaves this world? Bridget's takeaway from this is how, in the bible, God's chosen ones (Moses, Jesus, etc) tend to be the unlikely choice, from our point of view. I can't think of someone less likely to lead a holy crusade than Daryl.

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