It wouldn’t be a Walking Dead universe spinoff without flashbacks into how the zombie outbreak got underway.
Isabelle took the wheel on The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1 Episode 2, an hour that delivered much-needed backstory about how she winded up becoming a nun and, more importantly, the truth about Laurent’s backstory.
Clémence Poésy delivered a masterclass in acting as we witnessed her past before the outbreak, her present, and what could be her future.
Isabelle’s dedication to keeping Laurent safe on The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1 Episode 1 raised many questions, but nothing could prepare me for the truth about how he came into the world.
Quinn was rude even to consider Isabelle leaving her sister on the side of the road as they tried to get to safety as Paris was falling to the walkers.
The well-placed flashbacks helped us understand Isabelle on a level I didn’t think we would until further in the season.
Her fateful decision to steal Quinn’s car and seek help for her sister before it was too late has shaped her current circumstances.
There’s a good chance Laurent wouldn’t even be in the land of the living now if Isabelle’s quick-thinking never got her sister to safety before she gave birth.
The visuals as this woman died before giving birth as a zombie were striking for many reasons, mainly because this was a franchise first.
The cinematography was on point as the father and the nuns reacted to what they deemed to be the birth of someone — or something — extraordinary.
Isabelle was likely praying every moment she could that this child would be brought into the world and that she’d have a part of her sister with her throughout this trying time.
You’ll be safer in there. Besides, I’m better off on my own.
Laurent’s birth is a miracle. We’ve witnessed plenty of people brought into the world across this lively franchise, but nothing quite like Laurent.
It’s far easier to understand why everyone believes Laurent could be the key to reviving humanity. Indeed, he has specific antibodies in his body that could fight against the virus.
It sounds very Last of Us, but that’s not bad.
TWD: Daryl Dixon is aware of the comparisons, but both shows are doing things very differently, so they can exist in this space.
The tricky part of Laurent’s upbringing is that he’s been handled with care because everyone’s holding on to this notion that he could be a higher being.
When the world is falling apart, and there’s little hope, people will look for it in strange places, but Laurent’s birth could have a halo effect throughout the more expansive TWD universe.
There are also certain expectations put on Laurent because everyone’s worried anything will happen to him before he reaches his full potential.
He got a taste of living like a regular kid when they happened upon the school, and while he had some trouble fitting in initially, he’d formed a community with these kids in such a small amount of time.
But that also showed him what he’d missed out on by being kept in a place filled with adults. Kids in survival shows tend to be written poorly in a way that paints them as annoying.
Here, Laurent’s questions about why he’s been chosen and couldn’t stay at the school were intriguing because it was a natural reaction to his life.
There’s an element of ambiguity about what will happen to Laurent because what if he’s being raised as this person with a particular purpose in life, only to find out that he isn’t any different from the other kids?
Quinn: What’s going on? What did she say? Izzy —
Isabelle: Lily, stay there.
Quinn: Izzy, come here. We can’t take her with us in that condition.
Isabelle: I’m not leaving her behind.
Quinn: Where we’re going is secluded. There’s no “baby” hospitals, okay? Look around you. We have to stay mobile. It’s not safe. We can drop her off somewhere on the way. A clinic. Somewhere safe, right? Hey, just think. Don’t I take care of you? Don’t I fսcking always take care of you? Trust me. Trust me. We’ll find her somewhere safe. This’ll all be over. Be back in Paris in a few days, right?
Isabelle: Okay. Let me tell her.
Quinn: All right. I’ll find her somewhere, all right? I’ll make a few calls.
This could go one of two ways, and I hope, for his sake, that his birth has changed him.
Then there are the emotional ramifications on Isabelle and her decisions if there isn’t anything different about Laurent.
I appreciated that even though Sylvie hasn’t had much to do yet, we’ve witnessed why her bond with Laurent is so strong.
She was just a kid when Laurent was born and was well aware of what happened in the monastery that fateful night. She watched Isabelle carry him out of the chamber as the nuns prayed for his survival.
Daryl took a bit of a back seat on “Alouette” as the series filled in the blanks about how the other characters got to where they needed to be, but that didn’t mean his survival skills were not on full display.
He was desperate to help this school because he was inspired by their courage and how they managed to pivot in the apocalypse.
Lessons were still underway, the kids were disciplined, and there was no drama. They merely existed in a harsh world, and people seemed intent on causing problems for them.
The addition of R.J. was a nice counterpoint to Daryl. They couldn’t have been more different, but R.J. felt he could influence Daryl because they were both from the U.S.
Daryl has a no B.S. filter and can rarely say or do what he doesn’t believe to be right, so putting R.J. in his place and letting him know that America is in a worse state than France was needed.
How did R.J. spend this long in the apocalypse, only to think it was limited to France?
His stupid decisions almost got Daryl killed, so his gruesome death was warranted.
Daryl opening up about Merle was something I never expected. If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know Merle was as despicable as R.J. However, so many years after his brother’s death, Daryl is holding on to the good parts of their past.
Quinn: Paris is bedlam. My mate Olly’s got a place in the Dordogne. We can stay there as long as we want.
Isabelle: I can’t just go. Right now, I need a — I need to change my clothes and go home.
Quinn: Okay, okay. No problem. We’ll do that, go to your place, pick up whatever you need.
It also highlights how far Daryl has come from the man we met on The Walking Dead Season 1. Thinking about where he would be if his brother was still in his life now is worrying.
Daryl is selfless and will help people if he believes they genuinely need it, and that’s why he wanted to complete this mission for the school alone.
Had any of the kids died on his watch, he wouldn’t have been able to forgive himself.
Now that Daryl, Isabelle, Laurent, and Sylvie are back on the road, it should only be a matter of time before they bump into Codron again.
Daryl’s pesky recording has delivered all the context Codron needs to know about the kind of man Daryl is. The villain is also well aware of the road they plan to travel to the Nest.
Isabelle was vocal about straying from the plan, and that’s good if Codron and others plan to follow them.
That’s all I got, TWD: Daryl Dixon fanatics. What are your thoughts on Isabelle’s past and Laurent’s situation?
Do you think Laurent could be this hope for humanity, or is something else at play here?
What are your thoughts on Daryl helping the school?
Hit the comments.
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon continues on Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.