The kids are alright • AIPT

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn’t exist.

In The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, the titular character finds himself a long way from home in France. Quite a trek considering it’s during the zombie apocalypse. In order to secure passage back to his people in the Commonwealth, Daryl agrees to safely transport a pair of nuns and a young boy named Laurent to the other side of the country.

“Alouette” continues to distance The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon from other shows of the franchise by continuing a lighter and more hopeful tone. This is done by having the party cross paths with a group of teenage and child survivors. Though they are hardened enough to navigate the current world – they did manage to get the drop on Daryl – they are still able to maintain an innocence about them. The youths manage to escape the horrors of the outside world with games of hide-and-seek and watching old episodes of Mork and Mindy. Even when society is crumbling around them, they manage to keep up with their studies and exhibit proper manners.

Introducing these younger survivors have a twofold effect on the narrative. They allow Laurent to finally interact with people his own age and realize what it means to be a kid. However it also emphasizes how sheltered and naïve he is. Laurent never lost a game when playing with the sisters back at the abbey but quickly finds out he’s not as skilled as he thinks he is. Also, he might be well educated, but the other kids quickly see through the tall tales he spins about his father. Both are a humbling experience.

Laurent’s subplot plays with the episode’s overall them of lying to protect the innocent. Isabelle tries to shield him from anything that can upset him such as the fate of their mule. The leader of the young group makes up stories to explain the absence of their missing colleagues. Even Daryl provides the leader a sense of false hope in order to find a new horse for his carriage. In each case, it’s to prevent the pain of loss, something too common when the undead are everywhere.

Clémence Poésy as Isabelle - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 2
Photo: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

One of the biggest lies that Isabelle is holding back is the truth behind Laurent. In a series of flashbacks we see who the nun was prior to the end of the world. We receive a glimpse of her dramatic lifestyle alluded to in the series premiere and the tragic backstory of how Laurent came to be. This won’t appease anyone thinking The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is a The Last of Us knock off. It’s also interesting to see how Parisians reacted to the initial emergence of zombies. It’s a nice slow burn with events happening in the background until all hell breaks loose.

We also can’t talk about the episode without mentioning the lead. Norman Reedus’s portrayal hits many notes making his character so endearing. He’s the metaphorical swashbuckling hero rescuing a captured teen, defending himself from a moat filled with zombies, and vanquishing the ugly American doomsday prepper. Yet he has a softer side doing the dirty work so the kids don’t have to or opening up and connecting with Laurent after he discovers Isabelle’s lies. It just further expands on the legend of Daryl Dixon.

“Alouette” explores the lies we tell to alleviate the pain of loss, especially the ones we tell to the innocent. Though in the end, it shows that even in the zombie apocalypse, there is still much hope for our youths.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Clémence Poésy as Isabelle, Louis Puech Scigliuzzi as Laurent, Laïka Blanc-Francard as Sylvie - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 2

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon E 2 review: ‘Alouette’

“Alouette” explores the lies we tell to alleviate the pain of loss, especially the ones told to the innocent. Though in the end, it shows that even in the zombie apocalypse, there is still much hope for our youths.

The introduction of the young survivors complements the show’s lighter and more hopeful tone.

The emergence of zombies in Paris via flashback is a nice slow burn.

Continues to be a proper starring vehicle for Norman Reedus and his character.

The Isabelle backstory won’t quell those who think the series is a The Last of Us retread.

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