Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in THE WALKING DEAD Universe

Daryl Dixon’s rise to fame in The Walking Dead universe is truly something to behold. Unlike Michonne, Carol, Maggie, and the GOAT Rick Grimes, Daryl does not have a comic counterpart. The character, played to perfection by Norman Reedus, was created specifically for The Walking Dead TV series. Over a decade later, he’s the only non-comic character with his own spinoff series, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. He started out as a perpetually agitated loner and the younger brother of (the very racist) Merle Dixon; however, Daryl soon became a crucial member of the survival group. Why? Daryl Dixon is a tracker, hunter, fighter, and a skilled crossbow user known for coming in clutch at the most dire moments.

three images of the walking dead daryl dixon holding a knife, crossbow, and a rocket launcher
Jace Downs/Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Does he always make the best choices? Nah. But there are many times when Daryl does what needs to be done. It is safe to say that a lot more people would be dead if it weren’t for Daryl saving the day. In honor of Daryl Dixon’s foray into France, here are a few of his most clutch moments in The Walking Dead universe. 

Jump To: Daryl Dixon TWD Season 2 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 3 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 4 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 5 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 6 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 7 and 8 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 9 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 10 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 11 // The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 2

The Walking Dead’s first season gave us some funny Daryl moments. Who can forget the first interaction between him and Rick Griiiimmmeesss when he reminds us that a chokehold is illegal? But it’s not until the second season when Daryl starts to truly come in clutch. 

Daryl Saves Carol From the Farm (Episode 13 – “Beside the Dying Fire”)

Daryl rides down a dirt road on his motorcycle with Carol on the back
Gene Page/AMC

Outside of Lori’s stupid pregnancy drama, Rick vs. Shane arguments, and looking for Sophia, the show’s farm arc was mostly chill. That is, until the finale brought us pure chaos as walkers took over Hershel’s farmland. The group got separated with some folks like Carol ending up on their own. Poor Carol wasn’t the survivor that she is now, as evidenced by her panicked screaming while running slowly in the dark. Daryl made a choice to head back into harm’s way and save her, a favor she would return to everyone later on when she blew up Terminus. It also led to the developing a close friendship.

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 3

Daryl Helps a Family Escape Certain Death on a Bridge (Episode 10 – “Home”)

Daryl Dixon fights walkers in one of best walking dead clutch moments.
Gene Page/AMC

He’s in the woods with Merle when they discover a family in peril on a nearby bridge. It would have been easy for Daryl to ignore a problem that didn’t have anything to do with him, especially one involving strangers. But Daryl hops into action, killing walkers with a trunk door and more. He even threatens to shoot Merle, who attempts to rob the family after the walkers are gone. We don’t know what happened to that family, even though the car appears abandoned in a later episode. (The Walking Dead reuses props so this doesn’t mean they are dead.) But at least they got to survive another day thanks to Daryl’s kindness. 

Daryl Helps Rick Live Another Day (Episode 10 – “Home”)

Coming in clutch twice in the same episode? Daryl did that. Walkers are all over the prison and Rick is in big trouble as he tries to fight off two walkers. Thankfully, Daryl saves his new friend in the nick of time with a surprise assist from his brother Merle. Rick even gives Daryl a “thank you” head nod, which certainly won’t be the last time he appreciates having a clutch bestie by his side. 

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 4

Taking Down a Tank Team (Episode 8 – “Too Far Gone”)

The Governor’s attack on the prison tragically claims Hershel’s life and the group suffers the major loss of their once-secure home. But Daryl prevents more deaths by finding a grenade and tossing it down the barrel of the tank, causing an explosion. Then, when the last living tank person thinks he will get away, Daryl is right there to shoot him. Glorious work.

Sometimes, You Gotta Save Yourself (Episode 13 – “Alone”) 

Sometimes, you are the only one who can save you. It’s not the first time that we have seen Daryl fight his way out of a walker conundrum. But this Daryl vs. Walkers battle is one of his best solo offerings. His clever fighting against the undead with medical instruments in a funeral parlor and that dark, intense hallway scene shows why he’s destined to survive for many years to come. 

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 5

The Perfect Poke to a Walker Brain (Episode 1 – “No Sanctuary”)

rick, daryl, glenn, and bob are on their knees and gagged at terminus
Gene Page/AMC

Rick and the gang are trying to escape the clutches of cannibals at Terminus. Rick, Daryl, Glen, and Bob are working together as a team before Rick runs rather haphazardly into danger. He’s behind a car and a walker quickly finds him. Daryl saves Rick (again) by driving a stick through the walker’s head in the nick of time.

Daryl Goes Full Ghost Rider (Episode 16 – “Conquer”)

The Wolves set a trap for Daryl and Aaron while they are on a supply run. At this point, no one from Alexandria is particularly skilled at fighting against walkers. This doesn’t bode well for Daryl because he has no true backup. Thankfully, Aaron has the man with a plan by his side as Daryl helps them escape. The best moment is when Daryl takes a chain and whacks three walkers heads off at once. It’s giving Ghost Rider with a dash of Michonne.

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 6

Let’s Explode Some Saviors (Episode 9 – “No Way Out”) 

Daryl is deep into his “blowing s**t up” era in season six. Sasha, Abraham, and Daryl have their first encounter with the Saviors. He’s taken to the back of a fuel truck while his friends are harassed by Negan’s henchmen. The next thing we know, Daryl uses a rocket launcher to blow up the gang after he gets the best of his captor. The scene ends with them stealing the fuel truck. Truly an inspired moment. 

Set Fire to the Pond (Episode 9 – “No Way Out”)

This is perhaps Daryl’s most clutch moment in the entire series. Alexandria is down horrendously, walkers covering the streets and devouring people. Even worse, Carl has been shot (again!) and lost an eye in the process. Rick’s crew and the Alexandrians work together to fight the massive horde but things are looking dire until Daryl gets his plan going using the aforementioned Saviors’ truck. He fills a pond with fuel and sets it on fire with a RPG launcher. It’s enough to lure a chunk of the walkers into the fiery waters and allow the crew to fend off the rest. A true Clutch King!

Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 7 and 8?!?!

There’s not much to say about the Savior arc in terms of Daryl (or really anyone) being clutch. (I like to pick on them during this era because I’m cruel.) In fact, he starts slippin’ and trippin’ to the point that we wonder if he’s lost a few of his common sense crayons. He punches Negan, which leads to Glenn being bludgeoned to death, and gets taken hostage for a few episodes. Then, he helps with the initial fight only to turn around and undermine Rick’s plans in season eight. Sigh. This coupled with Rick’s choice to allow Negan to live puts an unfortunate wedge between Daryl and his brother that directly leads to Rick’s untimely “death.” 

Sense is chasing Daryl, but he is outrunning it on his motorcycle with incredible speed for some reason. I will give him an honorable mention for killing Morales with zero remorse. Still love you, DD.

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 9

Wear the Enemies’ Mask (Episode 12 – “Not Tomorrow Yet”)

Thankfully, the rise of the Whisperers brings Daryl back into full form again. He comes in clutch alongside Connie, saving Henry and Lydia from a tense moment with the Whisperers. This sets up an impending battle between him and Beta where he shows some formidable hand-to-hand combat skills. 

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 10

The Hospital of Horrors and Saving Negan (Episode 16 – “A Certain Doom”)

A hospital of horrors with a massive horde of walkers and Whisperers? No problem for Daryl. He works together with the seemingly doomed crew to come up with a plan. Daryl puts himself on the line, going into the horde and picking off corralling Whisperers with relative ease. He always hits the target and leaves the bodies for the walkers to take care of. Then, Daryl comes in clutch to assist Negan when Beta gains the upper hand. He stabs Beta with two knives, ending the reign of the Whisperers.

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Season 11

All Clutch for (Maybe) the Wrong Reasons (Episode 4 – “Rendition”) 

Daryl Dixon stands in front of a building at night saves leah best moments on the walking dead
Josh Stringer/AMC

Daryl has every reason to let Leah die. His former lover not only abandoned him but she’s now a part of a villainous collective holding him hostage. (The Reapers are a stupid group, but that’s another post.) But, when the pair are put to the test by her leader, Daryl makes some crafty moves and saves her from a burning building. Why? Well, it’s likely multiple reasons at play. ‘Tis true that love (and a good heart) makes you want to maintain some moral center. But, I think that it is a strategic play by Daryl. This was clearly a trap and Daryl knows he will have to face the Reapers when he escapes. If he allows Leah to die, they will know for sure that he’s against them. So he saves her to protect himself. (I think.)

The Leah Storm Is Over Now (Episode 16 – “Acts of God”)

And this is why the previous entry is mostly some BS. Daryl saved Leah more than once but she continues to cause trouble, eventually leading to a battle between her and Maggie. Leah isn’t the brightest but she can fight and gets the jump on a very skilled Maggie. Predictably, Daryl shows up in the nick of time and takes Leah out with a gunshot to the head. 

A Well-Timed Boink (Episode 22 – “Faith”)

The Walking Dead is nearly at an end with the battle against the Commonwealth coming into focus. The Warden tries to take Kelly hostage to convince the soldiers to turn back to his side but Daryl pops up like a thief in the night, wounding him and setting the stage for his death at the hands of Rosita. 

The Save That Set a Spinoff in Motion (Episode 24 – “Rest in Peace”)

Daryl and Judith lie on a hospital floor passed out with blood underneath them
Jace Downs/AMC

It’s no secret that Daryl loves Judith a.k.a his “Little Ass Kicker.” In the show’s final episode, he takes a wounded Judith into a hospital. Both of them are down bad for a moment, but Daryl soon comes back to life, saving her from walkers while she’s in a hospital bed. He gets her to Tomi and spares Rick’s daughter’s life. If this hadn’t happened, Judith would not have been able to tell him that Rick is still possibly alive.

This sets up Daryl’s big adventure that somehow ends up in Paris. We don’t know what’s gonna happen yet but we know that Daryl will come in clutch many, many more times. 

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Season 1 Best Clutch Moments 

Finally! We are catching back up with our boy Daryl D., who managed to get himself on a ship heading towards France. The details behind his circumstances are still unfolding but Daryl is already back to doing what he does best: speaking in a gravely voice and squinting. I’m kidding. He’s back to being the real MVP and coming in clutch.

Daryl Gets the Drop on a Soldier (Episode 1 – “L’âme Perdue” a.k.a. “The Lost Soul”)

A couple of days after arriving in Europe, Daryl runs into Maribelle and Guillame and tries to exchange food for meds. Things are going well until two random soldiers show up and get hostile with them. One soldier smacks Maribelle and Daryl wastes no time pulling out his knife and getting the drop on a solider who is (poorly) holding him at gunpoint. Unfortunately, Maribelle and Guillame double cross Daryl and knock him out. But this allows Sister Isabelle to come in and save Daryl’s life. Seems like he might have met his holier match. 

Daryl Dixon kneels on a grassy ground with a bag wearing a black poncho in his own walking dead tv series

The Abbey Takedown (Episode 1 – “L’âme Perdue” a.k.a. “The Lost Soul”)

Well, Daryl has certainly had a weird 24 hours or so. He encounters a burning walker, nearly gets killed by rogue survivors, wakes up in an abbey full of nuns and a weird kid, kinda flirts with Isabelle, wears a sweater/suspender combo, and is given a wild mission to lead a young Messiah across a strange and dangerous land.

Daryl is amused but trying to mind his own business, choosing to leave the abbey. But underneath his tough exterior, we know that Daryl is a sensitive and caring dude. He’s so caring that when he sees soldiers invading the abbey, he goes back in determined to neutralize the threat. And boy does he do well, popping out of corners and taking people down like a true boss. Love to see it. 

There’s equal exchange of Daryl and Isabelle saving each other. Hmmm. If you listen carefully, you can hear a ship setting sail. I’m just sayin’. 

Daryl vs. a Lesser American (Episode 2 – “Alouette” a.k.a. “Songbird/Lark”)

Most of this episode focuses on Isabelle’s past and Laurent’s birth, but that doesn’t mean Daryl isn’t still coming in clutch. He goes on a mission to nab a new horse and things predictably go wrong. He helps a small group of kids raid a nearby castle where several of their comrades are being held hostage. It doesn’t take long for Daryl to find a not-so-sharp shooter who tries to kill Hedgehog.

Even when the Texan knocks them both into a pit of walkers, Daryl makes it out in classic style. The ball-and-chain, explosives, and more make for a really fun scene. Thankfully, Lou and others throw him a rope and save him in the end. The school group gets some supplies back as well as a hostage and Daryl gets his mule. So it is a win!

Walkers Burn in the Courtyard (Episode 3 – “Paris Sera Toujours Paris” a.k.a. “Paris Will Always Be Paris”)

The third episode takes Daryl and company to Paris! Isabelle returns to her old haunt and things quickly go from nostalgic to awry when they get outside and walkers start falling from windows. She goes into a state of shock as walkers begin to stand up after their fall in a very creaky and horror-like manner. Thankfully, Daryl saves the day and uses a burner walker to help them escape.

a photo of several walkers in a hallway on daryl dixon

The Savior of Pigeons (Episode 4 – “La Dame de Fer” a.k.a. “The Iron Lady”)

Daryl couldn’t save Antoine but he does kill the guerriers who take him out. Thankfully, Antoine’s pigeons are not harmed in the process and Daryl sets them free, honoring Antoine’s final wish. He’s truly a good man.

The Eifel Tower Spectacle (Episode 4 – “La Dame de Fer” a.k.a. “The Iron Lady”)

If there’s one thing for sure in The Walking Dead universe, it’s that kids are going to do dumb things. Laurent storms off and ends up at the Eifel Tower, which is swarmed by walkers. He finds a sketchy spot to hide from walkers while Daryl (with a heavy assist from Isabelle) have to fight a horde to save him. Sadly, Laurent still gets kidnapped but they gave it one heck of an effort. It leads Daryl to perform some fun torture to pump one henchman for information.

Saving Laurent and Serving Quinn (Episode 4 – “La Dame de Fer” a.k.a. “The Iron Lady”)

Daryl makes quick work of getting into Quinn’s place and grabbing Laurent. But it is his fight with Quinn that’s the most satisfying because, well, that guy is a jerk. It all ends with Isabelle deciding to stay with Quinn in Laurent’s place and Daryl having to brave the world with this unseasoned kid. I bet his clutchness will have to increase soon.

The Pouvoir Escape (Episode 5 – “Deux Amours” a.k.a. “Two Loves”)

He spends more time being reflective and grumpy in this episode, but that doesn’t mean there are no clutch moments. Daryl’s flashback shows the epic way that he saves himself from Genet’s ill-intentioned ship. He fakes his way into what seems like certain death before taking out a few guards, releasing cages of mutated walkers, and epically jumping into the ocean as a portion of the ship explodes. Coming in clutch for yourself is the best.

The Great Gladiator Battle (Episode 6 – “Coming Home”)

Daryl has done a lot of cool things but this just might be the best one yet. Daryl gets clever and kills several mutated and running walkers with little to no resources. He even does it with the somewhat useless Quinn chained to one of his arms. Now that’s a survivor!

Walker Killin’ Coachin’ (Episode 6 – “Coming Home”)

A chained fence separates Daryl, who is on the side of freedom, from a trapped Laurent and Isabelle. Walker Quinn comes and attacks Isabelle. Thankfully, Daryl has a weapon to give Laurent and is able to give him some needed motivation to put down Quinn, who happens to be his biological father. Cold world.

The end of the episode includes Daryl having to make a choice: leave Laurent to fend off walkers or help him fight and probably miss his ride. It looks like another clutch moment is coming our way in season two.

Daryl Dixon’s Best Clutch Moments in The Walking Dead Universe

Jump To: Daryl Dixon TWD Season 2 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 3 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 4 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 5 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 6 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 7 and 8 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 9 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 10 // Daryl Dixon TWD Season 11// The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon

Originally published August 10, 2023.

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