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The hits keep coming for The Walking Dead‘s Daryl Dixon.
Norman Reedus‘ alter ego first lost his brother, Merle (Michael Rooker), when Rick (Andrew Lincoln) chained him to a rooftop in Atlanta — then a second time when he resurfaced in season three with a loyalty to The Governor when he died during the group’s vicious battle.
That came after Daryl devoted what felt like an eternity searching for friend Carol’s (Melissa McBride) young daughter Sophia (Madison Lintz) during season two, only to find the girl locked up in Hershel’s barn — as a zombie.
At the end of season four, Daryl grew closer to Beth (Emily Kinney) when, drunk on moonshine, she helps him exorcise his demons and let go of his sad former life.
With confidants in both Beth and Carol — and support from Rick — Daryl has become one of the group’s most influential leaders (and defenders). So it made sense that Daryl — after Beth was taken and Carol wound up at Grady Memorial Hospital — would be so invested recovering one of his closest friends.
So how will Beth’s death, which happened right in front of him after he was reunited with both the youngest Greene sister and Carol, impact Daryl?
“I think it puts him into a depression,” Reedus told The Hollywood Reporter. “Sophia was like hope. You remember Glenn saying, ‘This is Sophia!’ It was different. She was the bright hope of the future. It was an honest and true person.”
Beth’s death will have a major impact on everyone in Rick’s band of survivors, giving a much-needed larger storyline to her older sister, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and her husband, Glenn (Steven Yeun), as well as Daryl, Carol and Noah (Tyler Jesse Williams), the man for whom Beth effectively gave her life.
“Beth’s death is like Sophia’s; she sings songs and was always hopeful,” Reedus said. “Of course she tried to kill herself at one point, but besides that, for the most part, she was this sweet songbird, and that represents a part of humanity that you don’t see anymore. So when you put that candle out, it goes dark for everyone.”
The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its fifth season Feb. 8 on AMC.
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