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'The Walking Dead' recap: The Fall of Daryl Dixon

One of the weirder things about The Walking Dead's second season is that the show appears to have zero interest in bringing back its most fascinating character. Neo-Nazi psycho-biker Merle Dixon tore through the second episode of the series, hurling racial slurs in every direction and lashing out physically until his own allies had to put him in handcuffs. In episode 3, Merle pulled an Evil Dead II and sawed his own hand off, and then he cauterized the wound with a Bunsen burner -- this all happened offscreen, unfortunately, or it would have been the bloodiest/awesomest scene in basic cable history.

As played by the famously batcrap-crazy character actor Michael Rooker, Merle was a live wire -- and an immediate sensation. Even though the character was created for the TV show, he fit right in with the villainous grotesques who frequently populate theWalking Dead comic book. (There is a popular theory that Merle actually is one of those grotesques: a horrific dude known only as The Governor.) He seemed to suggest a bleak reality about the post-apocalyptic universe: that, without the constrictions of society, some men would be happy to just watch the world burn. Merle stood in sharp contrast to the rest of the Dead ensemble, who -- besides Shane the Team-Killer --  have mostly proven to be extremely nice people who get along almost uncannily well with each other. Even Merle's little brother Daryl has mostly transformed into a puppydog with a crossbow. Read More...


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