Warning: There are huge spoilers ahead if you have not watched Sunday’s episode of “the Walking Dead.”
“The Walking Dead” stunned fans with a giant cliffhanger finale Sunday when Dwight (Austin Amelio) shot and seemingly killed fan favourite Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in the episode’s final seconds.
But did “The Walking Dead” really just kill off Daryl?
Tech Insider caught up with Austin Amelio, who plays Dwight on the show, to find out what was going on during that final scene, and, if you haven’t already, you’re going to want to go back and take a closer watch.
A freeze frame of Sunday’s episode will show Dwight isn’t pointing the trigger of the gun at Daryl’s head. Instead, he’s aiming a bit lower. Blood spurts out from below Daryl’s face before shrouding the right half of the screen.
“He doesn’t have an intention on killing him,” Amelio explains. “He’s [Dwight] been through a rough patch and I think he wants to show that he means business and he knows that by shooting him he gets his point across. I could have gone for the head. I didn’t. I went for the right shoulder. He’s not going to die. He’ll be ok.”
There you have it.
Daryl is not dead.
He was shot in the shoulder. He’ll live to see another week on “The Walking Dead.”
If you were paying close attention after the end of the episode, you may have had an inkling Daryl survived the gunshot.
After the episode fades to black, Dwight’s character says, “Don’t worry. You’ll be all right,” a line added in by showrunner Scott Gimple later on so fans wouldn’t hate Dwight as much. But Amelio is ok with fans bringing the heat. In fact, he hopes people tuned out before the final line of the episode.
“I kind of hope people miss that line. I want the shock factor to be there,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be there. I know … but some people are such fans that they interpret everything and try and find every clue and I’m like, ‘You know, if they miss the line, that’s all right.”
“If I’m going to be hated, I want to be really, really, really hated. I don’t want to be half hated, I want to be hated,” said Amelio.
Of course, none of this would have happened if Daryl had simply killed Dwight earlier in season six, something which has been plaguing Daryl the past few episodes. It’s been a recurring theme throughout the season. Do you let other survivors live or should you kill the, knowing they may be the death of you later down the road? Amelio thinks Daryl made the right decision.
“Daryl knows the world. I don’t think he made a mistake,” says Amelio. “Now, he says in the last episode, ‘Yeah, I should have killed you.’ So obviously, he has some regrets about letting me live, but I don’t think so. We came off as … he saw that we were in trouble [in season six, episode six], and what we were doing to stay alive.”
“We’re escaping and we’re trying to help my wife’s sister survive. I think we came off as pretty ok people,” he adds. “I didn’t think he expected us to turn around and steal his bike and his crossbow and leave him for nothing.”
The Dwight we see now is very different from the one we were introduced to in episode six of season six. He has had an enormous change on the show over the past several episodes, not just physically with burn scars on his face. He has a new outlook on the world as well. When we first met him, he appeared ready to leave Negan and the Saviors, but now he’s right alongside them leading his own troop of men.
“I [was] waiting for the world to go back how it was. He was hanging onto that,” says Amelio. “Now, when he comes back, he’s adapted to the world. To him, he’s kind of seen the world for what it is. It’s not going to change. It’s what he has to do in order to survive.”
“What does it take to stay alive for one more day? To him [Dwight], it’s just a business arrangement now. He killed one person and then you have a conversation. That’s the rules of that universe. He definitely changed a whole bunch.”
While comic fans will be familiar with a bit of Dwight’s backstory, Amelio hints that we may one day see how he ended up getting those burns on his face.
“They may have something in store,” says Amelio. “I cannot quite say, but maybe we’ll see that. I’m not sure what they’re doing with that story quite yet. That would be great.”
“The Walking Dead” season 6 finale airs Sunday, April 3. It will be a 90-minute episode.