Daryl DixonPlayed by Norman Reedus
Daryl insists on going back for his brother, but they fail to find him. After walkers attack the survivors’ camp outside Atlanta, Daryl suggests it’s comeuppance for Merle, stating “you reap what you sow.”
However, without Merle’s bullying presence, Daryl is able to step out of his big brother’s shadow and develop relationships with the other survivors -- particularly Carol, who becomes close as he fervently searches for her missing daughter, Sophia.
Daryl sees Sophia’s disappearance as analogous with his brother’s. When he finds a Cherokee Rose during his search, he tells Carol he believes it to be an omen that Sophia is still alive, though he confides, “I’m not fool enough to think there’s any flowers bloomin’ for my brother.”
Daryl’s inner turmoil comes to a head when, after injuring himself while tracking Sophia, he experiences a hallucination of Merle that mocks him for integrating with the group: “Ain't nobody ever gonna care about you except me, little brother."
When Sophia turns up a walker, Daryl falls back on his instinct to distance himself from the group, claiming he’s “done lookin’ for people” and telling Dale that “this group’s broken.”
But when the situation at the farm becomes dire, Daryl proves himself a worthy ally to Rick, following his lead on dealing with a dangerous prisoner, defending the farm against a walker attack and even mercy-killing a gravely injured Dale when Rick hesitates. (“Ain’t no reason you should do all the heavy lifting,” he later tells Rick.)
Even when the survivors are forced off the farm and the others question Rick’s leadership, Daryl remains loyal: “Rick’s done alright by me,” he tells a doubtful Carol. “[He] has honor.”