Friday, October 03, 2014

Survival Showdown: Rick Grimes vs. Daryl Dixon

On October 12th, The Walking Dead is poised to start its 5th season on AMC. The post-apocalyptic zombie drama has grown into one of the most popular series on television as millions of viewers tune in every Sunday to watch Daryl and Rick fight for survival. As an avid fan myself, I thought it would be fun to debate: who would make the better survivalist, Rick or Daryl?

Warning: Don’t Open, Spoilers Inside.

Mental Toughness:
Rick has a resiliency about him that few could match; I know that he had a bit of a mental breakdown after his wife died but he pulled himself together after a fairly short grieving period. Further testament to his mental toughness comes from the series start, when he woke up to the realization that the world had come to an end and just picked himself up and went out looking for his family. That's right, he wakes up from a two month coma, in a world where most people had been turned into walking corpses, and yet he is determined to find his family. In season 4, Daryl lost Beth and just plopped his butt down in the road ready to give up; so in terms of mental toughness, I think Rick has an edge over Daryl.

Survival Skills:
On straight up survival skills, Daryl has a clear edge; he has demonstrated time and again his ability to track animals and people, he can hunt and fish, and since he grew up essentially taking care of himself, he isn’t reliant on others. While Rick may be capable of sustaining himself, he mostly has to stick to looting for supplies and doesn't have the built in survival instincts that Daryl has.

Social Dynamic:
Rick is the unchallenged leader of the group for most of the series and for good reason. Rick has demonstrated that there is no limit to what he is willing to do to protect his people, even going as far as biting a man's throat to save his son. Daryl doesn't have to deal with the pressures of a leadership role but has demonstrated loyalty as well as a strong moral compass. I don't know that the group would've gone as far with Daryl at the helm but I don't think either has a true edge socially.

Fighting Skills:
Daryl is a brawler but, as a police officer, Rick has formal firearms training and, I’d imagine hand to hand combat; therefore, Rick gets the edge in fighting skills. Although, if you haven’t noticed, Rick does seem to be pointing his gun down at the ground quite often; what are you aiming at Rick?

For me, it comes down to Rick being a natural leader who never stops pushing forward against Daryl's superior survival skill set and sick crossbow. I think I have to give the edge to Daryl; bottom line is Daryl has tracking and survival skills that are extremely useful whether you find yourself in the middle of the zombie apocalypse or just in the middle of the woods. Besides, ever since the first time I saw Star Wars, I've always wanted a sidekick with a crossbow. But what do you think? Is there an important point I'm missing? Would you rather have the sheriff around leading your group or the resourceful Daryl Dixon?

-Matthew J Leone @ Rothco

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