A Walking Dead viewer has graphed the number of words spoken per season by Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), who in recent years has been criticized for his lack of lines.
Reddit user Da1tonTheGreat shared the graph on the social media site, detailing Daryl’s average words per episode and the amount of words spoken per season across eight seasons.
If the numbers are assumed correct, Daryl had the most to say in Season Four at 2,627 words, followed by Season Two (2,214 words) and Season Three (2,008 words).
He said the least during Season Seven (496 words), followed by Season Eight (1,040 words) and Season One (1,067). That first season was just six episodes and mouthy redneck Daryl wouldn’t be introduced until halfway through in episode 103.
Season Seven saw a gruffer-than-usual Daryl forced to fall in line with the forced servitude enforced by the Saviors and dictator leader Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who took Daryl prisoner and turned him into a mostly-mute slave. Daryl spent the first half of that season tortured and enslaved, escaping only in 708, its mid-season finale.
Season Nine has course corrected Daryl, who has already shared a tender scene with best friend Carol (Melissa McBride), talked through his dissatisfaction at having to oversee the Sanctuary with Alexandria leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and has openly aired his grievances with having to work with the former war enemies the Saviors, even trading words and punches with troublemaker Justin (Zach McGowan).
“I think part of the evolution of his character is he is not a man of many words usually, but across time he has built these very close relationships with certain characters who he’s very loyal to,” showrunner Angela Kang told Rotten Tomatoes.
“Daryl and Rick look at each other like brothers. That can be a complicated relationship, but he is developing ways of being more open about what he feels. That’s part of his growth as a character.”
Longtime executive producer and director Greg Nicotero said previously Season Nine made a concentrated effort to return the series to its roots and to “go back to what made The Walking Dead great when we first started watching the show.”
“[The characters] have real conversations, conversations that you give a sh-t about. ‘That’s what Rick is feeling! That’s what Daryl is feeling!’ They’re actually talking, and it’s the first time that we’ve done that in a long time, where there are not those ellipses of dot dot dot, and you leave it hanging out there,” Nicotero said.
“‘I don’t know what’s going to come after.’ I’m like, ‘After what?’ Now we’re getting the chance to see these people interact with each other, and they care about each other. I loved it.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.