The Walking Dead brought out the best of Norman Reedus on Sunday night. The tenth episode of the AMC zombie show's tenth season pitted Reedus' Daryl Dixon against Samantha Morton's Alpha in a sequence where the former was literally seeing red. As his friends Magna and Connie were left trapped in a cave where Alpha got the best of the group, Daryl was out for blood and he got it -- both his own and Alpha's. The intense fight sequence pushed the characters to their physical limits, calling for great performances as they were both left completely spent on the floor of gas station for a compelling sequence.
"The fight itself was kind of rough because Samantha had some injuries and so she couldn’t do certain things," Reedus explained to EW. "And so that was really difficult. I had an injury as well, so it was a rough episode physically for me, for her, for everybody. And then the emotional stuff, you know, there has to be an equal playing field. So we messed with that for a whole bunch and we changed it to I turn around and I fight. And then Samantha would come in and make it her own."
Once they got past the injuries, there came the time to figure out how Alpha and Daryl fight, respectively. Both move and strike very differently. "She’s got a different fighting style than me, and hers is sneaky," Reedus explained. "She uses the walkers to her advantage, so if she can surround me with walkers where I’m fighting, then she gets these cuts in and basically just bleeds me out like an animal and then tracks me to the spot. I thought it was such an interesting way to have a fight scene, because I just had the Beta fight scene where I’m fighting with the Mountain, and then to have a different sort of fighting technique — it’s just so snake-like and sneaky and it’s like a cat playing with a mouse. I thought it was really interesting."
In most scenarios, the injuries sustained by Daryl would have killed a normal being. Of course, he isn't a normal human. He's Daryl Dixon, so pulling a knife of his leg resulting in blood spewing from the injury merely left him wounded and ready for rescue by Lydia. On set, the moment got messy.
"It was very slippery," Reedus recalled. "You know, it’s one thing when you have like, a 180-pound zombie trying to fight with you. It’s another thing when you’re covered in blood and you’re trying to fight back and you are just slipping all over you like a slip and slide. It was a big red water slide. It was just insane. And then you have the whole sort of emotional and psychological sort of passing onto the other sides. Your breath goes and you’re trying to listen to the dialogue and talk back as you’re sort of fading into the darkness at the same time. It was an exhausting episode. What am I talking about? They’re all exhausting!"
As for Lydia, Reedus promises the young girl's story is very much her own from this point forward. She has made her stance clear, something showrunner Angela Kang has also weighed in on. "I think that’s a lot of Lydia’s story," Reedus said. "I mean, what she’s been through and how I’ve put my neck out to protect her and bring her into the group, but also mostly just protect her and not judge her and keep her away from everybody that pretty much hated her. So when I wake up from that and I see her there, the first thing I think of is, did you kill her? Because Alpha was left there super wounded." Going forward, Reedus expects Lydia and Daryl to continue having each other's backs.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.