[This story contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 1 episode 2.] Sunday's "Alouette" episode of Daryl Dixon not only flashed back to 2010 to reveal a glimpse into Isabelle's (Clémence Poésy) sordid past and the miracle of Laurent's (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi) zombie birth, it showed the night the City of Light went dark. 12 years before the future nun encountered marooned American Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in present-day 2022, Isabelle was a partying pickpocket in Paris, France, when les affamès — "the hungry ones" — appeared. And then the world fell.
In "Alouette," Isabelle goes on a cocaine-fueled stealing spree as she pickpockets cash, credit cards, and expensive jewelry from unsuspecting marks in a Paris nightclub. She parties like the world is ending. And then it does.
As Isabelle walks through the 7th arrondissement, she witnesses a series of disquieting events: The commotion of a rabid man biting another man's arm. Panicked passengers aboard an unmanned subway car turned into a death trap on wheels. What looks like sick, grey-skinned people shambling through the streets spreading infection. Above ground, the city is in chaos as the freshly-dead, flesh-hungry ones reanimate to feed on the living.
"Shooting the show in France gives us a lot of opportunities to do things we haven't done before," executive producer Greg Nicotero said during AMC's behind-the-scenes Daryl Dixon preview. "We're in situations these characters would have never been in in the United States. We really allow the audience into a different perspective of the Walking Dead world."
Daryl Dixon's six episodes wind from Marseille, to Lourdes, to Angers, to Paris and the Seine, and then to Normandy. As Daryl, Isabelle, and Laurent trek up north to The Nest, their journey will bring them to post-apocalyptic Paris, 12 years after the city went dark.
"I didn't want to take too much of the eleven previous seasons of The Walking Dead. Some things are a bit like cliches of the post-apocalyptic universe: vegetation that has gone wild everywhere, the decay, and the destruction; it makes sense, and it's kind of the base of the elements we're going to play with. But the idea was to be different somehow, and the production didn't want to do the same thing, just in France," production designer Clovis Weil said in an interview. "They wanted to use France, first of all. That's the first reason why they came here; they wanted to have some iconic French scenery, towns, and places. Then, I had permission to play with it to make it apocalyptic, and, actually, it's really fun to do."
New episodes of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon air Sundays on AMC and AMC+.