Daryl Dixon’s role within Rick’s group of survivors seems to get more important with each passing episode, and he’s not afraid to make some tough decisions. However, when Merle comes back into the picture, how will Daryl react?

Even though Rick is clearly the leader of the gang, Daryl has almost become the number two in charge, but he doesn’t want to be compared to Shane. He doesn’t want the power that comes with an authoritative role, actor Norman Reedus tells IGN. Potential spoilers ahead.

“Daryl in no way wants to lead this group.”

He seems to be a conflicted character though – he wants to be the person who can leave the group at anytime and make it on his own, but Daryl is also coming to care about the group. We saw a hint of that when he searched for Sophia last season, but he’s such an integral player with them now.

“These people relying on him for their safety and trusting him is a big deal to Daryl. For the first time in his life he feels like he’s a member of something, that he’s important to other people.

Compared to Rick, who is much more ruthless than the last two seasons, Daryl is almost becoming softer while adapting to this new world. Or maybe it’s just that everyone else is reaching the same guarded level as Daryl.

“It’s interesting, because a lot of people are getting harder – and Daryl’s still hard, but he’s sort of opening up as a person, which is interesting. And he’s the only character really doing that.”

We also know from next week’s promo for “Walk with Me” that Merle is returning. Whether or not Daryl and Merle will reunite in the next episode, we’re not sure, but we know they have to eventually this season.

“Yeah, my backstory with Merle is a huge part of Season 3. You find out reasons why there is even more conflict than you assumed between them.”

Merle and Daryl Dixon

Merle is still Daryl’s brother, regardless of how he acted to the rest of the group, and that has to create major tension for the separated brothers.

“There’s a bond there that’s thicker than glue, and it’s hard to break. But there’s also a mold that goes with that that’s being broken, if that makes sense. You’re under the thumb of your big brother who’s a racist and takes drugs…and as a kid you grow up being embarrassed by that.”

Reedus acknowledges the tension, but he also thinks it will be a source for strengthening the relationship between Merle and Daryl. We can’t wait to see how that plays out.

How will Daryl react to meeting his big brother again?

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