'Walking Dead' Star Norman Reedus Talks Daryl Dixon

'He needs a hug, but if you hug him, he'll try to stab you,' Reedus tells MTV News of his character.

Given its comic book basis, some "Walking Dead" characters seem safer than others. Main hero Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), for instance, isn't likely to go anywhere anytime soon. But then there are folks like Rick's former partner Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) who are already long gone in the comics at this point in the TV series, proving the AMC survival horror show's willingness to veer off the paneled path that's come before.

Another example of a man who could exit the scene early is Daryl Dixon, "Boondock Saints" actor Norman Reedus' hillbilly hunter who does not appear in the comics at all. In fact, for a while there, it looked like Daryl was about to meet his maker in this past Sunday's episode, titled "Chupacabra," after sustaining injuries from a fall and nearly becoming fresh meat for two very hungry walkers. But thanks to an unexpected visit (or hallucinated appearance, rather) from his hateful brother Merle — Michael Rooker's one-handed character who's been missing for several episodes now — Daryl was able to channel his inner Dixon, kill the two walkers through some very rudimentary means, and return himself to Hershel's farm in one piece. (Well, almost — thanks for that almost-lethal head shot, Andrea!)

Daryl Dixon has quickly become a fan-favorite character on "Walking Dead," not just for the folks at home, but even for creator Robert Kirkman. It should come as no surprise that Reedus himself is a huge Daryl fan. The actor has had a lot to explore over the course of one and a half seasons of "Dead," and given the character's continued journey toward redemption and harmony with his fellow survivors, it seems safe to say that Daryl will hang around for a bit longer — even if he doesn't need to, in Reedus' point of view.

"Daryl's interesting," the actor told MTV News about his character. "While the rest of the group is fighting zombies to survive and make this world work, Daryl can handle himself. He can hunt, he can track, he can protect himself. His turmoil is emotional: how to deal with other people. There are these moments when these other characters you wouldn't expect keep telling him, 'You're worth a damn. You're better than you think you are.' There are certain things that happen when you realize how hard his upbringing is. He needs a hug, but if you hug him, he'll try to stab you.

"I'm trying to play him like a wet cat in an alley," Reedus continued. "You try to take care of it, but it hisses at you and rips your hands up. But he wants you to take him home. That's what this group represents to Daryl, I think."

Tell us what you thought of this week's "Walking Dead" in the comments!