Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC Photo: Daryl Dixon Is Armed and Dangerous

Now that The Walking Dead is back (hallelujah!), we're going to get a big ol’ sexy-sweaty dose of Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus)! Yes, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is finally back to his senses and running the show, but without Daryl we'd have no show. Daryl is back to gettin’ ‘er done — infected or not! — and oh, how we love him for it.

Let us count the ways:

Daryl's a Total Badass, But He's Relatable
Big D kills things with a crossbow, which means he's perfectly capable of taking care himself... and you... and all those beautiful, non-zombie babies you plan to make with him. Plus he rides around on a motorcycle like a freakin’ boss, and this fact alone automatically punts him into the badass category. Well it’s really the motorcycle and that one button-down shirt that got ripped apart by his bulging biceps. You know the one we’re talking about! (And if you don't, shame on you! See below.)

But really, all this badassery doesn't hide the fact that he's actually damaged goods and very human and fallible. This is why we spend so much time worrying that Daryl might not make it to the next episode.

Daryl is a Humble Man
Our beloved hillbilly doesn't brag about his daily victories. He's not looking to take over the prison and he's not shooting for hero status. He just wants to protect himself. Yes, Daryl is self-interested, but he also won't turn his back on the people to whom he's undyingly (pun intended) loyal. We all know the group would probably be rotting, quivering zombie flesh without him, but he still doesn't see the value in himself yet, and that's really endearing.

Of his character, Norman Reedus tells MTV.com, "He's not used to people telling him he's worth a damn. So once people start telling him that, his first reaction is fight or flight. He's such an interesting person."

Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC Photo: Daryl Dixon Is Ready For a Fight

Without Daryl, Rick Would Be Unbalanced
Our redneck with a heart of gold is the perfect contrast and compliment to unpredictable Rick Grimes. Daryl is an anchor to Rick’s instability, and this makes him an indispensable part of the group. He’s looked to as a leader, even if  that’s not what he wants. Where Rick is morally flexible (Ricktatorship!), Daryl is the strong moral center of the group — and maybe even amongst the entire cast of TWDcharacters.

Rick created the group as a means for survival, but Daryl doesn't need the group for the same reason. This eliminates that annoying power struggle plot line (remember Shane?). So what does Daryl need? Norman says, "[Daryl's] looking at [the group] for a very different kind of survival, for interaction that he's not used to, which is a new world for him." If only he’d come to us — we’d give him all the “interaction” he needs! Just sayin’...

Daryl Is Resourceful and Sensible
The zombie apocalypse is no time to be wasteful or irrational (ahem, Rick). Daryl knows how to live off the land, but he also understands that efficiency is key, so he's willing to do whatever it takes to get the things he needs and protect the people he cares about. He never wastes an arrow — even if he has to pull it out of someone's face. That's hardcore resourceful! He’s also usually the most competent and level-headed decision maker within the group. When the ish hits the fan (which is just about daily), the man remains unfazed.

Daryl Is Hot as Hell
We saved this one for last because it's way too obvious... and shallow, but to hell with it! The actor behind Daryl is nearly a half-century old, but you'd never know it. The wispy hair, the scruff, the sexy smirk, the way he handles that crossbow — need we go on? Forget TV dandies like vampire Damon Salvatore and ER doc McSteamy! Daryl's a manly man, the strong-but-silent type — the kind of man who could rip you out from under a fallen rack of wine bottles, save you from a zombie horde, and look damn fine doing it. He may become emotionally unavailable after the fact, but that’s not the point! The point is he’s SMOKING HOT!

To conclude: Even Robert Kirkman, also known as the guy who didn't put Daryl Dixon in the TWD comics, totally hearts Daryl. So why do you love Daryl? Share in our Daryl love fest in the comments below!


Chako Suzuki is Head of Editorial Operations at Wetpaint. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+!