Merle and Daryl Dixon were not supposed to be heroes. Thrust in a situation that was out of their control, the brothers decided to do what they had always done: survive at any cost.
The walking dead were just background noise for these two. They saw the world changing around them, but they stayed the same. Life was just as hard in the armageddon as it had been the day before the first dead man came back to life.
But the Dixons thrived in this new world. They were used to being stepped on; this time they were the ones doing the stepping. They took what they wanted, and they didn't care who they hurt along the way.
However that all changed.
Daryl's association with Rick and the group changed him. For the first time in his life, Daryl found a true family. He found people that saw the best in him, and made him see the best in himself. He found redemption by changing his ways, and being more than the villain the world said he should be.
Even Merle did the right thing in the end. The Dixons had always been on a path of self-destruction, but they rose above it all and became so much more than anyone ever dreamed possible. They became heroes.
This is perhaps the best way to describe Captain Cold and Heatwave from DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
The four have much in common, and it was Leonard Snart's self-sacrifice to save his team that solidified the link. Merle also gave his life for the greater good, in a moment that fans of the show likely believed they would never see.
But for Legends of Tomorrow, the sacrifice should have been Merle's counterpart, Mick Rory.
Captain Cold's demise was completely unexpected, as he had become the Daryl Dixon of Legends. Leonard Snart was beyond cool in his demeanor, he had an edge that none of his teammates had, and he had proven himself as a hero before his partner had.
While The Atom was busy polishing his halo, Captain Cold was proudly displaying his horns. But Snart was the devil that found his way to grace, and in the end, he found his salvation.
Cold's death was shocking, it was unsettling, and it caught the audience off guard. While Wentworth Miller is expected to make appearances on both Legends and The Flash, likely thanks to time travel, it does not lessen the impact that his death had on fans.
Captain Cold was a true highlight on an already amazing show. His loss was immediately felt and surely will be until he's seen again.
The dynamic of The Walking Dead did not change upon Merle's death, but it definitely would if Daryl were to meet his maker. The dynamic of Legends of Tomorrow may indeed change now that their own black sheep character has died.
Whether or not that change will be a negative one remains to be seen, but LOTM is a much faster paced show than TWD. There's not as much time for anyone to stand still, which means the void left behind by Snart perhaps may not be felt that much over time.
But the same cannot be said of Daryl. If and when the time comes that the character is killed off the show, his loss will be felt for a very long time. His departure could signal not only a dip in ratings, but an overall dip in fan interest as well.
It's a move that The Walking Dead may not be able to recover from. Daryl is a hero, and fans want their heroes to overcome. Good must win over evil, and it's that story that brings fans back for more of both shows every week.
A man that falls yet somehow manages to find himself, is a theme that has run throughout comic books, as well as TV. It's a theme that will always captivate because it's real, it's relatable, and it's alluring.
Cold's sacrifice hit home because fans watched him rise above his station and become a hero. He was a favorite because he was edgy, but he was loved because he did the right thing. Leonard Snart has indeed become a legend.