The last time we saw Daryl Dixon, he was thrown in the back of a van and driven away as Negan explained to Rick that the Saviors will be keeping him. With last week’s episode focusing on Carol, Morgan and the Kingdom, we’ve been left wondering one thing: where’s Daryl? What has Negan and his Saviors done with the most popular character next to Rick?
Exactly what you would expect from a guy like Negan: putting him through Hell.
The third episode of season seven gives us a little insight into the land of Negan through the eyes of Dwight, one of his loyal servants. We see first hand how the Saviors interact with each other: taking what they feel is theirs, looking only for what benefits them and kneeling every time Negan and his Lucile walk by. We eventually see Dwight head to a cell that is repeatedly playing “Easy Street” on full blast. This is the solitary confinement-like cell that houses Daryl Dixon. In between feedings and doctor visits, Daryl is confined to this cell in an attempt by Negan to break him.
When Dwight goes out to stop and bring back a fleeing Savior, Daryl sees an opportunity to escape. Even when Sherry, the young woman he met in the doctor’s office, warms him to go back to his cell or else it will be worse, Daryl continues to try to escape, only to be cornered by Saviors and Negan. Daryl learns how committed these men are as each one of them answers with “Negan” every time the actual Negan asks them their names. “You see,” Negan says to Daryl. “I am everywhere.” Negan explains to Daryl his choices, which are pretty much die or follow me and although he is impressed by Daryl’s lack of fear, Negan proceeds to have his men beat Daryl down.
Meanwhile, while Dwight approaches a wrecked car, he has a bad altercation with walkers falling off a damaged highway overpass. Injured but alive, Dwight comes across Gordon, the fleeing Savior. Gordon explains that he’d rather die than go back and serve under Negan. After a debate over it, Dwight eventually does as he wishes, shooting Gordon. When Dwight returns, he visits Daryl’s cell, telling him that if he keeps this up, it will only get worse. He then leaves a Polaroid picture of Glenn’s body after his meeting with Lucile, placing the blame of Glenn’s death on Daryl. As more music plays, Dwight hangs around the outside of the cell long enough to hear Daryl break down and cry.
The focus of this episode was on both Dwight and Daryl. While Daryl is doing everything he can to survive and not break to their torture tactics, Dwight seems to be having second thoughts about his current status in Negan’s crew. He watches the poor souls who have to spend their days dodging walkers in an outdoor cage and how the Saviors treat others in their camp. We become even more aware of Dwight’s predicament during the meeting between he, Daryl and Negan. Not only do we see Daryl still not refer to himself as Negan, looking right into Negan’s face as he utters the name “Daryl” from his lips, we also learn of the tragic way that Dwight came under the rule of Negan. A tragic agreement between Negan and Dwight involving Sherry that makes even Daryl understand why Dwight does what he does.
With Daryl defiant but still imprisoned, next week’s ninety minute episode should be quite interesting as Negan and the Saviors travel to Alexandria to collect their weekly treasure. In what state of mind is Rick in? What will Rosita do when she sees Negan again? How will the people of Alexandria respond to the demands of Negan?
Let the countdown to next week’s episode begin!