Like seasons past, The Walking Dead has decided to spread their excitement out over the entire season, giving us fans a moaning, groaning, head-splattering episode one week and then an emotional, expository episode the next. For this past Sunday’s episode, titled The Cell, we got a look inside Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) time at the Sanctuary as well as an idea of what makes Dwight (Austin Amelio) tick.
This Walking Dead episode started off with some way too happy music and a sandwich making montage. We got clips of old Who’s the Boss? episodes and a triple take shot of sheeple Gordon (Michael Scialabba) that had me waiting for the sitcom laugh track. Of course, beneath this happy music was Dwight going through the entire camp, stealing food and fixings from people to make the perfect egg sandwich. It’s good to be king! Or, at least, one step removed from king.
Then there’s Daryl. Poor, poor Daryl. After punching Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the face two weeks ago and setting the bastard off on a tear that got Glenn (Steven Yuen) killed, his self-esteem has taken a nosedive. He’s back to season 1, I-am-an-island Daryl. Not only does he feel like shit for getting his friend killed, but he’s also been taken back to the Sanctuary by Negan and his men in an effort to break him. They strip him of his clothes (who’s complaining? I saw a naked Daryl for a second there!), toss him in a cold, dark cell and feed him dog food sandwiches. To top it all off, they keep playing this horrible, horrible song called “Easy Street” on a 24 hour loop.
Who wouldn’t break? But, despite this inhuman torture, Daryl does not bend. Dwight even shows him his options – he can work the walker-ridden fence or join the Scooby gang. But Daryl won’t budge. At one point, Negan tests him by having one of the guards leave his cell door open. Daryl being Daryl, he tries to escape, even after repeated warnings from Dwight’s wife (well, ex-wife), Sherry (Christine Evangelista). After a dick swinging session with Negan, the Sanctuary henchman beat Daryl’s ass and toss him back into his cell. Dwight tapes a Polaroid of Glenn’s bashed in head next to Daryl’s head, making the poor, downtrodden bastard cry over the mellow notes of Roy Orbison. Later, Negan pushes him to call himself “Sheeple” – I mean “Negan,” but Daryl insists on staying an individual and not joining up with his Hell on Wheels crew. Seems like they could have just given him a nickname and called it a day. Wait, is Daryl the new Reek?
We also get some backstory on why Dwight is such a douche canoe. Not too long ago, he, Sherry and her sister, Tina, were living under Negan’s thumb like everyone else in the neighborhood. Tina needed insulin, a medication nearly impossible to come by, and Negan had the supply. So, Dwight, Sherry and Tina stole it and ran off. This was when they had met Daryl for the first time in the burned out woods, when they stole all of his shit, including his motorcycle, crossbow and angel wing vest.
Back then, Daryl told them that they would be sorry, and he was right. After Tina was killed, the couple went back to Negan to beg forgiveness and be allowed back into the Sanctuary. To keep Negan from killing Dwight, Sherry offered to be his new “wife” if the madman would spare her husband’s life. Negan agreed but still wanted more, so he held a red hot iron to the side of the guy’s head. So yeah, that’s why his face looks all melty like that. Dwight and Sherry obviously still love each other but are doing what’s necessary to stay alive. It does make a lot of the things Dwight did make sense, and even gets you to feel pretty bad for him.
Later, Negan quizzes Dwight by offering him a night with Sherry, but Dwight refuses, making Negan proud. Some say this is because he knew it was a test and wanted to pass. I think it’s because his wiener still hurt from when Eugene bit him.
There was also this side story about Gordon escaping the Sanctuary and being hunted down by Dwight (who was almost killed while in pursuit by a Superman kamikaze zombie falling off a bridge). When he caught up to the runaway, Dwight saved the guy from being walker chow. Later, after getting some, “Why are we just Negan’s sheeple?” words from Gordon, Dwight shoots him in the back, killing him but letting him reanimate so he could be tied to the fence with the other zombies.
Things I’m still not sure about… why are there humans wearing lettered sweatsuits running around? And what is the point in making these lettered people slap buckets on the heads of the chain link de-fence zombies? Why did Dwight kill Gordon? Was it in cold-blooded or because of his bleeding heart?
Check back in next week for PopHorror’s recap for the rundown on the 90 minute Walking Dead episode, Service. It looks like Michonne is going to shoot a few holes in some Sanctuarians. Woot!