Last night’s episode, The Cell was a very insightful one. Lot’s of story with Dwight, Negan, and how they are trying to break Daryl down. Before we get into it,
I really didn’t want to start liking Dwight. I have this suspicion they are going to make us like Dwight. I so want Daryl to bash his face in. Maybe they will have a fight–then again, Eugene did chomp on his ding-ding a while.
This episode was very music driven. It opens with The Jam, A Town Called Malice, then Daryl wakes up to the same sugary-pop song (Easy Street) for what seems to be weeks. If you are like me, you wanted to shoot someone by about the third time they played it. Once again Scott Gimple loves to troll us.
Living Large: Dwight has risen to be quite the campus king. We see him make his way through the Saviors compound and pretty much take whatever he wants on his way to making a nice fried egg sandwich. Artisan bread, yellow mustard, heirloom tomatoes, bread and butter pickles, iceberg lettuce, and two free-range eggs. His lunchtime is interrupted by witnessing the walker mosh pit.
Dwight then sets out on his main task: Breaking Daryl Dixon down so he joins Negan as a henchman. Good luck on that one Dwight. Starts out with a dose of pop music, then some shit talking, then a dog food sandwich. I might have left out Daryl was naked and cramped up in a dark holding cell–hence the name of the episode. The clever part is, this episode shows how Dwight is also in a cell, as are pretty much all the members of the saviors.
Doctor on call: Dwight drags Daryl to visit the doctor to get checked out. He bumps into his ex-wife Sherry who is now–you guessed it: property of Negan. She reveals she took a pregnancy test and it came out negative. Dwight forces up a weak smile, and a “maybe nex time”, and the shift is on. We see Dwight as a person and not Negan’s #2.
By the letter: Dwight drags Daryl out to the fenced-in mosh pit where walkers are being herded to be stuck on poles or attached to the fence itself. There are men wearing similar clothes as Daryl, with different letters. Daryl has the reoccurring “A”, and the others have other letters of the alphabet. No clue what they correspond to.
He’s going apeshit: Negan and Dwight have a nice conversation about the state of our favorite badass: Daryl. Negan wants to reward Dwight with a night of sex–with his pick of a lady, as long as “she says yes”. He first offers him a “blast” from the past, indicating his ex-wife Sherry, but then says he is just messing with him. Negan further busts Dwight’s chops about being bit in the crotch by Eugene. Dwight is visibly uncomfortable and declines the offer. A voice comes over the radio and announces there is a “code orange”. Negan is put off by Dwight declining the offer for sex, and choosing to go after the “code orange”. Dwight then tells Negan he wants to go after the fleeing member because “he likes it”, and Negan is happy at that. You can see Dwight is either sucking up or perhaps trying to gain Negan’s confidence.
It’s a test: There are lots of little “tests” in this episode. Dwight testing Daryl, Negan testing Dwight. Negan testing both of them. One of Negan’s henchman, Fat Joe I think, tosses Daryl his “shit sandwich”, then closes the cell door, obviously not locking it. Daryl looks and listens to see if anyone was around and eventually pushes the door open. He runs into Sherry, who tries to talk him out of it. Eventually Daryl makes it out of the building and finds a bunch of motorcycles. His escape is soon cutoff as about 8 goons come out, followed by Negan. Negan asks everyone what their name is, and they answer: Negan. He then asks Daryl what his name is, and of course, he says Daryl. Negan fakes a blow to Daryl’s head with Lucile, but stops short of hitting him. He then leaves his goons to punish Daryl for trying to escape. At the same time we see Dwight walking with Daryl’s bike. The tire is flat and several spokes are hanging off the hub. Nicely done.
Heart to heart-less: Dwight has a conversation as he catches up to the “code orange”. Turns out it was someone Dwight knew (Gordon) and was friendly with. The runaway tries to convince Dwight to let him go. Gordon tells Dwight there is nothing left, and he might as well shoot him. Dwight counters with putting everyone Gordon knows on “the wall” and feeding them “shit sandwiches” for the rest of their short lives. Gordon gives in, and then tells Dwight “you won”, but that there is nothing left, and he knows it. Dwight appears to be in contemplation, but then shoots Gordon in the back.
You can be that guy: Negan has Dwight bring Daryl to an apartment/living area in the compound. He goes over Dwight’s relationship and how he got back in Negan’s good graces. He then explains to Daryl that there are three choices: Work for him as a walker on a spike, be a member and work for “points”, or be a henchman and live like a king. The choice to Negan is obvious. Daryl refuses to say he is “Negan” and Negan lets him know he made a dumb-ass choice. Dwight takes Daryl back to his cell. As Dwight puts him in there, Daryl reveals that he gets why Dwight crossed him and stole his bike and crossbow–because he was thinking of someone else. Daryl says that’s why he can’t “kneel”.
As you can see, the episode was filled with subtleties, nuances, symbolism, and flat out challenges. As I mentioned before Dwight is as much a prisoner in a cell as Daryl was.
Questions: Is Sherry for real? It seems she wants to help Daryl for some reason. Not sure why. She warns Daryl to go back when he was trying to escape, and another time–there is always more; things can always get worse. I’m not sure if she is testing Daryl or legitimately wants to help him because she now knows what Negan is all about.
Will Dwight break Daryl or will Daryl break Dwight? Seems like we have a case of immovable object vs irresistible force. Kind of. Not sure how irresistible Dwight is. During the “code orange” the runaway brings up the fact that there is only one “Negan” and hundreds of followers. Why hasn’t anyone overthrown him? The thought has to be more than one persons mind. Perhaps Dwight or Sherry will use Daryl as an asset.
Who is Daryl’s “reason” for not kneeling and serving Negan? Carol? Maggie? The entire group back at Alexandria? They all seem fitting, but I think he was singling someone out.
How will Daryl get out of Negan’s compound? Will he “pretend” and eventually go along with Negan? Will Dwight eventually appreciate Daryl’s resolve and use him/join up with him to overthrow the maniacal leader? I don’t think it will happen anytime soon, nor do I think Daryl will be in his cell for 5 more episodes. So what will give?
Zombie kill of the week: Dwight killed one with a gun, the runaway killed one with a knife. One jumped off the overpass. All of them were unspectacular. Take that as you will!