Back at the Sanctuary, Daryl has been locked up in a small, windowless room and tortured with loud, obnoxious music for hours on end. While Dwight enjoys his fresh sandwich, he tosses Daryl one made from dog food. Dwight continuously returns to the room to feed him while waiting to see Daryl break to Negan’s will. When Dwight leaves to deal with an escaped member of Negan’s clan, Daryl makes an attempt to escape. The failed attempt leaves him trapped again in the room and awaiting his fate.
Daryl’s Will: While Daryl has been tested in the past, he has never experienced such torture. The “mine” guys pushed him to break his care for others, though running into Rick and Carl helped him snap back into reality. Now in imprisonment, Daryl is being pushed to his limit between the sleep depravation, loud music, poor food, and lack of light. Negan is waiting for Daryl to abandon his name and what makes him an independent person, but Daryl in the moment of truth refused to break. He has always had this inner strength that other characters have only shown in glimpses compared to his consistent stalwart personality.
The Complicated World of Dwight: It is easy to look at a guy like Dwight and see the angry follower who seems to hate everything about Daryl. The beginning of the episode helped to push this concept as the contrast of him taking what he wants was put against the way he treated Daryl in the cell. As the episode pushed forward, his interaction with Gordon only served to reinforce this thought. The image of Dwight became more complicated when Negan tried to finally break Daryl. After placing the picture in Daryl’s cell to make him fully break down, Dwight stayed to wait for Daryl’s tears to become real. After Daryl’s refusal to take Negan’s name, Dwight actually appeared to acknowledge that breaking to Negan’s demands would at least save his life. Daryl’s refusal challenged Dwight for just long enough that it felt like he finally commiserated with the idea that Dwight sold out while Daryl actually took the moral high ground.
Negan’s Rule of Thumb: There have been a few encounters where we have experienced the “we are Negan” comments. Being such a charismatic leader, he is able to get nearly everyone around him to accept his rule. He is a threatening presence, but there is something else that holds him in a position of power. In a broken world, he is willing to put himself out there to lead the sheep. His people are looking for someone to provide direction and protection. He is smart enough to know what to promise and what boundaries to push in order to take people to the edge. This will certainly serve him well until someone, maybe Maggie or Rick, is able to find a weakness in his style of rule.
Negan’s style of rule will be on full display next week, as we will see him take a trip to Alexandria and push a broken Rick to admit defeat. Will we see Maggie take over for Rick’s weakness? While Rick find his groove back? Will Negan enact a takeover of the quiet community? We’ve got a 90 minute episode to find out.
Question of the Week: How long would it take for the music from this episode to make you go crazy?
In Memoriam: Gordon