Negan is doing his best to break Daryl, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. In Season 7, episode 3 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” fans finally got to see how life has been for Daryl at Negan’s camp, The Sanctuary. Sadly, things are not going well for the fan-favorite character.
Sunday’s episode kicked off with Dwight (Austin Amelio) relaxing on a couch watching “Who’s The Boss?” while drinking alcohol. In the first few minutes of the episode, it’s revealed that the people at The Sanctuary are doing pretty well for themselves. Not only do they have TVs and video tapes to watch, they are also eating decent meals. At one point, Dwight is seen making a sandwich with eggs, mustard, tomatoes and lettuce. Dwight also gets a little bit of down time playing a game with a fellow female Savior.
The Saviors’ living situation is a stark contrast to how Daryl (Norman Reedus) is being treated. When viewers see Daryl he’s seen naked huddled in the corner of a tiny cell. He’s dirty, and it’s revealed that they are feeding him dog food on sandwich bread. Daryl is devouring the food like he hasn’t eaten in days. They are also playing loud music to prevent Daryl from getting any sleep.
It’s clear that Daryl is in bad shape, but things are about to get worse for him. After what seems like a few days of keeping Daryl locked up in the tiny cell and feeding him dog food, Dwight gives him clothes. It’s a sweatshirt with the letter “A” written on it and sweatpants. They eventually let Daryl out of his cell and Dwight takes him to see their doctor. In the doctor’s office is Sherri (Christine Evangelista), Dwight’s ex-wife — more on that later — and the woman who tried to take Daryl hostage last season. Sherri addresses Daryl, but is quickly told by Dwight not to talk to him. Dwight then spots a pregnancy test on the table, and Sherri tells him that it’s negative. Before Sherri leaves the room she tells Daryl to do whatever Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his men say.
As Dwight and Daryl leave the doctor’s office, Negan approaches and Dwight immediately drops to his knees and makes Daryl kneel as well. Negan wants to talk to Dwight alone, so he has another Savior keep an eye on Daryl. Later, Dwight takes Daryl outside to The Sanctuary’s fence where men wearing sweatshirts, similar as the one Daryl has on, are gathering walkers together to build some type of barrier around the fence. As Dwight throws Daryl back into his cell, he offers Daryl some advice: “Make it easy on yourself.” In response, Daryl says he’s never going to kneel to Negan. Dwight says he used to say the same thing but things changed.
As the cell door closes behind Dwight the loud music starts to play again. Meanwhile, Negan tells Dwight that he thinks Daryl is close to breaking and thanks Dwight for his help by giving him permission to sleep with any female Savior he chooses. Dwight declines the offer, and Negan seems to get offended. Dwight tries to smooth things over by saying that he hasn’t earned it yet. Suddenly, a “code orange” comes through on the walkie talkie and Dwight tells Negan he will take care of it.
It turns out that one of the Saviors escaped so Dwight has to go and fetch him. When Dwight catches up to the man, he tries to get him to return to The Sanctuary but the man is refusing. The guy then reminds Dwight how awful Negan is and hints that Negan did something to his wife. The man kneels on the ground and begs Dwight to kill him, but Dwight doesn’t pull the trigger. Dwight is getting frustrated and tells the Savior that if he doesn’t return to The Sanctuary he will put his loved ones on the fence. The man gets up and starts walking back to The Sanctuary, but Dwight shoots him in the back.
Meanwhile back at The Sanctuary, another Savior gives Daryl his dog food sandwich but when he leaves he doesn’t lock the door. Daryl leaves the cell and is trying to find a way out when Sherri sees him and warns Daryl to return to his cell while he still can. “You know I did,” she tells him. “Whatever he’s done to you, there’s more. There’s always more. You won’t get away. And when you’re back it will be worse.” Daryl ignores her warnings, and makes his way towards a door that leads outside. When he spots a group of motorcycles, Daryl runs towards them but is quickly surrounded by some of the Saviors. Negan then walks outside, and asks some of the men who they are. They each respond, “Negan.”
Negan tells Daryl that he’s everywhere and he thought Daryl would get it by now, that Negan is the boss. He gives Daryl three choices: to work Negan as a dead man, to work for someone else and wish he was dead or join Negan’s team and “live like a king.” Daryl isn’t interested in any of the choices so Negan acts like he’s going to beat Daryl with his barbed-wire bat Lucille, but Daryl doesn’t flinch. “You don’t scare easy, I love that,” Negan says. “But Lucille, well it kinda pisses her off.” Negan tells Darryl that luckily for him Lucille isn’t “too thirsty” right now, so he walks off. The Saviors surrounding Daryl jump him after Daryl takes a swing at one of the guys. After Daryl is thrown back in cell, Sherri tells him through the door that she’s sorry for what happened in the woods.
Later, Dwight brings Daryl his food, a roll, but drops it on the ground because Daryl refuses to take it. When Dwight tells Daryl that it’s his fault Glenn (Steven Yeun) was killed, Daryl throws the roll at Dwight. Dwight tells Daryl that he should be dead but for some reason Negan likes him. Before he leaves the cell, Dwight tapes a Polaroid photo to the wall. It’s an image of Glenn’s remains and, for the first time the entire episode, Daryl breaks down and starts sobbing.
The next day, when Dwight checks on Daryl there’s vomit on the floor and the roll is still uneaten. He takes Daryl to a bedroom where Negan is waiting for them. Negan explains that Daryl that he and Dwight didn’t get along at first but not Dwight is one of his top guys. Negan thinks Daryl could be another one of his top men.
Viewers also learn Dwight’s back story, and it’s actually heartbreaking. Negan tells Daryl that Dwight and his wife Sherri and her sister Tina (Liz E. Morgan) used to work for him for points, but they fell behind on their points when Sherri’s sister needed some medication. Negan says he offered to marry Tina, but Dwight stole the medication and took off with Sherri and her sister. Negan says he sent his men after them and Dwight came back to The Sanctuary asking for forgiveness.
Negan says he liked that Dwight begged for forgiveness but actions have consequences so he was going to kill Dwight but Sherri begged him not to and said she would marry Negan if he spared Dwight’s life. Instead of killing Dwight, he gave him “the iron” to his face.
When Dwight returns Daryl to his cell, Dwight tells him that his only choices are to stay in the bedroom and become one of Negan’s men or work on the fence. Daryl tells Dwight that he understands why Dwight had to join Negan’s team, but he won’t do it. The episode ends with Dwight looking out at the Saviors working on the fence. Dwight is paying attention to one walker in particular, and when the zombie turns around it’s the man Dwight shot on the road earlier in the episode.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.