And here we are, back again for more misery a la The Walking Dead. Actually, this episode isn't as unrelentingly horrific as the first one - I mean, christ, it's just zombies. It's not like it's actually scary these days.
This recap will go pretty quickly. Here's what happens in a nutshell: Negan keeps Daryl in a cell with Dwight as his keeper. They try to break him but during the process we actually get to learn Dwight's motivation and feel some sympathy for him. That's it. And we have to spend a whole episode getting there.
To start, a musical montage: to the jaunty tune of "A Town Called Malice," Dwight goes about his days, taking what he wants from less fortunate Saviors. They all make sure to kneel down when Negan comes through though. There's a fence where various walkers are fastened, by chains or impalement, or what have you. It looks either like a psychological deterrent for Negan's people or possibly a line of defense. Could be both. After watching those captive walkers for a while, Dwight feeds a naked and filthy captive Daryl a dog food sandwich.
We also get to spend some time with Daryl, in his dank, dark cell with a terrible, cheerful song being pumped in night and day so he just can't sleep. That fucking song ("On Easy Street") almost drives me crazy and I only have to put up with it for less than one episode. Darryl doesn't look so good. He's exhausted and starving and shaking and won't look his captors in the eye. He gets a doctor's check-up and en route there a girl - Dwight's wife from that episode when she and Dwight stole Daryl's motorcycle and crossbow - tries to talk to Daryl, offer some words of warning. He barely looks like he comprehends anything, although on the way back to his cell, he perks up a little watching the fence of walkers with other prisoners tending to them. Dwight grabs him, shoving his face into the fence: "That's you, asshole, unless you're smart. Your choice. You can be like them, or me, or them."
Later, when Dwight volunteers to go track down a Savior runaway, Daryl takes advantage of the substitute keeper who (1) forgets to restart "On Easy Street" and (2) doesn't quite latch the cell door. Daryl tries the door and sneaks out. Dwight's wife sees him and cautions him against it, saying that she tried to run once and when she was brought back, it was much, much worse. Daryl is determined, however, and makes it outside to where a bunch of motorcycles are parked. He frantically runs from bike to bike, trying to start one of them. But it's a set-up: Negan and a bunch of thugs come into the courtyard behind him. Negan offers Daryl a chance to join him, to be one of his guys, to live better than the rest, not to be tied to earning like the others. All he has to do is give the right answer when Negan asks what his name is. And the right answer is "Negan." Daryl isn't ready to say anything, however, so Negan's thugs beat him up a bit before tossing him back in his cell.
Meanwhile, Dwight stupidly gets caught out under an overpass when zombies fall off the edge and on top of him. His motorcycle gets dented and he is forced to fight for his life. Obviously he's distracted because someone with his experience shouldn't have been caught like that - there were splattered and broken zombies all over the road, for chrissakes. He finally catches up to the guy who has run away. The guy begs Dwight to let him go, asks Dwight to come with him, saying that life under Negan is no life at all - after everything Negan did to Dwight's wife? Dwight says shut up, she's not my wife. Other guy: Not anymore. The other guy is desperate, saying it's okay if Dwight kills him but he just can't go back. Dwight, looking pretty desperate himself: "You will [go back], it's the only way." The other guy pleads with him, then turns around, his back to Dwight, and Dwight raises his gun and sorrowfully shoots him.
When Dwight gets back, he stops by to see Daryl, reminding him that he's the one who got [Glenn] killed and that he, Darryl, should himself be dead except that Negan's taken a shine to him. He leaves Daryl with a Polaroid of Glenn's smushed head for a keepsake. This, plus a new song ("Crying Over You") makes Daryl cry. Sometime later, Negan calls Dwight and Daryl to his room. There's a lot of talking in which we learned that after Dwight and Sherry (his wife) stole Daryl's cycle and bow, they were recaptured by Negan. Negan put a hot iron to Dwight's face and appropriated his "superhot" wife, but now - according to Negan - they're cool and Dwight is one of Negan's lieutenants. So yadda yadda yadda (Negan really likes to hear himself talk), Negan wants to know if Daryl is ready to join up. "What's your name?" snarls Negan. Daryl: "Daryl." Dwight's all, jesusfuckingchristwhatareyoudoing? But Negan's all, it's cool, he made his choice - ain't my problem if it's a dumbass choice.
Dwight throws Daryl back into his cell, shouting, "You're going to end up in this room or on that fence!" He seems genuinely upset that Daryl won't save himself. Daryl, who up until this point has said about three words all episode, looks up at him: "I get why you did it, why you took it. You were thinkin' about someone else. That's why I can't." Dwight slams the cell door and goes out to stare at the fence of walkers. There's a new one chained there: the guy Dwight had been sent to fetch back, clearly killed by a shot through the back. Dwight was right. That guy did come back.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
8 hours ago