Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't seen tonight's episode of The Walking Dead.
Well, last week's momentary relapse from awkward darkness has been course-corrected by The Walking Dead's on-the-rise threat, Negan. Instead of wondering who might try and get naked with others, we were forced to witness weekend warrior Daryl Dixon in the most unappealing state of the buff possible. Daryl is most certainly not on easy street, no matter what that song kept saying over and over again.
Norman Reedus talked about how dismal things were going to get for Daryl after the events of the premiere. (All the head-bashings, I mean, not the Who's the Boss stuff.) Regardless of who else does or doesn't put Daryl in the crosshairs of blame for Glenn's death, Daryl's conscience weighs heavy. And it's not like he's got a whole lot else to think about at this point beyond the depths of misery plaguing all of his senses, so he might as well be wallowing in foul thoughts. Negan intends to break Daryl's psyche, or at least dent it a little, but that's not the easiest thing to do on this show.
Daryl is put in a room with only as much light as it would allow us to see him in the show. Music is blaring through the speakers on repeat. He's fed dog food sandwiches. He was allowed to build up hope for a possible escape, only to have it beaten out of him. And then, after he responded to Dwight's sensible words, he's left to look at the Polaroid of Glenn's mangled remains. At some point, even if he doesn't fully accept Negan's rule, he could at least stop acting like a dickface. Then he might not sob to Roy Orbison and vomit before bed.
Dwight, for all his possible issues with the way life is handled at the Sanctuary and his sound advice, does not put on baby gloves when dealing with Daryl, not that he'd shown any polite or genial behavior to Daryl in the past. But it's not enough that Dwight seems to be relishing his sandwich, he also takes jabs at Daryl about his crossbow, and gives him the Polaroid. But as Dwight told Sherry, it's better than dying. Will Daryl learn that lesson? Not in this lifetime.
Even as Negan is making Daryl's life the worst it's ever been - while simultaneously showing off his superiority over Dwight - Jeffrey Dean Morgan is still such a charismatic guy that I can't help but find Negan to be an amazingly captivating person. He makes others' desperation so much more fun to watch. But then one has to wonder at what point Negan's patience will reach a breaking point and he decides to take things in another deadlier direction with Daryl.
We are all prisoners of Negan when The Walking Dead airs every Sunday night on AMC. To see what else is yet to make its debut this year, grab yourself a big can of dog food and check out our fall TV schedule.