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Warning: spoilers ahead for the third episode of The Walking Dead Season 7.
The Walking Dead got off to a pretty horrifying start with "The Cell." The episode opened on Daryl in awful circumstances being manhandled by the Saviors in The Sanctuary, and it revealed a Daryl we've never seen before. Even at his lowest points, Daryl has had some fight left in him. In "The Cell," he was just taking what the Saviors dished out, even if it was a dog food sandwich while he wallowed in filth. Norman Reedus has shared why Daryl went with the abuse, saying this:
He goes into Episode 3, you see him, he's getting pushed down the hallway and pushed up against the fence and he's not fighting back. He's just taking it. I think he, at that moment, feels everything that's happening to him, he deserves it. He's so overwhelmed with guilt and sadness over his friends, he's just taking it. He's not fighting back at all. He's like, 'I deserve to be here and I'm just taking it.' Me personally, I never thought ever about, 'Oh, I hope the fans don't blame Daryl or Norman.' I never thought about that. The only thing that ever went through my head is 'I hope Maggie forgives me.'
Daryl was in pretty rough physical shape even before Negan lined his pals up and used two of them for tee ball practice; Norman Reedus' reveal that the emotional trauma has convinced Daryl that he deserves his pain explains a lot about his mindset early in "The Cell." Poor Daryl was nearly catatonic for a while as he shivered naked and listened to "Easy Street" over and over and over again. Even those of us who blamed Daryl for Glenn's death had to feel at least a little bit bad for the guy when he started bawling, bloody and beaten on the floor. Getting clothes really didn't improve his situation that much, all things considered.
Everybody's favorite zombie apocalypse redneck did seem to gain some of his fight back as the episode progressed. He made a mad run for it when he found himself free of his cell, and he refused to jump on the "I am Negan" bandwagon despite everything that had happened to him at The Sanctuary. Norman Reedus went on in his chat with IGN to explain that Daryl couldn't just play along with Negan to spare himself some pain because he doesn't believe that Glenn would have done it, and Glenn was the heart of their group prior to his death. Daryl will evidently have to find another way to make a stand against Negan.
Judging by the events of "The Cell," whenever Daryl wasn't actually being tortured, he may have help when he eventually fights back. Sherry seems to be sympathetic to his plight, and Dwight cares more about Sherry than anything else. If Sherry decides to help Daryl and/or Dwight decides that Daryl deserves a better fate than what he got from Negan, Daryl could discover that he has allies within The Sanctuary. The whole point of Season 7 is to break the heroes down to their lowest points, and Daryl is already pretty low. Hopefully we'll get to see him start to put the pieces back together sooner rather than later. I know I can't stand another episode of "Easy Street" on full blast.
Check out AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET to see what happens next for Daryl and the rest on The Walking Dead.