Spoilers for Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead can be found throughout this article!
The Walking Dead has been almost overwhelmingly grim so far in Season 7, and the third episode was no exception. Poor Daryl spent the entire hour facing physical and mental torture courtesy of Dwight and Negan. Dwight was clearly shown to take no pleasure in the torture, and even seems in his own way to want to help Daryl. Actor Austin Amelio, who plays Dwight on the hit AMC drama, has an idea about why his character is fixated on everybody's favorite zombie apocalypse crossbow champion. He had this to say about their dynamic:
For one, they're both trying to stay alive for a greater thing. There's someone else involved, so to speak. There are some differences too. Dwight sold out and went against his code and his ethics and morals. Daryl's hanging in there so I think Dwight would like to be a little stronger in that sense. Also, looking into Daryl, when Dwight's torturing him it's kind of like seeing his past self. Because he was there.
Dwight has been oddly drawn to Daryl ever since they interacted earlier in the series. Austin Amelio's comments to IGN about Dwight seeing himself in Daryl's circumstances go a long way to explain why he seems to have formed a connection. He must have spent a lot of his time since he lost his wife and received a hot iron to his face wondering if he made the right choice in joining Negan; watching Daryl take the path of greater resistance rather than sign on with the Saviors has to be a fascinating window into what might have been.
Of course, Dwight's "what might have been" would have involved suffering for Sherry as well. He doesn't seem like an especially strong man, but he might not have knelt to Negan if he wasn't so concerned about Sherry. Daryl is hanging on to Glenn's memory to keep himself strong in The Sanctuary; Dwight didn't have the death of a friend for motivation. He had the life of his wife. Sherry has shown sympathy to Daryl's plight, so there's a chance that his admiration for Daryl's strength combined with Sherry's desire to help could turn Dwight into an ally of sorts for Daryl.
Interestingly, Daryl was in a somewhat similar situation to Dwight way back in Season 2 when he brutally interrogated Randall for the sake of the group that was finally beginning to accept him. Rick was obviously no Negan, and Daryl wouldn't have been punished if he'd refused to rough Randall up, but he too showed a willingness to cross a major line for the people he cared about. Maybe Daryl will begin to see some of himself in Dwight just as Dwight sees some of himself in Daryl.
The odds aren't great for Dwight and Daryl becoming the next great zombie apocalypse bromance. I wouldn't put any money on Dwaryl replacing Rickyl as best bros any time soon. Still, they have an interesting dynamic that could add some extra nuance to scenes in The Sanctuary, and Daryl could definitely use an ally.
Tune in to AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET to see what's next for Dwight and Daryl on The Walking Dead.