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Season 7 was a rough year for just about everybody on The Walking Dead, what with all torture and major deaths. Daryl had an especially tough time after he was kidnapped by Negan and the Saviors and taken back to the Sanctuary. Stripped naked, fed dog food, and tormented by the world's peppiest song being blasted at all hours, the Saviors did a pretty thorough job of trying to break Daryl. When he was given clothes again, we saw that he had to wear a dirty sweatshirt with a bright orange A painted on it. No explanation was every given on screen for why he had to wear the A, but episode writer Angela Kang has revealed the reason:
It just means 'asshole.' They're being juvenile. Like an asshole and an F and an S for 'fuckface' and 'shithead.'
Apparently, the A didn't have a ton of deeper significance in The Walking Dead. The A wasn't a grade or a ranking or a hint that we were in for a deleted scene of a Sanctuary production of The Scarlet Letter starring Daryl Dixon. No, as Angela Kang revealed in the Blu-ray commentary for the episode that featured the debut of the A, it was just an example of the Saviors taunting Daryl. As if the poor guy needed to feel any worse!
Fortunately for Daryl, he wasn't stuck for the whole season in his dog food-stained sweatshirt that proclaimed him "asshole" for all to see. Thanks to an assist from Sherry, Daryl managed to escape from the Sanctuary and reunite with his pals. Of course, Daryl couldn't just resume his life at Alexandria after becoming a fugitive from the Saviors, but he got to reunite with Carol and hang out in The Kingdom for a while before taking off again.
It should be interesting to see in Season 8 if Negan and Co. have gotten over Daryl's escape from the Sanctuary. Daryl brutally beat a Savior by the name of Fat Joey to death in his grand escape, and that didn't sit well with his former captors. Simon declared that there is no statute of limitation on punishing Daryl, but that was before war broke out in the Season 7 finale. The Saviors are currently facing the combined forces of Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom. They have some bigger problems than a redneck fugitive.
That said, both Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Steven Ogg will be regulars in Season 8, meaning that Negan and Simon will probably be around quite a bit. Daryl likely isn't going anywhere any time soon, so a confrontation is almost inevitable. Fat Joey will not be forgotten for as long as Daryl is alive in the zombie apocalypse.
We'll have to wait and see. The trailer for Season 8 points to plenty of action on all sides (and one WTF plot twist), and we can bet that Daryl will be in the thick of the fight. The Walking Dead will return to AMC for Season 8 on Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. ET. Check out our fall TV premiere guide for your other viewing options in the not-too-distant future.