‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: Daryl’s Fate as Negan’s Hostage Is More Horrific Than You Ever Imagined

Will Daryl Dixon kneel before Negan?

That’s the pivotal question asked by The Walking Dead this week, as we caught up with Daryl (Norman Reedus) for the first time since he was taken hostage by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the season premiere. The Sunday, November 6, episode of the AMC drama, titled “The Cell,” isn’t just about Daryl’s literal imprisonment in the Saviors’ compound, but about his torment over his role in Glenn’s terrible death — and whether he can still be himself in the aftermath. Read on for our recap of pivotal moments.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon on ‘The Walking Dead.’ Gene Page/AMC

Behind the Scenes at Chez Negan

It was a foregone conclusion that Daryl would be in for a miserable time as Negan’s hostage, but even we couldn’t imagine the depths of depraved torture he’d be subjected to: a steady diet of dog food sandwiches, and the same bubblegum pop song playing at max volume on continuous repeat. 

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A lesser man would have offed himself on the first day, y’all. And yet Daryl was bearing up pretty well … until Dwight (Austin Amelio) came to visit with a gruesome Polaroid picture and a guilt-trip extraordinaire about being responsible for Glenn’s death. Then, Daryl cried until he puked. We don’t blame him.

Dwight’s Backstory Revealed

At last, the mystery of Dwight’s mangled face — and his relationship with the mournful Sherry (Christine Evangelista) — has been revealed. Turns out, the two were married … until their abortive escape attempt got Sherry’s sister killed. Dwight and Sherry returned to beg for Negan’s mercy, with Sherry offering to become Negan’s bride in exchange for Dwight’s life being spared. Negan took her up on it, but that didn’t stop him from melting Dwight’s face with a hot iron, because of course it didn’t.

Austin Amelio (left) as Dwight on ‘The Walking Dead.’ AMC

Daryl Is Unbroken … for Now

After telling Daryl the sad story of Dwight’s face/wife/life in general, Negan made his pitch: All of this can be yours! No more Alpo à la mode; no more ear-gouging pop music. And all you have to give up is your identity, and become Negan. So, he asked Daryl, who are you? After a long pause, Daryl answered: “Daryl.” (And we all breathed a sigh of relief.)

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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon on ‘The Walking Dead.’ AMC

And the Neganocracy Has a Few Cracks

Despite ruling his Saviors with an iron fist (and a barbed wire–wrapped baseball bat), there’s discontent simmering in the ranks of Negan’s underlings. A confrontation between Dwight and an escapee from the compound revealed that people do still sometimes flee the sociopathic tyrant, and that Dwight himself still has maybe the teeniest, tiniest yearning for freedom lurking somewhere inside him. In other words: It’s not totally hopeless! But still, like, mostly hopeless. Don’t get too excited. Things are still really bad.

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Oh, and If You Were Wondering About Dwight’s Penis?

Although Eugene’s big bite in season 6 might have done some superficial damage, Dwight revealed in this episode that everything is coming up roses down in Wienerville these days. We’ll reserve judgment on whether this is a good thing until we know whether or not he ultimately changes sides. (If not, we reserve the right to wish that Eugene had bitten the whole thing off.)

The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

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