Title: The Walking Dead “The Cell”
Air Date: November 6th, 2016
Genre: Serial Drama, Horror
The all-new episode of The Walking Dead just finished and again… we find ourself with a slower pace and different characters. Let me start by saying, I’m ok with this. The premiere episode was like a “high” and we’re still in the process of coming down from that. So, I’m alright with the slower paced story telling. I was actually pretty surprised to see and hear some of the comments regarding last week’s episode being too slow. Last week, we got to take a look at the Kingdom, see what Morgan and Carol have been up to as well as meet Ezekiel. As exciting as that was for me, some people still complained. It just goes to show you that someone will always complain about something. The premiere episode was too much and too violent but the second episode was too slow. Sometimes you really have to wonder, who are these people that complain?
Before I get into the episode, I’m very happy to announce that I will be a guest on the Aim for the Head podcast tomorrow night to talk about this episode of The Walking Dead. Julie and Dianna are a lot of fun to listen to and I’m really looking forward to joining in on the conversation about this latest episode.
This episode of The Walking Dead titled “The Cell” again shifts gears with our characters. The story here primarily focused on Daryl, who’s now in captivity and Dwight who’s been assigned to breaking him. Negan and Sherry also make some appearances throughout the episode. For anyone that doesn’t remember, Sherry is Dwight’s wife… well now ex-wife. She first appeared in the episode “Always Accountable” with Dwight and her sister Tina. They were the ones who encountered Daryl in the woods, thinking he was a savior. Upon seeing her again… she is now Negan’s wife and clearly not happy but we’ll get to that soon.
Daryl is clearly not in a good place when we see him in his holding area in the Sanctuary. He is naked, being fed dog meat sandwiches and sleep deprived. What comes to light is that Negan and Dwight are trying to mentally break Daryl and have him join the Saviors. Believe it or not, the act of playing loud music on constant repeat into a prisoner’s cell is a type of psychological warfare that even the United States has used. Daryl holds up pretty well until Dwight throws in the polaroid of Glenn and changes the music to “Crying” by Roy Orbison. It was an emotional moment for me, even as just a viewer, and more so because of Dwight’s reaction. Even though he breaks Daryl down, he clearly seems to be somewhat upset.
One thing I wrote about in my preview article for this Walking Dead episode, was an interview Norman Reedus gave to Entertainment Weekly. In this interview, he discussed Daryl “Never being able to forgive himself” for what happened to Glenn. It is very clear in “The Cell” that the guilt of Glenn’s death weighs very heavily on Daryl and is being used against him. Even though Daryl does break down a bit here, he is still Daryl and refuses to accept becoming “Negan.”
Another important thing here is Daryl understanding Dwight’s reasons for returning to the Saviors …and letting him know. Dwight returned to the Saviors to protect his wife and that is why he has endured what he has, why he has done terrible things. While I can’t say I agree with his course of action, I understand it and I think Austin Amelio did a great job here in conveying subtle emotions for the character. Dwight is back with the Saviors but it is very clear, he’s not happy about it. How could he be? Not only did returning get him a hot iron to half his face, his wife… is now the wife of Negan. Furthermore, Negan rubs this fact in Dwight’s face in a conversation with Daryl while Dwight is present. That is one tough pill to swallow… especially one that you feel like you have to swallow. If you’ll remember back to the episode “Always Accountable” in season six, Dwight didn’t seem like a bad guy. Despite what he’s done, I still don’t think he’s a”bad guy,” especially with clearly seeing how conflicted he is in this episode. When Dwight is staring at the walker in front of the Sanctuary that constantly seems to be kneeling and standing, you can almost picture what he’s thinking.
We finally get a look at the Sanctuary in this episode and one thing is fairly apparent. It’s not a happy place. Despite the supplies and resources available, the residents of the Sanctuary seem largely unhappy. There was no one smiling or anyone chatting happily with one another while they were working, a very stark contrast to Alexandria and the Kingdom which we saw last week. It appears that the residents are on the lowest tier compared to Negan’s men but all have to kneel in his presence. I think this puts forth a very interesting question, not just for the show but even one we should ask ourselves as citizens. Just how far would you go… how much would you give up to feel “safe?”
One more important scene I wanted to mention was when Dwight finally catches up with the grab and go resident of the Sanctuary. Again, Austin Amelio did a great job at conveying the emotions of Dwight. It was a very meaningful back and forth exchange which I think will have an effect on Dwight’s actions down the road. For those that are familiar with the comics, Dwight plays an intricate part in the war with Negan. While I can’t say for sure the same will happen here, Scott Gimple did say that season seven of The Walking Dead will be incredibly close to the comics.
This episode of the Walking Dead showed us a little more of Jeffery Dean Morgan’s Negan, in which he does a great job of making that character come off like a real prick. Negan can really say and do whatever he wants to his residents and men and that power is made very apparent in this episode. Sherry also made a return, now as Negan’s wife, and she clearly regrets her decision to return. Christine Evangelista, who plays Sherry, did a great job at conveying the emotion of her character.
Did you see this episode of The Walking Dead? If so, what did you think? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
- Daryl breaking but not
- Conversation between Dwight and Sanctuary resident
- Slow pace may bother some
- How did Dwight get that resident back to the Sanctuary