Warning: This article contains spoilers from the latest episode of The Walking Dead, “The Cell.”
The Walking Dead season premiere left a bad taste in fans’ mouths, and while cutting away to Carol, Morgan, and King Ezekiel’s Kingdom helped alleviate that a bit, we’re right back to square one as Negan attempted to break a fan favorite (and us) in a heart-wrenching way Sunday.
It first arrived in the form of “Easy Street,” a poppy and optimistic-sounding song by the Collapsable Hearts Club chosen to torture Daryl Dixon, who started out the episode completely naked in a small prison cell held by the Saviors. It played at full volume just as Dwight, who kept Daryl as prisoner, fed him a sandwich with canned dog food in it.
Warning: This song will get stuck in your head.With enough plays, it started getting under the skin of Walking Dead fans, too. He may have been stripped, beaten, faced a beatdown from Lucille without flinching, and shown what his future looked like if he didn’t bend the knee. But the worst of it may have arrived in a form that didn’t involve violence at Daryl’s expense. Dwight taped a photo of Glenn’s smashed head into his cell to remind him that it was his fault that Glenn died at the hands of Negan and Lucille.
Sure, the fans might still hate Daryl for that move, but it probably pales in comparison to how much Daryl hates himself for what he did. And for the first time that episode, he truly loses it—as well as plenty of other fans.While Negan successfully broke Rick Grimes two weeks ago after forcing him to chop off his son’s arm (before Negan changed his mind), it would take even more to break Daryl. At the end of the episode, Negan asked Daryl his name. If Daryl said his name was “Negan,” as the other Saviors have, he would’ve been allowed to live as one of Negan’s top lieutenants. Live almost like a king, even—albeit likely a miserable one if what Dwight puts up with is any indication.