The Walking Dead Recap: Unbreakable

Think your life sucks? Take it from Daryl — it could suck a whole lot worse. In Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, Negan’s “guest,” still grief-stricken after accidentally getting Glenn killed, was stripped naked, tossed in solitary and fed a steady diet of dog-food sandwiches and irksome pop music. (The same perky song, over and over again!) Was the torture so great that he finally broke and pledged his allegiance to the Saviors’ leader? Read on and find out.

the-walking-dead-season-7-episode-3-recapNO ‘SANCTUARY’ | As “The Cell” began, we got a look at Dwight’s life at the Saviors’ Sanctuary, and aside from the dissenters in the walker pen and the occasional flareup of violence, it didn’t look half bad. There was booze, Who’s the Boss? reruns and even time to whittle chess pieces. But then, Negan passed by, as if to remind us that this was hell, and his minions reflexively bowed their heads and dropped to one knee. So, uh, yeah, this was hell. Upon escorting Daryl to the infirmary for his checkup with Dr. Carson, Dwight learned from wife Sherry that her pregnancy test had come back negative. “Maybe next time,” he said optimistically. Before she left, though she knew better than to talk to the prisoner, she warned Daryl, “Whatever they say, just do it.” Carson sorta seconded that emotion, telling the patient, “Negan will take care of you. Trust me.”

BEND OR BREAK | Throughout, as odious we know Dwight is, he often seemed like he was genuinely trying to help Daryl by encouraging the captive to make it easy on himself and join Team Negan. Daryl, of course, insisted, “I ain’t ever gonna kneel,” to which Dwight responded, “I said that, too.” Later, as Daryl tried to break out of his cell, Negan delighted in the fact that his prisoner was “going apes–t” and, in congratulating Dwight on a job well done, jokingly offered him a nudge-nudge-wink-wink “blast from the past with you know who.” (Which wouldn’t really make sense until later.) When Dwight declined the chance to have sex with “whoever you want as long as she says yes,” Negan wondered if he was as “cool” as he swore he was. Luckily for Dwight, before the moment could get any tenser, an orange situation (grab-‘n’-go) erupted, and he was allowed to take off after the perp, Gordon.

the-walking-dead-season-7-episode-3-recapROADKILL | The next day, when Dwight tracked down Gordon on the road, the runaway reminded him that they used to be friendly and asked why he couldn’t just let him go. How could Dwight be loyal to Negan, anyway, after all the villain had done to him and his wife? Sherry’s “not my wife,” Dwight said. “Not anymore,” Gordon acknowledged (that “blast from the past” comment becoming clearer by the second). There has to be another option besides cowering before Negan, Gordon argued. “There’s one of him and all of us… why are we living like this?” Alas, Dwight was so hopeless — and so desperate to please his master — that he wouldn’t even grant Gordon’s request to be put down for good. To get his quarry moving again, he threatened to dig up the poor guy’s dead wife and feed her to the crows. “You won,” Gordon finally said. “But you know there’s nothing left” back there. As he started down the road once more, Dwight aimed and fired. (So maybe he does have a soul after all?)

‘GO BACK WHILE YOU CAN’ | Back at the Saviors’ compound, Daryl had no sooner escaped from his cell than Sherry was beseeching him to turn back. “Whatever [Negan’s] done to you, there’s more,” she whispered. “There’s always more.” Daryl being Daryl, he ignored her warning and, in a matter of seconds, found himself surrounded by Saviors. Once Negan was done recycling old material — “Are we pissin’ our pants yet?” — he asked some of his men who they were, and, well-trained, they replied, “Negan.” “See that?” he said. “I am everywhere.” But, by escaping, Daryl had blown his chance to prove that he understood that fact. Now he had three options: 1) Daryl could work for Negan as a dead man in the pen. 2) He could “work for points” but wish he was dead. Or 3) he could work for Negan outright and “live like a king.” The choice seemed obvious to the psycho, but Daryl still didn’t relent and say, “OK, fine, count me in!” For a second, it looked like Negan was going to strike him out as he had Glenn and Abraham. But thankfully, Lucille wasn’t thirsty — whew! — so all Daryl got was a whupping by Negan’s henchmen. Later, Sherry hovered outside Daryl’s cell and reminded him that, when she’d said way back when that she was sorry for stealing from him, he’d answered, “You’re gonna be.” Well, she concluded, “I am.”

‘YOU’RE LUCKY’ | After a tense, enigmatic conversation between Dwight and Sherry, during which he asked her, “He good to you?” (“Yeah”), the scarred Savior tried a new tactic with Daryl, leaving him a Polaroid reminder of the friend he’d gotten killed. Finally, whether Daryl totally broke, he did at least break down in tears. The next day, thinking the captive’s conversion was complete, Dwight took him to Negan’s posh quarters. There, the madman explained that Dwight, his “superhot wife and her superhot sister” used to work for points. But, since Tina needed medication, which was hard to scavenge, the trio fell behind. Negan’s solution? The self-proclaimed “stand-up guy” would add her to his healthcare policy by marrying her. Instead of say yes on the spot, she fled with Dwight and Sherry. When the couple returned, tails between their legs, Sherry offered to marry Negan herself if he’d spare Dwight’s life. (Now all those mysterious conversations made total, horrible sense!) Though Negan took her up on her offer, he still “ironed” Dwight’s face.

‘DUMBASS CHOICE’ | What was the point of Negan’s story? After all that, Dwight still got on board with the program, he told Daryl, “and we are totally cool” now. Daryl could do the same. “All you gotta do is answer one simple question,” Negan said. “Who are you?” Finally, after an endless pause during which Negan wondered whether the recruit was simply “overwhelmed by the awesomeness of this,” our hero replied, “Daryl.” As Dwight returned him to his cell, Daryl said that he understood now why he’d stolen from him — Dwight had been thinking of someone else. “That’s why I can’t” submit to Negan, Daryl added. As the hour drew to a close, Dwight spotted Gordon, zombified in the pen, and we were left with the uncomfortable sensation of feeling sorry for him (and even worse for Sherry).

So, what did you think of “The Cell”? Were you surprised Daryl didn’t cave? Do you feel differently about Dwight now? And how many nuts besides me tried to find out what that damn song was to go and download it? Hit the comments.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Diane says:

    I wanted to take a bat to this episode.

    • Ian says:

      Me too.
      I was so bored. Ok, great that Daryl doesn’t want to dishonor Glen’s memory now or whatever. He’ll be dead or insane before Rick and Co. save him.
      And clearly Dwight never heard Valerie’s letter from V for Vendetta, or heard Belle tonight over on OUAT. You got to have integrity, and worse than being evil is being too weak to be good. No sympathy for Dwight.

  2. AngelWasHere says:

    That easy street song is going haunt my nightmares. o_O

    • AnnieM says:

      I understand that they probably went with an unknown since it was cheaper to use so many times, but to me it didn’t seem annoying enough. I can think of so many much more annoying songs: ‘Mickey’ by Toni Basil; ‘Telephone Man’ by Meri Wilson; ‘Fish Heads’ by Barnes & Barnes…any of those would make me start raving bonkers. :-D

      • George Spears says:

        No way! Using the song was genius. It isn’t about it being annoying. That is just a bonus factor. There are plenty of songs they could have used to set a different tone but this one really worked perfectly. I’m an unknown amateur reviewer who usually specializes in videogame and movie reviews. I have never reviewed a song before I don’t really know that I am qualified to do so. However because this is about the tone of the song and the context in which it is being used. I am going to give it a try here to try to better illustrate why this song works so well.

        There are plenty of more annoying, well known or ominous songs they could have used for these scenes. However this song has the unknown factor as you mentioned. These other well known songs already have a message behind them that most of us are used to. It’s known so the origin of the song has already been established. The bands have documented how they came up with it. Maybe it’s from a favorite or well known band. Either way if they had used for example something like Johnny Cash’s rendition of Hurt to bring him to the brink of despair that would only achieve one of the desired effects.

        This song being unknown with an upbeat cheery predictable tempo sung in a singsong high spirited happy fun way. That seems more at home in a musical or children’s television program. That adds to the ominous twist of it. This is the audio equivalent of Kubrick’s Visual mind games in A Clockwork Orange or Lynch’s “backwards world” in Twin Peaks.

        Yet we haven’t even talked about the lyrics or how the scenes are framed perfectly to the beat of the song. There are layers of changed interpretation and foreshadowing within the lyrics.

        Not going to post the entire lyrics but you can find them here. [EXTERNAL LINK BLOCKED]

        However you can find direct parallels for happiness and sadness simultaneously when you look at what the episode is about and pay attention to when the song is played.

        Torturing Daryl is only part of it. Negan IS VERY MUCH on Easy Street where it feels so sweet and the world is but a treat. Negan treats the whole world like a game. His game. His rules. Negan IS on easy street. Negan wants his followers to believe working for him IS easy street. So it isn’t just about annoying Daryl it’s about trying to program him. Dwight and Negan both admit to this at different points in the episode. Dwight shows him all of the different possibilities that await him Or he can choose Easy Street join the crew. Reap the rewards and have some fun. So that’s one layer.

        The other is the despair it causes Daryl The timing. As the episode progresses the song gets louder. Burrowing further like an earworm in Daryl’s brain. The fact that “This” is the song that Negan chooses to torture his victims,prisoners,potential henchmen with tells you so much about Negan.

        Particular this section.

        “It’s our moment in the sun
        And it’s only just begun
        It’s time to have a little fun
        We’re inviting you to come and see why you should be
        On easy street
        Yea we got a front row seat
        O, to a life that can’t be beat”

        Let’s Negan translate shall we?

        Your time is over. Our time is now. We are just getting started.
        We want you to join us. And we would like to show you why.
        But you should know we are always watching you.
        And then because Negan is as sadistic as they come?
        “A life that can’t be beat.”

        His Modus Operandi is literally beating lives to death with a baseball bat.
        There is no song that suits the situation better than this random one we hadn’t heard before.

        Now all of that aside you are absolutely right. AMC is a penny-pinching monstrosity. The Walking Dead is one of the most successful series ever made and the actors are put through more hell than just about any other program in the history of television. Yet not one actor on the show has made even 10% what the Friends cast has. The Walking Dead is this anomaly that far surpasses network television numbers so the whole “networks make more so pay more” doesn’t mean a damn thing here. They can and will cut every corner possible in every way. The most criminal of which is that Rick still has his damn hand. Andrew Lincoln has REPEATEDLY pleaded to play the character that way. They constantly say the special effects would be too much. In a show this profitable? Don’t make me laugh.

  3. Alison brunk says:

    Was it my TV does anyone know what the polorid was a picture of? I assume it was Glenn but that is a guess.

  4. AnnieM says:

    I’ve been wondering what the ‘A’ meant on Daryl’s sweatshirt. I noticed that some of the guys wrangling zombies outside the fence also had letters on their shirts. Did they ever explain that?

    • Here I am says:

      No they didn’t explain what ‘A’ meant. Having said that, there is most definitely a connection to his A with all the other ‘A’s we’ve seen on the show. e.g. Season 5 epi 16 title was ‘A’, TeamFamily were locked in a traincar that was labelled ‘A’ at Terminus, we see an ‘A’ again at Fr. Gabriel church where Termites mark the church with an ‘A’. Looks like bad things happen when there is an ‘A’ around. The only thing that those 3 ‘A’s have in common is that Daryl survived them all. So he’ll survive this too even though he didn’t make the “right choice” according to Negan. My guess is he’ll escape Sanctuary with the help of someone on the inside or maybe someone from the outside or both just as they escaped Terminus from fighting in the inside and some help from the outside.

  5. Zee says:

    Daryl is boring

  6. AnnieM says:

    Of course everyone will be talking about that ‘Easy Street’ song now, but I have to say, I was really jazzed to hear The Jam’s ‘A Town Called Malice’, one of my favorite early 80’s tunes. :-)

  7. Jim says:

    Okay, it’s not that I didn’t appreciate this episode, because I did. But I’m afraid The Walking Dead is starting to play games with its viewers again. Making us wait three weeks to see the aftermath of Glen and Abraham’s death on the greater part of the group? To find out what’s going on in Alexandria? To get to the real fallout? Come. On. Why couldn’t this episode have aired after whatever episode is going to air next week? Wouldn’t that have felt less like we’re being messed about? Anyone?

    • Stevie11 says:

      what else is new? of COURSE they are toying with the viewers. remember glenn-under-dumpster. s6 cliffhanger. it’s the gimple method. they’ve lost me this season. it’s like -wait a minute, i’ve seen this before. find “safe” place – a psycho attacks – kill the psycho – repeat.

    • AnnieM says:

      Jim, I respect your feelings, but I don’t feel left hanging by the wait to see our main group again, just because we really do know for the most part how they all feel: extremely sad and angry. We had no idea what was going on with Morgan & Carol, or what the Kingdom was like – now we do. We had no idea what was going on with Daryl and the Saviors – now we know that, too. The only characters we haven’t ‘checked in’ with yet who weren’t left in Alexandria were Tara & Heath, who since they are ‘second tier’ characters, I imagine will already be back to Alexandria when Rick & Co return with the horrible news. I for one am glad that they had Ezekiel drop his facade with Carol as soon as they did; in the comic, it took them several issues to get around to that.

      • wrstlgirl says:

        I agree. If these last two episodes didn’t air people would be like “where’s Carol” or ” what happened to Daryl”. Ya can’t have it both ways.

      • Jim says:

        I’m glad to hear your opinion. I did like the episode. The Kingdom episode was great and I didn’t feel “messed around with” when it aired, even though it delayed the fallout I want to see by a week. I respect the artistic choice to do that; approve of it, even. But I do, somewhat, feel “messed around with” because this episode then aired after that one. If this episode had aired next week instead, again, I would say that’s fair enough, and wouldn’t feel this way. I think the show has taken a lot backlash for playing games with viewers that it hasn’t earned, because of course it’s okay and even exciting to do it once in a while, but all the time? And I was hoping they’d learned from the intense criticism they experienced last season and over the summer. But it appears not, and that worries and frustrates me some.

  8. Matt C. says:

    This episode was so boring. I would have rather spent another hour at the Kingdom than watch this mess. At least next week things should pick up again with Negan arriving at Alexandria.

  9. Lala says:

    Where’s the High sparrow & his faith militant when you need them…”We are the many, you are the few”

  10. Didn't Work says:

    I really wish they would stop trying to make me “empathize” with Dwight and just kill the idiot already. I can’t stand him in any way and that will never change. At this point I’m just tired of looking at him (and having to deal with him at all).

  11. Natalie says:

    It’s going to take a lot more than this episode to make me give a &7(&7( about Dwight.

  12. George Spears says:

    You know what? Maybe they will kill Carl off after all. This was his story. Not Daryl’s but Daryl being a more popular character it went to him instead. Don’t get me wrong was good but it just makes me worry for the future of the Carl character. This is supposed to be one of his best moments in the entire series and Daryl robbed it from him.

    • AnnieM says:

      Not necessarily. What went on with Daryl was nothing like what happened with Carl in the comic. Carl could very well sneak into their truck during next week’s episode, and have his comic book adventure then. Nothing says that Negan can’t like more than one Alexandrian. ::shrug::

  13. Walkie says:

    I enjoyed the episode better when it was on the show Lost.

    They are going to need to flesh out Negan’s character quickly. People are going to get bored of him soon.

    • wrstlgirl says:

      HA!! Speak for yourself. I’d watch Jeffrey Dean Morgan peel potatoes. Negans the best villian on TV right now.

      • Radha says:

        And I’ll have to parrot your own words back at you. Speak for yourself. I like nothing about Negan. JDM is awesome but to each his own.

        • wrstlgirl says:

          Um, I AM speaking for myself. I said “I’d watch…..” meaning ME. If I were trying to speak for others, which so many attempt to, I would have said “we” or “people”.

  14. I stopped watching when they were capture by Negan and co. Is Glenn really gone? :(

  15. Missy says:

    This episode was…meh. But, I guess we needed to see what Darryl was going through and they wanted to share Dwight’s story. I feel a tad bad for him, but just a smidge. I was hoping he was going to off himself at the end of the episode, but I guess he’s too much of a coward to do that.

  16. KLS says:

    This was one of the weaker episodes. I am not too crazy about how they show or tell you something that has no context, but then gets explained further along (or not). A lot of confusing points here.

    • AnnieM says:

      That whole sequence with Dwight beneath the overpass was one big “Huh?” to me, until I realized that that Gordon guy *himself* was the ‘property’ Negan had referred to.

  17. MJ says:

    I actually enjoyed the episode. I like seeing back stories and understanding of some characters. I wasn’t bored. I felt bad for Daryl. I wanted him to “fake” concede and become free and take down Negan from within.

  18. Lilly says:

    Am I missing where someone pointed out that the purpose of this episode is to give us CONTEXT for when/if Dwight turns against Negan? I really don’t think it was an attempt at making is feel sorry for him (if it was … fail). I do wish these writers could talk to some soap opera writers and pick up a few tips about managing multiple story lines without having to waste a whole, precious episode on each character….

  19. shadester says:

    I loved this episode. I feel like all of a sudden this show has gotten really good. Better than it was I mean. I like the new characters and even though I am meant to hate Negan I like watching him. I felt sorry for Dwight and I hated him before. I hope they team up to take Negan down. I am glad Daryl didn’t back down. It just shows who he is. And I really appreciate seeing him naked thank you!

  20. The Carpooler says:

    I’m a little unclear how Dwight’s motorcycle was damaged. Was it from the walkers who fell/tossed off the overpass?

  21. TMB says:

    I’m not sure about this episode, I liked the back story part of it, and I still want D to suffer a horrible death lol, but the overpass scene confused me. I felt that it was supposed to be significant but I could’t place it or what led to what I can only guess is bomb damage. Was that where Rick’s group used the RPG on the earlier savior group? Is it just me or does it seem the TWD world is shrinking? Seems to be about 20-30 square miles with multiple self reliant settlements and rogue outlaw groups, that until recently were surviving, unaware of each other?

  22. Ya says:

    It is where Negan took Rick an tossed the hatchet out and told him to get it. The large amount of blood is where the walker that Rick jumped off the camper and was holding on to fell and splattered on the concrete.

  23. valerie tower says:

    I stopped watching two episodes ago. I can only stomach to read the recaps to find out what happened.

  24. donna says:

    Why was Daryl saying his name a dumbass choice? What was he supposed to respond?

    • Missy says:

      If he would have said he was Negan then he would have joined Negan’s crew. Since he said he was Daryl, he will continue to be tortured. He said his own name because he feels if he joins Negan he will be disrespecting Glenn.

  25. B-rad says:

    This is the direction it needed to go. Rick got to big for his britches.

    It is a weekly “fantasy” story.
    If you don’t like it, go ahead and watch reruns of Modern Family.

    Nobody. I repeat nobody reading this has ever written a story that is on TV.

    Therefore, you can come up with a better storyline and submit it to AMC. Or suck a dick because your biggest adventure was leaving your mommy’s basement for a ride to the DMV