Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 3 Recap: Who Are You … Really?

Walking Dead Season 7 Dwight Gene Page/AMC

Tonight was the answer to your prayers, Daryl-starved The Walking Dead fans. Well … sort of.

Following an opening montage of Dwight watching Who’s The Boss reruns, playing ping-pong for shots, strong-arming others into the makings of the egg version of a Big Mac, and observing zombie-management training, we learned what became of Mr. Dixon after Negan and Co. chucked him the back of a truck and hauled him away in the season premiere.

In a nutshell, our boy has entered the “how to become a Neganite in one-to-three horrendous steps” program and he’s super-stuck on the first level.

That entails being stripped of your clothing, held in the darkness in a closet-sized cell and fed dog-food sandwiches — possibly while some God-awful, bubblegum-pop tune about “Easy Street” plays over and over again. Or maybe that’s just for our own, er, benefit, so we can better tap into the toll on his mental health. He’s not covering his ears the way I am by the second or third go-round, so I suspect the latter.

Walking Dead Season 7
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

It’s working.
On me, anyway.
Daryl, on the other hand, is proving a tougher nut to crack.

Eventually, he does get a pair of sweats and taken on a bit of a field trip. First stop is the doctor, who is just finishing up with his previous patient. That would be Sherry. You remember Sherry. We met her in Season 6, episode 6 when she, her doomed, diabetic sister Tina and her husband Dwight — yes, same Dwight, who still had a baby-smooth face back then — stole Daryl’s stuff and got forgiveness anyway.

So yeah, Tina died, and Sherry and Dwight were recaptured by Negan. But now we get a dose of how they’ve gone about making the best of a bad situation. Basically, a “Gift of the Magi” deal (O. Negan!), only much worse. Sherry agreed to marry Negan — who really wanted to wed the fragile but equally “super hot” Tina, but took her instead  — to save Dwight. And Dwight got half his face singed into meatloaf by something called “the iron” and agreed to become in a minion in order to save her right back.

Neither seem too happy about this arrangement, as evidenced by Dwight demurring on — you say it for me, Negan — “happy hour at the pussy buffet and Dwight eats for free” in favor of hunting down a runner (AKA an Orange Situation). But both continue to go along with it for the sake of still being able to see each other on a daily basis.

It’s a tougher deal for Dwight. For one, he has to see his beloved take a pregnancy test that has nothing to do with him. For two, the guy on the run is a former buddy — the guy who supplied the eggs for his sandwich — who is able to call Dwight out on his real feelings. Which, turns out, is a far worse crime than running.

And for three, those real feelings appear to include some concern for Daryl.

Sherry doesn’t have a bun in the oven, but she does have some advice for Daryl — basically the same stuff Dwight tries to tell him, too. That is, just do what people say and you’ll be much better off.

Daryl is not about to do that. And when Fat Joey steps in to be his keeper while Dwight is on the hunt and forgets to lock the door behind him, Daryl makes his tippy-toe escape. Sherry (anybody else besides me currently having recurring Darry/Sherri “Cherry” Valance/The Outsiders moments?) finds him and tells him to just go the hell back to his cell and be a good boy. But Daryl keeps going, managing to at least get outside before the Saviors — including a very nonplussed Fat Joey and a bemused Negan — corral him.

We get a couple pretty decent Lucille scares and then Negan articulates the steps in the aforementioned “how to become a Neganite” program.

1) Keep being an uncooperative pain in the ass and wind up dead and dangling from the fence
2) Work “for points” to stay a minimalist version of alive
3) Take a knee, say you are Negan, too,  and live a life of Who’s The Boss reruns, Tequila pong, far tastier sandwiches … and terrorizing perfectly nice people.

Guesses? Anyone?
Right.

Darry does not heed Cherry-Sherry’s advice and Negan swings, stopping Lucille millimeters from Daryl’s face. I’ll be, says Negan. Darryl don’t scare easy! Neegs heads off to toast that with a drink while Daryl earns a group beat-down and a trip back to his cell.

Please don’t play the “Easy Street” song. Please don’t play the “Easy Street” song. Please don’t play the “Easy Street” song. I’ll say I’m Negan if you don’t play the “Easy Street” song!

… …

Thank you.

Sure enough, Sherry-Cherry Valance, First Lady of Neganhood, tries one more time. Empathy this time. She reminds him of when they first met, out there in the woods, and she said she was sorry. “You said, ‘You’re gonna be.’ I am.”

Walking Dead Dwight
Gene Page/AMC

Meanwhile, her ex is having all kinds of existential crises of his own. First he’s all called out by that former buddy who wonders 1) why the hell a hundred people don’t band together to take out the damned dictator and 2) why Dwight can’t admit there’s nothing really much to live for, inside the Sanctuary or out. Then he begs Dwight to shoot him. Humanely. In the head. Dwight says that unless he stands up and starts heading for home, D will make zombie bait of every last one of his loved ones. The guy gets up … and takes a bullet to his back for making Dwight confront guilty feels.

As much as I’ve wanted to punch Dwight hard for wearing Daryl’s vest, now I’m starting to wonder if he does so not in spite but in homage to someone braver and stronger of conviction. It’s not a half-bad thought.

Back at the Sanctuary, Dwight cops a smoke from his former wife in the stairwell and they both assure the other they’re doing just fine. Neither is telling the truth — and neither believes the other — but that is what lovers do to hold each other up. Then D goes to deliver Darry’s Alpo sammich, plus a bonus item — the Polaroid of Glenn’s remains. “You got your friend killed. I got Tina killed. Don’t pretend you don’t know the score,” he says. Oh. Oh no.

Cue Roy Orbison .. cause Daryl’s cryin’. And Dwight’s smilin’. Not, I firmly believe, because he’s finally broken his captive, but because his captive might finally realize it’s best to just play the game and figure the rest out later. Except nope.

Hauled off to Negan again, Daryl hears the story of why Dwight, Tina and Sherry were on the run in the first place and the specificities of the outcome. Then he’s threatened with Lucille and asked One. More. Time. Who are you?

Daryl?
“Daryl.”
DARYL! <love>

He’s back in the hole — and Dwight just cannot figure this guy out. But Daryl’s got Dwight’s number: “I get why you did it. You were thinking about someone else. That’s why I can’t.”

DARYL! <love>

Dwight heads back out to the zombie-management arena to see how the other captives are faring — or, more likely, for a little badly needed me time. One walker staggers to the fence. It’s the truth-teller. And he’s looking right at Dwight.

Which one is truly the captive?

Dwight turns his back, putting the angel wings on Daryl’s vest on full display. And I’m hopeful. There might be hope for a guy I worried was worse than the devil himself.

New episodes of The Walking Dead premiere Sundays at 9/8CT on AMC.

About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.