UK TV review: The Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 3
We're On Easy Street7
We're On Easy Street7
We're On Easy Street7
Neil Brazier | On 08, Nov 2016
This is a spoiler-free review. Read on at the bottom for spoilers in full bloody detail.
“We’re on Easy Street and it feels so sweet,” sing The Collapsible Hearts Club, over and over and over again. This street is a cell within the Saviours’ compound, it’s inhabited by Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), taken by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) after the bloodbath of the Season 7 premiere, and it’s far from sweet. Naked and alone in the cell, being fed dog food sandwiches and with that music blaring repeatedly, it’s hard enough for us to endure the torture, let alone him.
While Daryl is trapped in a dark cell, we get to see some of the rest of the compound, known as The Sanctuary – because in a zombie apocalypse, all colonies need cool names. Residents blindly follow the orders of their leader, working on a points-based system to earn their food, taking a knee whenever Negan walks into a room and never braving to question their reality for fear of ending up on the wall – a graveyard of the undead who chose not to obey.
Dwight (Austin Amelio) watches them, as he steals a rare break from guarding Daryl, watching as even the zombies appear to be bending the knee. The episode spends a lot of time on Dwight. Upon his introduction in Season 6’s Always Accountable, he was escaping Negan and here, we learn more details on why he was running, as well as the punishment that he endured as a result. He now obeys loyally and without hesitation, although it’s clear that he harbours a resentment and a weakness. This shows throughout his time guarding Daryl, with Dwight almost begging him to take the knee, which is a world away from the Dwight that was desperate to end Daryl two episodes ago.
After making such a disturbing entrance, Negan’s role in this episode was always going to appear watered down. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is still able to portray a man to be feared, even among his own men, although his actions no longer cut with that deadly edge. He appears to have taken a shine to Daryl and, while there may be a deeper reason he is still alive, Negan is letting him get away with a lot more and without recompense – at least, for now. His scenes still leave us with an uneasy feeling, but even with Daryl’s rebellion against Negan, there are no shocking consequences and thus the feeling that anything could happen is subdued. Just as the intensity of Episode 1 needed to take a break for air, so must the character of Negan – he can’t be “on” all the time and bashing Daryl over the head wouldn’t serve him any purpose, if it’s not in front of the other Alexandrians.
The length of Daryl’s torment is uncertain, but judging by the repetition of the music, it lasts a while. Throughout, he just plays along, remaining stone cold and defiant, showing no sign of guilt or remorse over his actions. It isn’t until he is forced to bear witness to the consequences that he finally gives in to his emotions – although it could also be that a change of music choice is what causes him to well up. Over the course of the torture, Dwight’s attitude is changing too, but this does feel like it’s happening all too quickly and too soon. He has to deal with his own twisted personal situation and, as a result, shows some kind of compassion towards Daryl. Dwight is chipping away at the walls of his own cell.
It isn’t until the final scene that Daryl speaks more than one word in a sentence, but, by his own admission, he may have just given Dwight the ammunition that he needs, if he chose to use it. Negan may have a bigger plan in mind for his new captive, but if he is to keep his aura of fear, he can’t show any signs of weakness in front of Daryl, which means he may have to start getting physical, even if it means audiences riot. Daryl might not have long left for this world; his final residence could very well be Uneasy Street.
The Walking Dead Season 7 is available to buy and download on pay-per-view VOD. For more information, click here.
Entrails and innards (spoilers)
Negan had to make an impact when he first encountered Rick’s group. In fact, he made double the impact, so much of an impact that it was eyeball-popping. It was that sense of fear and threat that made his entry into The Walking Dead so noteworthy. In that one episode, Negan broke Rick – the once fearless leader, who would rip a man’s throat out with his teeth, crumbled into nothing. Then, we have Daryl, the one at fault for the second death and the one who has left Maggie’s potential child fatherless. Locked away and abused, threatened with Lucille and shown the zombie-wall where he could end up – and yet for all the non-stop popular music he is forced to endure, he remains unbroken. He weeps for his fallen friends, but he refuses to fall into Negan’s line. He admits to Dwight that he can’t kneel because of his friends, he will fight for them even if it means his death. Now Dwight knows this, how long will it be before Negan decides to kill them all, one by one, in front of him?
The Sanctuary isn’t a happy place, far from the choirs of The Kingdom – although they do have VHS copies of Who’s The Boss?
At the Sanctuary, if you’re loyal and obedient to Negan, you can get by, but there is strong civil unrest and new people being are always being added to the wall. It is curious, then, that one man should be able to offer such wisdom and sense that goes unheard. Rather die than return, he tells Dwight that it doesn’t have to be this way: Negan is one man after all. So why hasn’t the Sanctuary fought back? What power does this one man hold over them all that has them so afraid?
If this is Negan as his usual self, then he is still vile and frightening, cutting conversations through a thick, uneasy air. Although his rules do seem out of place here: choosing to marry someone sounds a ridiculous notion in the zombie apocalypse, so it’s likely that his version of marriage is just a term applied for consensual sex, even if it might not actually be that consensual and undertaken in fear.
We learn Negan has “married” Dwight’s now ex-wife Sherry (Christine Evangelista), but the old laws surrounding marriage probably don’t apply. Points-based rationing likely goes hand in hand with looks-based marrying. And, although Negan punished Dwight with the iron and believes them now both to be “cool”, it’s looks as though Dwight might have his own Lucille inside of him that’s just as thirsty for revenge; when he turns down Negan’s offer for Dwight to spend the night with his ex-wife, Negan needs an explanation, as he obviously isn’t used to being told no. But maybe it was a test of Dwight’s loyalty, to see if he could continue to repress his feelings and succumb to Negan’s rule…