THE WALKING DEAD 7.03 ‘The Cell’ Review
THE WALKING DEAD Season 7 Episode 3
Episode Title: “The Cell”
Writer: Angela Kang
Director: Alrick Riley
Previously on The Walking Dead:
Episode 7.02: “The Well“
There are spoilers ahead for last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, but don’t pretend that you didn’t know that!
“There are four lights!” And if that reference makes no sense to you, google it. For this generation, it’s gonna be “Daryl.” It might be a full season before we see Norman Reedus’ character get out of his current situation. But he got a minor moral victory out of tonight’s episode and he also avoided getting an iron to the face, so let’s chalk that up as a win, shall we?
What’s really happening here is that Daryl doesn’t exist in the comics, so the Walking Dead creative team have essentially found a way to get him off of the board so the rest of the storyline can play out without too many changes. If that means that Daryl has to eat dog food and take Dwight’s s*** then so be it. One of the things that really worked about this episode is that Daryl thinks he deserves to be punished. He inadvertently got his friend killed, so he didn’t even fight back when Dwight manhandled him.
In his own perverse way, Negan actually likes Daryl and wants him to be one of the Saviors. The fans of this show probably would have been fine with Daryl pretending to go along with that. But Daryl didn’t even seem tempted by it. That’s heroic, but in this world, it’s almost suicidal as well.
Oddly enough, this was a stronger episode for Dwight than it was for Daryl, simply because it gave him some development and a backstory. Readers of the comic should already know Dwight’s origin, and it was largely intact here. For the most part, it was effective. But there were two scenes where the exposition was incredibly heavy handed: Dwight’s last conversation with his ex-friend and Negan’s monologue near the end of the episode. It’s a shame that such sloppy choices marred an otherwise well-written B-plot. Go back and watch that cigarette break between Dwight and his ex-wife, Sherry as they told each other how happy they were with their choices. Of course they aren’t, but that’s the lie that they have to tell themselves and each other. That was also clear from the painful way that Dwight discovered that Negan has impregnated Sherry. They made the choice that Daryl can’t or won’t make, and they aren’t any happier as Negan’s slaves than Daryl is to be a prisoner.
The remarkable thing is that Dwight is still a dick, and this episode didn’t really soften him as much as it allowed us to understand him. Dwight even showed some slight mercy towards his former friend by executing him before bringing him back. It’s a pretty safe assumption that Dwight’s character progression from the comics will continue, but it will be interesting to see the fans of the show warm up to him after this episode.
Alrick Riley’s direction was suitably claustrophobic and low key, which made for a nice change of pace. But it is frustrating that the series continually slows down and excludes most of the cast from appearing in every episode. The Daryl and Dwight stories were good, but they felt padded out to fill an hour when the show could have easily checked in with Rick and the other Alexandria survivors…whom we haven’t seen since the season premiere. That style of storytelling can test the patience of the most ardent fans of the series, even if it has been using the same technique for the last few seasons.
What did you think of the newest episode of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comment section below!