The Cell. Another one storyline episode, but this time, with a lot more gumption. It’s a rare occurrence for TWD to feature known songs as a soundtrack to scenes, so when The Jam blared out in the opening seconds it was a shock to say the least. The song backed an artistic take on ‘A day in the life of Dwight’ as we saw everything that goes into tasks as simple as making a (delicious looking) sandwich, which was layered as deeply as his own character. A Town Called Mallice by name, A Town Called Mallice by nature.
From there we delve straight into another unusually artistic sequence of Daryl being tortured with yet another song. I enjoyed the fact that it was implied it was an ongoing thing over days or potentially weeks, but, because it led in pretty much straight after the first song, it was all a bit lost and the overall effect was slightly jumbled.
Norman Reedus does an excellent job of adapting almost an animalistic composure as we see him held in captivity. Seeing him undergo this stylised torture doesn’t make an easy watch, but Daryl, as stubborn and tough as ever perseveres through. There’s been a lot of critism surrounding this episode in that it ‘could have been done in ten minutes.’ I think this to be true in the case of Daryls development throughout the episode, because nothing particularly new was shown in regards to his character arc. For Dwight however, it was a very crucial 40 minutes of exploration. The fact that Nicatero/Kirkman decided to comit such a precious and intense amount of screentime to him implies that further down the line, he is going to become a vital instrument to the plot. Whether that be as part of a saviour uprise, or a co-erce with Daryl, it’s sure to be important in the building towards the final showdown between The Saviours and Alexandria.
The section in which Dwight heads out after the escapee, was slightly melodramatic during the high emotion mercy kill. The most important thing about the scenes that took place on this road was the mini walker attack that Dwight encountered, in particular the falling walkers. Whilst the current drama is so heavily revolved around the human destruction of the world, it was refreshing to see this small walker attack as a reminder of the real issue the characters are faced with. I hope further down the line we find out there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the falling walkers in that it was a set-up by a character we haven’t seen for a few episodes. Watch this space…
Tying in with this, it was a sobering ending in which we saw the ‘nice guy’ escapee in walker form as part of Negans fence. The directors have an excellent knack for ending episodes with subtle reminders of the walker theme as I mentioned earlier. It’s great for keeping in line with the shows genre, and is a bleak insight into how savage the new world is. A similar use of this writing was at the end of S06E01 where we saw a walker feast on Glenns remains bursting all the romanticised emotion.
Another brilliant performance was given by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan. As animated as a comic strip himself, he gave us insights into his world, however we are still yet to see the majority of it. An issue I must discuss, is Negans take on rape. In the comic, it is 100% known that he is fully against rape because to quote himself ‘we’re not monsters.’ He signalled towards this in the show by saying to Dwight ‘have whoever you want, as long as she says yes.’ Despite this, Negan goes on to discuss how Sherry offered herself to him as a wife in order to keep Dwight alive. In the comics however, she leaves Dwight for Negan in the hope of an easier and more luxurious life for them both. This is her giving her consent to be with Negan, whereas in the show it is obviously more of an enforced choice considering it was her only option if she wanted to see her then husband survive. I’m unsure why the show writers decided to change this because it does open hundreds of questions surrounding how ‘anti -rape’ Negan really is. I think it’ll have been done to deepen Dwights character but I don’t think that it will be explored much further because I’m guessing the studio heads want to steer as clear as possible from any other rape storylines in the fear of backlash (think GOT Sansa & Ramsay scene and the millions of OFCOM complaints.)
From here we are to be taken back to Alexandria. I’m apprehensive as to how next episode is going to start. I’ve already expressed how my hope that we’re going to be taken right back to where we left off on episode 1. Now however, it’s looking unlikely to be the case, and I don’t think this would actually even work anymore. Last season showrunners made the crucial error of ending the season with a cliff hanger where it wasn’t needed. Now, they have made another huge mistake by distancing the main storyline once again. The subplot that was this weeks episode could fully have intertwined around the main plot, but instead, we yet again, we were harshly robbed of our time and emotion. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy ‘The Cell’ as an episode in itself, it’s just that I’m conscious of where the season is going and why these decisions are being made. Passion and anguish are what keeps many TWD viewers going throughout this episodic journey of the show, I feel like these emotions are being stripped from us with every plot seperation.
*all images belong to AMC*