"The Cell" is the third episode of the seventh season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the eighty-sixth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 6, 2016. It was written by Angela Kang and directed by Alrick Riley.
At the Savior compound, Dwight watches TV, plays air hockey with Laura and carves wooden figurines. In the marketplace, he cuts to the front of the bread line and grabs an entire loaf. He watches Saviors beat up a red-haired man who gets into an argument with a worker. After the man is beaten to death, Dwight raids the man's living quarters, taking a jar of mustard and another one of pickles, as his pregnant wife and son watch.
Dwight fixes himself an egg and salad sandwich, using the ransacked ingredients, and eats it outside, looking somewhat satisfied. He watches two workers wrangle a walker and chain it to the compound's walker-encrusted outer fence.
Dwight slathers dog food onto bread and takes the sandwich to Daryl, who is naked in a dark cell. Daryl eats it. Dwight shuts the door. There's the distinct sound of the door being locked.
Daryl lies in the dark cell as happy, upbeat music blasts in his ears. Dwight opens the door and gives him another sandwich. Daryl eats it. Dwight leaves; the sound of the door being locked is heard once again. The scene is repeated, only this time, Dwight gives Daryl clothes.
Dwight leads Daryl out of his cell, and takes him to Dr. Carson's office. Dr. Carson has just finished examining Sherry. Sherry recognizes Daryl, but Dwight forbids her from talking to him. She tells Dwight that her pregnancy test is negative. Dwight looks at the test stick, and says she can always try again. As she walks out, she advises Daryl to do whatever he's told.
Dr. Carson examines Daryl's injured shoulder, and assures him that Negan will take care of him.
As Dwight leads Daryl back down the hall, Negan appears and pulls Dwight aside for a talk. A Savior, Fat Joey, guards Daryl at gunpoint. Directly in front of Daryl is an open door; beyond it, he sees an efficiency apartment. Dwight drags him away.
Dwight takes Daryl outside and shows him the compound's fence-line. They watch as two workers secure a new walker outside -- it's the red-headed man from the marketplace. Dwight says Daryl will be forced to work in the yard if he doesn't make the right choices.
Back in his cell, Daryl tells Dwight that he will never kneel for Negan. "I said that, too.", says Dwight. He shuts the door. The sound of the lock is heard, and the music resumes.
Daryl desperately probes the cell walls and kicks the door.
Negan tells Dwight that it's working slow, but it's working: "Some people are harder to break than others." He commends Dwight and offers to let him sleep with one of his wives. Dwight politely declines, angering Negan. But then a voice comes over his walkie, notifying him of a runaway worker. Negan tells Dwight to send someone else to take care of the grunt work, but he assures Negan he enjoys doing it. After a while Negan laughs and sends Dwight to find the runaway.
Dwight leaves the compound on his motorcycle.
Back in Daryl's cell, the music plays on. Joey brings him a sandwich. As he shuts the door, and this time, the sound of the lock isn't heard. Daryl waits, then gently eases the door open. He then sneaks out, and creeps down the hallway.
Meanwhile, Dwight walks his motorcycle through a herd of maimed walkers crawling on a highway. A walker falls from the overpass above. Dwight dives out of the way, but it nearly lands on top of him. He the walker struggle, but Dwight is eventually able to shoot it.
Daryl moves quietly down a corridor. Sherry stops him and urges him to go back to his cell or risk getting captured and suffering worse consequences. He ignores her and makes his way outside. He makes a beeline for some parked motorcycles but is stopped by a group of Saviors who anticipated his escape. Negan appears: "Are we pissing our pants yet?" he asks.
Negan asks the Saviors surrounding Daryl "Who are you?" They all respond, "Negan." He tells Daryl that he failed his chance to prove he's ready for the next step. Negan presents three options: Death, working for points, or working for Negan and living like a king. Daryl doesn’t reply. Negan looks annoyed and swings Lucille at Daryl, stopping just short of hitting him, but Daryl doesn't flinch which Negan is impressed with. Negan leaves as the Saviors beat Daryl.
Back on the road, Dwight spots Gordon, the runaway worker, and tackles him to the ground.
Sherry stops by Daryl's cell and apologizes for stealing his motorcycle and crossbow in the woods.
Dwight leads Gordon back toward the Savior compound. Gordon begs Dwight to shoot him and wonders why everyone lets Negan, one man, frighten them into submission. He finally agrees to return to the compound after Dwight threatens to hurt his loved ones. As Gordon starts walking, Dwight shoots him dead.
Once Dwight is back at the compound, he finds Sherry in a stairwell and they smoke cigarettes together. "Is he good to you?" Dwight asks. "Yeah," she says. "We did the right thing," he tells her, "it's a hell of a lot better than being dead."
Dwight opens Daryl's cell door and gives him food. He doesn't eat it this time, throwing the sandwich at Dwight. Dwight tapes a gruesome Polaroid photo on Daryl's wall and leaves. Daryl throws the photo on the floor then picks it up, he looks at it and cries, seeing Glenn's dead body, all the while Roy Orbison's "Crying" plays. Dwight hears him sobbing from the hallway and slightly smiles and walks away.
Dwight wakes Daryl and leads him to an efficiency apartment where Negan awaits. Negan explains to Daryl how Dwight became one of his top men. Dwight, Sherry and her sister Tina used to work for points. When Tina fell behind on points, on account of her costly medication, he asked her to marry him. Dwight, Sherry and Tina stole the medicine and ran away.
They returned after Tina's death. Dwight asked for forgiveness and begged Negan not to kill Sherry. Sherry offered to marry Negan if he spared Dwight's life. He agreed — after burning Dwight's face with an iron. Dwight has been on board ever since.
Negan tells Daryl he can be one of his top men and he can live in this apartment. "All you've got to do, is answer one, simple question: Who are you?" Negan asks Daryl the question, first Daryl is silent. He asks again. After a long silence, Daryl responds with his own name. Negan simply orders Dwight to take Daryl back to his cell.
Back in Daryl's cell, Dwight yells at him for jeopardizing his own life. "I get why you did it, why you took it," says Daryl. "You were thinking about someone else. That's why I can't."
Outside, Dwight chucks his beer bottle and watches two workers secure a new walker to the fence-line: it's Gordon. He claws at the fence.
- Michael Scialabba as Gordon
- Joshua Hoover as Joseph
- Tim Parati as Emmett Carson
- Lindsley Register as Laura
- Noah Benjamin as Red Haired Man
- Elizabeth Ludlow as Arat
- Brian Stapf as Roy
- Stephen Sweet as Savior
- Josh Turner as TKO
- Skylar Felton as Jackson Wallace
- Casey Wagner as Larry
- Jimmy McAfee as Savior
- First appearance of The Sanctuary.
- First appearance of Roy.
- First appearance of Laura.
- First appearance of Arat. (Voice Only)
- First appearance of Emmett Carson.
- First appearance of Joseph.
- First (and last) appearance of Gordon.
- This episode marks the return of Sherry, who hasn't been seen since the sixth episode of Season 6, "Always Accountable".
- As well as the first time she is credited as Sherry in the credits.
- The title of the episode, "The Cell", refers to where Negan is keeping Daryl locked in.
- This episode was filmed as the 2nd episode of the season, and "The Well" was being filmed as the 3rd. The two episodes were switched.
- Also, the plots in both episodes are self contained events happening at around the same time and therefore could be watched in either order without affecting a first time viewer's knowledge of the TV show story timeline. This appears to be only time in the TV series so far between 2 or more episodes where this is the case.
- The song Dwight used to torture Daryl is Easy Street by The Collapsable Hearts Club.
- In this episode, the letter "A" is on Daryl's shirt. The letter has been used several times in the series; the first time at Terminus when Rick and his group were locked in a train car, then when Sam stamps an "A" on Rick's hand, and later carved into a tree by Morgan in "Here's Not Here".
- The shots that Dwight and Laura took were actually Coke and water mixed together.
- The series Dwight watched in the beginning of this episode is sitcom "Who's The Boss?".
- The sandwich Norman Reedus ate was a mixture of vegan sausages and apple butter with cherry preserves for color. There really was a dog food sandwich in this episode; however, it was only used for close-ups.
- The walker defense wall outside the Sanctuary utilized live walker extras, dummies and head casts on spikes. Some of the heads were radio controlled to add motion to their eyes and mouths.
- At first, Norman Reedus did not like his new wardrobe, so the crew had granted his one request: pockets.
- The words Negan told Daryl "You don't scare easy" are similar to what Merle told Glenn in "When the Dead Come Knocking": "You don't scare easy, do you?" after this both characters say "I like that." Even more of a correlation is the numbering of the episodes. Merle said those words to Glenn in season 3 episode 7. Negan uses the words in season 7 episode 3.
- Sherry's words to Daryl, "Whatever he's done to you, there's more. There's always more," are similar to what the Lead Savior told Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha, "Can we not, okay? There's more. There's always more."
- Originally, more Saviors, including Arat, were supposed to accompany Dwight on his chase after Gordon. Gordon was also supposed to steal a car, while the Saviors chased him with a truck. At some point, the Saviors would ram the car off the road and a shootout would ensue. These scenes were cut, however.
- The Sanctuary using walkers as their defense wall is adapted from Issue 104.
- Dwight evading a walker falling from the bridge is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 103, where Jesus throws the walker from the bridge instead.
- Negan telling Dwight's backstory to Daryl is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 108, where Dwight tells his backstory to Rick instead.
- It is unknown how Dwight's motorcycle was damaged or how he got injured. It's is likely that these scenes were cut.
- Even if Dwight's motorcycle wasn't damaged, it is unknown how he planned on driving Gordon back to the Sanctuary, without Gordon attacking him or attempting to escape.
- Interview with Lindsley Register by Neuropyramidal, http://www.walkingdeadforums.com/forum/f36/talk-laura-164402.html