[SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 7 premiere ahead.]
After months of waiting, fans of The Walking Dead finally got to find out who Negan brutally murdered with Lucille as Rick and company could do nothing but watch in abject horror. Even worse, after crushing the head of Abraham in a horrifying manner, an arrogant Negan drew the ire of Daryl, who hit him with a punch to the face. While Daryl may have thought he was doing the right thing in the heat of the moment, it turned out to be the worst thing he could have possibly done, as an angry Negan then caved in Glenn’s skull in utterly disgusting fashion.
While it’s unclear if any of the other group members hold Daryl responsible for Glenn’s death, the man himself will have to live with what he did forever, especially knowing that Glenn’s pregnant wife Maggie is now a widow and their unborn child now without a father. This grieving process certainly won’t be helped along by the fact that Daryl now resides in Negan’s captivity, away from his makeshift family of fellow survivors. Grief is hard enough to deal with when surrounded by loved ones, and now Daryl must grieve completely alone.
As one might imagine, Daryl is looking at quite the tough go of it from here on out, and nobody is more aware of that than the actor behind the character, Norman Reedus. During a recent interview with Comic Book, Reedus discussed Daryl’s current state of mind coming out of the season premiere, and the “very dark” mentality he’ll soon develop:
“I think it weighs heavily on him. I don’t know that anybody in that group blames him for anything, but he blames himself more than anything. It really brings him down to a certain level where whatever shitty thing is thrown at him, he is just going to take it.
He goes very, very dark. He does certain things that he can’t go back from. He goes to a very, very dark, dark place. It’s a combination of hatred. It’s a combination of self-loathing. It’s different from when he first started on the show. He has a big chip on his shoulder. He thought people wouldn’t like him. He didn’t give a shit. He hates you, too. It turns now into he kind of hates himself. He hates the world that we’re in, and he doesn’t lose the fight in him, but he definitely no longer sees anything good in the world, that’s for sure.”
As for the future of Daryl’s relationship with Rick and the rest of the group, Reedus is seemingly hopeful but unsure:
“The bond between Rick and Daryl … As the family breaks apart and loses family members and stuff like that, the bond just gets closer with the people that are still there. That bond doesn’t go anywhere, but through a series of events this season, the dynamics change a bit. That whole group is in such a broken place right now. The bond is still there, but I don’t know if it will. It’s actually broken quite a bit.”
Of course, at this point, there’s no telling how long it’ll be before Daryl even sees his friends again. Negan plans to use him for additional leverage against Rick, and it’s doubtful that he changes his mind on that anytime soon. Then again, with Ezekiel and The Kingdom soon to be introduced as another threat to Negan, perhaps it won’t be too long before Rick and the cavalry arrive to bust Daryl out of prison. The question is though, what will be left of the kind, compassionate man they once knew by the time they get there?
The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with ‘The Well’ @9pm on AMC.