WARNING: Spoilers follow for Sunday's episode of “The Walking Dead.”
Daryl Dixon has had a rough go of it over the past few episodes of "The Walking Dead." Last season he was shot in the arm, then he was kinda-sorta-totally responsible for Glenn's date with Lucille, and then this week he ate dog food sandwiches while being forced to listen to inane pop music on repeat.
But despite all that, Daryl keeps on truckin', refusing to say the magic words "I'm Negan," and end the 24/7 torture marathon. As actor Norman Reedus explains, this refusal may be Daryl's only key to survival.
"Daryl’s a fighter. He fights to the end, but in saying out loud his name instead of Negan’s name — it’s the last shred of himself that he has and for his friends," Reedus told Entertainment Weekly. "I assume he thinks he’s going to get killed right there when he says he’s not Negan. He’s signing up for more torture, but he’s doing it for the love of his friend."
In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor explained that Daryl blames himself for Glenn's death in the Season Seven premiere, but is now completely devoted to the memory of his far more optimistic friend.
"Daryl has one thing left and that's his honor, his word and his name," Reedus said, "and he's not giving it to Negan. Maybe six years ago he would have. But what Glenn means to him and what that group means to him, that's the only thing he has left; he's lost everybody but them. And you can't take that away from them."
As for filming Daryl's current living situation -- yeah, it was about as gross as it looked.
"Yeah, that was I think one of the filthiest I’ve ever been on this show, if not the filthiest," he recounted, also assuring us that, while he's a dedicated actor, he didn't actually chow down on real dog food. "[It was] Spam or something with some other stuff ground up in it with rock-hard rolls. I imagine that's what dog food would taste like. That sandwich … it was pretty gross."
As most have suspected, however, audiences still have a long road ahead of them before things start to look the slightest bit better.
"It’s been a very emotional season for everybody. It’s a different season," Reedus told EW. "I mean, we saw last week there’s some fun things, but it’s also very serious, and then it’s a very dark, dark season, and hopefully there is light at the end of that tunnel. You have to be broken way down to be able to go way up, and I think that’s kind of what this season is about."
Fans can keep their fingers crossed for the redemption of Daryl Dixon as "The Walking Dead" continues Sunday nights at 9 ET/PT on AMC.