While fans are still reeling from the twin murders of Abraham and Glenn on the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead, those who have been able to shake themselves out of a catatonic state long enough to start thinking about what happened in the rest of that episode have been wondering why new villain extraordinaire Negan took Daryl prisoner at the end of the episode. It’s an odd decision, to be sure, when you consider that Negan was so upset by Daryl punching him in the face that he took his fury out on poor Glenn’s skull. Why wouldn’t he just kill Daryl and be done with it?
Fortunately, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the actor who plays Negan, recently shared his thoughts on why his character would decide to haul Daryl away and according to him, it all has to do with Negan doing whatever it takes to have the advantage over Rick:
“Negan admires that Daryl hit him and sees him as someone that could be a good right-hand man,” Morgan told the Hollywood Reporter. “His intention is to break Daryl and have him become one of his guys, which makes sense. After what Negan does in that lineup, he knows where he’s got Rick at a certain point. But he sees something in Daryl and is going to take advantage of that. It’s a chess game and Negan is going to do anything he can to get the advantage. Negan having Daryl makes Rick think, too. Negan is playing a couple of cards, and you can look at it a couple different ways. Negan always has a couple balls in the air and Daryl is one of them.” (Via)
While Negan’s plan to turn Daryl into an ally makes sense, it’s hard to see it ultimately working in the Savior leader’s favor. Although Daryl’s allegiances have been tested in the past, he is Rick’s right hand man through and through, and when push comes to shove, you’d have to believe that Daryl would rather die than do anything to harm his family. Then again, there is sure to be some tension between Daryl and Dwight, aka the guy who stole Daryl’s bike, crossbow and, oh yeah, shot him in the shoulder, once Negan starts showing favor towards Daryl, which could potentially lead to Dwight jumping ship and joining up with Rick’s crew.
At any rate, even if Daryl doesn’t play ball, it’s still beneficial for Negan to have him as a hostage, since it gives him leverage over Rick and also denies Alexandria one of its best fighters and providers (seriously, who’s going to go hunting in the forest while wearing a power poncho now?). We should get more insight to Negan’s plans and whether or not Daryl will comply with them on next Sunday’s episode.