With every new season of The Walking Dead we are introduced to a slew of new characters. After six seasons of experience, fans have been pretty good at judging if a character is a keeper or needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. For instance, Jesus has proven himself to be a strong ally despite having a very rocky first, second and third impression in his debut episode. On the other hand, within moments of meeting Carter in episode 6.01 "First Time Again," we knew that Carter was an anchor that needed to be cut loose. But like in most seasons, there are characters that confuse us episode after episode with their rather peculiar actions. Characters like Shane, Merle, Lizzie and Dawn committed both heroic and horrendous acts that caused our opinions of them to sway between good and evil. It wasn't until their final moments that we could either mourn the loss of a great character or be thankful we never have to see that person again. This season is no different as we now have the pleasure (or pain) of meeting Dwight.
For those who either read or know what happens in the comics, you've probably already made your decision over Dwight and are just waiting for that final stroke of midnight to shed the truth about this character. But for everyone else who is becoming familiar with TWD universe one episode at a time, you're probably saying "KILL THAT BURNT-FACED PUNK!" or something to that effect (trying to keep it PG for the masses). After all, let's run down the things he is most known for thus far...
- Episode 6.06 "Always Accountable" - After a back and forth trust battle with Daryl, Dwight (then known as D) decides to rob Daryl at gunpoint for his motorcycle, supplies and crossbow.
- Episode 6.14 "Twice As Far" - His next appearance came out of left field and straight through Denise's right eye when shoots her with Daryl's crossbow. He then emerges from the woods with a group of saviors, Eugene as his hostage, and is now demanding to be taken to Alexandria so he can ransack the place. It takes a firefight, the loss of most of his men and a unique defensive tactic by Eugene for him to retreat back to wherever he's from.
- Episode 6.15 "East" - Dwight returns for a third time with the same group of saviors that narrowly escaped the last run in with Daryl, Rosita, Eugene and Abraham. Only this time, he managed to get the jump on Glenn and Michonne and used them as bait to.... well, see for yourself:
I guess third time's the charm for Dwight shooting Daryl. And if history can tell us anything, shooting Daryl will definitely score a character a oneway ticket into a Walking Deadhead's dog house. Just ask Andrea who landed there in season two (albeit for other reasons as well).
BUT let's be honest. That shot could have easily been a kill shot (no one can be that bad of a shot... can they?). So to keep Daryl alive along with the rest of the group must mean that they are in for some sort of master plan. Or maybe there is a deeper, more personal reason why Dwight doesn't kill Daryl. To really get a better idea of what kind of man Dwight is, here's a deeper look at what we've seen in the past...
Like I stated before, Dwight and Daryl's relationship started off on a very bad foot when Dwight blind sides Daryl as he is talking to Dwight's two female companions, Tina and Sherry. But, once it is established that their initial assumption of Daryl's group affiliation was incorrect, they begin to cooperate. After a few discussions, witnessing the death of Tina and seeing Dwight and Sherry's reaction to the situation, Daryl decides to ask the big three questions established back in season four: "How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why" Dwight's answer to the last question in particular really sparked Daryl's interest...
Why haven't I killed anybody? Because if I did, there would be no going back. There'd be no going back to how things were. - Dwight
Despite having a great answer to Daryl's inquiries, the moment of peace is quickly ruined when Dwight and Sherry rob Daryl at gun point. But just before that, Daryl's answers to their questions were less than stellar. Think about their position for a second....
- Unclear information on who they will be meeting
- No definitive answer on if Daryl's friends were still safe or alive
- Unsure on where they are going to find them
- Noticing the only means of transportation for three people is a motorcycle (which means walking for everyone and a giant, metal contraption slowing them down)
- The lingering threat of the group that they just "robbed" and barely escaped
What if the tables were turned? Imagine if a couple people from Alexandria had to choose between robbing a stranger they just met with potentially empty promises or blindly following said stranger into their potential downfall. Chances are we wouldn't bat an eye. This is TWD universe after all, morality is incredibly vague and changes constantly on a case by case basis. In this instance, I really can't blame Dwight for his actions to help himself and his lady friend. After all, man has to have his priorities.
"Twice As Far"
A lot has changed for Dwight both inside and out since the last time we saw him in the burnt forrest. Here's what we can gather between his first and second appearance:
- Apparently Dwight's stance on "no killing" flew out the window when his bolt flew through Denise's head (although he claims that shot was not his intention).
- Dwight has received a significant burn scar on the left side of his face from some unknown source.
- Now that he has joined a group that we can assume (but never confirmed) to be The Saviors, it appears he is under orders to capture/acquire new resources when he says "This isn't how we like to start new business proposals."
Now that we know honesty is not Dwight's strong suits, it's hard to tell what's a lie and what he is trying to confess. If it really was a "business proposal," shooting at unexpected targets is a hell of a way to start a conversation. But I guess it really is Savior fashion if you compare this to the motorcycle gang and the leader's statement on killing one right off the bat. Something to consider would be why he doesn't just shoot Eugene while he is being bit. Unless he remembered that scene from Shawshank Redemption, I would think any person's response would be to retaliate in brutal fashion. Even after prying Eugene off, he doesn't target him until he and the other Saviors are retreating to cover their escape.
Which brings everything back full circle to the end of "East."
Thus far, Dwight is definitely leaning towards the he-needs-to-die-yesterday side of the spectrum. But personally, I'm more curious as to why he continues to keep Daryl and whoever he is with alive. Deep down I feel like there is something more to his character. There has to be a bigger reason as to why he doesn't deliver that finishing blow and not just for tactical purposes. The complexity behind the characters on TWD is one thing that I love about the show. Like a Transformer, there's so much more than meets the eye. A single episode, scene, line, or action can change the entire dynamic and give every viewer a different take on what could and should happen. Here's hoping the finale on April 3rd will give us more answers than questions!