(Spoilers ahead for the March 26 episode of “The Walking Dead,” “Something They Need.”)
If you’re shocked by the big reveal at the end of this week’s “The Walking Dead,” you really shouldn’t be.
Dwight’s (Austin Amelio) defection has been a long time coming — Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was, after all, the one who burned the side of his face with an iron. Let’s also not forget that Dwight’s wife, Sherry, married Negan to keep him from killing Dwight. And then when Sherry ran away, Negan ordered Dwight to chase her down and kill her.
He didn’t, of course. He let her get away, then told Negan he caught and murdered her before planting evidence that Dr. Carson was the one who let her out in retaliation for Carson’s harsh words about her.
Dwight’s rage has been simmering for, like, ever. He was obedient while Sherry was essentially Negan’s hostage. Now that she’s out of the picture, Dwight is free to choose his own path.
And he’s done exactly that. Dwight has offered Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and co. his services and, assuming the storyline roughly follows that of the “Walking Dead” comics from here, Rick is going to accept. It’s an uneasy alliance, considering Dwight killed Denise last year, but he should be a major player once the war between Alexandria and the Saviors kicks off.
In the comics, Dwight starts this new relationship with an intel dump, basically. He tells Rick’s crew everything there is to know about the Saviors and Sanctuary — and then he returns to the Saviors as essentially an undercover agent for Alexandria.
From there, Dwight acts like a good little Savior the way he did before, participating in the war with Alexandria and sabotaging the Saviors’ efforts where it’s possible to do so without blowing his cover. When the Saviors attack Alexandria directly, for example, Dwight slaughters the men he’s fighting with and reports that he was the lone survivor of a counter-attack. Before heading back, he also gives the Alexandrians his remaining equipment as a show of where his loyalties truly lie.
He then recruits Dr. Carson to his cause (in the comics, Negan didn’t throw Carson into the furnace), and he uses Carson to help the recently captured Eugene escape from Sanctuary. Eugene, I should note, never became assimilated into the Saviors in the books the way he has on the show.
When the war reaches its climax and Negan faces off with Rick one on one, Dwight prevents the other Saviors from interfering. And when Rick finally defeats Negan, Dwight declares himself leader of the Saviors and tells everyone to go home because the war is over. His cover is intact — the other Saviors don’t know that he had been helping Rick.
“The Walking Dead” show loves to take liberties from the comics, so you shouldn’t expect what happens in the season 7 finale and beyond to cut exactly the same way as described above. But what you can probably expect is that Dwight won’t simply move into Alexandria — his attempt to work as an undercover saboteur among the Saviors will likely be a major subplot across season 8.