Where is Samira “Sam” Dean (Sophie Simnett)? That is the question fueling Daybreak protagonist Josh Wheeler’s (Colin Ford) entire post-apocalyptic journey. Sam, Josh’s love interest and the most popular girl in Glendale, disappeared after Armageddon, leaving Josh to spray paint messages to Sam in hopes that she would somehow see them.
The first half of the new Netflix show suggests a few possible explanations for Sam’s vanishing act. Sam could be dead, as Angelica (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and Wesley Fists (Austin Crute) convince Josh with a fake corpse. Sam could have been captured by Baron Von Triumph (mild mannered Matthew Broderick), the motorcycle-driving cannibal terrorizing Daybreak’s teens. Sam could even be ripping though a Ferris Bueller-style dystopian adventure like the one Josh is enjoying so very much when we meet him.
But, the truth behind Sam’s whereabouts are revealed to be none of these theories in Daybreak’s sixth episode, “5318008.”
Sam is alive. As we learn in “5318008,” she has been captured by the jock tribe led by the football player-turned-teen warlord Turbo Bro Jock (Riverdale's Cody Kearsley). It’s a sensible twist, since it is stated multiple times over the Netflix series' first few episodes that the jocks have been rounding up apocalypse survivors for their kingdom. Sam is one of those captives.
While one would assume life under jock rule would be terrible for everyone — see: killer American Ninja Idol — “Canta Tu Vida” proves Sam is thriving with the athletes. She might have to make Turbo’s breakfasts, and he might throw them at a door in a fit of paranoia, but Sam seems as content as anyone could be at the end of the world. As we witness in her first scene of “Canta,” Sam takes pride in her parfait-making skills. Later, she explains the painstaking work she put into figuring out how to grow strawberries in a radioactive wasteland. It’s not like anyone demanded Sam learn how to return super-fruits to Glendale — she did that on her own.
Sam has so much power that Turbo’s right-hand woman Mona Lisa (Jeanté Godlock) taps her for one of Daybreak’s riskiest missions. “5318008” marks a dangerous turning point for Turbo, as he starts to act more irrationally than usual. In that episode, his behavior was a long con to thwart Josh. By subsequent chapter “Canta,” the tribal leader's delusional tantrums are real. To save Glendale's teens, Mona Lisa decides she needs to reintroduce Baron Von Triumph — aka apocalypse-mad ex-principal Burr — to the environment and set Turbo straight. That decision means freeing Baron after Josh imprisoned him episodes earlier.
Of all the people Mona Lisa could bring to help her in the political coup, she chooses Sam Dean. To explain her reasoning for teaming up with Sam, all Mona Lisa needs to say is, “You’re Sam Fucking Dean.” Sam may be the most respected person in the jock camp, despite her status as a supposed prisoner.
Unfortunately for Josh, he doesn't know any of this. Josh learns that Sam is alive and being held by jocks in the worst possible way. In “5318008,” Josh finally hooks up with fellow mall-dweller K.J. (Chelsea Zhang) after accepting Angelica and Wesley’s cooked-up lie that Sam is dead. After the deed is done, Josh reexamines the footage of the episode’s attempted assassination of Turbo. When initially viewing the video, the chilling night vision image of Turbo bleeding out of his mouth and repeatedly saying, “You lose,” stole Josh’s attention. But on second look, Josh notices a terrified blonde girl among the captured students huddled behind Turbo.
He sees Sam.
Josh learns his dream girl is alive and well.. after he put the moves on another girl. Even in the apocalypse, no one has worse luck than Josh Wheeler.