Warning: Do not read unless you have season the season 4, episode 12 episode of AMC's "The Walking Dead" entitled "Still."
At the end of last week's episode, Rick, Carl and Michonne were just about to cross paths with Tyreese, Carol and the girls, but if you were hoping to see a sweet reunion this Sunday, you'll have to wait at least one more week.
That's because this week's "Still" was entirely about Daryl and Beth. Their relationship grew stronger and for once, we got to see people enjoying life's little things. You know, like getting drunk on moonshine or setting a small structure fire.
The episode begins with Daryl and Beth, Final Guy and Final Girl at this point, living pretty miserably. They're still camping out in the woods, spending their afternoons looting cars for supplies and some nights sleeping, armed, in the trunk. It's pretty scary, so no wonder Beth is looking for something to dull her pain.
They don't really say a word to each other until after Daryl kills a snake for dinner, like the rugged hunter he is, and they're sitting by the fire chowing down on "Snake Jerky."
Beth announces that after years of being told by her religious, formerly alcoholic father that she must never drink, she wants to get her party on for the first time. Daryl is uninterested, just like he's been with everything Beth suggests that they do. She decides to go look for some booze on her own and Daryl eventually joins her -- conveniently right after she almost gets overtaken by walkers.
They walk until they find a golf course and Beth's all like, "Oh yeah, rich guys love to drink!". You'd think a country club would be hitting the jackpot, only it's not. It's actually of the most depressing thing in the world. We're talking about a disheveled mess that was obviously used for shelter after "the event," but is now covered with dead bodies, including hanging ones and other apparent suicides. There are silver spoons and bags of cash (to which Daryl helps himself) and empty bottles strewn about. Basically, these rich people went down hard.
The kitchen has already been ransacked, but Beth finds a bottle of wine. Score! Except that 5 seconds later, a walker comes out of a walk-in freezer and surprises her:
Beth is able to use the precious bottle of wine as a necessary weapon and fight off the walker, no thanks to Daryl. But he reminds her that she keeps saying she can take care of herself, so he's letting her. It's a lot like the episode a few weeks ago in which Carl "becomes a man." These teens need to have a rebellious/resentful stage in order to grow up, even in the apocalypse.
They press on and find the pro shop, where Beth gets herself a new yuppie, pastel ensemble. As they loot around, they see a woman's body hanging with a sign that says "Rich Bitch." The last time we saw corpses with inflammatory signs on them was earlier this season when the Governor was alive. If not related, it's certainly a popular choice for post-apocalyptic shaming.
Daryl and Beth are forced to move when a grandfather clock chimes and walkers enter the room. Daryl violently puts one down with a golf club (just like The Governor did with Martinez!), venting his frustrations on it so much that a big chunk of its skull hits Beth and ruins her pretty, new sweater (although that was inevitable).
Finally, they find the bar. "We made it!" Beth says as her eyes light up. She sits down and gets ready to pour herself a big, warm, dirty glass of peach schnapps while Daryl plays darts. But instead of enjoying the distraction of a normal, teenage rite of passage, she breaks down and cries.
Thankfully, Daryl drops his "I don't care about anything" act for a minute and takes Beth to have a slightly less abismal first drink. She's expecting a bar, but instead he leads her back to the woods, to a rundown shack with an attached shed full of moonshine. He says he found it once with Michonne, but he also recognized it from his old life. His father used to live in a similar shanty, always drinking in his underwear, spitting tobacco into a bucket and shooting his gun off in the house. Father of the year? Not exactly.
Daryl says he won't drink so that he can keep watch, but Beth is quick to mock him, calling him "Sister Dixon," and gets him to come around. They play a classic drinking game, Never Have I Ever, in which we learn a little more about Daryl. For instance, he's never been out of Georgia, he's never been on vacation, and he's probably never going to play this game again because he kind of hated it.
As he gets up to pee (on the floor), he gets angry. He starts screaming at Beth about how different he is from her, that he's never had frozen yogurt, or gotten Christmas gifts, or sang for people, or basically ever enjoyed his life or had people to rely on. His yelling attracts walkers, and then he decides that it's a good time to teach Beth how to use his crossbow. He aggressively drags her outside for target practice because, well, Daryl is a mean drunk.
Luckily, Beth is able to cut through his rage and call him out for what's really been going on. She tells him to stop acting like they didn't go through something very traumatic and lose everyone they loved. He's been so cold and hopeless because he doesn't want to get hurt again, but Beth remembers when he still cared, like when he saw Sophia coming out of the barn as a walker back in season 2. But Daryl unloads as well, asking her why she wouldn't shed a tear for her dead boyfriend Zach and why she wants to "look for hooch like some college bitch" after her father was murdered. Then we hit the real truth: Daryl feels guilty. He wishes he could have done something to stop The Governor and save Hershel.
Beth hugs Daryl (platonically, from behind) as he finally lets it all out. Does he really believe they'll never see Maggie or Carol or anyone again? It's not clear. But what we do know is that he's afraid of his past. Things calm down and he finally tells Beth, who by now has decided that she understands why drinking is bad, that all he was before "all this" was a drifter with his brother Merle: "Nobody. Nothing. Some redneck asshole with an even bigger asshole for a brother." He tells a story about being drunk with him and "some tweaker" before noon, getting into a huge fight over a cartoon, and almost killing each other until Daryl threw up and made the all laugh. Yeah... Good times.
Beth says she misses Maggie bossing her around, her big brother Shawn who died back at the farm and of course, her dad. She talks about what she thought life would be like if they could have kept the prison as a home. Maggie and Glenn could have had a baby, Hershel could have grown old and died quietly, but she had to let that go.
Then, she asks Daryl to do the same. Beth says, "You're gonna be the last man standing," but only if he's able to forget his past, appropriately represented by the horrible shack they're drinking in, and remember that he got away from all of that. Now, what better way to move on than to literally burn down the thing that looks like your past?
They cover the house in moonshine, light up some of the stacks of money they found in the country club, and set the house ablaze as “Up The Wolves” by The Mountain Goats plays in the background. Oh, and of course they flip off the house as it burns:
This was a good episode. Although slow at times, we learned a lot about one of the best characters on the show (Daryl) and saw Beth make some important headway towards becoming an adult. Plus, focusing the entire episode on their storyline is a good indicator that we're going to see a much-needed reunion of the Rick and Tyreese groups next week. Also, Terminus. Its name implies an "end," and its also the original name of Atlanta, but is it going to be the sanctuary it promises to be? Or another dystopian trap? Either way it should be entertaining.