Last night’s episode, “Still,” continued a fascinating phenomenon on The Walking Dead. You know what that is?
A good show.
So, what made this a good episode? Honestly, sometimes, it’s hard to tell. After it was finished, I didn’t want to kill myself, so that’s a good thing. I think it’s because they didn’t focus so much on the hopelessness of their situation. Since Beth is still around, she’s providing a bit of light in the dark world.
Geez, that seems kitschy even to write. But, I’m serious! Yeah, there was a fair share of walkers and cheap scares, but that’s not what this episode was about, and I appreciated that. Wholeheartedly.
– “Still” started with Daryl and Beth on the run from a horde of some size. We don’t really know how big it was, because the pair hid in the trunk of an abandoned car as the horde straggled by, moaning and banging into the car (they’re not very graceful, after all, are they?). They wait out the night in the trunk and loot the rest of the car the next morning before continuing on their way.
– They set up a camp in the woods and settle in for the long haul…at least Daryl wants to. But, Beth has other ideas. For some reason, she’s decided she needs to have her first drink. Daryl thinks it’s a dumb idea, but eventually follows her. They come to a country club and find the requisite number of dead folk and walkers (cheap scare alert), before making their way to the gift shop, where Beth finds a nice yellow polo shirt and white sweater to exchange her manky tank tops for. No booze in the gift shop, though, so on they go!
– As they pick their way through the littered halls, Daryl sets a grandfather clock upright in an effort to clear the way. It’s no time at all before the stupid thing chimes three times, and, of course, walkers come shambling. They run into an open room, where Daryl takes the walkers out with a golf club, using one walker’s head as a nasty engorged ball…which, of course, bursts and gore spatters Beth’s nice white cardigan. Gross. She takes it off, of course.
– Finally, they find the bar, and Beth locates the last bottle of peach schnapps. It’s the last bottle of anything, really. As she considers the bottle and what it means in her uneasy trek to adulthood, not to mention everything and everyone she’s lost, Beth finally breaks down in tears. If you’ll remember, Beth was a big proponent of NOT crying. Ever. At all. Peach schnapps was the straw the broke the camel’s back. Daryl, who was playing darts (using photos of the club’s muckety-mucks rather than the dart board), decides Beth’s first drink can’t be peach schnapps and leads her away from the country club.
– Daryl takes her to a house in the middle of the woods with a still. He tells her that he and Michonne came across it on a run one time. Daryl and Beth get some of the clear moonshine and enter the house, which turns out to be a sort of replica of Daryl’s childhood home. At first he won’t drink, but Beth convinces him to, and they play “I never/ Have you ever?” But, the questions, lead Daryl down an unfriendly road to remembrance, and he has a breakdown of his own. A walker, who has been sniffing around outside gets the brunt of his anger as Daryl decides to teach Beth how to use a cross bow. He’s yelling. She’s yelling. The walker is moaning. AMAZINGLY, though, no other walkers are drawn to the noise. Beth puts an end to his rant by stabbing the walker through the head. Daryl dissolves into tears, blaming himself for what happened at the prison, thinking he could have done more. Beth hugs him from behind, and he quiets down. (Note to self: Don’t get Daryl tipsy in the walker apocalypse.)
– That night, Daryl and Beth, are out on the porch talking. Daryl reveals more information about his past, and we learn that he didn’t really have a job before the “end.” All he was doing was drifting around with Merle. Daryl is convinced he can never amount to anything, that he can never be anyone. Beth convinces him not to live in the past, and they decide to torch the house as a sign that Daryl is moving forward. So, they do, scattering very flammable moonshine about and lighting it aflame. As walkers start to approach the house, Daryl and Beth both flip it off and move into the night as the blaze burns behind them.
Let’s hear a round of applause for heavy-handed symbolism! Daryl is burning down his past! So is Beth! …kinda.
Lemme just say I was so afraid they were going to…um…seek solace in each other’s arms. I am SO GLAD that’s not where this went! That’s not to say that it still couldn’t. Anything’s possible, right? Ugh. Carol would be cheesed though.
Four more episodes left!
[[Featured image courtesy of AMC.]]