The Walking Dead: Still (4×12)

Synopsis: A Beth and Daryl-centric episode that looks into Daryl’s mysterious past.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Let me just preface this episode with the acknowledgement that I hated it. No disrespect to Emily Kinney, but I just don’t like Beth. Her voiceovers are jarring, she’s like Lori 2.0 in her convictions (and look how that turned out for Lori), and she just doesn’t get it in this new world. Arguably, good for her and her humanity or whatever – that’s not what I come to the Apocalypse for, okay? At least the actress is almost thirty, making the weird will-they-won’t-they-are-they-just-friends vibe a little bit more tolerable. And now that I’ve gotten that rant out of my system, let’s relive the Beth and Daryl heavy episode.

We get a tense few minutes montage of a night spent in the trunk of a vehicle – a rather roomy trunk – hiding from walkers before they get out and continue on their way. Another montage shows their ability to set up a camp with alert lines, Daryl catching food for them to eat, and Beth… being Beth, writing in her diary for future voiceover purposes maybe. Suddenly, she throws a hissy fit about needing a drink, a real drink, and the audience agrees with her. Storming off to get the alcohol herself, while Daryl continues to be an unemotional lump, she runs across a crowd of walkers and barely manages to throw them off her trail with distractions. Throwing a Carl-level tantrum, she informs him, as he’s caught up to her, that she’s not staying in this suck-ass camp, gives him the middle finger, and leaves him no choice but to follow her in pursuit of her drink.

Beth has entered the "rebellious teenage" phase a bit later than her peers.
Beth has entered the “rebellious teenage” phase a bit later than her peers.

They end up at Pine Vista Country Club where humans have been awful to each other, with some hanging from the ceiling as walkers and at least one dressed up as a “rich bitch.” Daryl is packratting pretty much anything he can get his hands on at this point and, after evading a few walkers, Beth finally finds the drink she just had to have. Unfortunately, a walker finds her at the same time and she has to sacrifice her bottle in defense of her life. After dispatching of it, she makes a snide comment about Daryl and all his help. His only response is, “You said you could take care of yourself. You did.” You tell her, Daryl.

Clinging to her hope for humanity, Beth wants the “Rich Bitch” dead body to be better taken care of. Daryl obliges by putting a blanket over it. As a clock chimes in the room, it brings walkers to them and Daryl is the one taking care of business. Shocker. The last one he dispatches of, he manages to whack its brains with a golf club, sending them flying… all over Beth. She explains her need for alcohol by saying she felt like laying down and crying all day, and that she knows he thinks this is stupid, but she doesn’t care. Possibly suicidal mission versus the relative safety of camp? Nope, nothing stupid about this at all.

But seriously, that country club was the worst. Wasn't there something about class clashes on Talking Dead?
But seriously, that country club was the worst. Wasn’t there something about class clashes on Talking Dead?

Daryl continues to hoard things around the country club and Beth finds Peach Schnapps. When asked if it’s any good, Daryl rightly tells her no, even as she cleans out a cup and starts crying over it. For a moment, I think Daryl’s had enough and is going to put her out of her misery, but he just throws the bottle away and tells her that her first drink isn’t going to be shitty Peach Schnapps. He takes her to a magical shitty cabin that he found once with Michonne, while they were still out hunting the Governor. Giving her a big jar of moonshine, she doesn’t immediately vomit and I’m supremely disappointed. Beth doesn’t like it, but she still drinks more. She’s like seventeen, never had alcohol before, and she’s not going to get knocked on her ass almost instantaneously? Alright.

He doesn’t want to drink because the smart thing to do would be to have a sober one to watch out for threats, but she insists. We get a little peak into Daryl’s life before the apocalypse, as he tells her his dad used to shoot things in a shitty house like this. She tries to explain Never Have I Ever to him (she learned by watching her friends play, eye roll) and eventually gets to, “I’ve never been in jail,” to which Daryl doesn’t drink, but gets offended because that’s what people seem to think of him. He makes a loud spectacle of pissing in the corner of the house and she tries to get him to stop. Daryl speaks for me about how he’s never cut his wrists looking for attention (YEAH DOES EVERYONE REMEMBER THAT FROM SEASON TWO?) and then he drags her outside to shoot a walker they hear around the property.

Look how much fun she had... for approximately seven seconds.
Look how much fun she had… for approximately seven seconds.

Shoving the bow into her hands, she pins it to the house with Daryl’s forced help. They eventually kill it, but he’s telling her she’ll never see anyone again and having this big loud argument out in the open. Daryl gets upset because he blames himself for the attack, he doesn’t think he ever should have stopped looking for the Governor. She ends up hugging him from behind and the fight is over as abruptly as it started.

After everything calms down again, they’re sitting on the porch and Daryl gives Beth another look into his life before the Apocalypse. He tells her about a time he and Merle were at a tweaker’s house, wasted and high, and they get into a fight over a television show. The tweaker pulls a gun on Daryl, Merle pulls a gun on the tweaker, and Daryl thought he was dead. The tweaker ends up punching Daryl hard enough that he puked and everyone laughed and forgot all about the fight. That was Daryl’s life before; he just drifted around with Merle, doing whatever Merle wanted to do. He admits to Beth that he was just some redneck asshole.

For all my complaints, Norman Reedus did some damn fine acting in this episode.
For all my complaints, Norman Reedus did some damn fine acting in this episode.

Beth admits she just wanted everything to stay the same – birthdays, her dad getting to be a grandpa – and tells Daryl that she’s sure he’s going to be the last one standing. She tells him he’s going to miss her when she’s gone and he informs her that she’s not a happy drunk, even as she urges him to stay who he is and not who he was before. Then she comes up with the brilliant idea to burn down the house in a symbolic removal of the past and they dump the moonshine everywhere. They light some of the money Daryl collected earlier on fire and throw it into the house. It goes up in flames and Beth nudges him to give it the middle finger too.

Enter the Mountain Goats “Up The Wolves,” an ending song that was actually perfect – despite all my sarcastic comments throughout the song. Best note to end on since Wang Chung’s “Space Junk” from the Pilot in my opinion. The plot wasn’t moved forward at all in this episode, but we got a lot of Daryl Dixon, so that has to make people happy? Next week, I want to see Beth puking her guts out with her horrible hangover or I’m calling BS.

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