Its strange saying positive things about The Walking Dead but I have no choice after the most recent episode featuring the twosome: Daryl and Beth. Sure it was a slow-moving filler episode with seemingly absolutely no real baring on the plot but it was filled with tons of nearly perfect moments and a few surprising character driven developments. Of course it is also littered with odd character decisions and developments that make my brain hurt but that is only proof that this is still in fact TWD. So without further ado lets join Beth and Daryl as they literally run for their lives, staying anything but still.
“Places like this, you have to put it away….or it kills you.” -Beth on Daryl’s past
Night comes and we find Beth and Daryl off the train tracks and on the road. Beth tries to start an abandoned car but with no luck so instead they both head into the trunk as a hiding spot, knowing there is a horde following them. Wave after wave of undead stretch across their hiding place and this entire situation was truly a nice cold open. It was actually creepy and thought provoking. Daylight comes and they exit their spot, sans sleep. They don’t speak ever and it feels organic. Into the forest of mystery they roam and make camp. Daryl, stuck at a standstill in his life, hunts and successfully catches a snake. Beth kicks the camps ass as she lights the fire, and make a walker warning system. Unfortunately for Daryl, Beth is not settled with their little camp, and their snake meat. Beth wants a drink. This innocent little church singing bird wants to break her edge mostly due to watching her father get decapitated with a katana. Its understandable especially due to her age and broken empathy. Daryl just ignores her probably hoping she’ll give up but Beth just leaves without him (knowing he followed before and most likely will again). After skirting a few walkers with a nifty throw of a rock, she is proven right as Daryl follows her on her mission to get some alcohol. Somewhere in there Beth flips him off too which felt like a juvenile way of getting positive feedback (for both the character and the writers).
In their journey they run into the yuppy looking Pine Vista Country Club. They make it inside and find nothing but dead bodies, soiled mattresses, and undead folks hanging from the rafters. Beth finds a commemorative Washington DC Capital spoon (possibly hinting at it as a future destination for them? or just where others are going?), and Daryl takes a bunch of cash and jewelry he finds – probably just as a reflex. Further in Beth finds a dusty bottle of red wine, but of course while trying to retrieve it from a high shelf she is confronted with a walker and it ends being used as her weapon. Bummer. In another room she finds a body pile and some ominous writing on the wall “Welcome To The Dogtrot” which I found appropriately creepy and environmentally cool. Later in the gift shop was another cool tidbit that only this new world can create: after some sort of class warfare at the country club a woman’s corpse donned in pearls is literally stuck onto the top half of a mannequin with a signing informing the world that she was a “rich bitch”. Beth struggles to take her down until Daryl helps out covering her with a sheet. A fancy grandfather clock they passed earlier (with “Time Flies” in Latin on it) starts annoyingly alerting dormant walkers in the club to Daryl and Beth. Daryl takes them down, lastly taking a golf club to the last. After his last smack some of the dudes flesh hits Beth right on her brand new golf clothes she was taking from the store. Finally they reach the bar, ransacked but empty. The only thing left unfortunately is peach schnapps. In the process of trying to find a glass Beth finally lets it all sink in: everything they have lost, and the tears finally come. Daryl, perhaps feeling bad or similarly to her smashes the bottle of schnapps and tells us all he knows of a better place for her to have her first drink.
This special destination is a cabin he and Michonne found in the past. En route Beth picked up her old boyfriend guessing game concerning Daryl’s job before which is just the tip of the iceberg concerning Beth’s slightly annoying thought process. At the cabin Daryl shows Beth some mason jars filled with moonshine which they take further into the house. Beth finally takes her first drink and reacts appropriately (Gross) but continues to finish her glass and start a second. I must say she must have some of Hershel’s old drunk tolerance because a lot more gagging should be happening. They bunker down or the day in that room where Beth finds this sweet bra-shaped planter/ashtray. She marvels that anyone would buy such a thing and we learn that this is exactly something Daryl’s father would have. He knows this because he grew up in a very similar environment, also hinting at why he knew there would be a distillery on the property. Between the newspaper “internet” and buckets for chaw lies a Daryl origin story that wasn’t pretty. Unfortunately Beth wants to know more and after annoying Daryl enough to get him to join her in drinking they somehow end up playing Never Have I Ever. Ugh. Beth seems to be trying to get it in with him but Daryl can barely understand the point of what the hell they are doing. After a few too many insults are thrown around (Beth asking if Daryl was a prison guard or a prisoner, and Daryl inferring that she tried to kill herself seasons ago for attention) things really heat up. Drunk and completely not feeling the mood Daryl smashes his jar of booze and goes to take a very public piss in the corner. His shouting has caught the attention of a walker and Daryl decides now is the best time to manhandle Beth into learning how to use a crossbow. Beth doesn’t let it go on long though ending the entire weird event by taking down the walker by hand. Somewhere here Daryl lets his true feelings in, much like Beth did over the peach schnapps, and begins to cry. He reveals his intense guilt and despair over what happened at the prison. Daryl truly thinks he could have done more. Beth just hugs him and its finally organic again. Beth is becoming a steady moral rock for the show and Daryl (perhaps like Hershel?).
That night the twosome relax on the cabin porch, still buzzed after their outburst. Daryl reveals an interesting story about him getting drunk with Merle and a tweaker friend of his in the past. Merle and the tweaker get into a dumb argument over a cartoon, and drunk Daryl comes to the defense of his brother. Unsurprising the tweaker pulls a gun on him but before he had a chance to shot he punched Daryl in the stomach which causes the drunk young Daryl to puke. This of course caused Merle and the tweaker to crack up and completely forget what they hell they were fighting about. This was what Daryl did before the dead began to rise. He just followed his older dickhead brother around and did his bidding. He was ‘just some redneck asshole’. Beth (with a moral voice I like) reminds him to stay who he is and not who he was. Then Beth pitches quite the idea: Burn the entire cabin down. Striking a match taken from the club, Beth lights one of the stacks of cash Daryl pocketed and he tosses it into the booze soaked cabin. Both Beth and Daryl flip off the burning cabin, their past, and their pain. Then they leave a wooden house burning in the middle of a forest. Did Beth and Daryl just kill the forest of mystery?
Until next time.