We were treated to another slow but thoroughly enjoyable episode. This week it was the Beth and Daryl show in our ongoing who is where series. I actually didn’t initially like the pairing of Daryl and Beth but they were great together. The writers did not take them in a predictable direction although how Beth resists Daryl is beyond me. The beginning of the episode was tense and well-filmed. It made me wonder how you would manage to get through life with such moments of terror and imminent death. But it did not seem that it was those moments that crippled our two. It was moments from the past or the regrets at not being able to prevent loss or the losses themselves that were truly painful.
Beth and Daryl’s story is very different from our other groups. They are desperate and living on very little. It makes it very clear that it is much more difficult to survive as only two. Daryl is just going through the motions to stay alive. He is obviously shut down and unhappy that he is stuck with Beth but still feels responsible for her safety. What surprised me was how astute Beth is in her assessment of the situation and of Daryl. She knows that it is a surprise that she is a survivor and she isn’t willing to just go through the motions. She needs a purpose. She needs to keep really living even if it means that she doesn’t make it. The symbol of her first drink was an interesting choice. In many ways Beth wants to be the badass she never was before and drinking is a symbol of that for her. It was amazing to me that she only watched drinking games. What was more amazing was that I believed her when she said that. Beth may have been the one to initially give up and go to bed but perhaps that was because she had a clearer sense of what the apocalypse meant. She still has that clear sight but instead chooses to get up and go every day to whatever can be meaningful. I liked Beth a lot more after this episode.
I’ve always liked Daryl and we got to know him much better. We learned about his ‘before’ life as a drifter, following his brother around. The story of the episode at the “tweaker’s” house gave us another slice of his life. It sounds like Daryl was never a bad guy (he never went to jail) but he did follow Merle’s lead. In this new world, Daryl has become a ‘somebody’ but that has also brought him pain. He feels responsible for what happened at the prison, for what happened to Hershel. I was upset at Daryl the mean drunk, which seemed to come out of nowhere. This was obviously meant to be his reaction to Beth’s view of him and being in a place like his home. There should never be an excuse for manhandling a woman like that and I was glad that one, Beth didn’t stand for it and two, he moved very quickly into his pain and remorse over what happened at the prison. It was sweet how Beth just held him as he cried. For once, she was the strong one. Then she followed up by talking about how dwelling on the 'before' is poisonous, good or bad. Burning down the shack was a wonderful metaphor for abolishing that past.
I was particularly pleased that the writers didn’t take this pair in a romantic direction. There certainly was a lot of tension between the two of them and they are healthy young adults, living in close quarters, in a terrible situation. The direction they took made more sense because these two aren’t really each other’s type and they work better in a brother/sister fashion. Beth even talked about her overprotective big brother. Maybe over time this might change but a romantic pairing in this episode, even though I expected it, would have been all wrong.
Bits and Pieces
Cross bow arrows don’t last forever. I was glad that they dealt with this and of course there had to be a reason for Daryl missing that squirrel.
It was clever using the mirror and the glass to start the fire. You would eventually run out of matches.
Hygiene is so not an issue but wouldn’t you want to change your clothes when you can just to relieve wear and tear? I did think it said a lot that Beth didn’t bother to change again after being splattered with walker yuck. I have one complaint though. How exactly does her beautiful blonde hair stay so clean? (I know the hair thing has been brought up before – it was just really obvious this week.)
There were some interesting comments on class. Daryl helps with the “Rich Bitch” because it bothers Beth but then shoots darts at the rich men. It is pretty clear that those in power are responsible for this terrible mess.
Is it best to just step back when Daryl is killing walkers? Beth can handle a knife but tends to hang back when Daryl is dealing with walkers. I couldn’t decide if this was a gender thing or just something that it would be smart for anyone to do.
Things I could live without: hanging walkers (I find them particularly distressing although conveniently non-lethal. You finally decide to end it all and escape and you end up like that); Daryl using walkers to deal with his aggression; Daryl being aggressive with Beth.
Beth: “I’m not staying in that suck ass camp.” (Gives Daryl the finger)
Beth: “Golfers like to booze it up, right?”
Beth: “All I wanted to do today was lay down and cry but we don’t get to do that.”
Daryl: “Ain’t going to have your first drink be no damned peach schnapps.” I’ve always liked peach schnapps.
Beth: “My dad always said bad moonshine could make you go blind.”
Daryl: “Ain’t nothing worth seeing out there anyway.”
Beth: “I know you look at me and just see another dead girl. I’ve survived and you don’t get it. I’m not like you or them.”
Daryl: “I’m just used to it. Things being ugly.”
Beth: ‘You’re gonna be the last man standing.” I don’t think Daryl is happy about this possibility.
Song playing at the end of the episode (“Up the Wolves” by the Mountain Goats) - “There’s gonna be a party when the wolf comes home.”