The Walking Recap: Still

Thanks for your patience everyone, in my writing this post delayed due to the Oscars! This episode, in my personal opinion, deserves 4.5 out of 5 bottles of moonshine. The episode’s title seems to be the very same adjective I’d use to describe my body while watching. This episode moved me in a way that most of the other similarly quiet, more character-driven episodes never quite manage at least not to this deeply affecting extent. Now, perhaps that’s because I’m a Daryl fan-girl at heart, but even so, I really thought this episode was a well-timed, well-acted (Norman Reedus gets to show some range and depth here) emotional gut-punch.

The episode focuses entirely on just Daryl and Beth, which I thought at first might annoy me. Somehow, it didn’t. Of course, we’re all worried all the time about all the characters. But Daryl and Beth are so unbelievably magnetic and dynamic to watch that I was less concerned about that than I usually am. The one thing that did annoy me at least at first, as understandable as I suppose it was especially as the episode went on, was Beth’s mission for alcohol. She more or less sasses Daryl like a irritatingly, irrationally rebellious teenage girl pretty early in the episode about how she never got to have her first drink, even flipping him off (which will later come to be the moonshine salute) and basically suggesting the usual: they don’t know how much longer they have to survive, so they might as well live.

So, they find a country club which is where a good portion of the episode takes place, including a pretty brutal walker massacre involving Daryl and some golf clubs. When they finally find the bar, and specifically peach schnapps, Beth finds her mission fulfillment really not fulfilling at all. She breaks down in tears, warranting Daryl’s response: her first drink isn’t going to be no damn peach schnapps.

Image

This leads them to a house that we learn is all too reminiscent of Daryl’s childhood home. They drink moonshine together that they find there, but we also learn that Daryl isn’t the nicest drunk. Little by little, we learn what emotional turmoil he bottles up inside that we, as audiences then, never really see. Learning those kinds of things about Michonne has been great, but I think learning them about Daryl was even more rewarding because it has been an even longer time coming, and the way they came out was even more explosive to witness.

The explosions escalated a little something like this: playing never have I ever which leads to Daryl sarcastically saying he’s never had a pony (one of many symbols in this episode for privilege versus the bitterness that results from a lack thereof) which then leads to Daryl dragging Beth outside to learn how to shoot a crossbow. This, then, turns into Daryl’s most emotionally complex moment in the whole series I think. His argument with Beth about how closed off he is opens him up, and seeing him cry was a redemptive experience for both us as viewers and for Daryl himself, as Beth embraces him from behind.

Image

The end of the episode is when we find out precisely, finally, what Daryl had done before the apocalypse: absolutely nothing. Daryl, as a character in general, is redeemed by the apocalypse then, because he has found purpose beyond his past which had kept him down for so long. In an attempt to put that past away, Beth convinces him to burn down the house together using the rest of the moonshine. As they watch it burn, they flip it off together– the moonshine salute. It is a beautiful and empowering and poignant conclusion to an episode that is all those things and more.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Walking Recap: Still

  1. Nice idea, poor execution in my opinion. While I like character development, it’s Beth’s characterization that irks me. The show wants to portray her as strong-willed, then fine. Not every female will be Carol or Maggie or Michonne, but for Beth in one scene to chastise Daryl for not helping her with a walker, then get on his case for being a ‘chaperone,’ it felt off to me. Carl’s younger than Beth, has seen his share of tragedy and is much more aware of the world around him than Beth is, though I guess the barn life sheltered her.

    Nice to dig into their pasts, yes, but I didn’t think the writing was as good as it could have been for them. It’s as if the writers needed to find a way to show Beth can be strong and independent, but did it through somewhat forced dialogue, most of it just Beth complaining. Though I guess some of that is due to the fact that Daryl could probably not care less about Beth if she died. At least, for most of the episode, anyway. And while I’ve never had moonshine before, I can’t imagine that a first time drinker would just down it with absolutely no problem.

    • I was thinking that last thing you mentioned about the moonshine, but I just sort of put it out of my head. I think my focus was so much on Daryl in this episode, particularly after Beth’s decision that drinking alcohol was what she wanted to do, that I also similarly put out of my head the potentially problematic representation of Beth’s character. Overall, I saw her as being very human and layered but those layers can also seem very ill-fitting and forced at times too, like you were saying. Thanks for your comment! I really loved this episode but I always see strengths as well as flaws and always welcome other opinions to talk about (especially if I overlook or don’t notice certain things while watching/reviewing!)

  2. Not every girl is going to be the strong brooding type. Carol started off as helpless. Andrea was just as defiant and annoyingly rebellious as well. We’ve got to give Beth a chance. She’s been sheltered by her father. He’s no longer here. She’s just realizing that now she needs to survive on her own. But she’s got to find a balance between being the protected young girl she was and now being the girl that wants to be strong. I think Daryl will be a great teacher for her as they find their way back to the group.

    I agree that it was nice to learn something about Daryl. It’s amazing to learn where such strong characters come from.

    • Hi, thanks for your comment! I agree, I think female characters in particular on the show tend to run into this problem of having to be multi-faceted but also remain realistic and human too. I think Beth was very back and forth in this episode but her bond with Daryl seems to be growing deeper and more beneficial to both their learning experiences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s