The Walking Dead Review: Season 4, Episode 12 - "Still"
Posted by Josh Syvertsen on 03.02.2014
Daryl and Beth got drunk, killed some walkers, and started a structure fire. Read all about that and more in 411's full review of the latest episode of The Walking Dead!
Welcome back to your favorite little corner of the interwebs to read and talk about the latest episode of The Walking Dead (at least it better be your favorite. I don't take rejection well.) It was a glorious week as spring training games started in both Florida and Arizona and if there is one thing I love more than horror it's the New York Mets. But this isn't the place for talk of Noah Syndergaard, the Ike Davis/Lucas Duda battle, or upgrading the shortstop position. No, this is all about The Walking Dead and...Housekeeping...
Caveat #1:First, and most importantly for some of you I guess, I have not read the acclaimed graphic novel series on which the show is based. I have not done this for a myriad of reasons, the first being laziness. I'm a busy man people. But the second and most important, is that this column/review is about the television show The Walking Dead, not the graphic novel series. It would be unfair to the show and unfair to you, the reader, if I was constantly bitching about how the show is different than the source material (and believe me I would bitch). Think that's wrong? Hit me up on twitter some time and mention 'Under The Dome' - watch my head explode. I will make this promise to you who are ever so pissed about my lack of The Walking Dead graphic novel experience, that someday when the show has completed its run, I will check it out.
Caveat #2: Have fun. What's expressed here is one solitary, bitterly lonely mans opinion. If you believe something different, write about it! Let everyone out there know what you think, but don't be a dick. It's a television show - not life or death.
Reader Mail: Little disappointed in the debate last week...but I wasn't much of a facilitator either, so that one's on Coach Josh. There was this juicy nugget however: "TH" pointed out that maybe Dr. Eugene Porter shot up the gas tank of the truck on purpose. The things that make you go...hmmm.
Look at a pretty picture!:
"Diamond rings and cocaine binges, all strung out on your syringes, I sold my soul while you sold records, I have been your slave forever..."
Last Week On The Walking Dead: Carl and Michonne leave their sanctuary to go look for supplies leaving Rick behind because he almost died the day before, so the reasoning was sound. While they were away they played 20 questions and we found out more about Michonnes baby. Back in the house Rick fended off some invaders, managing to escape by the skin of his teeth. We finally got a formal introduction to Abraham, Rosita, and Dr. Eugene Porter and their respective hair styles. Glenn awoke with a hankerin' to go find his wife. Abe and Co. disagreed with this, but some misplaced bullets (and by misplaced I mean Eugene shot out the trucks gas tank) forced and about face. Which leads us to...
This Week On The Walking Dead: Night time...its the right time to rock the night away. Daryl and Beth are running. They try to jump start a car but it's dead, so they take refuge in the trunk. There sure is a lot of trunk space in these Lincoln Continentals, no wonder mobsters love them. Outside, a seemingly endless throng of walkers shamble past the car. The next morning, running on no sleep, Daryl steals a hub cap and takes us to...the opening credits!
Daryl stalks a squirrel, but misses it with his cross bow, breaking an arrow while doing so. Beth starts a fire with a car mirror and strings up some hubcaps to warn of danger. Bad ass Daryl kills and skins a rattlesnake because, well, he's bad ass Daryl and that's what he does. Beth wants to get tipsy. She proposes a beer run. Daryl ignores her which seems like a rational response to her ridiculous demands, until she heads off on her own. She's not gone 30 seconds before she runs into some walkers. Luckily for her Daryl was close behind. He tries to bring her back tot he little makeshift camp, but she has a Carl moment. You know, "I can take care of myself...blah, blah, blah." In a sense she has a point. You can't just sit around brooding forever like Daryl's been doing since the prison went to shit. Might as well get your drink on while there's no drinking age and the booze is free.
They finally emerge from the woods into an open field that used to be golf course. Beth surmises this might be a good place to find some of the hooch...oh and some people, but the people were definitely an afterthought. Inside the clubhouse they find a number of walkers hanging from the ceiling, with the implication that they are folks that killed themselves. In fact, upon further investigation it looks like some folks had holed up there, hoping to wait out the apocalypse in the clubhouse. Beth steals a cool looking spoon. Daryl finds a cache of cash and takes that, much to Beths confusion.
As they move deeper into the kitchens they find more dead walkers and Beth finally finds her bottle of alcohol. But she doesn't have time to savor her find before she's attacked by a walker. She's forced to break the bottle over it's head before stabbing it. Daryl gives no aid citing the "See, I told you so" principle. They find the actual pro shop and help themselves to a few goodies. Beth gets a new shirt. With her complexion I wouldn't have gone with yellow, but beggars can't be choosers I suppose. They are followed by some walkers into one of the locker rooms which gives Daryl the opportunity to really tee off on them with a golf club. See what I did there? Tee off? Because of the whole golf club thing...I digress. They finally make it to the bar where Beth starts making herself a drink. Daryl warns against the Peach Schnapps. She hesitates as Daryl throws darts at pictures of rich white guys. Beth breaks down. I would be pissed too if all I had to drink was peach schnapps. Daryl says fuck it let's get you a real drink, so they go to look for a new bar.
Beth tries to actually have a conversation with Daryl. That goes about as well aw you would expect it to. They find an old moonshine distillery Daryl had previously found with Michonne. So Daryl is trying to kill the poor girl? He pours her a drink, which she downs like a champ despite being disgusted by the taste. Daryl plays designated driver or in this case walker watcher while Beth starts drinking. He tells a story about his dad, and what a piece of shit he was. Beth uses her feminine wiles to get Daryl to drink, and by wiles I mean she hands him a glass of moonshine and tells him to drink it. To be fair to Daryl, the nostalgia of finding the still may make him feel a little bit more safe than he did before. He feels it's okay to let his guard down a bit. He just better be careful, drinking with a youngster like Beth, zombie apocalypse or not, it's a little inappropriate.
Beth immediately launches into a game of "I've never." There is a real uneasiness that permeates through this scene mainly because, like I said above, I really hope they don't go in a certain direction here. Beth may or may not be to be smitten with Daryl based on a couple of her questions. Daryl starts to get belligerent. Hmmm...Daryl seems to be a shitty drunk. Who would have thought that? Daryl starts using a walker for target practice. Beth puts a stop to it. They have a little tiff, Beth tells him he's afraid. Beth brings up the stupid girl in the barn (god please don't.) Beth tries to convince him there is hope, but Daryl is not hearing any of it. He breaks down and blames himself for everyone's misery. Get that guy some Prozac, stat! They hug it out...sort of.
Beth says the one thing that every addict knows - "You feel real good when you drink." Daryl apologizes for being a dick. They have a moment around Daryl and Merle being wasted and getting into it with a "tweeker." over a cartoon. Daryl starts to give some insight into his background, which was really nothing. He just followed Merle around. Beth runs down her laundry list of hopes and dreams, stopping to pay special attention to her father and what she wanted for him. Beths naivete is replaced by her sobering realization that she too will be someday be gone as well. Daryl wants to go inside the house. Beth wants to burn it down. So they cover the house with the moonshine. Outside, Beth lights one of Daryls bundles of cash on fire and throws it at the house igniting the structure. Then they give the fire the finger and head off into the woods like Butch and fucking Sundance. End Episode...
Elsewhere: Nothing...really nothing...all Daryl and Beth this week.
Reaction: This episode was heading down a bad path, right up until the end when Daryl revealed what he was like before the world went to hell. Even then, it seemed anti-climatic and I was disappointed. Until you take a step back and really think about it. Daryl may wind up being the saddest character in the whole damn show. The most structure, the most love he's ever felt, was in that prison. Add to the fact that the prison is now gone, his base is now gone, and he blames himself for all of it. He fell into the structure and the love of the prison. He let his guard down, allowing The Governor to roll right up to their doorstep. Had he not become involved, had he remained cold, separated, Daryl. Perhaps he would have been on his game and the prison would have been still standing. He's really caught in this Catch-22 sort of situation. Let the people in, everyone dies. Don't let the people in, everyone lives.
Then here comes Beth as the yin to Daryls yang. Beth has always had that love that structure. That's evident when she starts her drunken reminiscing/list of hopes and dreams on the back porch. She's lived in a world where, sure there were day to day crises, but ultimately at the end of the day there was a warm meal, a hug and a listening ear at home for her. She realizes too though that there was a large part of that, that was bullshit. She never really learned who "Beth" was outside of that structure. Never had to exist on her own terms, very much the opposite of Daryls upbringing.
The last scene, of both Daryl and Beth giving the finger to the burning house is extremely symbolic. They are in essence giving the finger to everything they both have experienced, not just since the world went to shit, but before that. Everything they thought they knew, everything that was comfortable for them was in essence only half of what it means to be alive. of course, because this is television, each one represents a distinctive complementary moiety. They are meant to be opposite pieces who will grow together towards the middle. Thoughts? Post them below.
That's all I've got for this week. As always thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."
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The 411: This episode needed to happen, especially if Beth is going to wind up being more than just an after thought. Sure the stuff with Daryl was good, but I think it's more important to understand Beths motivations than Daryls at this point since we've seen a lot of the Daryl Dixon story already. It's unfortunate that the show really didn't end with the overall narrative of the show being moved forward, Beth and Daryl are no better off now than they were before the episode. I think that was a missed opportunity. Overall though, pretty good show.