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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

'Walking Dead' recap: Beth and Daryl drink in 'Still' life

AMC

3

March

Season 4 Episode 12 of Walking Dead went right up against Lupita Nyong’o’s navel-grazing dress, Jennifer Lawrence falling (again, really?) and Jared Leto managing to still look dreamy while hoovering Oscar host Ellen’s pizza delivery. So what did the writers decide to do? They got very “Still” (the episode’s title).

Here’s what happened. Beth got thirsty. Then she and Daryl lit stuff on fire.

It’s been fun to watch the second half of this season following the post-prison divided survivors, but there’s always been this one nagging little voice saying, “But where’s Daryl? Where’s Daryl?!” No wait, that’s my little voice; my daughter just told me to shush. Even in dire need of a shampoo, Daryl (Norman Reedus) is the most fun to watch with his squint-eyed smoldering and all-around badassery.

So an hour of Daryl gnawing grilled rattlesnake (alternate episode title: “Tastes Just Like Chicken”) sounds like it should beat out Tyreese changing poopie diapers or Carl spooning up 120 ounces of chocolate pudding, were it not for one thing: Beth (Emily Kinney).

Maggie’s sister has always been the faintest-drawn character, so this was the episode to Sharpie up those lines. What does she want in life? Turns out, it’s a cocktail.

After a harrowing night spent in the zip-tied trunk of a car, she heads out in search of her first drink, trailing Daryl in her wake. Logically, they head to a golf and country club (“Golfers like to booze it up, right?” she asks, bumper sticker to follow). Illogically, some of the carcasses inside have been reanimated and some have not (if everyone is infected, I’m just saying), oh, and also the club’s grass is suspiciously mown.

After some impressive work with a 9 iron (note to Beth, the white cardigan from the pro shop was probably a bad idea. Think earth tones.), they find peach schnapps. But before Beth can get all Fuzzy Navel, Daryl smashes it and redirects her to an old house (his father’s, it turns out) where he knows of a moonshine cache.

As first drinks go, this is no Bartles & Jaymes fiesta strawberry, but it gets the job done. Unsurprisingly, Beth’s a perky drunk and Daryl, by his own admission, “is a dick when he drinks.” They forgo Spin the Bottle or Seven Minutes in Heaven in favor of party game I’ve Never, in which we find out that Daryl has never been out of Georgia and never been on vacation and that seriously, honestly, romance doesn’t seem likely for these two characters.

Even through beer goggles, Daryl sneers about Beth’s singing and cutting her wrist “looking for attention.” And when the for-all-he-knows-last-woman-on-earth hugs him from behind, the man is not turning around to take that call. Then they light a pile of Benjamins, torch his dad’s old house and move on.

So what’s with the episode title? Well, there’s the moonshine still, but it seems more about Daryl’s outlook. That despite all the movement, he and Beth are going nowhere. In an episode without another character in sight, he’s a man without a plan.

Near the end Kinney manages to deliver a couple lines with oomph.

“You were made for this,” she says.
“I’m just used to things being ugly,” he answers.
“You’re going to be the last man standing,” she counters.

It seems part prediction and part sentence.

[Last modified: Monday, March 3, 2014 2:06pm]

    

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