Season 4 Episode 12 “Still”
If you were not in love with Daryl Dixon before this episode, you absolutely will after. I hear this is one of Norman Reedus’ favorite episodes, and that is clear based on his performance. With just a cast of two the entire episode, Daryl and Beth really give us a good show of two lost souls trying to figure out what’s next for them.
Daryl and Beth begin the episode in silence. The two are going through the motions of survival but remain relatively quiet. This is in stark contrast with them towards the end of the episode where the two have a really deep and heartfelt conversation. We don’t really see it much on-screen, but I like to imagine that Beth and Daryl are closer than they appear. One reason I think this is back to that moment they hug at the prison when Daryl tells her Zack, her boyfriend, is dead. Beth also seems to care quite a bit about what Daryl thinks of her. When she is yelling at him, she wants him to understand her and why she is doing what she is doing. And I do not think Daryl would put up with some of Beth’s more juvenile moments if he didn’t actually care about her. I’ve always been much more of a cheerleader for the “Bethyl” shipping over “Caryl”. But honestly, I really appreciate the fact the show has not paired him with anyone because him as the eternal elusive loner is much cooler.
The two get to evolve significantly during this episode. They work some of their stuff out. Beth’s motivation at the beginning of the episode is to have her first drink. She’s grasping at something to keep her going and doing something she’s never done is as good an idea as any. Daryl is not supportive at first but before she can make some peach schnapps her first drink, he smashes it and takes her to a shack he knows has a bunch of moonshine stored in it. Daryl talks a lot about his past. He came from nothing and never had anything except Merle. It’s not surprising that he feels inadequate and judged when the two play Never Have I Ever. The two have a nice big fight and throw hurtful words around, but in the end they simmer down and make up. I think that a good verbal argument between people who care about each other can be cathartic. Not the kind of fights that are abusive, but those fights where people are trying to display they really actually care and want what’s best for you and they can’t do it any other way but to yell to try to get it through, those kind of fights. After the fighting is over, they have that time where the walls inside of them have been knocked down and they can be real. This is when Beth gives Daryl a gift of sorts. She gives him permission to put his redneck past behind him. That he can let it go. They turn this into a symbolic event when Beth says they should burn the shack down. It was something that reminded Daryl of his shitty upbringing and by burning it down and giving it the finger he can release his past.
By the end of the day, the two are closer than ever and I think better off mentally. They are helping each other heal. The two are surprisingly well suited for each other. Beth is quiet and a bit shy but she’s strong inside will speak her mind when she needs to. And this is true for Daryl as well. He’s got some real self-esteem issues but he’s also stronger than he thinks. The two may not say much but there’s a lot of heart between them.
I must also talk about the predictions given by both Beth and Daryl. Because at the current time, one has come true and I think the other still will. While the two have a fight, Daryl angrily throws it out that Beth is never going to see Maggie again. Although Daryl was just trying to be cruel, this actually comes true. Beth’s with us a bit longer, but she will never see her sister again. That still hurts me to think about. Beth’s prediction for Daryl is that she tells him he’s going to be the last one standing. We don’t really know if this is going to be true, but as the show enters it’s ninth season, he certainly appears to be hanging on as the rest of the original cast is making its exit. My personal feeling is that this prediction will come true if only because I will still riot if he dies.
Best of the Episode
The country club. A lot of good moments happen at the Pine Vista Country Club. Beth gets a new outfit which is practically immediately ruined by Daryl when he takes his anger out on a walker with a golf club. He ends up spraying guts all over her new clothes while she is standing there waiting for Daryl to be done. Daryl gives us a tad more comedy when he picks up some darts and instead of throwing them at the dart board he throws them at the faces of the country club members hanging on the wall. A subtle punk rock moment. And his third great moment comes when he takes the bottle of peach schnapps away from Beth and tells her her first drink “ain’t gonna be no damn peach schnapps”. I prefer peppermint myself.
Never Have I Ever. Probably the most awkward game played between two people alone in a shack during the apocalypse. Daryl of course has never played and doesn’t even get the point of a drinking game. He comes off with another perfect one liner when he says he’s never needed a game to get drunk before. Cheers to that. But the game gets personal when Daryl feels like he’s being judged. It brings out that wild angry guy inside of him and the moment escalates into their fight. The moment contrasts the differences between these two, in particular their pasts. Beth had the loving family, got to travel, never got in trouble. Daryl didn’t have any of that.