Honestly, tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead is hard to review because it is so easy to just say, “Well, in the comic books…” But “Still” took away our crutch. Since neither Daryl or Beth are in the comics, its time The Walking Dead reviews come down to just the television show. “Still” was the first episode to only star two of the headliners of the series, which meant a lot of character development. Considering we finally got an episode centering on the fan-favorite bad-ass Daryl, this episode was surprisingly quiet. However, with all the conversations, Beth and Daryl are more likable and relatable, making for an episode that will be at the forefront when thinking of either character.
The first scene shows a ragged looking Beth and Daryl traveling at night through a storm. They come upon a car, but once they realize walkers are near, they both jump in the trunk. It is a very good thing that it was Buick and not a Smart Car they came upon. The next part was filmed very oddly, though. It was confusing whether A) the hoards of walkers we hear are real, B) the hoards of walkers are in Beth’s imagination, or C) they are part of her dream, if she ever fell asleep in the trunk. Either way, they were very lucky that they could both fit in that car.
Back at their camp, things get very Swiss Family Robinson. Beth uses the glass she stole from the car to make fire with reflection. It looks like somebody was in the Girl Scouts. Daryl sets ups a border with the hubcaps and rope he took to make noise if walkers approach them. Then he kills and skins a snake. And honestly out of all the things I have seen on this show, yes, including Well Walker, watching Daryl skin a snake has to be the most vomit-inducing scene this series has had. It was TOO real.
Beth suddenly suggests she needs a drink. She is only, what, 18? When Daryl rejects her without having to do a thing but eat his snake, she wonders off like a typical blonde in the movies. When she almost gets found by a small group of walker (after she weakly throws a rock to distract them), Daryl finds her and takes her back to hubcap camp. And then Beth displays the most rebellious behavior she can; she flips him the bird. Ever since she cut herself, wanting to get drunk and flipping Daryl off are the two most angsty things she has done.
After Beth yells at Daryl that they need to “do somethin'”, they happen upon a golf course and the accompanying Pine Vista Country Club. Seemingly nice, but eventually even the rich die. They enter and all I can wonder is what does that place smell like?! I mean there are piles of dead bodies everywhere. Piles. And hanging zombies who are just wiggling around in their nooses. And they are all smelling. And not even a wince from either of them. As they scavenge, Beth finds a spoon that has the words Washington D.C. inscribed in it. This could be a nod to the comics and that eventually, everyone heads to Washington D.C. Daryl packs money of all things, even though it is worthless. And as the walkers from the outside start to tear down the door, they make their way through the country club. This part was pretty eery because it was so dark and there were so many dead walkers just laying around. It was a great technique in filming for the horror part of the show. When Beth finally finds a bottle that isn’t empty, she is instantly attacked by a walker, and she gets the best kill she has had. Broken wine bottle to the face. Its unrealistic, yet very cool. But then she had to ruin it all by turning to Daryl and saying “Thanks for the help.” They are only in a country club to get her some liquor, shouldn’t she be thanking him for even going there with her? Ugh, teenage girls.
We got a reminder of how horrible the living can be, too. Once the enter the store of the club, Beth finds a woman who has been cut in half and set on top of mannequin legs with a note nailed to her chest that says “Rich Bitch.” Apparently, the workers of this golf course were none to kind to the people they worked for after things changed. After trying to take down the Rich Bitch, Daryl covers her up. In the shop, Beth picks a new outfit, a nice yellow polo and white cardigan sweater. Did no one tell Beth that you should wear white after the zombie apocalypse? . They move onto a different room where they encounter many walkers. But Daryl releases his inner Casey Jones and clubs them all with actual golf clubs. The best part was Beth’s new white sweater getting ruined by the zombie head that Daryl clubs off, right at her. Hmm, those stains will never come out. After a weak attempt to drink peach schnapps, Beth cries again. It wasn’t about the destination, but about the journey. And maybe drinking her troubles away won’t bring back her daddy. Daryl smashes her bottle and lets her know schnapps is a sissy drink. Even so, wouldn’t the alcohol been good for cleaning possible wounds?
Daryl takes Beth to a place he had found earlier: a home where the owner brewed his own moonshine. Beth drinks up and Daryl seems weird about teaching her how and what to drink, but not trying any himself. At this point, it becomes clear what Daryl was before this all happened. He was a drinker. A nobody. Beth tries to guess before and after they get to the house, but doesn’t see what is obvious in this moment. She is too busy calling him “Mr. Dixon” as if he is her lame parent. They go through the house and Daryl opens up more about his childhood and the home he grew up in, which is very much like this one.
Beth then coaxes Daryl into playing a drinking game she learned from her friends. The “never have I ever” game tells us Daryl has never been out of Georgia, but more importantly that things can turn ugly when one assumes he has been to jail. Drunk Daryl isn’t so fun loving. And he pees in the house. Then he gets a little crazy with his “nevers” getting too personal with things he knows Beth has done, like cutting herself for attention. Then he goes really over the edge when he forces Beth out of the house to learn to shoot his crossbow at a walker. It would be pretty difficult to learn how to shoot when a man has his arm around your neck. Beth then puts him in his place by stabbing the walker and then calling Daryl a jackass. She finally makes her point, and it is a turnin’, too. She talks about how long she has survived, and that even though she is no Michonne, she still made it. She still matters, even if she is viewed as weak. She still sees her life as valuable, which says a lot for how much she has grown since we met her. She calls Daryl afraid, and the tough guy says he isn’t afraid. Beth then recalls when he was scared when Sophia came out of the barn. Daryl’s comeback is one everyone is thinking, though. Beth’s great mission of getting drunk is just like “some dumb college bitch.” And even though its true, Daryl then breaks down. This moment was one of Daryl’s best. He really is afraid. And he regrets what happened at the prison with The Governor. And he feels as out of control as all humans do. Beth hugs him from behind, and as awkward as it was, it was also incredibly tender.
In one of the quieter moments of the series, yet most poignant, Daryl tell Beth a story from his past. He talks about hanging out with Merle and almost getting killed by a junkie over a children’s cartoon show. The delivery and pace of his speech was chilling. He confirmed what we already figured; that he just followed Merle around getting drunk and high was his great life was before this. He was a nobody, and the apocalypse made him better.
Beth then talks about what she imagined her life to be. Even after the outbreak, she looked forward to her father growing old and Maggie and Glenn having a child. She wished for all that. And as much as viewers may not like her, Beth became very human in this moment. Everyone wishes for the impossible when they are in bad situations. She may not wield a sword, but she can still dream of a better future. Unfortunately, she knows how ridiculous that is. She gets honest about her own mortality and tells Daryl he’ll be the last man standing. In her final form of happy, crazy, drunk rebellion, she suggests they burn the house down.
And in a montage of splashing moonshine in preparation for the future fire that Smokey the Bear would surely not approve of, Beth and Daryl finally bond. And after the stack of burning money from the country club is thrown to the fuel, they flip the house off and walk away better able to cope with their pasts and their futures.
Hush Comics gives “Still” a B. The back and forth between Beth and Daryl was really good dialogue . She always questions him and he always has an answer back. She realizes her mission for alcohol is silly, but at least its not laying around in her eyes. Daryl knows her mission isn’t a good one, but he goes along for the ride anyway because he is a changed man. But he is better built for this world than she is. Then they come to the realization that he is still working through his past and she is working through her future. Not to mention, the acting was great. Reedus has always been one of the best on the show, but Emily Kinney proved her worth tonight. In the past we have all predicted Beth and Daryl will become Baryl (ew), but it seems now they have a pretty good friendship. The tension those two have is pretty thick, though. Beth seems way too young for him now, but if they do, we better keep that a secret from knife wielding Carol. Kidding aside, this much human connection was one of the reasons the first season was so great, and this episode was able to rekindle all those feels.
all photos are credit of AMC.
written by Adrian Puryear