Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead: Still was easily the slowest show in the second half of season four but the sight of both Daryl and Beth bonding over moonshine made the snails pace almost worth it. Bonding seems to be the underlying theme of this popular AMC series in the second half of season four. Ever since the group was split up and scattered all over creation it seems that each little group of survivors are learning to bond all over again.
So far, we’ve seen Rick and Carl go through their own bonding process; Michonne and Carl bonding, over crazy cheese yet, and now Daryl and Beth must learn to work as a new team. The premise is a good one considering that the old group, Rick’s set of survivors, were having issues even before The Governor attacked the prison camp and scattered the remnants to the four corners of Georgia.
This particular episode may be a slow burner and it may lack the usual cringe factor of gore and inventive walker destruction, but, this chance of pace is to be expected. It seems to say that still waters may run deep, as in both Daryl’s and Beth’s case so the title of the episode, Still, could be referring that or to the fact that when the two enter the golf course clubhouse it is a step out of time for the story. The inclusion of the still grandfather clock that starts again after Daryl stands it up straight could well be the best allegory of the show.
Speaking of the clubhouse, this is the second time that the show has entered a place that would have, before the time of walkers, been full of people. The first time was The Governor entering an old folk’s home and finding it full of aged zombies. Now we have two protagonists entering the upper echelon of society’s golf club. In both places the dead are piled up amongst the walkers who inhabit the building.
Amazingly, though, the club is pretty clear of walkers. However, the disturbing sight of three “walkers” who presumably committed suicide before they changed hanging from the ceiling; trembling, moving, and making noise has to be a season “highlight.” Walker marionettes has got to be a first for the show. Despite the fact that the club would have had the upper class members of society in the building at some point, the presence of a mummified woman’s upper torso stuck on top of a white plastic mannequin’s lower torso with a sign saying “Rich Bitch,” shows that things obviously got really weird before the end.
One particular aspect of this slow moving episode was showing the mechanics of surviving in a world of walkers. It was demonstrated after the two protagonists were able to leave their safe haven in the trunk of an abandoned car. Both immediately started collecting things that would be needed; Beth, in particular, grabbed a side mirror and a piece of headlight glass and these were specifically used later to start a fire. Subtle, yet impressive, in the way it showed just how day-to-day existence is really basic in a world with no creature comforts.
The episode of Still from The Walking Dead is dealing primarily with Daryl and Beth bonding over moonshine. Apart from this more apparent plot device, however, the segment deals with the inner workings of both characters. The audience learns that despite the apocalyptic surroundings, Dixon compulsively grabs all available cash and Beth, perhaps remembering her father’s alcoholism, is desperate for a drink.
After bursting into tears over a bottle of peach schnapps, which Daryl smashes, Beth joins Dixon on his quest to find “real” booze in the form of moonshine, which could be the other reason for the episode to be titled Still since that is where this particular libation comes from. Beth introduces Daryl to a drinking game and the two begin drinking the volatile spirit.
It becomes apparent, as the two continue to sip the potent drink, that Daryl becomes “a dick” when he drinks and Beth is a “happy drunk.” Daryl reveals to his companion that his background was not a candidate for family of the year. As the drinking session moves outside for drunken crossbow practice, the two start revealing more of their internal thoughts.
At the end of The Walking Dead: Still this exercise of bonding through moonshine leads both characters to confess their self perceived faults and Dixon actually breaks down in tears while Beth hugs him. Later, the two sit in the dark and surrounded by the still night, they become closer and quieter in their information sharing. Beth shows that she is definitely her father’s daughter when she explains to Daryl that they need to concentrate on who they are, not who they were. The two then burn the clubhouse to the ground and give the blazing building a one finger salute before leaving.
By Michael Smith