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This week’s episode was Daryl and Beth solo. No other cast members appeared (which I think was a first for the show). The duo appears to have been on the run since the prison fell and have not been able to find a place to hold up and catch their breaths. They look exhausted and running on pure instincts now. After escaping the horde by hiding in the trunk of a car they quietly go about scavenging parts off the car without a word to each other.
We soon see that Daryl has been teaching Beth some survival skills like using the car parts to start a fire and roping off areas of their camp with trip wires to alert them if someone or something stumbles in. Later in the episode, you see Beth calmly redirecting wandering walkers away from her using the ol’ Obi-Wan Kenobi “Hey what’s that sound over there” trick. She even takes care of a couple of walkers on her own which is something that I can’t remember her character ever did. Ever.
For someone who spent most of the time in the prison taking care of Judith, singing songs and not being upset when her boyfriend got killed she has become quite the survivor. I guess that’s what happens after a couple of intense days at Camp Dixon.
3. Daryl is still working out some issues
Daryl is still having problems dealing with how he feels about losing the prison and his friends. Not surprisingly he’s not much of a talker when it comes to this stuff, so he handles it the Dixon Way. That includes:
Beating walkers with golf clubs.
Saying mean things to Beth.
Peeing in the corner while saying mean things to Beth.
Crossbowing a walker and yelling at Beth.
Breaking down in front of Beth.
Getting hugged by Beth.
Burning buildings with Beth.
It was interesting seeing that Daryl blames himself for the prison falling and not being able to save Hershel. He obviously cared for Hershel much more than the character ever let on. He is taking his death hard.
Daryl’s biggest fear is that he’s going to end up alone. Beth touched on that a little while they sipped moonshine and chatted. She mentioned something about him being the “last man standing, ” and you could see the look on his face was one of terror. I’ve said this before, but the zombie apocalypse is the best thing to happen to Daryl Dixon. For the first time, he’s felt what it was like to belong to a family, and because of that, his greatest fear is going back to being alone.
4. Beth has some terrible ideas
While her survival skills have dramatically improved in the last couple of days, Beth has also had some pretty terrible ideas. It started with interrupting Daryl’s rattlesnake dinner to search out her first “drink.”
As Daryl retreats and pouts, Beth has decided that now is a good time to start working on her “bucket list.” The top of that list is to have her first alcoholic drink. A quick trip to the nearest country club so she can locate herself a bottle of peach schnapps. When she hesitates (who wouldn’t it’s peach schnapps) Daryl gets all “Daryl-like” and smashes the bottle, says something cool about getting her a real drink and they storm out of the death trap they should never have been in in the first place.
Daryl takes Beth to a cabin he knew of (which makes you wonder why they weren’t holed up there from the beginning) that has a stash of white lightning – moonshine.
Call me a sissy if you must, but I’d drink peach schnapps every day of the week and twice on Sundays before drinking moonshine. Beth is determined though, and she handles it better than every person I’ve ever seen ever drink moonshine for the first time. Hershel would be proud.
Terrible decision #2 was encouraging Daryl to crack open his mason jar of moonshine and teach him the game “I Never.” I’m starting to doubt Beth’s claims of never having a drink before. She knows the game “I Never” and can handle a jar of moonshine like a seasoned pro. Maybe her whole plan was just to get boozed up with Daryl?
The terrible final decision came to be how all terrible decisions start – by drinking too much and playing with fire. After their heart-to-heart, Beth decides the best way to cement this new beginning to their relationship is to burn down the cabin. In the middle of the night.
That’s what they do; they douse the cabin with the rest of the hooch and Daryl lights a brick of money he took from the country club and has Beth throw it into the cabin. We end with them flipping off their old issues as the cabin burns to the ground and them walking into the dark woods.
5. The mystery of Daryl Dixon
We solved the mystery of Daryl Dixon this episode. Throughout the seasons there was a running gag of the younger members of the group trying to guess what Daryl did before the world ended. At first, I thought the reason he never told anyone was that the show’s producers might have something special planned for him. Since his character didn’t exist in the comic, they can do whatever they want.
It turns out the surprise was the opposite. Daryl never told anyone what he did before because there was nothing to say. He was just Merle’s little brother who followed him around drifting through life.
He is the one character whose life has improved because of the apocalypse. For the first time in his life, he has friends and family. Merle obviously cared about his “baby brother, ” but Merle was Merle and even though he cared he was still a complete dick to be around.
In this new world, he’s respected. Given leadership roles. People depend on him for their lives. Daryl realizes, he is more than Merle’s baby brother. That has to be a strange thing to admit to the other survivors. That the world ending was the best thing to happen to you.
Lightning Round Thoughts
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Mr. Fenske is a professor at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond VA. The site is an extension of his efforts in the classroom, except for the cartoons, which seem to grow out of some disaffection he feels with the world. Thank you for visiting. © Mark Fenske
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