I am utterly amazed at Daryl and Beth’s journey. Of all of the people Darryl could have been paired with following the fall of the prison, fate throws him the one person who seemed the least likely to survive being on the outside – and that’s if you include Carol’s new “daughters” – Lizzie and Mika. By the time Daryl managed to secure the trunk of a broken down car and locked the two of them inside for the evening to protect them from the onslaught of walkers in the area, I fully expected Beth to lose her cool – giving up their position.
Not only did she hold it together, after they emerge the next day she becomes quietly reflective –thinking of the things she never had a chance to do before the apocalypse, like drink alcohol and “that was because of daddy”. It’s not only a tip to Hershel, who is missed, but a reminder of his life before the end. It is a subtle reminder of his struggle with alcohol and that he maintained his sobriety even during the worst times. Beth has no such plans! She wants to get wasted. Daryl seems unmoved by her desire for booze. In a matter of minutes Beth is transformed from silently suffering doe-eyed dreamer, holding on to her beliefs for a better world (as daddy taught her), into a wildly belligerent booze seeking missile, ready to take on Daryl (whom she soundly flips the bird) and any walker who stands in her way.
In that harsh moment, you remember that behind her doe eyes sits the public execution/murder of her father, the loss of her sister, the destruction of the safe haven of her family farm, Otis, Patricia, her brothers, her mother, and as many as two boyfriends, devoured by the dead, in a matter of months. Drink up, kid, and have one for me! Daryl had better hope a drink is all she wants, or he’s in trouble. Beth Greene is has a determination that I don’t think anyone could have predicted.
Working their way to an abandoned golf clubhouse, Beth surmises that it might be the best place to look for alcohol since golfers like to drink (right?). Instead of alcohol, they are greeted by a field full of walkers, a rotting security guard at the front door, walkers handing from the ceiling (failed suicide attempts, no doubt, prior to anyone realizing that all living beings are infected and brought back post death). The icing on the cake? The field walkers have made their way to the door before a single bottle can be found.
Beth finally finds her bottle, but was it worth it? She has to use it to end a walker who finds her before she can open the bottle. This kid is a walking set of contradictions in this episode. She’s emotional and irrational on one hand, quiet and reflective on the other. She seems to reference her father’s strength and sobriety but is willing to give up her own. She violently puts down a walker who attacks her, and but sits silently horrified and fearful as Daryl fights off a room full of walkers to save them both.
As they reach the bar, the moment of truth comes. Beth reports that her only thought that day was of laying down and crying. She sits with the bottle of Peach Schnapps before her, unable to take a drink, and cries. It’s in that moment that I imagine that she is thinking of Hershel again, and is overcome. Daryl rescues Beth, breaking the bottle, letting her know he won’t let her waste her first drink on Peach Schnapps, and they leave. He takes Beth to a moonshine shack he found on an earlier scavenging trip with Michionne.
Beth overcomes her fear of going blind, and dislike for the taste of the liquor to have a full glass.. and another… The shack reminds Daryl of the one he grew up. It’s at this time that I think we’ve heard more about Daryl’s family than when Meryl was alive. I have to say, that I like the vibe between Daryl and Beth, as long as it doesn’t become a romantic relationship… it would be a sure sign that Daryl’s days are numbered… sorry Beth/Beth Fans! She is the kiss of death for any man, it seems.
Beth learns the hard way to avoid drinking with Daryl if the opportunity ever presents itself again! While she admits to thinking about her life with her father, even when he was drinking, it triggers something in Daryl. An altercation ensues and they fight about Daryl using a walker outside the cabin for target practice, rather than killing it. Beth is able to get Daryl to admit his fear that they are alone, that everyone they knew and cared for has died. This is the most vulnerable we’ve seen Daryl since before Carol was banned from the camp. As unnerving as it is, I like the emotional Daryl Dixon as much as I like the man who pretends to never experience fear, only anger.
The day ends with Beth and Daryl being able to talk together and have what feels like a normal moment – if your campfire stories include incidents of violence with tweekers and fights over television shows that lead to near death experiences. Yeah, there are times when our survivors help us remember that the zombie apocalypse wasn’t all a waste! I kid, I KID, srota’.
We end the episode with Beth and Daryl bonding over their lost families and what appears to be hope for the future. Daddy taught Beth to believe. I think she’s on her way back – even if her prediction appears to be that she’s not long for the world. She believes that Daryl will be the last man standing. I’m ready to stage a protest if the writers take either character away from us. (As an aside, I can’t be the only person who wonders how Carol will take this new friendship).
Below are two videos, the first on the creation of the house where Beth and Daryl found the moonshine and the second on the relationship between Daryl and Beth.