May 29, 2018
Walking Dead Recap: Daryl Has All The Feels
This week, “The Walking Dead” has a Lost Weekend sort of feel as we leave the mullets and home invasions behind to spend some time with Beth and Daryl, who are in search of booze and shovels to bury their past. It is destined to be one of those episodes that the Internet talks about as “slow” and “pointless.”
This episode had plenty of violence, plenty of snake cooking and plenty of booze, but it lacked pudding and weird mental flashbacks. And if there is another character deserving of some flashbacks, it’s Daryl Dixon. Especially after this episode. No matter, let’s plod through this revealing episode and get to the heart of feelings.
The episode kicks off with a harrowing moment where Beth and Daryl are on the run from a pack of walkers. They take a moment to see if they can get an abandoned car to run, but decide instead to hide in the trunk after they find it to be worthless. Thus begins a night of thunderstorms and zombies, which honestly seemed a little too cozy at times.
Once the sun hits, they continue down the road and the episode picks up with a day in the life of this dynamic duo. Beth is still burning journal pieces while Daryl is off hunting snakes, like you do.
Daryl chows down and Beth get’s that bored look on her face. She’s thirsty, but not for any of the life giving water that Daryl offers her. No, no. Instead, young Beth wants to taste the devil’s nectar, grandpa’s old cough medicine, the hooch. Everyone you know is gone, the world is in shambles and you just spent the night in a ratty old car trunk. A drink is warranted, but at least let Daryl finish his snake.
Beth, being young and stupid, doesn’t have patience and heads off on her own, nearly running into a pack of zombies. Luckily, Daryl shows in the nick of time to help her hide and the two of them head off to find the booze they need to move past this thin plot point.
Their first destination is a country club which executive producer and make-up master Greg Nicotero describes as “Dante’s Inferno.” And he’s pretty spot on because we go from the beauty and serene nature of the club grounds to slowly descending into the horror and dead bodies inside to reach their location or paradise. And an open bar is paradise for a lot of people in life, so it’s understandable.
But Jesus, what a road to paradise. It certainly pushes Daryl to his wits’ end and he hulks out against a pack of chasing walkers, going full John Daly on one and stabbing another through the fucking eye. And Beth does nothing. NOTHING!
After all the creepers have been dispatched, Beth finally finds the bar and the quest comes to an end. Or so we are lead to believe. It turns out that Beth has been more emotionally affected by the events since leaving the prison than she’s led on. And it’s no surprise. Her father got decapitated in front of her, her sister is missing and assumed dead, and she’s stuck with a psycho redneck who doesn’t seem to want to spend time chit chatting around the camp fire.
So she breaks down. She bawls. And Daryl shows a bit of emotion past fierce murder and fierce eating. He also makes a stand against poor liquor choices, throwing down a bottle of Schnapps that Beth was ready to drink and resigning himself to finding her a proper first drink.
So they leave the country club and end up staring at an old country shack. And Daryl’s past, which is about to come back to bite both of them in a big way.
It turns out that Daryl had found this shack with Michonne during an earlier search and he is aware that it holds a prize that’s going to make Beth’s first drink a memorable one. That of course is moonshine.
Beth gets the grand tour from Daryl, explaining how his father had an almost identical shack full of kitschy junk and white trash, and then they decide to play a drinking game and compare their lives. This is a bad idea.
Beth brings up going to prison partway through the game and Daryl stops to take a piss and rip Beth a new ass over her life and past actions. This includes her silly ass singing and attempted suicide from season two. Then he goes full on dickhead uncle and grabs Beth to take her outside and show her how to use the crossbow.
It’s the clashing of the worlds and a moment that’s been bubbling under the surface all this time. Daryl is carrying a lot of guilt and a lot of resentment for what has happened at the prison. Beth sort of represents a world that Daryl never experienced before the zombie apocalypse and he takes out his frustrations on her by acting like a drunken dick for a good five minutes.
And then they burn the past. Literally.
They destroy the past. They destroy the shack. And with that, they embrace the future. They get moving again and the whole episode ends up feeling empty, but at least it is done.
Will Daryl ever find a way to share his patented snake roast recipe with the rest of the post-apocalyptic world? Will Beth be able to overcome her new addiction to corn liquor or will she become yet another statistic? When are we going to get the long awaited musical episode? Find out each Sunday at 9pm on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”