The Walking Dead
March 6, 2014
Oh hey, Daryl and Sister, whatcha doin’? Spending a stormy night hiding from a herd of walkers in the trunk of a car? That sounds fun and not claustrophobic and miserable at all.
When dawn breaks, Daryl and Sister collect what they can use from the car, including bits of headlight, side mirrors and hubcaps, which Sister uses to start a campfire and make alarm systems. Homey! Meanwhile, Daryl hunts for a snack. When he accidentally snaps an arrow and doesn’t even hit the squirrel he was aiming for, he is forced to move on to Plan B: grilled rattlesnake. Mmm, oily.
Sister, however, is uninterested in a rattler breakfast taco. It’s been a long couple of days, and she could use a drink.
Sister explains that she has never had a drink before because Hershel. Since he’s not around anymore, she’d like to have all the alcohol now please. When Daryl is unresponsive, Sister is like, “OK FINE, ENJOY YOUR SNAKE, JERKY.” Or maybe it was “snake jerky.” Either works. The point is she stomps off alone into the woods which is always a very good idea.
Sure enough, Sister encounters a shuffle of walkers in the woods, and she cleverly hides behind a tree and tosses a rock away from herself. Daryl finds her there and gives her a good, stern glare, before leading her back towards their camp. “WAIT, WHAT ARE WE DOING BACK HERE?” Sister yells, “I AM NOT STAYING IN THIS STUPID CAMP WHY DON’T YOU FEEL ANYTHING I NEED A VODKA ROCKS SO I’M GOING TO GO FIND ONE BECAUSE I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF AND MY ALCOHOL NEEDS.”
With a heavy sigh, Daryl follows Sister on her mission to get loaded, which leads them to a golf course and a worse-for-wear country club. As they dash across hole number 17, they capture the attention of a pack of fairway walkers who begin shuffling in their general direction.
Daryl, armed with a golf club, breaks himself and Sister into the country club’s kitchen which had clearly been used at one point as a camp until
everyone gave up and hung themselves a class war broke out, and these poor souls were the losers and hung by the winners, leaving them as dangling walkers. (It’s a really disturbing image, by the way.) In the mess, Sister finds a souvenir spoon from Washington D.C. because what The Walking Dead is not is subtle.
As Daryl fills his pockets with cash and jewelry (old habits die hard) the fairway walkers start breaking through the back door, pushing Daryl and Sister further inside the club.
Sister spies a bottle of wine — possibly cooking wine, but whatever gets the job done, right? — on the top of a shelf in the pantry, and grabs it because:
But, sadly, when she emerges from the pantry, she’s immediately set upon by a stray walker, and she is forced to smash the bottle over its head to slow it down. After stabbing the walker repeatedly in the face with the broken bottle — which doesn’t exactly stop it — Sister manages to pull her knife out and kill the walker with a swift stab in the eye. It’s at this point that Daryl peeks around the corner, irritating Sister who could have used the help. But he reminds her that she said she could take care of herself — and she did.
The pair head downstairs, past some graffiti welcoming them to “THE DOGTROT” whatever that means, and past an overturned grandfather clock bearing the cheery expression “time flies” in Latin, which Daryl rights. The two arrive in the pro shop where Daryl raids the register and Sister finds herself a fresh blouse and a WHITE SWEATER? REALLY, SISTER? YOU’RE GOING TO GO WITH WHITE? IN A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? that makes her look like she stepped right out of the Talbot’s catalog.
Sister, upset by the sight of a woman’s corpse that someone went out their way to desecrate, asks Daryl to help, so he throws a tarp over it. It’s not exactly what Sister had in mind.
And that’s when the grandfather clock that Daryl righted begins chiming, drawing walkers towards the pro shop. Hitting the walkers with a golf club, hitting the walkers with a golf club, hitting the walkers with a golf club, and it’s Daryl’s work on his swing that covers Sister’s new sweater in walker brains. He should have yelled, “GORE!”
(Oof, I am sorry. That’s just terrible.)
Sister stomps into a dining room, snitting at Daryl that if beating up on walkers makes him feel better, then have at it, but she’s here for one reason: to get her drink on. And so if you do not mind, that’s what she’s going to do. While Daryl pokes around the dining room and helps himself to a framed map of the area, Sister digs out the only booze left in the bar: a half-empty bottle of Peach Schnapps. Not having had any experience raiding her high school friend’s parents’ liquor cabinet and taking a calculated risk on which bottle would be missed the least, Sister has to ask Daryl if it’s any good. “NOPE. NO IT IS NOT,” he correctly informs her. But she’s not deterred, and she looks for a clean glass, only to start crying because apparently everything makes Sister cry now. Good job, Everyone, you broke Sister. Daryl takes the bottle of Peach Schnapps and smashes it to the ground because
Peach Schnapps is basically Throwing Wine somewhere down deep inside he cares about her and will not allow her first drink be Peach Schnapps.
As Daryl leads Sister back out into the woods, she peppers him with questions about what he did before The Turn. But Daryl, as we’ve established, does not like playing that game, please and thank you. He leads her to a cabin that he and Michonne found this one time and what do you know, it has its own moonshine still in the back.
Daryl pours Sister her first glass of blinding moonshine which she guzzles. NOPE. NOPE!
Flesh-eating zombies? Sure. Self-mowing lawns? Why not. Eating a 2-year-old 112 oz. can of pudding in one sitting? I guess. But a young woman who has never had a sip of alcohol swigging down a gulp of moonshine like she was a cast member of The Bad Girls Club? Now you’re straining the bonds of credulity, The Walking Dead. Let’s try to stay grounded in reality, writers.
After trying and failing to convince Daryl to get his moonshine on with her, Sister pokes around the cabin, wondering who would buy some of the tacky crap that litters it. Daryl explains that his father had the bra-shaped planter that she’s mocking — in fact, he would set it on top of the television to use as target practice. The notion of Daryl’s father Elvising shocks Sister, and Daryl explains that he grew up in a dump just like this one: with the crummy armchair and the bucket for chew spit and the still in the backyard … A walker interrupts the stroll down memory lane, and after securing the cabin a bit, Daryl takes Sister up on her offer of a mason jar full of moonshine. If they’re going to be stuck there for a while, he might as well make the drunk of it.
Sister suggests to Daryl that they play “I Never,” and he is understandably incredulous because who needs a game to encourage them to drink?
But play “I Never,” they will and Sister goes first:
Sister: “I never shot a crossbow.” (Daryl drinks.)
Daryl: “I’ve never been out of Georgia.” (Sister drinks. I drink, too, because this makes me sad.)
Sister: “I’ve never been drunk and done something I regretted.” (Daryl drinks.)
Daryl: “I’ve never been on a vacation.” (Sister drinks.)
Sister: “I’ve never been to jail … as a prisoner.”
Insulted, Daryl asks if that’s what Sister thinks of him, and she sputters that she wasn’t insinuating that he’d been arrested for anything serious … after all, even the sainted Hershel had been locked up in the drunk tank a few times, so, you know. But Daryl has had enough moonshine to be angry, and so he stomps over to pee on the wall and yell that he’s never eaten frozen yogurt or had a pet pony or received anything from Santa Claus and he never relied on anyone and he certainly never cut his wrists looking for attention.
And that’s when, attracted by all the meanness happening inside, the walker comes banging on the door. Drunk Daryl grabs his crossbow with one hand and Sister with the other and announces that he’s going to teach her how to use a crossbow. When Sister refuses, Drunk Daryl deliberately takes a number of non-lethal shots at the walker, until Sister screams at him to KILL IT.
When he refuses, she stabs the walker in the eye, and then gives Drunk Daryl a piece of her mind: killing walkers isn’t supposed to be fun. And for another thing, he needs to quit acting like nothing matters, that the people they’ve lost don’t matter. She knows he looks at her and just sees another dead girl, that she’s not Michonne or Maggie or like him. But the fact is she made it, and he doesn’t get to treat her poorly just because he’s afraid of losing her. Drunk Daryl insists that he’s not afraid of anything, and Sister’s like, O RLY? Because she remembers when Sophia came out of that barn: he was like Sister is now, and God forbid he let anyone get too close again.
Drunk Daryl points out that she’s the one who, after losing her entire family set out to get drunk like some stupid college girl, and that everyone they know is dead: Rick is dead and Michonne is dead and Maggie is dead and maybe if he hadn’t stopped looking for The Governor, none of this would have happened, maybe her father would still be alive, maybe Daryl could have done something. And then Drunk Daryl breaks into sobs and Sister hugs him and I drink again on account of way too many feels.
That evening, Daryl and Sister sit on the porch together and Sister notes that she understands why Hershel gave up drinking because she wishes she could feel like this all the time. Daryl notes that she’s at least a happy drunk, unlike some people. Daryl then tells a story about how one time he and Merle were hanging out with one of Merle’s dealers, a “janky little white guy tweaker,” when everyone started hitting everyone else and long story short, the tweaker pulls a gun on Daryl and Merle pulls a gun on the tweaker and then the tweaker punches Daryl in the stomach and Daryl throws up and then everyone laughed and laughed and were friends again.
And I think we all know who that janky little white guy tweaker was:
The point is, Sister can quit asking Daryl what he was doing before the turn, because what he was doing was just being a stupid redneck and getting himself punched in the stomach by Jesse while his brother laughed, nothing more.
They then share a moment while missing their respective older siblings and Sister tells Daryl how she imagined Hershel would grow old and die in peace surrounded by his family. Sister assures Daryl that he’s not that stupid redneck anymore, that he was made for this world they live in now, and that he’ll be the last man standing. When she’s gone, he is going to miss her, and that he needs to stay the same, be the person he is now, not the person he was.
And then I drink again.
When Daryl suggests that they should go inside for the night, Sister has another idea: they should burn it down. Aww! Carol would be so proud!
And as the past burns to the ground, the pair flip it off because what else is left to do?
Another week, another character episode. Personally, I thought this episode was one of the strongest not only of the season, but also of the entire series — and no, not just because Daryl cried (although that didn’t hurt). What started off as a tense, practically dialogue-less adventure took a much more intimate turn, and in that moment, the show not only developed a sincere and believable bond between two people, but it also helped shade them as characters.
One of the complaints that I, among others, have had is that Beth had not been developed much as a character, to the point that I honestly did not know her name through much of last season. That all changed in this episode. In the wake of losing everything, Beth loses a bit of her gentleness to reveal a spunky, determined core. With no one in her family left (or so she believes) she is no longer the baby, and she recognizes that it’s time for her to grow up. Thus, the whole booze subplot. Her determination to have that first drink come hell or high walker was a symbolic means of baptizing herself into the adult world.
As for Daryl, we finally learn what, exactly, he was doing before The Turn, and it was pretty much what we thought: a whole lot of nothing. I suppose for some this was an anticlimactic discovery. Considering the amount of groaning about this episode on the internets, I’m guessing people had wanted a more heroic or badass past for our crossbow-wielding antihero. But I, like Beth, find this answer somehow more appropriate: Daryl wasn’t built for the civilized world. Instead, it’s almost like fate had designed him for this other, crueler place, and that he became a better man for it. He is the hero that this new world requires.
But for Daryl to understand that, for him to come to grips with that, we have to plunge some psychological depths within him. We have to return to where it all began (metaphorically, not literally — so no, that was not actually his childhood cabin if that’s what you were wondering, and I know some of you were), exorcise the demons within, and then cleanse it with fire.
As for Bethyl’s relationship and where it is headed, who can say. Beth is supposed to be 18 now, and, as noted a couple of paragraphs ago, she’s decided it’s time to grow up. She’s had a pair of prison boyfriends, something that Daryl has noticed and commented upon, so does that mean after this little adventure there might be something romantic blossoming between the two of them? Or is theirs a more familial, big brother/little sister relationship?
It’s hard to say — and something I wouldn’t place a bet on one way or another considering all of the scary foreshadowing happening in this episode: Beth talking about how he only sees her as a dead girl, and that she’s going to be gone one day, and how she can take care of herself, and how he doesn’t rely on anyone and how he is going to be the last man standing … that’s a lot of foreshadowing! Too much foreshadowing! One of these two is going to die, the only questions are: which one and when? Because FORESHADOWING. And so to answer your question regarding Bethyl, I don’t think it matters one way or another: the bigger point is the two of them care about one another on a deeper level now which means it’s going to do some damage to whichever of them is not dead in a few episodes.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not point out that this was the second episode in a row in which a clock was not only an important prop, but actively served as a hindrance to our heroes. Last week, Rick was concerned that the ticking of the watch that Carol had given him would disclose his presence in the house to the hunters while he was stuck under the bed, and in this episode, the uprighted clock draws the walkers towards Daryl and Beth. Not to belabor the fairly obvious symbolism too much, but it’s clear that the clocks represent time itself — and time is not on our heroes’ side. My only question is if this symbol is being used specifically or generally? By that I mean, is it significant to Rick and Daryl since they are the ones dealing with the clocks and thus “time” is against them in particular, or is it a bigger, broader symbol of how, ultimately, time will betray them all in the end? Who can say!
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.