‘The Walking Dead’ Breakdown: ‘Still’

SPOILERS AHEAD, so use caution, Walkers…

Season Four, Episode 12: “Still”

Written by Angela Kang; Directed by Julius Ramsay

This week’s Walking Dead begins with a silly quest for booze, but ended up being one of the strongest episodes of the season. We spend the whole hour with Daryl and Beth as they both struggled to come to terms with their new circumstances.

Quick Breakdown

This episode, “Still,” was appropriately titled.

We open with rolling thunder in a darkened sky, above an abandoned car with a dead body hanging out of it. Next there’s a rustle in the bushes, and Beth and Daryl emerge clearly running from some zombies. In need of shelter, they climb into the trunk of the car, which is unbelievably roomy. Suddenly there’s the sound of zombies, and the car begins to rattle.

The scene cuts in and out a few times to show the passing of time. They do not speak. They wait. By morning, the zombies are gone, and they slowly emerge from the trunk. They search the car for anything useful and then head down the road looking fairly defeated, dirty, and worn. Life has clearly changed. Cue the opening credits.

In the woods, we see Daryl trying to kill a squirrel for dinner and Beth making a fire with the side mirror from the car. (The background music during this scene was very pioneer-early America, which was rather fitting.) They are forging a new frontier. After missing the squirrel, Daryl finds and kills a snake, which was pretty gross. (I hate snakes.)

As they sit around the fire eating the snake, Beth finally breaks the silence with the first line of the episode: “I need a drink.” And yes, she means an alcoholic drink (though, as she goes on to admit, she’s never had one). (I can’t blame her for wanting to get drunk, but this storyline did seem a little funny and out of nowhere — at first anyway).

Daryl isn’t amused by Beth’s request and says nothing. She decides finding booze is vital and heads off on her own. Of course, she immediately comes across some zombies, so she hides, attempting to distract them by throwing rocks. Next thing we know, Daryl is there. He attempts to lead her back to their campsite, but Beth is done and doesn’t want to sit in their “sucky” camp anymore. She wants more from life, like a big Long Island Ice Tea.

Without much searching, they find a golf course and a country club, which Beth thinks will easily lead to some booze. Inside the club, they find a former camp with a lot of dead bodies and a few hung from the ceiling. (Did they kill themselves? Were they killed? We don’t know.) As Beth is searching for a drink she comes across a spoon that is stamped with Washington D.C. — like one of those souvenir spoons. (This is another hint that the show’s location is shifting out of Georgia.) Daryl, on the other hand, finds a bag with money and jewelry and takes it with him.

In a closet, Beth find a bottle of wine (lucky her), but her joy is short-lived. Immediately she is attacked by a zombie and must defend herself with the bottle (bye, bye wine). She fights off the zombies while Daryl watches, letting her take care of herself. After she kills them, she notices the words “Welcome to the Dogtrot” written on the wall. (This isn’t the only odd note in this episode. In fact, this whole half of the season has been filled with mysterious notes or signs. What do we make of these?)

Next they find the golf pro-shop, which means new clothes! Beth grabs a white sweater, which seems like a bad color choice for the zombie apocalypse (see next paragraph). They also find another dead body with a sign attached to it, reading “Rich Bitch.” (Clearly something odd went down at this country club that was not strictly zombie-related.) Out of respect, they cover the body up with a blanket.

After exiting the store, they run into a group of zombies, and Daryl suddenly snaps. He beats the shit out of them with some golf clubs, which ends up splattering Beth’s new white sweater with zombie blood (nice going).

The next stop is the bar — Beth hasn’t forgotten the mission. As they enter, she says, “I know you think this is stupid.” (Yes, Beth, we kind of do.) Sadly, the only thing she can find is Peach Schnapps. (Ha! The humor in this episode is really working.) Daryl has some standards and can’t let Beth’s first drink be Peach Schnapps — so he throws the bottle on the floor and leads her out, which clearly indicates he’s now part of the quest for booze. (What else do they have to do?)

Daryl leads them to a house he’s been to before with Michonne. He knows the place has a large supply of moonshine. (This isn’t going to go well.) Daryl tells Beth, “That’s a real first drink, right there.”

Beth tries some, finds it disgusting, but isn’t going to stop. They decide to hang out in the house, which is pretty shitty and reminds Daryl of his father’s place. Beth finally convinces Daryl to join her not only in drinking, but also in a game of “I Never.” (You know — the game where you name things you’ve never done and if the other person has, they have to take a drink.)

The game quickly goes south after Beth offends Daryl by assuming he’s been to jail. Daryl is now clearly drunk and not a happy drunk: He starts getting loud and then delivers some of the best lines of the episode — calling Beth out for the life she’s had, for her singing, and even for her suicide attempt. (I like drunk Daryl.)

Daryl then gets the bright idea to go outside and teach Beth to use the crossbow. She’s trying to calm him down and not get killed, but Daryl’s not having it. They go outside and he begins shooting at a zombie (not hitting the head). Beth eventually pulls out her knife and kills it.

This leads to one of the best exchanges on the show in a long time. Beth and Daryl truly confront their situation and each other. Daryl’s been so silent since the showdown at the prison, and Beth has been all over the place. After getting read by Daryl, Beth dishes back. Telling him, “I survived, and you don’t get it.” She thinks Daryl is confused or angry that she (weak Beth) lived and (to their knowledge) no one else did.

In reality, Daryl blames himself for the attack. He gave up on searching for The Governor, and he thinks he should have done more. We already know from previous episodes that Daryl is sensitive but hard around the edges. He cares way more than he lets on or shows to other people.

After they both calm down, they sit on the porch and drink more (not sure this is wise, but okay). Daryl reveals a bit more about his past and how before he wasn’t doing anything but drifting around with his brother. In some ways, Daryl has had a better life after the zombies, which is interesting to consider. Beth tells him about her dreams for life at the prison and how she thought things would be okay. She also tells Daryl that he’ll be “the last man standing.” (Is this a hint? Are Beth’s days numbered?)

Then to top it all off, Beth suggests, with a smile, that they “burn it down,” referring to the house. They pour the rest of the moonshine all over and then light it on fire with the money Daryl found earlier. As they walk away, Beth flips off the house and makes Daryl do it too. Will this fire lead to a rebirth or more destruction?

Rating

B+

This was the best episode of the second half of the season. It started with a funny quest for Beth’s first drink, but provided some great scenes and dialogue between Beth and Daryl.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

I wish Daryl had taken some preppy golf clothes to wear (just for fun).

Beth: “I found this, it’s Peach Schnapps, is it good?” Daryl: “No.” (Worst “I Never” game ever.)

Is it just me, or was there some strange sexual tension between Beth and Daryl in this episode?

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