This week’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ only focuses on two characters, Daryl and Beth. Yet it turns out to be one of the strongest entries in the entire series, as fans finally find out more about the man Daryl was before the zombie apocalypse occurred.
The first couple of scenes have virtually no dialogue at all. Daryl and Beth discover an abandoned car at night. Hearing Walkers approach, they get in the trunk, where they hide until daybreak. Before they leave the area, they gather some stuff from the car, including the side view mirror, an empty water bottle and a pair of hubcaps.
Viewers soon learn what they need those materials for. Beth uses the mirror to spark a fire and the water bottle to collect water drops off plant life. Daryl ties the hubcaps together to create a warning signal should Walkers approach. (How they know that the Walkers would take that exact path to them isn’t addressed.) When Daryl fails at his attempt to kill a squirrel, he has to kill a snake for dinner instead. I wonder if they really taste like chicken. I doubt it.
During dinner, Beth says that she needs a drink, and Daryl throws her the water bottle. No, Beth wants a real drink, and is determined to get one, even if Daryl won’t help her. The two eventually come across a country club. Inside, they find the corpses of many dead Walkers, and even a few that are still alive – people who hanged themselves and then turned.
Beth finds a bottle of wine stored on a top shelf, but after climbing up to get it, is attacked by a Walker and needs to use the bottle to fend it off, which gets shattered in the process. She also finds a new shirt and cardigan sweater to wear, but Daryl manages to get Walker guts and blood all over the outfit when he tees off (literally!) on some Walkers that chase them through the club. Eventually, the two make their way to the bar, where Beth discovers the only drink that hasn’t been consumed or smashed yet: a bottle of peach schnapps.
Beth starts crying and can’t bring herself to take a drink. Daryl comes over, smashes the bottle and tells her that peach schnapps isn’t a good first drink anyway. The two leave the country club and make their way to an abandoned house that Daryl says he found with Michonne a while back. There, he uncovers a stash of moonshine and pours Beth a glass. Beth says that her father told her once that bad moonshine can make you go blind, to which Daryl responds that there’s nothing left worth looking at anyway. Beth gulps it down.
Beth talks Daryl into playing a game of “I never…” Things go sour when Beth says, “I never spent a night in jail.” Daryl asks if that’s what Beth really thinks of him. As it turns out, Daryl can be a mean drunk. He flips out, goes outside and shoots arrows at a Walker until Beth finally runs up and kills it herself. Daryl breaks down and confesses that he feels that he failed the others at the prison and should have done a better job protecting everyone.
Later that night, once Daryl has sobered up, he finally confesses who he was before the apocalypse. “I was nobody,” he begins. Daryl admits that he basically just followed his brother Merle around and did what he was told to do, which largely consisted of hanging out with Merle’s drug dealer friend. Beth has some confessions as well, admitting that she’s not wired for this new world, but that Daryl is going to miss her when she’s gone. The two agree to say goodbye to the people they were in the past, which they symbolize by burning down the house they’ve been staying in, giving it (and their past) the finger as they walk off together into the night.
I guess a lot of people may have thought this episode was slow and uneventful, but I thought it was one of the series’ finest hours. The fact that Daryl didn’t have a life before all this makes me admire his character (in the present) even more. This episode even gets viewers to care about Beth. Unfortunately, that’s probably a sure sign that she’s going to get offed soon.