This past Sunday has been my favorite Walking Dead episode this season, and probably one of my favorites overall. Despite finally getting answers on what Darryl’s life was like when the zombie apocalypse hit, I think it’s safe to say that this ep was all about Beth.
Where to begin with the awesomeness that was this episode? To be honest, while I have a soft spot for Beth, if before the episode began, someone were to have asked me which character of these two that I was most looking forward to see on screen, Beth would not have been my first answer. And to be completely frank, while I have no legalistic attitudes toward alcohol, especially not in a zombie apocalypse, and while I feel like I can sympathize with her need to ease all of her current hurt and frustrations, I was bit irritated by her need to get drunk at the beginning of the episode, and really appreciated Darryl’s unsupportive attitude.
Darryl knew that he couldn’t stop her though, not really, and deep down, I don’t think, despite his loner attitude that he could handle being any more alone than Beth.
I thought it was fabulous though that (and this is just my reflection on the episode later after it aired) we got a glimpse at how the “other half”, lived, tried to cope and self-destructed at the golf resort that Beth and Darryl found.
I don’t think that we need to ever get any webisodes, or additional footage showing us what exactly happened at “Pine Vista Country Club”, it was pretty clear from the carnage that things may have been fine for a while. The wealthy tried to wait things out, expecting help that never came, and then when the going got tough, all the money and alcohol in the world couldn’t keep them sane or safe. It helped to illustrate in ways we haven’t seen before that staying together is not an effective strategy in and of itself. and optimism, or ignorance of pragmatism can do more harm than good. Beth (evidenced by her impractical choice in a change of clothes), with her compassion, need for acceptance, and a current (understandable) longing for comfort would have loved to have stepped into the side of that life on a better day. Who can blame her though? If anyone’s watched Mad Men that place was probably a mini-Camelot, shiny on the outside, but painful on the inside. Darryl on the other hand, would have just been happy to smash things there with a golf club, even without the zombies. Who can blame him though? Neither of them have ever really had the outlets for their frustrations and hurts, and it’s after these scenes in the country club, where the episode really gets amazing. Also, the fact that Darryl could understand what Beth’s needs were, and out of sense of practicality and probably one last bit of stubbornness to those with silver spoons, decided to offer her moonshine, instead of peach schnapps, was wonderful. Don’t ever let Darryl’s rough exterior fool you into thinking that he doesn’t have standards.
Anyway, moving on to moonshine, and getting honest. At some point Darryl was going to break down. I’m not writing that as someone who feels like she always has the answers about this show, but just as someone who knows that shutting down in times of pain or loss can only get someone so far. If Darryl didn’t have to keep surviving he might have been able to completely let go of life. He can’t though, and he knows it. What he may not fully know is that how those he survives with, in this case Beth, see him, and the effect it has. Darryl, as attached to Beth as he is had a certain amount of understandable resentment. He sees her as someone who grew up having everything, and his rough upbringing certainly prepared him to be the “last man standing” in a zombie apocalypse. However that’s not what he wants because to be the last man standing means he’d be alone, and if he could handle that then there are probably a lot of other things he could have been doing with his life instead of just drifting with his brother before everything went bad. So, it’s no surprise that being in an environment just like his childhood home, and having Beth touch on some emotional nerves that he’d finally start to boil over instead of just stewing about how everything went the way it did at the prison.
Sometimes though, you just have to throw a bit of a fit, and let off some steam, before you can begin to reconcile your hurts with others, and yourself. And sometimes, you just have to burn something down, so that you can move on with a clean slate.
Burning down the cabin was best for both Beth and Darryl. It gave Beth that last bit of rebellion that she never got with her overprotective father, and it gave Darryl a sense of being able to let go of his past and be the good man that we all know he is.
So, what were your thoughts on the episode?