Reconciled, The Walking Dead S4e12

normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1068Hi Readers,
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.

normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_0328Where 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. normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_0460And 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.

normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_0485Darryl 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 normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_0547that (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.

normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_0800I 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 normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_0885itself. 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. normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_0876Darryl 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.

normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1145Anyway, moving on to moonshine, and getting honest. At some point Darryl was going to break down. I’m not writing normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1270that 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. normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1328What he may not fully know is that how those he survives with, in this case Beth, see him, and the effect it normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1397has. 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 normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1405the 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.

normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1858Sometimes 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. normal_The_Walking_Dead_S04E12_1080p_kissthemgoodbye_net_1930

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?

5 thoughts on “Reconciled, The Walking Dead S4e12

  1. When reflecting on the entire series so far, you can pull up maybe a couple that are on par – nearly – to this latest installment. I am in agreement with the author that this episode was likely the best (the incredulous skeptic in me wants to shout out “Hubris!” but hopefully I’m wrong and it is not). But really, how can this be bested? I look forward to the rest of the season to find out…in the meantime…

    Amazing episode. Simply amazing. The writing and the acting were superior to most television writing these days and for the last several years (How long has it been since LOST?) Unlike the previous uneven episode (albeit riveting and exceptional in its own right, at times) this episode could have been its own, tidy little homage to the struggles and life that folks might have undertaken in a Zombie world. Interesting thing is, it’s probably the most literary of the bunch since day one…and that is what makes it most suitable for reflecting on the series as a whole. I don’t know how often I’ve heard someone say “Oh, zombies? That’;s gross” when I tell them how awesome sauce it is…only to have to correct them, and share that TWD really isn’t about zombies. It’s about the people, the relationships, the struggle of the human condition. And zombies.

    But that’s the craft that’s made this special. Like LOST, the supernatural aspect has become secondary to good versus evil, desperation versus joy and excitement versus the mediocrity of life. And who better to portray that than the odd combination/clash of personalities of Beth and Darryl? Did I say the hated Beth, or just think it?

    At any rate, to see Beth’s annoying glower and determination (sorority like in it’s gravitas) seek some teeny bopper version of rebellion in a world that needs no rebellion. The ironic portrayal was well crafted and studied. To counter with the tension created from a Darryl (who, let’s be honest, for a moment we expected might fall prey to Beth’s womanly charms, as slight as they may be) who was bubbling under the surface with a quiet loneliness manifested as rage, aggression and loss of purpose even though the world he came from presented less.

    That Darryl would find meaning in a world without meaning, when he came from a place without meaning in a world that supposedly had some – wow, what a great insight the writers displayed.

    So in the end, Beth and Darryl find meaning in each other arms but in a way not imagined. Completely focused on supporting each other in a way that blows through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs so deftly it made me laugh, it made me cry. I could see it again and again.

    Yes – it was a nice movement forward for a program that moves forward nicely. It makes us a believer in Darryl, finally, if we weren’t one. And perhaps, even of Beth – whiny, unfocused little Beth. Suffice to say, the writers are now primed to make us destabilize with a trauma so great we regret doing so.

    Glenn and Maggie eat your hearts out. There is a new relationship in danger now.

    • So, the only part of your comments that I disagree with, is your thoughts on where quality television has been for the last few years… because I know that you never watched Breaking Bad. I have actual regret that I wasn’t watching that show live from the beginning. I loved that I was able to do it for the last couple seasons though. Of course I know that these comments are on a Walking Dead post, and I stand by my statement that this episode was amazing (in fact every episode since the prison burned has been great… though I haven’t watched last nights… so we’ll see if the streak continues)….

      Where was I… yes, Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad was one of the highest quality shows, conceptually, and in execution. The writing was AWEsome (yeah sometimes I’d sit there in awe after a scene or episode), the acting was brilliant, and the cinematography brought us perspectives and conjured emotions that you never would have expected, or achieved without.

      Story telling wise, overall Breaking Bad was also amazing because it was so well planned (and again, executed) with a beginning, middle and end, with a specific purpose and direction in mind.

      Walking Dead hasn’t always had that consistently.

      So yeah… I agree with you about the episode, but for quality television, it was there, you just weren’t watching.

  2. Okay – that’s fair. I neglected to put in Justified in the first few seasons as well. I’m sure things like Sherlock and Dr. Who may also even be considered. So another omission or two. Unintentional – but grant me grace as I wrote this still in the afterglow of the episode…

    I think the writing has been tight, manipulative at times, and somewhat inconsistent through the first seasons, but seemingly more stable in it’s instability this season, if that makes sense. You’ll see what I mean in the next episode (no spoilers).

    And speaking of Godzilla…I think good writing can provide much for actors to mull over, develop and portray much more than a good actor can save bad writing. In this season I think we see that clearly. Not that any of the actors are sub par – maybe that lady who got offed during the Governor’s last stand (See Hershel death), but kinda alluding to Breaking Bad, Cranston’s turn at Godzilla movie making was done because of his popularity and audience reach, no?

    Yes – it was forced. But now, it doesn’t make Godzilla any less anticipated.

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