Zombie Round Up: Still
Greetings zombie minded Evil Geek followers. It is that time again where we talk all things undead that walk, the Zombie Round Up! Last time we played catch up with Glen and Tara; plus we also got to know our new characters, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene, a little bit better. I really hoped we’d get the chance to see a little bit more of them this week, but the episode focused squarely on the “adventures” of the zombie apocalypse’s hottest odd couple: Darryl and Beth.
I’ve said it before and sure enough, here I am saying it again: I’m not really a fan of “Aside” episodes. In defense of “Still”, it’s not REALLY that much of an aside from the main story. We’ve been checking in with the various groups of survivors so far this season, as everyone is still (and possibly will be for some time) scattered due to the battle at the prison. We’ve gotten a good idea of where Rick, Carl, and Michonne are, we’ve seen Glen making great efforts to find Maggie again, while she is also desperately searching for Glen. We saw that Darryl and Beth ended up taking off together, but we really haven’t gotten a detailed look at what they’ve been up to, so this is their turn to take center stage if we’re sticking to the way the season’s been playing out so far. However, unlike the others, we don’t really see as much of what Darryl and Beth have been going through physically like the others, so much as this episode focuses more on the emotional trauma they’ve endured on their journey thus far. They’re both pretty shaken by their belief that they are the only survivors of their group. When everyone was fleeing for their lives after the prison, in all the ensuing chaos, it became impossible to know what happened to whom or who got out and who got killed. They truly believe that they are the only ones left and they are handling it in vastly different ways.
While the two have each others backs, it wouldn’t seem that they are getting along well or even really talk to each other much. I love that there really isn’t much dialogue in a large portion of the story. Darryl and Beth are out in the open with almost no shelter or refuge from the zombie horde, so when they do speak, it’s in a whisper to keep from attracting attention to themselves. Beth seems to be playing the part of the rebellious teen to Darryl’s stern watchdog. Even though she’s still underage and has never actually had a drop of booze in her life, Beth wants nothing more than to get drunk. She’s been through a whole hell of a lot recently including the observed death of her father and the assumed death of her sister and “brother-in-law”. She’s had to assume a lot of responsibility to ensure her survival and she’s desperately looking for a break from that. Her wanting to go hunt for booze isn’t really about a kid wanting to do something bad now that she’s sans parental supervision, it’s about someone who’s incredibly stressed out and just wants to turn off their brain for a while in order to recharge.
Darryl on the other hand is taking his grief a little more personally. He feels like he could have done more to protect the prison and that the deaths resulting from the attack were a failure on his behalf for not protecting his people better. In other words, being the “leader” of the prison people is starting to take its toll on him the same way it took its toll on Rick. Even though he did all he could to fight back once the battle began (including blowing up an F-ing TANK!), he’s feeling guilt over people getting killed. Darryl’s reacting to those feelings of guilt by taking on the responsibility for protecting Beth as a way to atone for his perceived shortcomings as a leader. Once he get’s drunk on the moonshine he finds, he starts acting incredibly harsh towards Beth not because he hates her, but because he’s finally stepping away from his responsibilities and he’s allowing himself to break from the pressure he’s been feeling for weeks. When he’s being shitty to Beth, it’s not done out of anger at her but at the pent-up anger he’s felt towards himself. Deep down he’s angry that the only reason he has to protect Beth so intensely right now is because he believes the blood spilled at the prison in solely on his hands. It also really didn’t help that Beth basically accuses Darryl of being a criminal in the pre-apocalypse days. I mean here he’s been for the last year and a half or so, risking his life and busting his ass for others and she still seems him as some kind of degenerate. Way to be a buzzkill Beth.
Each of them eventually reach the breaking point they were looking for and end up opening up to each other over several glasses of moonshine. The booze and the ensuing deep conversation are cathartic for the two as they each come to terms with the issues in their past that causes each of them to be perceived as they are. Darryl thinks Beth is weak because she tried to kill herself, while she thinks he’s a low life because he’s related to Merle. They eventually see each other for the people who they’ve become, then symbolically burn down they house that they’d taken shelter in and also by proxy burn down their past selves. While the episode was an aside, I still enjoyed it for what it was: a character study between two of the characters on the show you’d least likely expect to be paired up together. They seem like polar opposites: the “strongest” member of the group and the “weakest” member of the group, but once they each see past those paradigms, they end up finding common ground. That being said, let’s get back to getting everybody reunited again next week! However it shakes out, we’ll be here with another Zombie Round Up!
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Posted on March 4, 2014, in Reviews, TV, Zombie Round-Up and tagged AMC TV, Darryl Dixon, Geeks, nerds, Norman Reedus, Still, The Walking Dead, TV, Zombie, Zombie Round-Up, Zombies. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.