Director Julius Ramsey and writer Angela Kang team up to bring us “Still”. Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) fans rejoice! This episode is solely focused on Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) and Mr. Dixon, which seems to be standard practice to pit a lesser tier character with a fan-favourite.
Thematically the episode stays true to how the characters cope with loss, as the search for booze continues to be a topic in Daryl-centric stories. Like Michonne (DanaiGurira), Daryl regresses a bit in this story taking money and jewellery from the country club, which couldn’t be further from how Glenn (Steven Yeun) raided the cell block looking for items for the group. Whereas Beth follows in her father’s footsteps looking for a drink to take the edge off, which leads them to a country club that houses the last bottle of peach schnapps. Before Beth can enjoy the spoils, she breaks down. Daryl comes out of his shell to introduce her to a proper first drink in the south. Moonshine.
The change in the setting from the country club to the redneck house in the woods provides a glimpse of the different worlds Beth and Daryl come from, which becomes even more apparent when they play a game of Never Have I Ever. A drunken Daryl ends up being a reflection of his father while he goes off on Beth. During his inebriated state of mind, he has an emotional breakdown releasing all the pent-up emotions of losing his prison family.
As the episode concludes, we find out Daryl was a drifter before “The Turn,” and found his purpose when he was with Rick and Company. Although Beth is considered useless, they drive home the motif that neither of them are who they once were, but are both survivors in their own right. In a literal baptism by fire Beth and Daryl torch the shanty home as they march forward to an uncertain but obvious future.
“Still” levels the playing field between two completely different characters. Although I can help but feel that the episode could have been better served as either the first episode after the mid-season break or after “After”. Fans of the show might feel underwhelmed with the lack of action considering one of the two leads is the badass walker slayer,but similar to Michonne’s story viewers are treated with the motivation behind the more lethal characters. Interesting enough Beth is the emotional anchor in this story, but her statement that won’t be around much longer could be foreshadowing a change in the line-up of survivors.
How long do you think we have before the group meets up at Terminus? The Walking Dead returns next week with episode 13 “Alone,” but until then tell us what you thought of tonight’s episode.