Monday, March 3, 2014

Good and Bad: 'The Walking Dead' (3/2/14)

Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”

Plot: When we last left our huggable band of survivors, Daryl and Beth (formerly: Herschel’s blonde daughter) were tracking an unknown party towards the mysterious settlement called Terminus. Well, we knew the party they were tracking was Tyreese and his harem of irritating white women, but Daryl and Beth didn’t know that.
                This week, we find Daryl and Beth in a rather harrowing state. They seem to have given up on tracking and struck off on their own … or something. They’re wandering around in the woods, food is scarce, walkers are plenty and worst of all, one of Daryl’s crossbow bolts breaks. That’s called symbolism, yo.
                At a certain point, Beth gets sick of walking around in the woods like a hobbit, and decides that now, right smack in the middle of the end of the world, is the perfect time for her first drink. So they set off to find her some booze.
                Their search takes them to a walker-infested golf course clubhouse which also features some hanged folks and some rather menacing-looking scrawled messages. It also contains a bottle of peach schnapps, but Daryl and his discerning pallet won’t allow that to be Beth’s first drink. Instead, he takes her to a cabin in the middle of nowhere for some moonshine.
                They drink, they play “Never have I ever,” Daryl gets belligerently drunk, urinates in doors and then tortures a zombie … It’s basically a post-apocalyptic Katy Perry song about Friday nights.
                Once things settle down, Daryl finally shares the grand secret of his pre-walker life to Beth: he was a drifter. Right around then, the time seemed right for some catharsis, so they set the cabin on fire, flip it the bird as one does and head out into the night.

Bad: Poor tactical decisions. “The Walking Dead” can play fast and loose with logic on occasion and I’ve come to accept that. But come on, guys. Couldn’t you wait until the sun came up to burn the cabin down?

Good: Opening chase scene. Maybe this scene should have made them a little wary about traveling at night? Our heroes wind up spending a wonderfully breathless night locked in the truck of a wrecked car to escape a giant herd of walkers. But yeah totally, let’s do some more night-walking.

Good: Clubhouse spookiness. Pretty much the first thing Daryl and Beth see when they break into the clubhouse are three hanged walkers. What’s unclear? Where they alive or dead when they were hung? Things only get eerier from there with the cryptic wall scrawlings and the dead zombie nailed to the door with the words “Rich Bitch” written on her. Could this be the misogynistic work of that gang Rick encountered last week? No matter what, “The Walking Dead” has been killing it lately with some of these settings.

Bad: Beth talking about “getting a damn drank.” The intersection between cute little blonde girl and dirty hillbilly is an uncomfortable, awkward place. No thank you.

Good: Daryl stealing money and valuables and such. For a second, I wondered if Daryl was planning ahead and saving for life post zombie-apocalypse. But then he lights the cabin fire with a stack of $100s and I realized, “Nope, he just needs the paper for stuff.” It ties in nicely with some scenes we get earlier in the episode of Daryl and Beth foraging for supplies.

Good: Daryl’s backstory. While they’re hanging out in the cabin, Daryl reveals all sorts of stuff about his upbringing, his hillbilly dad and the finer points of his life before zombies took over. It’s awesome. Daryl is tops among the characters on this show and he finally got something to do, even though I’m sure it will only be for one episode. Then back to Rick and Carl.

Good: Daryl’s breakdown. Daryl blames himself for the “deaths” of the gang at the prison and it’s tearing him up inside.  When he starts crying, what a payoff.

Good: Beth’s mission. Sometimes you just need something to do. Abraham has Danny McBride on the road to Washington, D.C. Rick has Carl to take care of. Beth wanted some booze. As far as missions go, it’s not the greatest, but it makes sense. It’s a small distraction to take their minds off the craptitude that is their current situation.

Bad: Daryl and Beth’s fun with booze. Speaking of uncomfortable. Daryl peeing in doors in front of Beth, the entire game of “Never Have I Ever,” just ek. Sure, their relationship is platonic because Daryl is a world class guy and for some reason the producers have forced him into something with Carol, but still, let’s not do this again.

God: Beth’s speech about survival. Fun with character development. Maybe she’s not the most capable or badass chick, but she made it and she thinks the others didn’t and Daryl and everyone else (including herself) just have to accept that for what it is.   

Bad: Flipping off the burning cabin. Couldn't have waited until daytime for this?

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