TV Show Review

TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD: Season 4, Episode 12: Still [AMC]

Emily Kinney Norman Reedus The Walking Dead Still

AMC’s The Walking Dead  Still TV Show Review. The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 12: ‘Still,’ focused on the what is now the smallest of season 4.2’s diasporic teams, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth (Emily Kinney). Smaller does not equate to weaker, however, and the pairing of Daryl’s survival skill set, with Beth’s determination, arguably makes them the strongest combination out of the prison (the Ford co. doesn’t count) after the Michonne, Rick, & Carl team. Daryl had learned a thing or two about withdrawing into his survival mode, but for Beth, surviving wasn’t enough.

Unlike Carl, who grew into his rebellious faze under a Sheriff hat, with a gun in hand, Beth wanted to explore her tragic state of emancipation with a stiff drink. After some initial resistance, a seemingly disgruntled Daryl went along on the search; their first stop being at a once posh country club. A club now populated by the dead, and two varieties of undead – one walking, one hanging.

At first, I had assumed that the country club Hangers were re-animated suicides; but one corpse, posed with a hateful sign, suggested an “eat the rich” scenario had taken place, sometime during, or shortly after, the outbreak. I couldn’t help but wonder what became of the perpetrators; whether some of them have/ will impact the show, and did they scatter, or form into anarchist groups, like the Reavers of the previous episode.

There was more to Beth’s Pub Crawl (zombie apocalypse edition), than just the need to try forbidden (fermented) fruit, or drowning her sorrows. Beth needed a quest to keep her going, and began to break down, shortly after seemingly achieving her goal. Daryl may have understood this, all along; he kept her going with a promise of better booze for her inaugural drink.

The source of this upgrade was an isolated house, previously discovered by Daryl and Michonne, that was a picture of Daryl’s white trash past. The prize: moonshine. Beth took to the fire water well enough; turning out to be a relatively happy drunk. Daryl, however, fell on the angrier side of the spectrum. At least, it seemed that way. Beth’s effort to get through to him, in their drunken state, may have simply provided an outlet for everything he had managed to cap, up to the that point. It was equally hard to watch each inadvertently provoke the other; but the inevitable blow up did change their dynamic from one of mutually beneficial tolerance, to that of a true bond.

Beth had been carrying a lot within her, in order to stay functional and productive within the group. As coddled as she had seemed in the past, this baggage allowed her to stand up to, then push back against a raging Daryl. If Beth had been driven by a sense of duty, in helping carry the group – that now meant carrying her father’s legacy, Daryl had been driven by a sense of guilt – including culpability for Hershel’s death. He had discouraged Michonne’s efforts to find and finish the Governor. While there may have been some truth to Beth’s claim, that Daryl had been regarding her as some walking dead girl, they had each dismissed the other, in an effort to hold on to their respective impetus.

I never did understand the mystery/ speculation around Daryl’s past. His relationship with Merle, and the SS insignia on his motor cycle told me, from season one, what he revealed for this episode.

A disturbing thought occurred to me, watching Daryl and Beth settle into a snapshot of backwoods rustic living. Zombie apocalypse or no, without Hershel, there may have been a real prospect of Beth shacking up with an older, moonshine swilling outlaw. Hopefully, quality time with Daryl will be as close to that outcome as Beth will ever get.

There seemed to be a palpable chemistry, to Beth and Daryl’s dynamic, but that is to be expected, given their circumstance. The real question concerns how this newly developed relationship – a product of a unique, shared experience – will impact/ be impacted by prospective reintegration into the larger group. Regardless of where that relationship goes, it’s likely that fanfic couple, Deth, is here to stay. I won’t get into the many ways the formalizing of their new bond, with fire, could be incorporated into such fanfiction.

Hopefully, this will be the silliest observation I’ll be making, about any of the show’s cast, but Emily Kinney flips the cutest birds I think I’ve ever seen. The Keyser Söze fire silhouette slo-mo walk didn’t help. Somehow, lighting a fire under Beth made her even more adorable, in some respects.

Norman Reedus, for his part, gets a lot of credit for Daryl’s sheer potency, in this episode. His character was a coiled spring, throughout; clearly holding back, but giving no real clue, as to whether he was simmering out of concern or contempt, until reaching that breaking point.

It seems that season 4.2 will culminate in a reunion for the cast, and a set up for next season. The reunion angle has become part of the show’s fabric, at this point; so if the season 4 finale is to have anything like the impact of its mid-saeason finale, it would have to come from a new development, at a new location. This could be at the Terminus sanctuary; it could come from the capital; it may even be a consequence of introducing new faces to the group – or reintroducing an old one. Whichever the case, the question, of how a show like The Walking Dead can top itself, is often a more compelling reason to keep watching than the answer.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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