Monday, March 3, 2014

Beth Takes Her First Drink and We All Yawn


“Still”
Beth and Daryl do a lot of running away from walkers, A LOT. This is quite the tenses, as the  infamous fake O.J. observer said way back in 1994 to a thoroughly befuddled Peter Jennings. The duo decides to hide out in the trunk of a defunct car as walkers swarm the area. After scavenging the car for useful stuff, they leave. Huh. Not much to say about that except maybe, “I see Beth, and she look scared!” in the words of the aforementioned OJ observer impersonator. I do hope that most of my readers were either old enough to vote, drink, or engage in carnal relations when O.J. Simpson murdered his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman back in 1994. Otherwise, this brilliant reference will be sadly lost upon you unless you Google it!
Back to Beth and Daryl in the forest. One day, Daryl realizes, he’s going to lose all of his crossbow arrows. One of them has snapped in two. Shouldn’t he have a bigger beard by now? If my calculations are correct, he should resemble Grizzly Adams. There’s nothing like eating squirrel and a side of—ew—snake with a pretty lady in tow. Beth wishes she had a chardonnay to wash down that absolutely revolting reptile. Why do you have to go off alone, Beth? Do you not know by now that Daryl is the ultimate zombie fighter? Here come the walkers. She wisely hides behind a tree. Daryl finds her. She’s acting like a petulant teenager, which I guess she kind of is. She’s craving booze, which does not bode well, given her family history (father Hershel was a former alcoholic).
They come across a country club. A golf club makes an excellent head clubber, don’t you know. We are presented with yet another scene of poor souls who attempted to “opt out” of the world by suicide. But they didn’t know about the rule of taking your head out first or else you become a walker. In the kitchen, Daryl finds some seasoning for his various meats. Beth has found some alcohol but has to use the bottle to brain an attacking walker; Bob Stookey’s nightmare! Wasted booze—nooooooooo! You will recall that he is another alcoholic struggling to stay sober when life seems so bleak. Country clubs are already kind of sad when they are functional, so to see a zombified one is even more depressing. Off goes the white golf cardigan Beth pilfered from the club’s store; it’s covered in blood. But she’s OK, folks! In fact, she’s found the wet dream of every teenaged girl, peach schnapps. Will she get drunk and do it with Daryl? Hmmm. I think Beth misses her daddy. She’s crying before she can even open that bottle of schnapps. And Daryl reminds her that your first drink should not be crappy schnapps, anyway! Glad to see that alcohol standards have not slipped in the apocalyptic universe.
Beth shines a light on what COULD be booze.

I just KNEW that he was waiting to find some good old moonshine for Beth! There’s nothing like a first drink that will make your eyebrows fall off and your toenails turn inside out. Beth wants a partner in crime, but shouldn’t someone with his wits about him be keeping watch? Is this entire episode going to be about Beth and Daryl? I’ve already had enough, no offense. Beth engages a highly reluctant Daryl in a drinking game enjoyed by college coeds everywhere: I’ve never done…and then the other person drinks or doesn’t, based upon the other’s answer. This is boring!
Daryl apparently thinks so, too. His prison time comes up. Daryl takes a piss—loudly, in the corner of the room. Daryl is singing his woe is me, I’ve had a bad life song. Things are getting uncomfortable. “I want you to stop acting like nothing matters,” Beth says to him. Daryl says some pretty cruel things about Beth not seeing Maggie again. Then he tears up. Beth embraces him. He’s openly crying now. Yawn. Not impressed with this episode.
Daryl reveals that pre-apocalypse he was “just drifting around with Merle,” living randomly. Beth shares that she thought that life would normalize for her and her family at the prison. She praises Daryl for his ability to adapt and change. They decide to burn down the wreck of a house with the rest of the moonshine.
I’m not sure how I feel about this episode. It does not lend us any new insight about Beth or Daryl. We already knew that Daryl had a tender side, which does not reveal itself too often. And who could blame him? Men and women alike have to assume a hardened stance in this world or they could end up getting seriously hurt, both physically and mentally. It felt like an almost-end-of-the-season episode in which the writers are simply trying to kill time. It did effectively highlight, however, how young Beth really is. We forget that she is just a young girl still subject to mood swings. Note also her desire to experiment with alcohol. I do appreciate the way the writers are handling Beth’s attempts to balance her optimism with the fact that she and Daryl have not yet reconnected with any members of the scattered group.
Like any other teenage girl, Beth kept a diary.

In spite of these revelations, though, this episode lacked the suspense and excitement that has characterized others in season four. Has the denouement already occurred (the destruction of the prison group)? Has the season peaked too early? 

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