Beth: “There are still good people in the world, Daryl.”
Daryl: “I don’t think the good ones survive.”
I’d really appreciate it if we could ease up on the foreshadowing. I think I enjoyed things better when the deaths came completely by surprise. I mean, aside from those who know every spoiler, who knew Dale was going to out as violently as he did? That was a fantastic, albeit sad moment in TWD history. T-Dog losing a chunk of his neck and then sacrificing himself to save Carol? Goosebumps! But the last couple of episodes are starting to wear on me. Death is coming. Quit alluding to it and just kill people already! Rip that bandage off, AMC! You’re dragging it out and it’s killing me!
Time to catch up. If you haven’t already watched the episode or need a quick refresher, click here for a good recap full of spoilers.
All set? Let’s do this!
I loved the parallels between the scenes of Bob walking alone, at the opening of the show and just before the show ended. Seeing how much he has changed in such a short span of time (going by their timeline, of course) was interesting. As he explained to Daryl and Glenn, Bob had already been with two other groups of people that ultimately perished. “It doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. I loved that line! He nailed it. It doesn’t matter who you are, because you’re going to end up the same way. We’re all the walking dead; it’s just a matter of time. Seeing the effects of utter despair and loneliness on Bob juxtaposed with how Daryl ends up, was a nice touch. We’ll get to that in a moment. The psychological damage of being isolated was explored nicely among all of the characters, and has been throughout the second half of this season. I did like that Daryl asked Bob those three important questions of Rick’s before taking him in; How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why? I have to wonder, did Rick sit down and teach everyone to ask those questions, or was it something Daryl picked up from observing him? If you recall, at the point Rick developed that way of thinking, he was a little…off the reservation…doing stuff and thangs. And when he regained his senses, he became a farmer rather than a council member. Given the time period of when Glenn and Daryl rescue Bob–which was only 1 week prior to the start of Season 4, per the internet–Rick definitely wasn’t screening newcomers. And he was alone with Clara when he asked her. So, unless the night they brought everyone back from Woodbury, Rick quizzed the bus passengers, I think Daryl asking those three questions was just something the writers threw in for the “awww” factor of Rickyl fangirls. Well played. Still, the opening scenes of Bob were quite moving. I especially liked the part where he refortifies someone’s old shelter and holes up there drinking cough syrup. For those of you who don’t imbibe, most cough syrups have nearly as much alcohol in them as a wine cooler. Bob, the alcoholic, was getting it wherever he could at that point. Notice his shelter looked like a self-imposed prison. The alcohol was his prison. Again, AMC, well played.
Just as I suspected it would, the scene with Bob, Sasha and Maggie in the fog scared the bejeezus out of me. I’m really not a fan of things I can’t see. That scene was the stuff of nightmares. I’m thankful it was brief. During the scene, Entertainment Weekly columnist, Dalton Ross, tweeted about the issues of visibility that have been explored recently on the show. He mentioned Rick hiding under the bed, Daryl and Beth in the trunk, and now the trio in the fog. Later on, during The Talking Dead, Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) would touch on the same subject. Is their limited vision a metaphor? They’re losing sight of one another, of themselves, of their purpose as well as the physical threats surrounding them.
Beth, it seems, has never lost sight. She proved once again that she is her father’s daughter, always looking for the good in people and in situations. Her respect for the dead, which she argued about last week with Daryl, was displayed in this episode as she remarked on the embalming and preparation of walkers at the funeral home as “beautiful”. Sasha, on the other hand, sees “warnings” and “signs” everywhere. Sometimes we need to heed those warnings, sometimes we don’t. At this point, the group is so blinded by actual signs for Terminus, and with the bloody signs Maggie is leaving all over Georgia for Glenn, that I think that they may be blind to the “signs” Sasha is so concerned with. I have a feeling there will be a big, fat, eye-rolling, I-told-you-so moment for Sasha coming very soon. I only hope that it won’t cost them her life.
And speaking of signs….back to Daryl and Beth. Go ahead, all you Bethyl shippers and rejoice. They had a moment during last night’s episode. I can forgive that moment for a few reasons. 1) I like to pretend he was talking to me and not Beth. 2) I have the satisfaction of knowing that he spent the better part of the first 3.5 seasons bonding in the same way with Carol, who is roughly the same age as Daryl–on and off screen. 3) Any semblance of anything other than a gained respect between the two of them was shot all to hell when whomever owns the crucifix-mobile kidnapped her. They’ve been hinting at bad things for the two of them for weeks. Last week alone there were two very heavy warning signs–go back and read that blog post if you haven’t already done so–death is coming for these two. Well, it’s coming for everyone. But people have to die before the season ends, so…..
The biggest lie told in nearly every episode this season: “I’m not afraid.”
The biggest epiphany of the back 8 episodes: “I can’t do it by myself.”
Sasha realized this when she found the “higher ground” she was looking for in that town. Maggie realized it not long after she left Sasha and Bob in the camp, which is why she hung around the town, “I was waiting for you.” Daryl realized it at the end of last week’s episode, which is why he was so willing to settle in at the funeral home with whomever lived there in order to provide some sort of stability for Beth. Not because he wants to get in her pants, but most likely because he has grown to care about her and he still feels obligated to protect in ways he feels he failed with Hershel. Mark my words, if anything were to happen between these two characters, it would only be because they’re going through that last-man-on-earth scenario. As of now, they don’t believe there is anyone else left. And as Daryl shrugged last week, “Might as well make the best of it.” If the circumstances were not what they were, this wouldn’t be an issue. He’s known Beth since the farm. If he wanted to make moves, he’d have made moves by now. Hell, up until last week, he’s never even looked at her sideways. Well, once, when he told her that her boyfriend was dead and he didn’t awkwardly hug her back, rather he gave her a strange look for not crying. That’s not lust. That’s pity.
As I said, Maggie realized that she can’t make it alone. But Glenn, who decided a few weeks ago that he could make it alone (he’s just got an incidental entourage now) is still out there searching for his beloved. In the final scene where he sees a Terminus sign for the first time, I’d really hoped he would have found one with one of Maggie’s bloody notes written on it. Instead, he found a generic one, same as everyone else. But at least he’ll be on his way. So now, the only people who have never seen a sign for Terminus are Beth and Daryl. Will they get there? Does it matter?
Remember the drunken therapy session last week where we learned all about who Daryl was before the ZA? Take all of that and throw it out the window. At this moment, Daryl is distraught. The one person–the last person–left for him to protect, the person who restored his faith in humanity, has been taken from him. Try as he did, he could not save her. He gave up. Daryl just completely shut down, sitting there in the middle of the cross roads (more symbolism!!!). When Joe and his buddies show up and start giving Daryl a hard time, we can see the scales tip. Joe…remember weeks ago when I said he’d be be back? But who is Joe? Is he one of the Hunters? Is he one of the Saviors? Regardless, both groups are bad news. And Daryl, poor Daryl, standing at his crossroads has a choice to make. If he tried to leave, they’d kill him. Does he want to live, or does he want to die? Has he given up hope yet? Does he join with them merely to survive or to bide time until he can find Beth? Or does instinct kick in and thrust him right back into his old role prior to the ZA, as Joe asks, “Why hurt yourself when you can hurt other people?” Oh snap. Daryl Dixon, the time bomb I’ve been predicting is about to go off. He believes he is the last surviving member of their “family” and this is an opportunity, not only to stay alive, but to take out all of his frustration and anger at the world.
Will he just go along for the ride, biding his time, waiting for the opportunity to make a break for it? Or will Daryl live up to everything his big brother Merle had carved out for him? Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, Daryl is clinging to a flickering hope that he can still find Beth and the others. Hopefully, Beth can help him believe in himself enough to not lose himself to the dark side. I only wish Daryl had known how Merle really felt about him in the end or the things Merle and Carol talked about. If Merle hadn’t seen the changes in Daryl, hadn’t come to realize that he was the man Merle could never be, he never would have sacrificed himself to give them a chance.
I can see Daryl crossing into the darkness. But I can also see him snapping back out of it Darth Vader style at the last possible minute in an attempt to save one of his “family” and then he dies gloriously, as a hero.
This episode, while sporting a few cool walker kills and some nice visuals, irritated me. It slowed the pace of the story. I know, people have been complaining for weeks about how things are dragging on, but I’ve been fighting for the writing week after week, defending it. This is one episode, though, where I didn’t feel like fighting as much. A lot of what happened could have been summed up quicker. Yes, I’m all for character development, but the way it was portrayed over the last few weeks. While Bob was explored and expanded upon, Sasha barely got a chance to show growth. And Maggie? Not at all. Daryl and Beth just continued on from last week and didn’t get interesting until the moments before she disappeared. Next week looks promising. The preview is of a little girl playing Tag with a walker in her back yard, as seen through a kitchen window. Some think it looked like a dream sequence. I think it’s another flashback. There’s been a lot more of them lately. Something happened along the way to make Lizzie so damn fascinated with walkers. As the sisters put it, she “understands” them. Is this a glimpse at life before daddy whisked Lizzie and Mika away to live in Woodbury? She’s never been afraid of walkers. Why? I think we’re about to find out. I also think that either Tyreese or Carol will be leaving us next Sunday. I’ve been predicting both Daryl and Carol since the start of the season. But, Ty is no where near the character that he was when introduced in the comics. In fact, Sasha has been stronger at every turn. I know he’s a fan favorite, but he has been utterly underutilized since his introduction on the show in Season 3. Either let him come into his own, or let him go.
I’ve heard rumors of at least 3 notable deaths before the season ends. That’s 3 weeks, folks. I have 5 names that keep circling in my mind. Share in the comments who you predict will bite it [pun possibly intended] this season. And if you KNOW the names for certain, please do not say so. Don’t spoil it for anyone else. I already know one of them, but I’ll not be telling you lot. Instead, I’ll keep playing guessing games and speculating because that’s more fun.
Until next week…..