After Rick, Carl and Michonne were nearly captured by bandits, episode twelve focuses entirely on Daryl and Beth. The episode begins with Daryl and Beth hiding in the trunk of a car as walkers swarm them during a thunderstorm. This opening scene provides a very cool visual while also showing how desperate their situation is. Later we see the duo hunting and setting up a campsite, working as a team though they don’t appear to be on the best of terms.
Beth is hard set on drinking her first drink and wants Daryl to accompany her into town to look for one. Daryl is stoic in his silence, not wanting to look for other survivors. In pursuit of booze, their travels bring them to an abandoned golf club.
The golf club is full of walkers, some hanging from the ceiling on nooses implying a mass suicide, a re-occurring them throughout this second half of the season. While Beth is acting questionable, going to great lengths to secure a drink, she at least shows some signs of intelligence by sacrificing the bottle of wine to kill a walker.
Daryl has some pent up frustration and in another scene of mass walker slaying, he takes out several walkers with a golf club. When Beth finally finds the club’s last bottle of peach schnaaps, she breaks down crying as a result of pent up frustration over losing her friends and family. Daryl, being the hard on the outside but overall nice guy he is, destroys the bottle of peach schnaaps and promises to get her a “real” drink to serve as her first taste of alcohol.
Daryl takes Beth to an abandoned house to try out some home-made moonshine. When she tells him her dad told her that bad moonshine can make you go blind, Daryl cleverly replies, “There ain’t nothing worth seeing out there anymore.” It turns out that this abandoned home is Daryl’s father’s house, creating a brief moment where Daryl Dixon opens up to someone, something his brother Merle warned him against.
To relieve the stress, Daryl and Beth play a comical drinking game. Things go sour as Beth implies that she thought Daryl had spent time in jail before the walker outbreak, which he didn’t. Angry and drunk, Daryl jabs at Beth over her past suicide attempts and forces Beth to shoot his crossbow, only to break down in tears moments later.
This is easily the most intimate moment the character of Daryl Dixon has had so far, showing remorse for the first time in their entire show. Beth and Daryl bond over stories about their over-protective siblings. Beth confides to Daryl that she wishes she could be more like him, tough and built for the walkers filled world they live in, and that one day he’ll be the “last man standing.” She suggests that Daryl is a better person than who he was in his past, and suggests that they burn down his father’s house.
In a dramatic and cheesy moment, Daryl and Beth burn down his father’s home and end the episode by flipping the house off as it burns. This scene is very, very heavy handed and difficult to comprehend. It felt very over-the-top, as if the writers wanted to re-create the infamous last scene of the Breakfast Club with John Bender posing victoriously but with walkers.
Episode twelve of The Walking Dead was entirely comprised of character development. There were no real hints given to how the group will be reunited but it was an enjoyable episode, albeit slow. While Daryl opening up to Beth about his past and fear of getting hurt by losing people was nice to view as a fan, it definitely foreshadows Daryl losing someone else he cares about in the near future, most likely Beth. There won’t be any more slow episodes like this that focus on two characters for fifty minutes with only four episodes left this season. The group is about to be reunited but there is zero chance they will all make it to the end.