In last Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”, we followed the unlikely duo of Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Beth Greene (Emily Kinney). Seeing as how Beth and Daryl have never spent much time together, we were curious as to how this installment would play out. What we got was an expertly-crafted, brilliantly-acted hour that, while it didn’t really advance the plot, gave us a more complete understanding of two characters we know and love.
“It seems like two people who are the last people on Earth. It’s just the two of them and they don’t know if anyone else is still around,” Norman explains in the behind the scenes video below while Emily notes that Beth is “feeling very alone with Daryl.”
After some intense brooding from Daryl and chatter from Beth, the youngest Greene gal decides it’s time to take action and sets off to find her first alcoholic drink. “Beth doesn’t want to just sit there and stare at the fire anymore. She doesn’t want to just soak in the sadness,” showrunner Scott Gimple explains. And while we first found her booze quest to be silly and juvenile, executive producer Tom Luse offers a different perspective: “She wants to do something for herself, to feel like she lived a little bit”
After a trip to the country club, which special effects guru Greg Nicotero refers to as “Dante’s Inferno, Daryl and Beth end up at the Moonshine house, a locale that forces Daryl to confront his shameful past while still grappling with such profound loss. As Scott explains, “It’s everything that he got away from, and here he is, back where he started. It’s driving home everything he’s lost.”
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd agrees, saying,“It brings to the surface a lot of the demons Daryl has had tamped down inside of him. We get to see those demons threaten to take over, and we can see a dark side to him that we haven’t seen much of before.”
For Daryl, the trip to the house brings all of his issues, past and present, to the surface, and we see him lash out at Beth as he struggles to process everything. “He’s got so much weighing on his shoulders all of the time, so many secrets and skeletons in the closet and he just doesn’t want to let people know who he is,” Norman says of his on-screen counterpart.
Another executive producer, Denise Huth, sums it up best:“The zombie apocalypse was not the big loss of Daryl’s life, losing the prison was a big loss because it was probably the first time in his life where he felt like he had a family.”
Ultimately, and with major props to Beth, Daryl is able to work though his demons. Norman is as surprised as we were that Beth was the one to get Daryl out of his dark place, but he’s also a fan of that dynamic. We’ll let him explain: “For him [Daryl] to find strength in possibly the weakest physical person in the group, but emotionally one of the strongest, I think it’s very beautiful and he allows himself to be honest.”
Are you surprised that Beth was able to get through to Daryl? Watch the video below and tell us your thoughts and opinions!
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.