All Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) needed in the final minutes of The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 12: “Still” was a hug. Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) saw that and obliged with her own unique twist on the familiar embrace.
After Daryl confessed that he blames himself for Hershel Greene’s (Scott Wilson) death and the destruction of the prison at the hands of The Governor, (David Morrissey) Beth tore down the walls he’s put up, grabbed him from behind and embraced him. It certainly wasn’t a traditional hug, and as Norman explained in an interview with AccessHollywood.com it came about in an interesting way.
“We worked that out. That originally was a face-to-face hug and it was her going, ‘Stop it! Stop it!’ and hug me and crying, and ‘Stop it, stop it,’ and hugging me. … I kind of came up with that backwards hug thing and dude, that director really pushed that to make that really awesome,” he said. “Daryl, feeling her hug him from behind was larger to me than a face-to-face hug. It was the support. Like she’s standing him up and it wasn’t so much the visual of it that I was thinking about, it was more of, he’s lost in this — him screaming and all of that stuff — it’s coming from a place of fear. He’s afraid and to watch a tough character be afraid and lash out like that and go full circle and end in tears, is such a heavy thing, but to have someone come up behind him and lean against him and hold him up, even symbolically is like, I was going off what that would feel like to Daryl more than the visual of it and I just felt like if he could feel that behind him, it would be more of a moment.”
Honestly, we never really thought about the difference in how a character gets a hug, but Norman’s analysis makes a ton of sense, and we think the supportive embrace makes the scene. It’s clearly more powerful than a straightforward hug and the symbolism just adds so much depth to it. Daryl may be this big tough guy with a troubled past, but he needs love and support just like the rest of us, and we’re glad Beth was there to give it to him just like he gave her her first taste of real liquor. Moonshine, anyone?
Ultimately, after burning the house that symbolized Daryl’s past, Beth and Daryl soldiered on together. We’ll see them continue on in this Sunday’s Episode 13: “Alone,” and even though the title hints that one of them could perish, we really hope that The Powers That Be Will Keep this duo in tact.
Do you think Daryl and Beth will both survive “Alone”? Tell us your thoughts and theories below!
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.