For us, these character-driven episodes of The Walking Dead have been hit-or-miss. Sure, we love getting to know more about the likes of Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), but at the same time we miss the high-energy feel of TWD of the past.
Season 4, Episode 12: “Still,” gave us some much-needed info about Daryl’s directionless past, and while he had to face his demons and work through the shame and doubt that plagued him pre-apocalypse, Daryl ultimately ended Episode 12 rejuvenated and ready to face the harsh world again.
Beth certainly helped him through this rough patch, and once the two of them decided to burn down the Moonshine house in the installment’s final moments, we knew Daryl would be capable of getting back to his badass self. In a behind-the-scenes video, Emily discusses why the end of the episode is so significant. “The main thing about the end of this episode is that Beth and Daryl don’t know what’s to come, and they’ve had to go through all this grief, but they have a certain amount of freedom to be whoever they want to be,” she explains.
Norman agrees, noting that Daryl 3.0 is ahead. “That burning down the house thing — there was this weird cathartic joy in doing it. It’s new stage Daryl right there.”
Showrunner Scott Gimple is also on the same page, viewing the act of burning the house as a final farewell to the old Daryl. “It’s this sort of joyful defiance; that’s a total rejection of everything that was in the past to Daryl,” he says.
And it’s also important that Beth was by Daryl’s side when he said farewell to his past. In a way, as executive producer Gale Anne Hurd points out, the experience was beneficial to her as well. “It’s a catharsis really, for both of them. And Beth’s able to enjoy that with him,” she reasons.
Lastly, Emily mentions how this shared experience — setting fire to the house and everything that came before — has really taken Beth and Daryl’s bond to a whole new place: “Now they feel like they’re in it together, and they definitely have a friendship that is on a very deep level.”
Do you think Daryl and Beth will stay close, or will tragedy tear them apart in the remaining episodes of Season 4? Watch the video below and tell us your thoughts!
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.