The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 12 “Still” Review

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In “Still”, Daryl helps Beth on her mission to lose her alcohol virginity. Will they or won’t they, that is the question.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled recap and reaction to The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 12 entitled “Still”.

Still

Four episodes into the second half of the season, “Still” feels like the calm before the storm.  “Still” is a relatively quieter, character-centric episode that mirrors the slow burn progression of the season.  Where as Season’s 3 episode 4 “Killer Within” killed off two regular characters and set in motion Rick’s arc, the pace and intensity of this half of the season hasn’t yet shifted into another gear. I enjoy taking the time to better define characters yet I’m also highly anticipating the “craziness” the show’s producers have teased fans with.

Although recent episodes have played with non-linear and overlapping timelines that offered some sort of connective tissue with other characters’ narratives, “Still” is an appropriately detached story about letting go. Letting go of the past that haunts us, letting go of our old selves, letting go the anger that eats us up inside all the while giving the middle finger. It’s fitting then that “Still” remains an isolated story that doesn’t end by crossing paths with other survivors but instead with setting on fire the kind of moonshine home Daryl grew up in.

She’s A Survivor

The weakest segment of “Inmates” centered on the contrasting outlook between Daryl and Beth. While I have enjoyed character focussed episodes such as the back to back Governor’s flashback and Michonne’s dream/back story,  I was a little apprehensive to put the magnifying glass on Beth which could sorely expose her for the weak character that she may be.

Perhaps under developed would be a fairer description than weak but it’s safe to say that Beth doesn’t elicit the same emotional fan response as Maggie, Michonne or even Carol. If Beth was on the reality game show Survivor, she’d be the one flying under the radar, riding on the coat tails of stronger players. But does that make her any less of a survivor? She may not be the toughest physically or smartest but she does deserve credit for playing the cards she’s been dealt and ultimately for staying alive where many have bitten the dust.

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 12 Stream Full Episode

Fore!

Beth is a stronger foil for Daryl than I would have expected. She’s an emotionally available young woman whom Daryl can open up to. Beth also demonstrated a self-awareness we’ve haven’t seen much of until now and is highly perceptive on what’s going on in Daryl’s mind. Maybe it’s a little too on the nose how Beth pinpoints what fans are saying about her, like how in the post-apocalyptic world she’s still alive despite not being a bad ass like Michonne? But it’s easier to connect with a character when they acknowledge truths that are plain for viewers to see.

The whole “I need a drink” story brings to mind that Beth is at the age when she would be off at college, away from her family for the first time. The age when you rebel against how you were raised and wanting to build your own independent identity in a way you couldn’t living at home as a high school teenager. The mental survival mechanism that she’s been using to keep her mind from fully taking in all the tragedy she’s endured is shattered as Daryl smashes the bottle of Peach Schnapps. Though she’s optimistic that Maggie is still alive somewhere, Beth doesn’t have a family and home to ever go back to which is a terribly sad and lonely feeling to come to terms with.

Last Man Standing

There are conventional devices for character development which worked well for Daryl in this episode. First show Daryl as a tough, embittered, rattlesnake eating bad-ass. Then slowly peel away the layers complete with a “Never Have I Ever” drinking game and stories of a messed up childhood until all that remains is an exposed nerve ending. I personally like seeing manly men breakdown and cry. ;) In addition to loosing his prison family, an aspect of survivor’s guilt is feeling personally responsible for those that passed away which explains his angry behavior is really a side effect of his own self-resentment.

The goal of “Never Have I Ever” drinking game, besides getting drunk, is to find out things about a person you didn’t know. Not knowing the specifics on who Daryl was before the zombies gives him an enigmatic quality. It’s the stuff folk heroes are made of where the stories or myths are grander than the actual truth. It’s a memorable moment when it pains Daryl to admit he’s a “nothing man”. A man whose never made anything of himself except as a drifter following his brother’s lead. Yet as Beth aptly corrects him, Daryl has what it takes to be the “last man standing” at the very end.

“Still” is not an episode we’ll be talking around the water cooler or list as a defining moment when the season is all said and done. The slower pace and lack of substantial developments may be a concern if I felt the producers didn’t learn a lesson from the anti-climatic finale of Season 3.  I appreciate the writers developing the bond between Beth and Daryl and giving these characters time in the spotlight, sort of like a deep breath before what I hope will be a wild sprint to this season’s finish line.

What did you like and dislike about this episode? What are your feelings on the season so far?

More Posts You Might Like:

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 13 “Alone” Review

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 11 “Claimed” Review

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 “Inmates” Review

 

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Posted on March 3, 2014, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. This might seem like an odd thing, but I think the Walking Dead needs a lot more humor. The whole ‘I need a drink’ storyline could have been a breather from the usual depressing storylines we are subjected to every week. It could have ended up with the same emotional ending, but I think it should have opened with the occasional gag. It works for the Walking Dead Game really well, so I don’t see why it would be any different on the show.

    I enjoyed how, when we saw who everyone was partnered with, we all thought Beth lucked out and ended up with the most badass character, Daryl. But, in truth, she appears the unluckiest of the bunch, as Daryl is unable to provide her with the support she actually needs. In all honesty, Daryl is turning into a miserable, unlikeable character (in a good way, if that makes sense).

    Sorry for the essay haha.

    • I was actually thinking the same thing too that the show and episodes such as this one could use more humour. Maybe it’s my odd sense of humour but did I laugh out loud when Daryl golf clubbed part of the walker’s head onto Beth. :) The drinking game was a chance for some good laughs but I guess it could be tricky to balance the humour with the nature of that scene. The same drinking game was also played on GoT with Tyrion and I thought that was handled better, even though it was really to disguise a lot of exposition.

      Daryl is a prickly dude of late but I actually like seeing that side to him, like what he says after letting Beth knife the walker in the head while he watched. After this episode’s emotional breakthrough, I think we’ll see less of the angry, miserable side to Daryl. Poor Beth, he’s been a jerk to her but after what they’ve gone through this odd pairing is in a better place at the end of the episode.

      No worries at all, it’s great to chat about the show with you!

  2. I did like this episode – it just wasn’t what I really wanted to see. I liked how Daryl finally talked about what happened and how he felt guilty about the prison but Beth is just boring. Yes she is a survivor, just not an exciting one. I did like that she didn’t back down when Daryl was going crazy on the walker. I agree that Beth is underdeveloped but do I want to see more from her? Probably not. One angsty teenager with Carl is enough.

    It’s good the writers are providing character driven episodes but makes me hope we don’t get seven of these with the final one being a big blow out. The previews for next week look like the episode might be a little more action packed. That fog looks super creepy and nice the show is using the weather as a disadvantage.

    • I figured Daryl would feel the loss of the prison and his friends but it actually didn’t occur to me that he’d feel guilty about it. I also liked how he felt guilty and it explains the way he’s been acting out. Beth is probably the least interesting of the regular characters, I can totally see how you wouldn’t want to see more from her. That’s a good point that she wasn’t a push over when Daryl went nuts on that walker, she’s got bit of a backbone to stand up against Daryl.

      Focusing on the characters is a good way to start off the first half of the season. Hopefully all this work in getting us invested on the journey of the characters is leading up to something. To be honest, I’d be disappointed if the writers wait until the finale for that big wow moment. I could use more action, I’m looking forward to it in the next episode!

  3. Just watched this episode, thought it was really good, offering a great insight into Daryl and Beth’s characters as well. I’ve enjoyed the slightly slower pace of the last few episodes, and I’m sure events will soon bring everyone back together.

    • Hey Paul. I also enjoyed how we got to know Daryl and Beth more, particularly how they interacted with one another. While I don’t mind a slower paced episode, I hope to see things pick up as the season moves forward. It’s going to be so emotional when they bring everyone back together. Thanks so much for commenting!

  4. This is more like it. This is my favorite episode of the year so far. I like when they give the characters and relationships time to develop. I like these people. So when they get into their characters’ heads like this, it cranks up the sense of jeopardy. Was that the mega-herd in the beginning? You know I was thinking that it would travel in a straight line. I don’t know why I thought that. It would probably sweep around and graze and then come back around. I wonder if each group will have their own run-in with it. Really liked this episode. The first one and this one. The two episodes that concentrated on just one group (even though in the first one they don’t form their group until the end. Also I find myself not wanting all of them to get back together anytime soon. This episode was awesome. My only problem with it was that they turned up the emotion at one point a little too high for those two actors (they showed the limits of their ranges) but once they reached that point they stopped. Awesome. You know what else this episode did? It made me appreciate the four group ep and the two group ep more as the necessary setup for solo eps. I’m back on board. Fully.

    • I also like giving some breathing space for character development without feeling rushed. At the same time, I hope not all the remaining episodes of this season will be at this pace. Understanding what’s going on in the characters’ head makes us more invested in what happens next to them. In the case of Beth though, while I appreciate how she compliments Daryl, she’s probably one of the more expendable characters in my books. I know that probably sounded a bit harsh haha.

      I was thinking it might be a mega herd too but maybe there should have shown trampled down bushes and lots of footprints etc … That would be a very cool, action packed idea to have each group in their own episode try to stay alive or out run the herd. Maybe to keep ahead of the herd they’ll all end up at the sanctuary where they’ll make their last stand together?

      In the case of Beth, I thought the actress did a good job and the writers wrote her scenes within her limited capabilities. I think this self-contained episode had fewer obvious plot holes and flaws in logic. Glad to hear you’re back on board, what a difference an episode can make right? :)

  5. A lot better than I expected it to be. I guess because we forget that Daryl, besides everybody fan’s love and adoration of him, is actually a living, breathing character that has a whole lot more to him than just skinning snakes and shooting cross-bows. Norman Reedus was a great choice for this to begin with, but now that fact only seems more so after an episode like this. Good review.

    • I’m pleasantly surprised that the general response so far is quite positive to this episode. I heard that Norman Reedus wasn’t the right fit for the original character he auditioned for but they were so impressed with him they created the character of Daryl just for him. The writers have done a good job at handling his character and giving him added dimensions, plus Reedus deserves his credit too. Thanks Dan!

  6. Really liked this episode. Daryl just is the best of them and am liking Beth, flipping the bird was a great ending :D

  7. I found this to be quite a weak filler episode especially for a show where anyone can get killed. If we care too much about the characters, it will waste time when they get killed a few episodes down the road.

    On the other hand, it is nice that they are trying to get us to know the characters better, but this has been a show where we know most of the characters superficially and don’t know much of their backgrounds.

    I’m also glad that they haven’t had them all meet yet because it’s nice to see how each group deals with fending for themselves for the time being.

    Great review!

    • Hey Rob, looking around the internet a lot viewers also felt this episode is boring filler. One of the signs that a character might be killed off soon is when they start getting a bit more dialogue than usual like what happened to T-dog and Axel.

      When it comes to character’s past the show holds those cards close to their chest. It seems like tidbits on the past is revealed only when it’s relevant to where the character is at in the present, like Michonne’s dream/flash back. You have a good point, like it would be interesting to know who Tyreese was before it all happened to get to know him better.

      The separate story lines is working well in terms of character building. At the same time, I might shed a tear when they all meet up again. Haha. Thanks so much for commenting!

  8. I liked this one. Good character driven stuff and getting to know more about a character I love in Daryl and also a character that is underdeveloped in Beth was actually a good thing. I personally thought them flipping off the burning house at the end was a little cheesy though! But what kind of episode of TWD would it be if I didn’t have something to complain about? Awesome review!

    • A lot of events from the hunt for alcohol to burning the house is character driven which is a nice change from fighting to stay alive, which there was that too but it wasn’t the focus. It’s good to know Beth a bit more, I guess better late than never. Even when Daryl is being mean I still like his character haha. Getting the tone right for the last shot is tricky, it didn’t work for everyone. TWD is far from flawless, it’s interesting to find out the parts some people disliked and why it didn’t work for them. Thanks Matthew!

  9. I liked the development of Beth and Daryl in this episode. One thing that surprised me is that they did not go the predictable route of having them make-out. I do not know if I was the only one, but I did see a chance of it coming when they sobered up, and sat outside together. Glad they did not though, as it likely would never amount to anything.

    • I like the bond that is developing between Beth and Daryl. After spending a night in a trunk together and then the drinking game, they could have gone down an obvious path. I’m also glad it didn’t lead into anything further, they have a different kind of chemistry. They oddly compliment each other without having it to be romantic. Thanks for commenting!

  10. I’ve enjoyed the season so far but this episode did nothing for me. Way too slow paced… Next week’s preview looks awesome though.

  11. Hello there! I know its taken me a few days to comment on this episode, but I’m normally slow to watch this when my uni work is concerned. Anwyas I thoughts this was one of the better episodes this season. While I didn’t care for the last episode with Daryl and Beth and this one looked like it was set to continue the same trend at the beginning, but it seemed like that drinking game they were playing brought out Daryl’s monsterous side which I loved. I like you really do like to see manly men break down and Daryl freaked out, blew up and then fell apart because of his inability to help out his friends which was understandable and made him even cooler than before for me. I don’t think this episode did anything to change my opnion of Beth, sure she isn’t quite as useless as before but I’m not gonna become a fan of hers until she steps up and does something worth mentioning. Great review yo. :)

    • Hey there! Always great to hear from you, no worries uni work comes first. :) This episode took its time to get going but by the end I appreciated what they accomplished with Beth and Daryl. Daryl is a tough man of few words so it’s hits home to see him emotionally breakdown. People look towards him as a leader so he felt the extra guilt of being responsible for them, that makes him cooler for me too. :) One of the reasons it’s hard for me to connect with Beth is because she is somewhat useless. I actually like her a little more after this episode for standing up to Daryl, but I can totally see how it wouldn’t do anything for others. Thanks so much commenting and checking out the review!

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