'The Walking Dead' recap ('Still'): Daryl and Beth bond

Fans of Daryl Dixon have been starved this season. He hasn't had any major storylines since his bro Merle died last season.

After after mid-season finale, Daryl ended up after the Governor's rampage with... Beth.

And he's none too thrilled about it.

Tonight, we get the deepest backgrounder of Daryl to date thanks to some moonshine and Beth's goading.

To date, Beth has been more caretaker than zombie fighter. In seasons two, three and four, she's had moments to sing. She spent the first half of this season taking care of Judith and even had a boyfriend (briefly.). After some deaths, she acted strong in the sense that she espoused the philosophy that life is short in this world, enjoy it and don't get too wrung up about people going away because it's inevitable.

But her fatalistic attitude belies a young girl's heart, someone who feels she may have missed out on things in her life because of the dang zombies. That may include partying like a sorority girl.

She and Daryl appear to be on the constant run without a lot of deep conversation. The first seven minutes are wordless. They hide from zombies in a car trunk, then set up a makeshift camp, using car rims as warning signals. Daryl eats a rattlesnake. Beth looks annoyed, then says she needs a drink. And we're not talking water.

And she belies her age when she says, "I'm not staying in this suckass camp" and gives him a middle finger. (Is it me or do only teens use the term "suckass"?)

She tries to shake Daryl up by asking if he feels anything. She gets up and leaves, seeking to get drunk for the first time. Daryl has no choice but to follow

Good news: she finds Pine Vista Golf Club, which actually looks realistically worn out (unlike some of the manicured homes the survivors have visited recently.)  She figures there must be some liquor in there.

Some sort of nasty class warfare went on inside the club that resulted in lots of dead people, including three hanging zombies and a dead lady with a "rich bitch' sign on her.

They find the bar area, where Beth can only secure peach schnapps. She starts feeling really sad. This isn't quite right. Daryl dumps the schnapps and says he has a better idea if she wants a drink. They leave the club.

He remembers a place he and Michonne had previously visited where he knew there was some moonshine. There, she finally gets to drink.

They play a game where we find out he has never taken a vacation, that he had never left the state of Georgia. He mentions that this place where they are staying is very much like the place his dad stayed when he was a child, a man-cave packed with chaw, a lounger, rage and sadness. It reminds him of his lousy childhood. We then learn he's an angry drunk. He's a jerk to Beth when in fact, he's just peeved about how everything went down in his life.

"You see me like another dead girl," she says. She is not Maggie or Michonne, a killing machine. "But I made it." She wants some credit and accuses him of being afraid.

"I'm afraid of nothing!" Daryl says.

But that's not true. He is harboring guilt, lots of guilt. He feels like he should have been more aggressive in tracking down the Governor when he had the chance. "Everyone we know is dead," he says mournfully. "Maybe I could have done somethin.' " That includes saving her dad. She says he's keeping arm's distance from her on purpose, figuring she was going to die sooner rather than later. He's lost too much already. He cries, vulnerable, broken, for a moment.

He finally sobers up a bit. "I'm a dick when I'm drunk," he says. Beth (a happy drunk, surprise, surprise) had been guessing what type of job he had, pre-apocalypse e.g. prison guard, cop. In fact, he says he was a drifter who followed Merle around. "I was a nobody. Nothing. Some redneck a**hole," he says.

Beth points out what we already know. "You were made for things like this," she tells Daryl.

"I am used to things being ugly growing up in a place like this," he says.

Finally, she says more admirably  than anything else: "You're going to be the last man standing.... You're going to miss me so bad, Daryl Dixon." She says she may be happy "but just not blind."

"You got to stay who you are, not who you were," she advises. In other words, he needs to be the hero we all love, not the loser he still sees himself at times.

She comes up with a cathartic idea: burn the moonshine shack down. So they do it to the song "Up the Wolves" by Mountain Goats. And they give the building the middle finger.

there's bound to be a ghost at the back of your closet/no matter where you live/there'll always be a few things, maybe several things 

that/ you're going to find really difficult to forgive.

Zombie death count: About a dozen or so. They kill off a few strays at the golf club - including Daryl using a golf club to knock off one of the walker's heads. Then they get a few more at the cruddy home they end up burning down. One zombie is used for sport when a drunk Daryl tries to teach Beth how to use his crossbow. Another almost gets Beth after she grabs a bottle of wine and she ends up having to use it to help subdue a walker before she knifes him.

Ratings: The show drew 13.1 million viewers last Sunday vs. the Olympics closing ceremonies, beating it soundly in the 18-49 demo with a 6.6 rating vs 3.2 for NBC. That 13.1 is typical for the show this season.

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