I just erased this really long analytic discussion post because I have only one thing I really want to talk about:
I SHIP BETH AND DARYL SO HARD.
I mean, how could you not after Sunday’s episode? I’ve never thought about or cared about shipping anyone on TWD until this very moment in time. Sure, I like the Richonne dynamic, but I don’t live for it. I enjoyed Daryl and Carol’s platonic, familial bonding. Maggie and Glenn are fine in their own boring way. But Beth and Daryl break my fucking heart.
And I fought this. I fought this something fierce. Beth and Daryl prior to season 4 had little to no screen time together. I didn’t even know they knew each other’s name. But when season 4 started, they shared a hug in the very first episode that had me totally icked out. I literally yelled at the television, “Yuck! Do not do this, Scott Gimple. Do not do this for the love of all things good and holy.”
I take it all back.
What changed my mind? Episode 13, for the win!!
It’s no secret that Daryl Dixon is my favorite character on TWD. And it’s not because I think Norman Reedus might be the sexiest man on this earth. It’s really not. His character arc has just been the most well-played and best plotted I’ve seen on tv in a long while. The little redneck baby brother who belligerently bumbled across our screens for the first time in 2010 resembles our current leading man NOT AT ALL. And in the past two episodes he’s had an almost coming-of-age thing (at least emotionally) right alongside Beth Greene.
So why doesn’t the age difference bother me anymore? First, see the last sentence of the above paragraph. In episode 12, I really came to understand just how emotionally stunted Daryl has always been despite his age. I think, for him at least, age really is just the random amount of years he’s been stuck on this planet. His emotional maturity really isn’t any further along than Beth’s 18 or so years. He’s never been a grown ass man on his own making his own decisions. And likewise, Beth has never been a fully grown woman doing the same. Now they are doing this together and with each other and holy shit is it compelling.
The second reason I’m not bothered? Daryl Dixon is not a womanizer. He doesn’t go around lusting after and being grotesque with the women on the show. Mostly, he’s terrified and avoids them unless he has a specific job to do with Maggie, Michonne, or Carol. I’ve never seen him objectify or sexualize anyone in any kind of yucky way. So this development with Beth feels honest, real, and incredibly touching. The way this scene below plays out? All of the feels. Daryl Dixon is falling in love and it wasn’t planned. It wasn’t expected. And it’s the best thing ever.
Reason three? This is the goddamn zombie apocalypse and both characters are consenting adults. We’re in a new world. A brutal, harsh world where Beth and Daryl have watched their families be destroyed. Beth is an 18 year old who has attempted suicide. Watched her mother and brother die and become undead creatures. Watched her father beheaded by a madman who makes the zombies look tame. She’s killed. She’s survived. I have to imagine years in TWD are more akin to dog years than human years, ya know? The rules of before are gone. They don’t make sense. What we’re left with now are humans stripped down to the core of what being human means. We’re in a world where preteens shoot their moms in the head. Daryl offers Beth safety, guidance, loyalty, and stability. Beth offers Daryl love, hope, and faith. And that is more than enough for me.
AND WHEN DARYL RUNS ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT TRYING TO CATCH UP WITH BETH WHICH GOES AGAINST ALL REASON BECAUSE HOW CAN HE RUN DOWN A CAR? If that ain’t love, folks, I don’t know what is. Watching him collapse for the first time, I believe, completely defeated, tore my heart out. Beth and Daryl might have sneaked up on me, but now that they’re here, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. POWERS THAT BE – HEAR THIS: Give Beth back to Daryl you heartless assholes!