TWD S4E12, “Still” by Dusty

What I’m drinking: Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter.  I know I just did this one a couple weeks ago, but I couldn’t help it.  I found a six-pack of this at a local grocery store.  Combine that with the fact that we’re currently getting hit with yet another ice storm, and this beer sounded absolutely perfect tonight.

I’ll apologize in advance for harping on Beth so much in this episode, but apparently she turned into Carl since the last time we saw her.

Eight things that annoyed me:

1. Beth being a jerk to Daryl and taking off because she wanted booze.  The man is exhausted.  He probably doesn’t get a whole lot of sleep, since he’s the only one in your little group who is even halfway decent at killing zombies.  Just because he doesn’t feel like talking doesn’t mean his spirit is broken.  He’s strong.  Don’t feel like you have to keep prodding him every single day.  It’s a zombie apocalypse.  He’s allowed to be quiet from time to time.

2. Beth being scared of a single zombie.  How long has it been since you’ve been out there and you can’t even kill one zombie with confidence?  I understand wanting to avoid them whenever possible, but it seemed like she was having a nervous breakdown at the mere thought of one creeping close to her.
And, of course, Beth’s response to this was perfect.  “Hey.  I just saw a few zombies and they scared the crap out of me.  Now I’m going to yell at you loudly because you’re not happy enough for my liking.”  Because that’s smart.  Hide from zombies, then yell and draw them back to you.  Although, in this world, zombies are only drawn to yelling if the show is in dire need of some tension, so carry on.

3.  Beth making noise everywhere she goes.  In fact, this entire episode should just be called, “Makin’ Noises”.  Has no one learned this lesson?  Michonne and Carl fell prey last week.  Daryl and Beth this week.  If there’s something around to clang into, they will find it.  If they don’t make enough noise with that, they’ll talk loudly without paying attention to their surroundings.  As I watched this, I found myself saying, “Just keep it down a bit, will ya?”

4.  Beth guilt-tripping Daryl with the line, “Beat up on walkers if that makes you feel better.”  You gave him a guilt trip when he didn’t help you kill a single zombie, and then you gave him a guilt trip for killing 4 zombies and getting blood all over your nice new clothes.  You can’t have it both ways.

5.  Daryl and Beth’s outburst in the cabin that eventually led outside the cabin.  Just shut-up.  I get it.  You’re sad.  It’s cathartic.  And it’s yet another example of the laziness that permeates this show.  Want to show people working through problems?  Scream-scream-scream, cry-cry-cry.

6.  All the crying over their presumed dead compatriots, when we know they’re not actually dead.  I talked about this last week, so I hate to keep harping on it, but it’s true.  There would be some tension involved if we didn’t know what was going on with everyone else.  But we do know what’s going with everyone else.  There have been a lot of these moments recently, and they all fall flat.  Am I supposed to feel sad that their friends may be dead, when I know they’re actually not?  I know it’s what they’re going through, but it’s impossible for me to share in their emotion, knowing what I know.  I can’t relate with them in those situations.

7.  Burning a house at night.  Wait until the morning so you can travel in the daylight.  Instead, they burn the house, draw zombies to their location, and kill their night vision by staring at the fire while flipping it off.  (This is where the writers were screaming at us, “Symbolism!”)
It’s a miracle anyone in this group is still alive.

8.  The Mountain Goats’ “Up the Wolves” closing out the episode.  After such an annoying episode, the last thing I needed was John Darnielle’s grating voice piercing my ears.

Two things I liked:

1. Daryl and Beth hiding in the trunk of a car.  It made for a tense scene, and also a reasonably smart move.  Sure, you might be stuck there, but it appeared to have been either hide in the trunk or get eaten.  Good move.  Hiding in the trunk is definitely better than hiding under a car.
Generally speaking, you always want an escape route during a zombie apocalypse (that’s one of the oldest rules in the zombie survival book, dating all the way back to Ben in the original Night of the Living Dead.  It was pointed out specifically as rule #22 in Zombieland, as well.  As long zombies have been recognized in their current form, that rule has been in place), but sometimes you need to take a chance.  It can’t always work out as perfectly as you would hope.  (After all, even Ben ended up in the basement.  And, while he ended up dying, it was not at the hands of the undead.)
It was a very good opening scene.  I loved the close-up on Beth’s terrified eyes.  There was more than a little “Laurie Strode hiding in the closet” contained in that scene.

2.  The zombies hanging from nooses looked pretty cool.

Final thoughts:

It started off really strong, but fell apart quickly and completely.  I could have dealt with downtrodden Daryl, but I couldn’t stand Beth constantly reminding us that Daryl was downtrodden, while she had achieved some sort of detached nirvana.  I kept waiting for her to scream, “I don’t feel anything, anymore,” Evey style.

What I listened to while writing this: Temples – Sun Structures.  They take the 60s pop sound of The Beatles, The Byrds and The Zombies, and cover it with a psychedelic sheen.  They have a terrific sound.  It feels like a great spring/summer album.