In Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, we hop back to Daryl and Beth, with whom we haven’t checked since the mid-season opener. They aren’t doing so hot, it seems. They perform the simple duties of survival wordlessly, climbing silently into the trunk of an abandoned car to hide from a herd, then making their way down the road. This begs the question of how the walkers can sense humans. There was a scene early in the series where Rick and Glenn, trapped in Atlanta, covered themselves in zombie goo so they could walk among the undead, and Michonne has done the same by using her pets. But can the walkers “smell” living flesh? Do they simply respond to movement?
There is no dialogue for the first seven minutes of this episode. For a 43-minute piece, that’s a lot of silence. Daryl and Beth make camp, each focusing on different aspects of the process. Daryl’s arrows are becoming brittle; he shoots and misses at a squirrel, and the tree’s bark breaks the arrow in half. Beth uses the reflection of the car’s rearview mirror to start a fire, then rigs up the hubcaps to create a trip wire. She lets a ladybug crawl onto her finger, enjoying the feel and look of the tiny red creature. Meanwhile, Daryl kills a rattler and peels its skin off. Mmmm, snakemeat.
Finally, Beth uses the first words of the episode: “I need a drink.” She wants to find some booze because she’s never had any before. When Daryl gives her the ultimate cold shoulder she leaves by herself, snarling that he should enjoy his snake jerky. Daryl follows her silently, then escorts her back toward their place. “I’m not staying in this suck-ass camp!” she cries. “I’m gonna get a damn drink.” Oh, honey. You certainly are a teenager. She leads them to the overgrown Pine Vista Country Club. Inside, they find two hanging walkers (hangers?) and a bunch of dead folks on the floor. The country clubbers’ wealth is evident in the walkers’ jewelry, their prettily patterned silk shirts (now rife with decay); it’s apparent in the dusty champagne glasses and the black employees who died alongside them. Read more