The Walking Dead recap: Tempus Fugit

Beth and Daryl go on the hunt for spirit(s). Daryl confronts the man he once was.
Ep. 12 | Aired Mar 2, 2014

ZERO TO HERO | Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) reflects on his past as a drifter who followed his brother's lead. With Beth's support, he finds the strength to continue his evolution into leader and genuine hero. Booze helped, too.

Gene Page/AMC

En route to Daryl’s boozy hideaway, Beth takes up Zach’s guessing game in determining Daryl’s occupation “before the turn.” She guesses motorcycle mechanic, which he denies. For Daryl, it doesn’t matter anyway; it “don’t matter for a long time.” They arrive at a large shack, which Daryl found with Michonne before the Prison’s fall. Better than a liquor store (according to Daryl), the shack contains a secret horde of homemade moonshine, kept in Mason jars and all.

Daryl and Beth take the moonshine to the main room of the shack. It’s run-down and ransacked like most places nowadays; although it’s unclear whether it looked that much different before the turn. Beth has her very first drink and does what most do during their very first drink. She says, “That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted.” She takes another sip, downing the remainder, and states, “Second round's better.” Oh, alcohol. How disgusting you taste until you’re inevitably delicious.

The two hunker down in the main room of the shack for the rest of the day. Beth finds a bra-shaped planter/ashtray, astonished that someone would ever buy and use such a thing. Daryl says that his father, the “dumb ass” that he was, would. He immediately recognized the shack as it resembled his father’s place. This shack with its newspaper “Internet,” fancy buckets to spit chaw, and junk is Daryl’s milieu. This is the environment that bore Daryl, or at least, the Daryl that existed before the Zombiepocalypse.

Later, Daryl and Beth play “Never Have I Ever,” a popular college drinking game that always, always gets uncomfortable. It starts off innocent enough, with Beth offering that she’s never shot a crossbow and Daryl sharing that he’s never left Georgia. But as many drinking games go, it soon turns personal and ugly. After one too many guesses on Daryl’s past (Beth insinuates that he may have gone to jail or was a prison guard), Daryl snaps.

Drunk and despondent, he smashes his jar of moonshine and pees in the corner of the shack. He shouts never-have-I-evers at Beth including an especially mean-spirited “never cut my wrist looking for attention.” (In season two, Beth attempted to commit suicide, ultimately deciding against it after cutting her wrist with a shard of broken mirror.) His tirade attracts a nearby Walker, so Daryl grabs his crossbow and Beth on the auspices to teach her how to use a crossbow. Drunk Daryl is loud, abrasive Daryl. He manhandles Beth as he shoots from the crossbow, pinning the Walker to a tree but not killing it. Unwilling to take Daryl’s bullsh— any longer, Beth stabs the Walker in the head and calls him out for being a “jacka—.” We have never seen Daryl like this before — not even at his introduction as Merle’s sidekick.

Arguing back and forth with Beth, Daryl eventually gets to the heart of his pain: “Governor rolled right up to our gates. Maybe if I wouldn’t have stopped looking, maybe because I have. That’s on me. Your dad. Maybe, maybe I could’ve done somethin’.” Beth hugs him, allowing him to finally sob and let out his guilt and despair.

NEXT: The roof is on fire! Let that shack of bad memories burn!

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