Daryl in dark and brooding mode
Last week’s return from the mid-season hiatus started things with a much slower pace than that which we left off with two and a half months ago, and this week’s episode doesn’t look to speed things up any too much; however, it promises to cover a lot more ground, and visit with several fan favorites that were skipped in the highly focused show last week. For a breakdown of the preview materials and my thoughts on this Sunday’s episode, click through after the break.
<<Spoiler Alert: This Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead Episode 410 will discuss events from earlier episodes in the series, as well as discussing events that may be upcoming. Read only if you’re all caught up!>>
As usual, we’ll begin with the Sneak Peek video AMC released after last week’s episode. My comments will come after:
Although at first glance this clip appears to be all about Beth, I think it’s much more about Daryl, even though he doesn’t so much as grunt a reply to her commentary. Here we have the dark brooding Daryl of yore, the one that many fans fell in love with in the first place, the one who got lost in the Rick lackey/cheerleader role that his brother Merle (not to mention the occasional fan) was fond of mocking him for. Right off the bat, with only this clip to go on, I have to say that this broodiness seems to be a good thing. I’ve never stopped liking Daryl, right from the first tension-filled time we met him, and Rick had to tell him Merle was chained to the top of a rooftop in Atlanta. He’s always been the able and efficient hunter, combined with a degree of self-restraint that is almost saintly at times. In the mid-season finale, we saw again just how dangerous he can be, as he took out the tank and it’s driver with cold efficiency; but his reaction to the fall of the prison and the dissolution of the group shows that he’s taking one more step back into his dark interior world, the world from which his strength comes. He is, should he continue to survive (never a sure thing!), going to be a force to reckon with in upcoming storylines. This isn’t to say that Beth doesn’t impress here as well. She’s the motive force, the “Hey, we can’t just sit here feeling sorry for ourselves” voice that is trying to impel Daryl forward. Beth has been somewhat underutilized in the series so far, getting a few moments in episodes like 401 at the beginning of this season, but she’s mostly played second or even third fiddle in the Greene clan. Now, with Hershel dead and Maggie missing (as far as Beth is concerned), not to mention dealing with an apparently disconnected Daryl, Beth is going to have to step up and take control of her situation. Unfortunately, her sense of resolve is belied by her lack of experience. Her repeated statement, “We should do something,” shows that while she knows they need to move, to act, she doesn’t know what it is they should do. Daryl appears largely uninterested, but this could also be his highly developed pragmatism. You want to go tracking other survivors? You need to be able to see – wait until the sun’s up, and you can see walkers as well as spoor. Beth is the young bull to Daryl’s old; although he appears to be signed out, he’s just on slow burn right now, simmering and getting ready to act. Last week we saw Michonne choose life, and Carl realize he still needs others to survive; this week, I think we’ll see Daryl make a similar choice, but in his own particular noble redneck way.
The second, shorter Promo video has, as usual, far more information in clip form (I couldn’t get a direct link for this video, so please click on the link below):
If you’re interested, continue to the next video after the Promo – it’s a Spanish language Promo that contains a few different scenes, and some interesting new information – I’ll discuss this after the English language Promo discussion.
Right away, we can see that this mirrors a lot of what we saw in the mid-season premiere Promo video (discussed here), but for the sake of staying current, I will go over the clip with the new knowledge we have. We open with a pan across a sign saying, “Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Inmates,” which is where the episode takes its name. We cut to Sasha, knife in hand, standing beside Bob Stookey, looking at several fallen walkers. These aren’t Michonne’s handiwork from last week, as they all seem to still have heads attached. Jump to Daryl, holding a couple of bolts and standing on railroad tracks. He looks over his shoulder, and we cut to Lizzie and Mika Samuels, hand-in-hand, walking down tracks (are they the same ones? Does Daryl see them? I’m guessing that they’re separated at least in time here, as he doesn’t appear ready to shout or surprised at seeing something, which he surely would be if he saw the girls). They’re heading toward a bridge going over the tracks. Jump to Beth, looking fretful in the woods, and a quick cut to Tyreese, who has obviously seen something that frightens him as he leaps into action. Splash: “Next Sunday.” Then Beth at the campfire we see in the Sneak Peek video, cut to daylight as she picks up a knife and screams as a walker grabs her from behind. We then see Tyreese looking even more worried (they’re really trying to tie Tyreese to the Beth storyline here, even though they left the prison in separate groups, and we never see them together in the Promo), and turning around to smack a walker in the jaw with his famous hammer. We hear Bob Stookey’s voice, “I need to help them,” overlaying three short shots of Tyreese killing a walker, two walkers coming toward the camera, and Daryl taking one out using his crossbow as a blunt instrument. We then cut to Sasha, saying, “We cannot split up. Not now.” We go to black for a moment, slowing the pace, and focus in on an injured Glen, who appears to be back at the prison, just coming too on a damaged guard tower, a herd of walkers visible through the broken floor beneath him. He calls for Maggie, who we see walking around the prison bus (you know, the one she thought Glen was on?), looking at a whole bunch of dead people on the ground nearby. They’re not walkers, they’re the non-combatants sent out on the bus to keep them safe, and Maggie’s distraught – she thinks she’s lost Glen.
The Spanish language Promo video contains several different scenes. It begins with a voice-over from Beth, talking about hope, and how they can “live here for the rest of their lives.” Methinks this is a flashback, although I can’t recall which episode – she is surely talking about the prison, not the small clearing she and Daryl fall down into totally exhausted after running away from (presumably, though we don’t see them) some walkers. We then see Tyreese, hammer in hand, approaching a moving bush while behind him we see the top of a blond head (Mika Samuels, I’m thinking). Something leaps out of the bushes at him, and we cut to Sasha and Bob with a third person – she’s hard to make out, but it looks a lot like Michonne – beside a creek, and then walking along a tree-lined road. We go to Glenn, who is carefully standing up and assessing his predicament, looking below at the massing herd. We then see him raising a lantern, and then again in daylight, facing Maggie as she asks, “How do you know if she made it?” to which he replies, “I don’t know.” He’s wearing riot gear and is still a bit bloody, so I’m assuming this comes later, and that he finds a way out of the prison – he’s always been the most resourceful of all the survivors when on his own. If I had to place a bet on who would survive the longest, if the only enemies were walkers, Glenn would win, hands down. We then cut to Maggie inside the prison bus, holding a seat and crying. The “she” in her conversation with Glenn is obviously Beth, but it isn’t clear if her tears in the bus are for her, or for Glenn – AMC has a sneaky tendency to show us clips out of order in arbitrary conjunctions to mislead us a little, which I’m not really complaining about – even with Sneak Peeks and Promos, it’s nice to have a few surprises going in.
The good news here is that we’re going to see a lot more going on with a bunch of survivors that were skipped last week. I suspect we won’t see Rick or Carl at all, unless at the very end of the episode (perhaps as Michonne – if that is her in the video – brings Sasha and Bob to the house), and we’ll get to see how Tyreese deals with the responsibility of the two Samuels girls. Glenn and Maggie will find each other, so that’s a good sign – even the fact that Glenn’s able to get out of the prison on his own shows that he’s not as badly injured as he looks at first. I’ll be interested to see whether or not he sees any of The Governor’s people – is Lily still around? Does he have to fight his way out at all? Daryl and Beth may be the most interesting storyline of the evening, as Daryl deals with his inner broodiness, and Beth’s overly optimistic approach to survival in the wild. Realize, she’s never really had to live in the outside world since this whole thing began, going from the relatively safe confines of Hershel’s farm to the relatively safe confines of the prison. Her total time on the road can be measured in days, and I think Daryl is concerned with how he’s going to keep both himself and this naif alive.
Here’s hoping that the action ramps up a bit this week, and that we can get some more interesting character development a la Michonne and Carl last week.