The Walking Dead - TVThe Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 10 "Inmates"The Walking Dead - TV - RSS 2.0
The first half of The Walking Dead's Season 4 was a meandering mess and that's putting it kindly. But what I didn't see is that the mid-season finale set the stage for a far more interesting second half. Let me explain.
Two great things sprang from the prison fight last December (besides the end of the extended-past-its-natural-life Governor storyline.) First, it signaled a change in tone from static despair to a sense of purpose and hope. In that fateful episode, Rick shook off his apathy and declared "We're not too far gone. We can still come back. We all can change." Then in last week's episode, Michonne told her dead husband that she knows why she continues to fight. And in this episode we see how many of the remaining characters struggle with the will to fight on.
And this leads up to the other refreshing direction for the series prompted by the prison storyline coming to an end: characters are forced into new relationships as they flee the carnage of the prison slaughter with whoever happened to be next to them at the time.
Let's look at how both of these play out as we catch up with the rest of the survivors in this episode.
Daryl and Beth sittin' in a tree, K-I-L-L-I-N-G
First, we have loner and protector Daryl on the move with idealistic Beth. She couldn't have ended up with anyone better in terms of survival in the wilds, but she is willing to walk away from him to reunite with the rest of the group. We hear the thoughts she writes down in her diary as they fend off zombies in the woods. She talks of renewed hope, but when she discovers a small child's shoe among a group of feasting zombies she breaks down crying. Even her desperate hope that there are other survivors can only carry her so far. Unlike the other stories in this episode, hers starts with hope and ends in despair.
So where do Daryl and Beth go from here? Does she get harder and more withdrawn like Daryl? Is that a bad thing given that the weak don't last long in this post-apocalyptic world without a protector (and even then, not always in that scenario either.) Or are they setting this two up for a relationship? In the final scene, when she is in tears over the dead child, Daryl does nothing to comfort her, so he has a long way to go if they are heading in that direction.