Like Beth, “The Walking Dead” proved in Season 4, episode 12, “Still,” that it is an adult. Both were still growing back in “The Walking Dead’s” sophomore season when her character was introduced, and they had their fair share of frustrating mishaps because of it. But by now, both have proven their maturity and need for respect.
During “The Walking Dead’s” run, Beth has been an interesting dilemma of a character. She’s always been relegated to a secondary role because, when it comes to Hershel’s two surviving daughters, Maggie is the obvious favorite. But Beth has continued to survive and became an integral member of the group thanks to being the person who babysat Judith earlier this season.
Like Daryl did, many viewers might have misjudged Beth’s usefulness. But in a brilliant performance by Emily Kinney, Beth came to the forefront in “Still” and proved that not only is she an adult, but she is a viable and significant member of this group. And, in a meta moment, she reminded Daryl and viewers at the same time that she will be missed if — and likely when — she dies.
Just giving Kinney credit for her portrayal of Beth would do Norman Reedus a disservice. Considering “The Walking Dead” is an ensemble show, it’s incredible that “Still” could star only two actors (excluding the zombie extras, of course) and be more enthralling than some of its more action-packed episodes. Fans learned more about Daryl in this episode than they have since Reedus’ similarly powerful performance in “Chubacabra,” and this episode was a wonderful reminder of why we all love “Mr. Dixon” so much.
In previous recaps, I’ve mentioned how I’ve loved the way “The Walking Dead” used the opportunity of dividing its group after the Prison destruction to really dig deep into its characters, and gems like “Still” are the optimal result. While “The Walking Dead” can’t exist solely with introverted episode, the show’s consistent decision to focus on its characters instead of the walkers — like Glenn’s choice to forego finding a cure to find Maggie — is what makes it one of the most popular shows on television.
Many people before me and many after will lament the fact that “The Walking Dead” doesn’t get more critical love during awards season. But if there was one season that proved “The Walking Dead” has grown up and deserves that sort of acclaim, this is the one. It’s episodes like this one where “The Walking Dead” proves that it is among the greatest shows on television. And after “Still,” it deserves a drink.