This was the titular scene of the season four premiere. Daryl took it upon himself to go to Beth and tell her the news that Zach had died on the supply run. The delivery of the news was fairly unspoken and initially ambiguous, but the way he evaded Beth’s question (“Is he dead?”) said enough. Daryl had been helpless to a) save Zach from getting bitten, b) mercy kill him to spare him the agony of being eaten alive, and c) destroy his brain to keep him from reanimating. Preventing reanimation was one of the last truly human courtesies left in the world.
This young man that Beth had gotten close to had been killed, and Beth hardly reacted at all. Not only was Zach dead, but he was gone: no body for burial and no closure of knowing that he wasn’t a walker. Death, pain, and grief were constant, and that fact has been teaching them both different lessons, as is evident in two lines of dialogue: “I hate goodbyes.”/”Me too.”
As Daryl has thawed, Beth has hardened. Time with loved ones is precious and can’t be counted on to be there later. Everyone in their lives could be there one moment and be gone an hour later. For Daryl, that has highlighted how hard and how far he will fight to protect them and keep them safe. For Beth, that has illuminated how impermanent life is. When Daryl broke the news to her, you could see the turmoil in her face, because she wasn’t heartbroken or sad; she was alarmed at the apathy that she felt. Daryl was unsettled too. It could have easily been he who had been torn apart and left behind. Someone would have had to break that news to the group, to Carol. Had grief become so fleeting and human connection so dispensable that nonchalance was the only reaction to the death of loved ones?
Beth said she hated goodbyes, and Daryl belatedly agreed with her. The thing is, how would they know? Neither of them ever got to say goodbye to those they lost: Jimmy, her step-mother, her step-brother, Patricia, Otis, and in his case Merle. They got closure, but they never got a proper goodbye. Goodbye means something; it’s an acknowledgement that you’re parting with someone that you may or may not see again.
So when Beth adjusted the ‘days without an accident’ board back to zero, that hit home. She wasn’t trying to be cold or trying to act like the death didn’t sadden her; she had simply run out of tears to cry, and grief is an exhausting process. To see that kind of reaction was rattling. Beth had been dating Zach, but we know that Daryl had interacted with him daily for at least the past six weeks.
The hug was for Daryl’s benefit, not Beth’s, and it was the first time we had seen someone physically comfort Daryl in such a way, especially when the comforter and the comfortee were the opposite from what the context of the death suggested. Consider that Daryl watched her remove the ‘3,’ just standing there and not saying anything. It echoed to when he just sat there with Carol after Sophia’s execution. He was fully prepared to let the teenager break down and then help her pick up the pieces; he was not prepared to have the tables turned like that.
He was even less prepared to be hugged, and it showed. He had been present when Beth refused to say goodbye to Zach. To refuse to say it was like a rebellion from the death itself. She didn’t ignore it, she didn’t underestimate it, but she refused to let it have power over her.
How many more people would they be robbed of the opportunity to say goodbye to? Did he say goodbye to Carol before he left on that run? Or did he avoid goodbyes for the same reason?
Daryl hated goodbyes because it meant he was losing someone. He had never gotten to say goodbye to Carol throughout the numerous times that he had nearly lost her. So he would continue to never say goodbye to her when they parted, because “goodbye” never became “hello again” in this world.
I miss going to community festivals with my best friends 😭 We need to fix this come Christmas #gno #seniors #tbt #throwback #memories #tan #summer #bestfriends #shorthairdontcare