At a glance, some people might say this is episode is about drinking. After all, Beth embarks on a quest to get her first drink now that her father is gone and she’s having to grow up and survive life on her own as an adult. Sure, the episode realistically portrayed what this rite of passage might look like during the zombie apocalypse. No fake ID’s required… just a lookout to make sure you aren’t killed while your guard is down. But this episode goes far deeper than Beth’s first sip of hooch, and her true-to-life reaction: “That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted.”
This episode is about moving on.
Both Beth and Daryl are dealing with grief. They’ve experienced the loss of friends and immediate family, and they fear they’ve lost the rest of their group. As much as they know they must press on, they’re saddled by the burden of grief, and it’s weighing them down.
Beth decides forbidden fruit is the remedy to her heartache, the same vice that once plagued her father’s past. Daryl plays along, but doesn’t enjoy the accompanying games and conversation, especially Beth’s persistent inquiry into his past.
As the episode unfolds, we finally learn the truth about Daryl’s past. He wasn’t a mechanic or a prison guard, he was just a redneck who followed his brother around and got into trouble.
Beth doesn’t relate to Daryl’s past, but she relates to his present, and the two must resolve how to best navigate the future together.
It appears the answer is in letting go of the burdensome past.
As Daryl and Beth sit in the dilapidated redneck abode, a sore reminder of Daryl’s past, Beth points toward the future.
Beth: You were made for how things are now.
Daryl: I’m just used to this, things being ugly, growing up in a place like this.
Beth: But you got away from it.
Daryl: I didn’t.
Beth: You did!
Beth continues to convince him that he’s not only got away from the past, but he’s a survivor now, and probably will survive longer than the rest of them. But then she turns the corner to address his past.
Beth: You gotta stay who you are, not who you were. Places like this… you have to put it away.
Daryl: What if you can’t?
Beth: You have to, or it kills you… here (pointing to her heart).
Daryl: We should go inside.
Beth: (Smiling) We should burn it down. (laughing)
Daryl: (Getting up, slowly agreeing) We’re gonna need more booze.
The two of them pour booze all over the house, light it ablaze, bidding it farewell… a bad memory of a past worth forgetting.
SEASON 4, EPISODE 12 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1. Why was Beth so determined to get a drink?
2. Why was Daryl always hiding his past when people asked him what he did before the zombie apocalypse?
3. Beth encourages Daryl, “You gotta stay who you are, not who you were.” What did she mean by that? Was she right?
4. What did Beth mean when she said it kills you here—in your heart?
5. Why did they burn down the house?
6. What are parts of your past you’d like to burn?
Read the following passage of scripture:
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14 , NLT)
7. What is the “one thing” Paul sets his focus on (verse 13)?
8. Why does Paul want us to look ahead, not just in this short life, but to life eternal?
9. What is waiting for us at the “end of the race”?
Turn to the book of Philippians in the Bible and peek at what “forgetting the past and looking forward” looks like. He lays it out in chapter 4, beginning with the word, “Therefore…” and giving us advice about worrying, our thoughts, and eventually, relying on Christ in everything.
DIALOGUE WITH TEENAGERS ABOUT ISSUES JUST LIKE THIS IN JONATHAN’S POPULAR NEW BOOK, THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR TEENAGERS