TOUCHY-FEELY DARYL DIXON?!? (deadpan)
I am not going to lie its a rough year to be a Caryler!
The mere fact that the Daryl and Carol relationship has been labeled as a "slow burn" and was developed over the seasons has prepared USS Caryl for the long haul.
Waiting around is something we are familiar with but if the waiting is accompanied by rough waters at a certain point a lot of people will end up jumping ship or calling mayday to get help from another vessel!
They have reasons for leaving and I have reasons for staying!
Just like Norman Reedus has said (so many times) in the press, his preference for Daryl’s romantic inclination would be exactly that - “slow burn” with many awkward moments in between that grow gradually but ultimately seal a deep-heartfelt connection.
As much as I hate waiting I can understand the direction he wants to go in and essentially the Caryl bond fits his description perfectly. That being said at a certain time decision will have to be made and the relationship itself will have to be defined even in the loosest of ways.
You can only torture people for so long before their emotional investment in the pair and the show itself will start to change and perhaps even wane.
The bond between Carol and Daryl is certainly reaching that point where the nature of the connection itself will need to be defined one way or another especially after a season like this where separation and other "potential" relationships are introduced or even implied.
Personally I think that by introducing conflicts and barriers TPTB have chosen to go exactly in that direction - Caryl will need to be defined more in order to continue developing.
A "slow burn" dynamic will be a lot harder to pull off and stay organic and believable after the conflicts and barriers they’ve thrust upon Carol and Daryl in this season. Personally I am hoping that the reunion and group integrity after everything settles finally gives us an answer or at least some clarity about the true nature of their bond.
They love each other but just like Carol said “its time to pick a DAMN side”!
One of the main Caryl “distractions” that has been thrust upon us is separation of Daryl and Carol, along with pairing them up with others whose dynamic in terms of how they relate and act around the other is very different from what we are used to seeing from that character in the first place.
If you’ve seen the last two episodes of TWD "Still" and "Alone" then you know exactly what I am talking about.
The Daryl we (and Carol) all fell in love with is acting and maybe even feeling a lot differently than what we are used to seeing. His transformation in a matter of days has been quite dramatic and the cycle of it all came full circle when he ultimately joined a group that might have been more suited for Merle rather than Daryl. Will he or wont he revert back to the man he used to be before he found the prison family remains to be seen but what we do know is that with Beth gone his faith in new-found in "good people" has all but extinguished.
I have to keep reminding myself that Daryl thinks everyone he cared about is gone - Beth was the only one left and yet another person he failed (Sophia, Merle, Carol)
Watching Daryl bond and connect to another female wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had but once i took a closer look at their interaction and keeping his character in mind I realized that Beth is definitively not a potential “threat” to our ship! Unfortunately she has been cut down to be a plot device and a catalyst for Daryl’s emotional character growth (more MANPAIN!?!). There is absolutely no reason to worry about Dary’s little sister!
Not one bit and i am here to tell you why!!!
Beth is a child. She behaves like one, looks like one, thinks like one so I see her as one. She might be on the cusp of womanhood but her naivete and child-like innocent ways are very visible both to the audience and more importantly to Daryl himself. I have already said that the writers are definitively portraying her as "young" through both her actions, decisions, idyllic ideas and manner of expressing herself, which all contributes to the nature of connection blossoming between her and Daryl.
There is no romantic vibe or chemistry between the two and the main reason for this is the fact that they are nowhere near being equal partners - Daryl is the protector and Beth is his charge! I am not talking about the age difference either (that’s one is obvious), maturity and compatibility are key in any pairing and Beth and Daryl’sbalance is way-way off!
I am not saying they didnt bond nor am i undermining what they shared BUT I do not see a "romantic love" here at all! They both need family at this point and that’s where their connection really thrives.
In season 3 we see Daryl unprompted offering physical (shoulder) and (emotional) comfort to Carl after Lori’s death - the scene was beautiful, heartfelt and with deep familial undertones showcasing just how organic their bond was.The situation with Beth falls into that category quite easily!
The sudden introduction of “touchy-feely” Daryl Dixon was quite jarring as well BUT the fact that its there and that there’s so much of it is actually a good thing (*ducks*).
When has Daryl ever been slightly comfortable with physical contact? Or sharing things about himself without being prompted?
Daryl Dixon has been physically abused pretty severely and that’s perfectly clear - touching and emotional contact is not something he does or does well…except when such interaction occurs with non-threatening sources like Carl, Judith and now Beth!
Children are safe (except Lizzie - don’t touch her!), they are easy to read and they are honest - Daryl has shown over and over that interaction with kids is something he is not hesitant with.
Beth is not only "young" but her sweet demeanor combined with the way she sees the world makes her very safe for Daryl to bond with. Thats actually the reason why I think Daryl develops such a close connection with her (and quickly) - he can see her genuine child-like, sheltered naivete which is something Daryl not only missed out on but always wanted to have as well. He wants to believe like Beth does and for the first time since the fall of the prison Daryl sees some hope.
Spending time with someone so "good" almost tricks Daryl into lowering his guard completely which obviously (and predictably) backfires and just like that reality comes crashing into his heart again…proving that relaxing is dangerous and safety is almost always fake - at least in this world.
Beth has always been a "touchy-feely" kind of person - she doesnt hesitate to offer physical comfort in such an endearing way that pushing her away seems almost cruel, Everybody remembers the outcry when Beth surprised everybody (especially Rick) and kissed him on the cheek when they brought Maggie and Glenn back from Woodberry!
In the few days Daryl spent in the wilderness alone with Beth, he went from shutting down to opening up to lowering his guard and maybe even almost forgetting that the world out there continues to be a terrible place.
Its a mistake that will probably weigh on him for a long time.
Beth was included in the episodes to break down Daryl’s demeanor, make the audience "care" and in turn deepen his angst even further!
The MANPAIN is strong in that one! And Carol or Caryl for that matter has nothing to do with it!