Following up on my previous post on narrow passageways as a visual metaphor in ‘Still’, I thought I would delve a bit deeper—hehe, excuse the pun—into some of the other (potentially) erotic/sexually suggestive symbolism in this episode.
What I love about ‘Still’ is that I’ve seen it a million times by now (haven’t we all), and yet every time I watch it I get something new out of it. One element of the episode that I’ve been dying to talk about a bit more for a while now is some of the imagery that may contain several layers of meanings. I previously mentioned a few things in my Bethyl accent tag recording, but I haven’t written much about it until now.
Obviously, the main outcome of Beth and Daryl’s interactions in this episode is the change in the emotional bond between them—the build-up to the fight and all the pent-up emotions that it unleashes, and the subsequent hug and the bonding that follows on the porch, culminating in Beth’s brilliant suggestion to burn down the shack. All of this brings two people who were previously so numb they were unable to connect to a very close, almost intimate emotional bond, all over the course of just one episode.
Because this is The Walking Dead we are talking about here, every line, every moment, every detail contains layers upon layers of possible meanings. Sometimes, if you look more closely, you will find other potential meanings simmering just below the surface. Hence, why I don’t feel like it is too ‘out there’ for me to read a bit…more into some of the visuals of this episode.
Aftter the credits, as ‘Still’ opens, Daryl attempts to shoot a squirrel, but misses, noticing that the bolt he had shot was cracked and didn’t fly straight. This is an obvious metaphor for Daryl’s own unraveling state: he has been stoic and silent for weeks now, but this is the first ‘crack’ that will lead to his emotional outburst and breakdown later on. So, what does Daryl do? They need to eat, and he can still hunt in other ways. So Daryl goes ‘hands on’ here, as he catches a snake, cuts off its head with his knife, and then skins it with his bare hands.
I would not have really even included this scene, if it were not for the fact that as he is handling the snake (I don’t think I need to point out that snakes have been almost universal phallic symbols throughout history), Beth is watching him from a distance. I’m still not sure what emotions are passing across her face at this point—disgust? admiration? a little of both? a desire for closeness? or something else entirely? Either way, I absolutely adore that we get to see Daryl from Beth’s gaze at this point, and that she is watching him engaged in this, shall we say, very manly ‘solo’ act.