just one reason I think daryl was falling in love with beth
The “Oh” scene
But not just because of the “Oh” scene, not that scene in a vacuum
Not just because he at first says “You know,“ so deliberately and with such a convicted tone, as if he finds it preposterous for her to ask him what moved him to have a more open heart, for it to at all be a question in her mind
Not just because he volunteered to set the table for their white trash brunch and shared the pigsfeet he had originally claimed as his own
Not just because she says “I’m goin’ as fast as I can!” and he goes “Forget that!” which means he was cajoling her beforehand and then he voluntarily carries her through the threshold
Not just because Daryl Dixon is our smarty pants redneck-Sherlock and even if he might be romantically challenged, he still knows what those kinds of actions could imply to a young woman’s heart
Not just because he was teasing her throughout the whole episode, and that’s another thing Daryl and I have in common— teasing the people we care about the most as thinly veiled affection by revealing in our playful quips how much we actually have to intimately study them in order to come up with those silly jabs (he was flirting)
Not just because he could have been watching her singing for a lot longer than they show us in the final edit
Because he’s been able to articulate meaningful, heartfelt things to other people that he’s very intimately connected to in scenes before this
He could tell Merle “I just want my brother back” and then tell Rick “You’re family, too” in the episode, This Sorrowful Life
He could tell Carol, “Hey, we ain’t ashes” and “You keep tellin’ yourself that” and “You’re here now, tryin’!” and all of those other deeply important messages he’d been inspired to hold onto by Beth’s example in Consumed
He could tell Bob that he’ll never have to be alone again because team family won’t desert him
He could tell Michonne he wanted her to stop risking her life to find the Governor and to come be an integral part of his family
He could tell Glenn that he and Maggie deserved an apology from Merle yet acknowledge that there just needed to be some forgiveness, yet he could also understand Glenn’s anger on behalf of his devotion to Maggie
Because Daryl Dixon is never that ambiguous. He’s the kind of guy who lets you know what’s on his mind. He’s not one to be struck speechless; he’s one to give answers, especially if he’s asked an outright, clear question.
So I believe he was falling in love with her because he couldn’t say it; he couldn’t fully express himself
Because words escaped him in that moment
And because his gaze was so intense and their bond was so deep, he didn’t need to say the wordsfor Beth to understand
Sometimes I think Beth's words from the porch scene are prophetic...
which is supported by a lot of things that have happened ever since, as I’m sure many of the astute Beth fans already know. But we’ve also seen some things get switched up, switched around, and some things occur, but not quite, or just barely changed.
Sometimes I think when Beth’s talking about the loss of Hershel, she’s predicting what the rest of the group is going to experience… and because I’m perhaps a bit notorious for my intense feelings surrounding Daryl/Hershel moments, perhaps Beth is predicting particularly what Daryl will get to experience, in place of Hershel.
She says, “I thought Maggie and Glenn would have a baby. And he’d get to be a grandpa. And we’d have birthdays and holidays and summer picnics. And he’d get really old… and it’d happen, but it’d be quiet. It’d be okay. He’d be surrounded by people he loved."
Hershel deserved that kind of death and was robbed of it. Beth deserved that kind of death and was robbed of it. Many, many, many deserved it, and were robbed of it. Some people think that’s because they didn’t have what it took to outlast the apocalypse.
She says, "You’ll be the last one standing,” which she means as encouragement, but to someone like Daryl, a man who needs others to find purpose, who consistently thrives only when he’s needed by others and when he can perform actions that honor his service-driven heart, to be the last person, to be the only one, that terrifies him. He tells Andrea, “I never could” when some of her last words are, “No one can make it alone now.” And it’s asserted by the actors themselves and in the actual source of the episode’s contents that if he had ended up separated from the prison family alone and unable to find them, he would have blown his brains out. Because being alone terrifies him so much; because he desperately yearns for domestic comforts, yearns for home, and Daryl finds home in others. It’s why he’s devastated when he can’t save others.
So she says these things on the porch and I think they’re prophetic and I think Daryl deserves these things as much as anyone else does but yet, especially so. Daryl, afraid of being the last man standing, sentenced to it by his own skills, sentenced to it by his failure to enact those skills to save others, even if that’s what he constantly throws himself headlong into…
What if he figured it all out, though? What if, since Beth, he finally figured it out? What if he lost no one else? What if he could look up one day and echo her words and say, ‘I made it, Beth’? What if Maggie and Glenn had a baby, and he didn’t have babies but he godfathered Judith and the other kiddos of the fallen world, instead of grandfathered, and they had birthdays and holidays and summer picnics (and he had secret ones for Beth) and… he’d get really old. And it’d happen, but it’d be quiet, and he’d be surrounded by people he loved.
And she’d be there waiting on the other side, on a lawn, and they would be good.
He did, after all, lay in a funeral casket with all of her surrounding him– her singing, her light, her hope. And part of him burned up in the moonshine shack.
If you think about it, a part of him has always died near her.