thank you! that scene made me so uncomfortable
Yes thanks!!!! I think it’s supposed to, but I don’t know if all the fans got the memo. There seem to be two schools of thought approaching that scene- people who romanticize it (which they should feel weird and gross already, STOP shipping teenager girls with adult men, ew) and people who excuse it by saying Beth made him upset, of course he’d react like that. But however rude and hurtful her presumptions about him were doesn’t justify it; how drunk he was doesn’t justify it; the abuse he suffered doesn’t justify it. It might EXPLAIN it, but it doesn’t justify it. People see Daryl as this perfect character who can do no wrong, but that was definitely fucked up and I think we are supposed to view it that way. We’re SUPPOSED to be uncomfortable and I worry about people who weren’t.
I mean, any time there’s a physical conflict between a male and a female character where they aren’t of a disclosed equal strength (and even then), there’s already a power imbalance coming into play. Daryl is obviously significantly stronger than Beth and it takes very little physical effort on his part to overpower her. You add into that the clear power imbalance of Beth being so much YOUNGER than him- no one is exactly a child in this world anymore, but she’s only eighteen years old at a max now, and especially in comparison to Daryl still a child. Daryl has more power than her physically, more social power connected with his gender, and more social power in being so much older than her; and you have to take care when you are given that much power not to abuse it and that’s WHAT HE DID.
I don’t know about anybody else, but the complete ease with which he could have done anything to her (not that he would have) made me feel sick to my stomach, and I think that’s how we were supposed to feel. This character- who we know has all of this strength but it is all muted under the pain he’s gone through and his natural submission- suddenly wields it, and he wields it against someone who in comparison is in no position to defend herself. We’re supposed to find that repugnant, we’re supposed to be disturbed by it, and we’re supposed to wonder how much of this is coming from Daryl’s father and not himself. We’re supposed to see how it’s magnified and set on fire by the losses he’s struggling with and the hurt Beth so casually deals him when she questions what he feels is his character. But we’re NOT supposed to think it’s okay or understandable or forgivable, and we’re sure as hell not supposed to think it’s romantic.
Eurgh, that whole scene just turns my stomach up to his breakdown, and I think it’s supposed to. I wish people would recognize and talk about that more because it’s a frightening peek at which road Daryl could go down if he didn’t have people like Rick who convinced him he was worth more than that, and that he’s not his father after all.