Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Walking Dead - Sophia Wasn't Mine - Daryl's Rant

As I mentioned yesterday in my post, I used three clips in Untouchable that were from the last episode S2E9, Triggerfinger. Here is the most of the scene I was referring to.  It's only from watching and hanging out with Criminal Intent types that I ever would have known to look more deeply into what went on during this scene.  It was amazing.  The analysis is below the video.
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This is such an amazing scene and I was completely driven to analyzing it to death.  If you want the full meal deal, read on.
We don’t know too much about Carol.  She is very quiet and her emotions are cloaked in reserved dignity.  But every time Daryl opens his mouth, we learn far more about him than the words he’s speaking.  He is the bubbling cauldron of volatile emotions.
Carol is tenacious, that’s for sure.  He doesn’t scare her at all. And neither does walking across a big field at night to talk to him. Really, she has nothing left to lose, so why not be eaten by a walker?  So sad.  I keep thinking the reality of Sophia’s loss hasn’t hit her yet.

Their conversation isn’t much of a conversation. He’s just mad and sarcastic.  He doesn’t care what she’s saying, he’s just ready to vent, to insult her, to drive her away. The comment about sticking her nose in everybody else’s business is just plain mean.  And not very accurate from what I can see. But this is Daryl grieving.

When Carol replies “Go ahead”, at first I thought she was inviting more insults, let him rant and get it out of his system.  I really hope that’s what she wanted, but I’m afraid she was offering herself up to be hit. Oh, yuck, Carol.  Daryl doesn’t get it, but then after a second, I’m pretty sure he does.  To his credit, he *doesn’t* get it at first.  Obviously hitting women is not part of who he is. (We know there is far more behind that façade.  He’s only shown it to Carol though, so he’s probably feeling vulnerable around her.)
Carol stands her ground and says nothing.  At first he is not focused at all when he calls her “a real piece of work” and assumes she’s judging him and his upbringing.  But she hasn’t said a word.  Then he begins to focus and drill into her.  He is cruel. Perhaps part of what he says is true.  And still she stands her ground. 

Daryl cannot cope with Carol because she didn’t react to Sophia’s death the way he wanted or expected her to.  Her grief seemed almost non-existent. She didn’t go to Sophia’s “funeral”, he did. 
Maybe the reason Carol went out to Daryl that night was because she was looking to feel something.  Anything.  And she knew that he’d beat her up – somehow. But I’m not sure about that.  He certainly beat her up verbally.  I suppose that’s a step above physical abuse.

Why does he say “You ain’t my problem”?  Because he wishes she was? Because he wishes he could comfort her? But he comes completely unequipped to handle the whole situation.  For the first time in his life he felt like part of a family and that has been taken away. 
The most interesting line was “Sophia wasn’t mine” and the unspoken part of that that came through loud and clear to me was saying “then why does this hurt so much?”

He may as well have shot her with an arrow from his crossbow with his last line which was full of fury. So cruel and unfair. He *knows* they were always together or Sophia was with Carl. Carol’s head whips back as though she’s been struck.  Whoa.  Brilliant acting!
After that, his expression is way too enigmatic for me, but he’s watching her like a hawk.  It’s so dark, it’s hard to see details in their expressions. Such a shame.  I don’t think there are any tears on Carol’s face.  But after she agrees with him, she heaves an exquisite tiny sob.  Another brilliant gem.

Of course he cares about her or he wouldn’t have caught her as she went running to Sophia.  Perhaps he feels he failed her and seeing her reminds him of his failure.  Maybe he feels un-needed or useless.
Did either of them get what they needed here?  I think so. It’s a start.  And it won’t be smooth.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

In case it doesn’t come across in this analysis, I adore both these beautifully flawed characters! And (for what it’s worth) a huge thumbs up from me to the writers and fabulous actors Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride.


  1. I totally agree with you. It's an interesting analysis of the whole scene and, in general, of their relationship in the last episodes. The most striking part is that Daryl's anger here is due not only to the evident shock of Sophia's death but also to Carol's strange behavior. When Sophia was missing in the woods she practically curled up in a ball and cried all night and day, unable to do anything useful in order to find her daughter. Daryl instead, who had nothing to do with Sophia and her mother (the "Sophia wasn't mine" part is referred to this), was the only one who really searched for the little girl, risking his life in the process. He hadn't a bond with them but still he cared in his own way. After Sophia's death Carol became like a shadow of her former self. she didn't go to her daughter's funeral as if she was feeling nothing, not even grief, while Daryl was and still is overwhelmed by the entire situation. He accuses her and, in a subtle way, he accuses himself for having failed and we know how low his self esteem is. As you said he blames himself and the fact that he reacts so violently clearly shows how much he cared and care. These two characters are amazing!

  2. I totally love Walking Dead. Hoping to see a bit less one-on-one scenes and a bit more scavenging in the next series.

    Daryl and his brother will be good duo, the good reformed Daryl vs the bad and missing hand brother.

  3. I just saw "Triggerfinger" for the first time and I noticed during the second half of that episode Daryl didn't say one word. He's always had something to say. I also noticed he had a jacket on. Do you think that Norman Reedus might have been ill during that episode and couldn't talk?


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