Raise your hand if you could tell me Beth’s name at the end of The Walking Dead season 2? At the end of season 3? I will admit I did not know her name until sometime last season when she started hanging around the best character on the show, Daryl.
Beth was a character that was often forgotten, even more so than T-Dog, in early seasons of the show. But last season, the producers decided to make her into a character and their attempts succeeded on some level. That made going into this week’s episode, “Slabtown,” pretty exciting. And unfortunately, many of you will feel what I felt: massive disappointment, especially after three previous episodes that had me calling this the best season ever.
Beth Wakes Up in a New Community
This week’s episode of The Walking Dead opens with Beth opening her eyes. She has woken up in a hospital bed, and once she’s out of bed, she’s able to look up at the apocalyptic landscape outside her window.
Okay, so she’s not dreaming and producers aren’t faking us out to wonder if the zombie apocalypse never happened. But it’s unclear if she’s in Atlanta and, therefore, possibly in the hospital where Rick spent two weeks in a coma.
A doctor and cop come in to Beth’s room and introduce themselves — the doctor is Dr. Steven Edwards and the cop is Officer Dawn Lerner. They claim to have saved Beth from the “rotters,” and Dawn says, “So you owe us,” ominously.
Dr. Edwards shows Beth around the hospital. Anyone who is brought in is given a job, and if they don’t show signs of improvement, they kill them — namely by dropping them down an empty elevator shaft to where the rotters are waiting in the basement. Beth meets a cop in the kitchen named Gorman, who like Lerner is an obnoxious asshole and claims to have saved her.
Later on, Beth brings Dr. Edwards some food (cooked guinea pig). He’s bored and she tells him he’s lucky if he’s bored and safe. Dr. Edwards offers to share his food, but Beth refuses, saying she doesn’t want to owe them what she takes. He promises it’ll be their secret.
A new person named Gavin is then brought in. He fell from a first story apartment trying to get away from the rotters. Dawn insists that Dr. Edwards try and help him. He does, temporarily, but tells her he’ll likely die and that it was a waste of resources. Oddly, Dawn then slaps Beth across the face, hard, and storms out.
Beth Realizes She’s in a Bad Place
As Dr. Edwards is meeting with Beth later, he tells her to get a new shirt, one not covered in blood because “[Lerner] likes things neat.” So is Lerner basically a female Governor?
Another “nurse,” like Beth, named Joan was bitten by a walker and is rushed into the hospital. She’s pissed at the cops like Lerner and Gorman … was she trying to escape?
Lerner orders the arm chopped off. Afterwards, Beth meets with Noah, another nurse. At this point, I’m starting to realize how boring this episode is. I’m slightly intrigued by the rules of this new community, but I’m also bored and think this is way, way too slow of an episode compared to the previous three exciting episodes. I wonder if they should have split up Beth’s plotline over several episodes.
Anyway, Noah has been at the hospital for about a year. He tells Beth he and his father were found by the group and Lerner later claimed they could only save one of them. But Noah says he thinks they left his dad behind because he is strong and fast and would have fought back.
I get that the members of the hospital hate the control Lerner exerts and the fact that she doesn’t allow for any personal freedom, but she also doesn’t seem that dangerous to me. Lerner talks to Beth alone and tells her she even thinks this nightmare apocalypse will one day be over. All she wants is for Beth to work off what she owes.
Beth meets with Joan alone and she alludes to something bad having happened to her, but we don’t know what it was.
“As Bad As It Gets, It’s Still Better Than Down There”
Later on, Beth panics when she realizes she lost the lollipop Noah gave her. Gorman comes in and starts eating it, before eventually forcing it into Beth’s mouth. She’s been refusing to eat because she doesn’t want to owe them anything. Dr. Edwards comes in and tells Gorman to leave her alone. He then takes Beth down to the ground floor.
He wanted to show her all the walkers that are down there. They head up to the roof and he tells Beth how Dawn slowly rose to power within the group and how she’s kept everyone alive. “As bad as it gets,” Dr. Edwards says, “It’s still better than down there [in the basement].”
Beth goes to check on a patient named Trevor when Noah comes in. The patient starts to seize shortly after Beth administers a drug Dr. Edwards instructed her to give him. Trevor dies and Lerner stabs him in the head later, before he turns into a rotter. She demands to know what happened, and Noah covers for her.
Beth realized she screwed up and administered the wrong drug as she witnesses Lerner and her men beating the hell out of Noah. Lerner confronts Beth later and says she knows Noah didn’t do it. She tells Beth that some people aren’t cut out for this life and rolls up Beth’s sleeves, realizing she tried to commit suicide by cutting her wrists. I’m going to assume that happened off screen in this episode and not at another time over the life of the series.
Beth and Noah then start to plan their escape.
Beth sneaks into an office and swipes a keycard. While there, she finds Joan’s dead body. She likely committed suicide since there’s a pair of scissors on the floor next to her. Gorman then comes in and Beth has to allow him to start feeling her up so she doesn’t arouse suspicion that she’s trying to escape.
With his hands all the way up her shirt, Beth knocks a bottle over his head and knocks him into Joan, who has transitioned into a rotter. Joan the rotter then feasts.
Beth meets Lerner in the hall and tells her Joan was looking for her. She then points Lerner in the direction of where Joan the rotter is, and both Beth and Noah hear screams as they make their way towards the elevator shaft. They’re climbing down with tied bed sheets.
Beth makes it down easily, but Noah is grabbed through an open elevator shaft halfway down. My fiance screamed, but I saw that coming a mile away once I saw the open door … was anyone else scared?
Noah, however, seems to be okay even though he fell halfway down the shaft. He and Beth make it out alive through a darkened hallway filled with rotters and get to the harsh light of day outside. Beth then continues being a crack shot and mows down a ton of zombies with one shot each. Was Daryl that good of a teacher?
As she and Noah make their way through the parking lot, we can see a bunch of cars with the cross in the windshield, telling us that Lerner has the ability to kidnap quite a few people.
With lots of rotters heading towards them, it looks like Beth is going to get eaten, but Lerner and Gorman gun down a bunch of them. Noah is able to escape, but Beth is recaptured.
Beth Sees an Old Friend
Sometime later, Beth and Lerner are arguing inside. Beth tells Lerner that no one is ever coming to rescue them, and Lerner hits Beth hard with a broken framed photo of Lerner and Gorman.
Later that day, Dr. Edwards finishes sewing up a huge gash on Beth’s forehead. Beth accuses Dr. Edwards of telling her the wrong medicine on purpose since Trevor was a doctor and he was afraid Lerner wouldn’t keep Dr. Edwards around anymore since Trevor was a better doctor.
Another patient is brought in and Beth starts walking towards Dr. Edwards, who is prepping, looking like she’s going to kill him.
And then she realizes it’s Carol on the gurney.
Which begs the question, who the heck was with Daryl at the end of last week’s episode? Noah? And given the promo for next week’s episode, it might be yet another two weeks until we get an answer.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)