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The Walking Dead

"Slabtown" (Aired November 2, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

Like the people in the hospital, I’ve underestimated Beth. At the beginning of this episode, I didn’t care much about her. But this episode shows that Beth has been underused and underestimated. Everyone in the hospital, except or Noah, underestimated Beth, and she used her perceived weakness as her strength. I’m intrigued to see how they continue to develop Beth throughout the season (assuming this isn’t a one off episode about Beth).

 

Another thing I found interesting about this episode was the music. I often forget how quiet the show is; so hearing music playing, via record players, was a bit jarring, adding to the feeling of uncertainty and unease.

 

Beth awakens to find herself in a hospital in Atlanta. Dr. Steven Edwards and Officer Dawn Lerner soon greet her. Officer Dawn tells Beth they found her on the side of the road, and Dr. Steven tells her she had a wrist fracture and head wound. Dawn tells Beth she was found alone, and if they hadn’t saved her, she’d be a walker, so she owes them. This doesn’t seem like a great start…

 

Dr. Steven takes Beth around the hospital, showing her another patient who wasn’t going to make it. He tells her that if a patient doesn’t show improvement, then Dawn calls it . Dr. Steven and Beth then wheel the patient down to the elevator shaft to dump the body down to some waiting walkers. It’s efficient I guess, but it somehow still feels wrong.

 

After disposing of the body, Beth heads down to the cafeteria to get some food. Officer Gorman talks to Beth saying that he helped to save her, and that she should show some appreciation or he’ll make not of the food she’s taking. There’s nothing but creepy vibes coming off of Gorman. I already hope he dies.

 

Beth brings Dr. Steven his dinner, and once there, Dr. Steven laments about being bored. Beth reminds him that feeling bored in the effing zombie apocalypse is a luxury. After  few minutes of sharing, he offers her a bite of his guinea pig. Dr. Steven may not have the creep factor of Gorman, but he’s also interested in Beth. His niceness is just a façade I’m sure of it. After all, we’ve learned that very few people on this show who seem nice truly are.

 

Officer Dawn brings in a new patient, and Dr. Steven tells Dawn that he seems like a lost cause. One of the other officers whispers something to Dawn, and Dawn insists that Dr. Steven try hard to save the man. When Dr. Steven tells Dawn it would be a waste of resources, she refuses to accept this, and smacks Beth across the face as a way to ensure Dr. Steven does his best to treat the patient.

 

After having her cheek stitched up following Dawn’s hit, and finding a lollipop in her new shirt, Beth spots the return of Joan. Apparently Joan tried to escape, but in the process was bit by a walker. Dawn insists that Dr. Steven amputate Joan’s arm so she won’t die.  Beth tries to leave, but Dawn and Dr. Steven tell Beth to stay and help hold Joan down. And then they cut off her arm. And I have Hershel’s amputation flashbacks, as I’m sure Beth does.

 

Following this gruesome interaction, Beth goes to bring her dirty scrubs to the laundry room where she meets Noah. It turns out, Noah is the one who snuck the lollipop into her shirt earlier. Noah tells Beth he’s been there for almost a year and isn’t any closer to being release. He tells Beth that they underestimate him, but that no on there knows him… or her for that matter. Noah plans on escaping so he can make his way back to Richmond, Virginia where they apparently have walls. (Super special shout out for my hometown. Hell yeah we’d have walls in the zombie apocalypse! Suck on that Atlanta!)

 

Officer Dawn, knowing hitting Beth across the face earlier likely left a bad impression, brings her some foods. She tells Beth that she’s doing her best to keep order so they can help rebuild when they are rescued from whatever it is that has caused the walkers. Beth doesn’t think that any help is coming – the last of her hope probably destroyed after watching her father die. Dawn tries to encourage Beth to eat so she can continue working and pay off her debt. She tells Beth that while Beth may have not asked for this to happen, neither did Dawn. It’s a reminder that even though there are people who are doing awful things in this world, most are just trying to get by in the face of death and uncertainty.

 

Beth is in Joan’s room, mopping up the blood from the amputation. Apparently, Joan was trying to escape the sexual predilections of Officer Gorman. Joan says that Dawn can control him, but she turns the other way because it is easier.

 

Beth is in her room when she searched for the lollipop that Noah snuck to her. As she’s realizing it is gone, Creepo Officer Gorman walks in licking it. He then straight up forces it into Beth’s mouth. Great. Between cannibals and rapists, this season is demonstrating the worst of humanity. Dr. Steven walks in and tells Gorman to leave her alone, but Gorman tells Dr. Steven that Beth should have been his. Dr. Steven says that no one is Gorman’s, but Gorman says he’s going to get Joan back. Dr. Steven says when Gorman gets sick, he won’t help him, but Gorman says there will be another Dr. and someone else in charge. After Gorman leaves, Beth asks Dr. Steven why he stays.

 

Dr. Steven takes Beth to the ground floor the hospital and shows here there is no exit. The one exit is blocked by walkers (and for some reason they scare Beth). He tells her when he starts to think about leaving, he goes to see the walkers as a reminder he won’t make it out or live. He then takes her to the roof of the hospital, where he tells her Dawn is doing her best to keep everyone alive. He takes partial blame for the system of paying off the debt, but tells Beth it is better than being outside of the hospital with the walkers. The conversation ends with Dr. Steven asking Beth to give Trevitt, the patient whom Officer Dawn insisted Dr. Steven save, the wrong kind of drug, resulting in Trevitt’s death.

 

The next morning, Dawn comes to see Beth. Dawn tells Beth that the wards are there to make Dawn’s officers happy. She’s made compromises but it’s to keep everything moving smoothly. Dawn also tells Beth that she’s a burden, and when Beth denies this, Dawn lifts Beth’s hands, showing her scars from Beth’s attempted suicide. Dawn then leaves telling Beth that some people aren’t cut out of the apocalypse life. Oh Dawn, you fool. How little you know about Beth and the journey she has been on.

 

Fed up, Beth tells Noah she wishes to escape with him. Beth is with Noah and she’s worried about his new bruises. They come up with a plan to escape. He tells Beth to get the spare key to the elevator bank from Dawn’s office.

 

So Beth is off to Dawn’s office to find the key. In her office, she finds a dead Joan. Gorman then walks in, likely to dispose of Joan’s body since it appears he’s the one that killed her. And for the first time on this show, I’m grateful that a character didn’t stab a dead person through the head. As Gorman is trying to take advantage of Beth, Joan awakens as a walker, and Beth hits Gorman over the head, causing him to fall and leaving him for walker bait. Again, someone underestimating Beth and the fighter she’s become.

 

Beth and Noah meet up and descend down the elevator shaft. Noah takes a bit of a fall injuring his leg, leaving his gait looking like that of a walker. Beth begins unloading her gun on the walkers, and resorting stomping their heads, the training she had with Darryl and the gang. As she and Noah are almost free when an officer tackles Beth. Noah is able to escape, and Beth gives him a sad smile.

 

Back in Hospital California (this may as well be the hotel the Eagles sing about), Beth tells Dawn that she let Gorman die because he was going to rape her, like he raped Joan. She tells Dawn that no one is coming and that they’re all going to die, making what Dawn is allowing to happen mean nothing. Dawn lets this sit for a minute before once again hitting Beth across the face.

 

In Dr. Steven’s office, he’s fixing up Beth’s new head wound from Dawn’s hit. Dr. Steven tells Beth he purposely told her the wrong drugs to give Trevitt because Trevitt was an oncologist, implying that Trevitt would have become more useful than him. (This makes me wonder about Dr. Steven’s specialty, and why a cancer doctor would be more useful, but whatever.) Beth is then walking down the hall, holding a weapon, looking like she’s going to stab Dr. Steven when she sees officers rolling in a new patient, and it’s someone Beth recognizes…. Carol.

 

So, this has to be a decoy right? Darryl and Carol followed the car back to the hospital, and after observing what happened at Terminus, they decided to scope out the situation before they went in. Realizing that the hospital seemed sketchy (how I’m not sure), they decided to send Carol in in order to save Beth. Right? I mean that HAS to be what is happening here right? RIGHT?!

 

But what if it’s not. Let’s say this episode isn’t a flashback, but rather concurrent with what’s happening with the rest of the gang. Who is with Daryl in the woods? Could it be Noah? Could they have met up? Noah would be able to fill the gang in on what’s happening in the hospital, spurring a rescue mission for Beth and Carol.