The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 4: 'Slabtown'
November 2, 2014

(Spoilers Below)

For almost eight months we've been wondering what the hell happened to Beth after episode 413 and tonight we finally have some light shed on that topic. Last season it appeared that Beth and Daryl were about to hook up with a little romance in the Garden of the Apocalypse when Walkers overrun a house they were staying at. Daryl as usual gets her out first and fends off the Walkers, but when he goes to meet her by the road, he finds her bag on the ground and a car with a cross on the windshield speeding away with her.

'Slabtown" begins with Beth opening her eyes and finding out that's she's in some sort of a hospital room which is reminiscent of the very first episode of TWD, when Rick came too in a hospital bed. Only she appears to be locked in it which doesn't bode well for her. No, it's not Terminus or Woodbury, but Grady Memorial Hospital, another dysfunctional sanctuary. She's disorientated but looks out of a window and sees the shattered remains of the city of Atlanta. She has a broken arm and some cuts and bruises and when a Dr. Steven Edwards and officer Dawn Lerner (You may remember her from FlashFoward) come into the room. Apparently she has been "saved" by her "captors" and now "owes them" because she's used up some of their valuable resources. Officer Dawn tells her as much.

Dawn: You owe us.

She's the big cheese running this new group of survivors in the hospital and it's another uptight operation. If she deems you worthy to be helped, then they require you to stay with them until you have paid back what you took. It doesn't matter if you asked for their help or not. What the full payment is isn't very clear. And she's not very flexible because she believes what they are doing (surviving) is for the "greater good" so when they are all saved, they can help rebuild the world. Great, another leader who justifies abusive behavior. Beth asks if they found Daryl, but she says that Beth was alone with Rotters when she was saved. It's quickly apparent that Dawn is a control freak with a short fuse.

Part of Beth's duties at the hospital are to help the doctor dispose of newly deceased people by throwing them down an elevator shaft so Rotters can eat them and clean up the waste for them. Everything is used you see for maximum efficiency at Grady M. We also know right away that that will make a good escape route.

Beth gets some food in a type of commissary and finds a creepy white officer named Gorman who starts hitting on her immediately. There's a price for everything including what she eats and he's taking notes.

She also meets Noah, a kind young man who sends her lollipops and cleans all the uniforms of Grady because Dawn doesn't like messy things. He explains to her that when he was "saved," his father was with him, but since he was stronger than Noah so they left him behind instead because he posed a threat to Dawn's command. We now understand why they would have left Daryl behind and why Beth made a good choice for their group.

A woman is wheeled onto her floor who has a bite taken out of her left forearm. It appears she was part of the Grady group, tried to escape, didn't make it and now doesn't want their help to save her. Dawn makes the choice for her so the good doctor makes like Lizzy Borden (Did you see the new version starring Christina Ricci?) and hacks it off while she screams in horror. It's revealed that Joan was some sort of a sex slave to Gorman as one of her duties so that explains a lot.

There's another man wheeled in on Beth's floor who is badly injured and Dr. Edwards doesn't want to waste resources to save him, but Dawn demands that he tries. Later, Edwards gives Beth a tour to show her how futile it would be to try and escape and tells her that another officer named Hanson used to run things but he made a lot of "bad calls" and that's why Dawn is the way she is. He tells her to give the injured man 500 mg of some drug and call it a day. When Beth injects him with the dosage, the man goes into convulsions and they have to kill him which infuriates officer Dawn.

The good doctor wanted Beth to kill the injured man because he was another doctor and Edwards wanted to protect his position there. He justifies his actions by using an analogy that Peter had to betray Jesus or he would have been crucified along with him.

Beth comforts Noah after he takes a beating for trying to cover for her over the dead doctor and they plan their escape. He tells her that there's an elevator key in Officer Dawn's office someplace.

Beth slips into the office and finds that Joan has committed suicide rather than stay in Grady Memorial and is lying in a pool of blood around her stump arm. Unfazed, she keeps looking for the key anyway. And as you would expect, Officer Gorman comes in and wants to trade her sex for his silence. She agrees knowing that Joan is reviving as a Walker. As he feels her up, she hits him over the head and he falls on the floor just in time to have his neck gutted by zombie Joan. She leaves Gorman to her and finally meets Noah.

They make it outside of the hospital, but Noah makes it out past the gates, while Beth is caught by a few other officers and they bring her back into the hospital.

Once again she faces the wrath of Officer Dawn, but Beth lays into her demented "greater good" scheme and tells her how all these people are dying for nothing, nobody is being saved. officer Dawn responds by knocking her unconscious.

She wakes up some time later to see Carol being wheeled in unconscious on a stretcher.


*The episode was not very effective on many fronts. Grady Memorial is a very big hospital, but in the entire episode, we only see around seven people who are actually part of the group. Are there many more people who are part of the Grady Memorial group?

*The floor that Beth is forced to work on is eerily barren also and it gave the episode of kind of surreal phoniness to it.

* How has Officer Dawn maintained control after Hanson was dispatched?

*Officer Gorman seemed to be a threat to her authority, why didn't he take his shot?

* The saving grace of the episode was seeing Beth finally and when Carol was wheeled in.

Grade: C {correction}

(Please excuse all types and errors-JA)

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