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The Walking Dead “Slabtown” 

The Walking Dead “Slabtown”
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Where’s Beth!? This has been the question fans of The Walking Dead have been asking themselves for months. After being taken during season 4, Beth’s whereabouts have remained a mystery until last night. Needless to say, Beth is not in good hands.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

At the beginning of the hour, we find Beth waking up in a hospital bed with several injuries. She then meets Officer Dawn Lerner and Dr. Steven Edwards. They tell her they saved her from walkers and now she owes them. You just knew these people were bad news from the start. Beth realizes as time goes by that she is now living a life of indentured servitude. Not only is she trapped in an endless cycle owing those around her, but she’s also surrounded by people more dangerous than walkers.

First we have Officer Dawn, who likes to keep things neat and orderly. When things don’t go her way, she lashes out. Dawn sure likes to hit Beth across the face! She’s under the delusion that what they’re doing is the right thing and that help in on the way. I was so happy when Beth stood up to her at the end and told her she was fooling herself. Next we have officer Gorman, who tells Beth she “owes” him her thanks for saving her on the side of the road. It wasn’t hard to understand what he meant as payment.

How creepy and disturbing was the lollipop scene!? We quickly learn that Officer Dawn has no problem turning a blind eye to rape and abuse as long as it keeps her officers happy and in line. Gorman forcibly put that lollipop in her mouth like she was nothing but property for him to claim. We learn that Officer Gorman also abused another woman named Joan, whom Beth had to watch get her arm amputated after a walker bite. Things are so bad in the hospital that Joan wanted to die.

The only person Beth finds as an ally is Noah (played by Tyler James Williams), another trapped orderly. They plot their escape from the hospital which works well for Noah as he manages to get out, but Beth is still trapped. I was so proud of Beth in this episode. I know there are a lot of people out there who dislike it when episodes focus on particular members of the group. I’m not one of those people. I welcome episodes like this because they allow us to see character development.

Beth has gotten a lot of hate ever since she was introduced. She’s been described as pointless, weak, stupid, etc. You know who else was called those things: Carol. Carol used to be a character no one liked, but over time she has been allowed to flourish and develop into a complex character. I felt this hour allowed audiences to see that Beth isn’t as weak as she appears. She’s observant, and she’s very level-headed. She doesn’t make decisions out of impulse. She plots.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Not everyone in the apocalypse can be a katana swinging badass like Michonne. Some people are physically weaker who need to rely on their smarts and intuition in order to get through. I think after the episode finished, audiences can safely say that Beth can take of herself. It was so gratifying to watch her smash that bottle of lollipops over Gorman’s head after he started to force himself on her, and then watch him get eaten by a recently turned Joan.

She’s a pretty good shot too after the training she received from Daryl. Beth was taking out walkers left and right as she and Noah were escaping through the darkened hospital. Even though she didn’t escape, she still had a triumphant smile on her face as she watched Noah get away. Beth was even prepared to take out Dr. Edwards after she learned what kind of man he truly is. However, now that Carol has been wheeled in on a gurney, Beth is going to have to rethink an escape plan.

I loved this hour of The Walking Dead. Major props need to be given to Emily Kinney for carrying this episode on her shoulders. I feel like we’ve gotten to see what Beth is capable of, and she has certainly come a long way from being the suicidal girl we met on Hershel’s farm back in season 2.

Questions to Ponder:

– What happened to Carol?

– Where is Daryl during all this?

– Who does Daryl bring back with him to the church?

– Did Noah make it to safety, even though he was limping?

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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