The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 4, “Slabtown”

“Slabtown”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Prologue

1:30 PM, Sunday, 11/2/14

On Sunday afternoon. I was putting in some overtime hours, thinking about The Walking Dead, thinking about what a wild ride Season 5 has been thus far. I kept thinking about last week’s episode,” Four Walls and a Roof,” and was feeling very unsettled about how it all ended.

I thought about Rick, and our gang, and all that they’ve been through, and how the core group keeps getting more and more separated, more fragmented. I kept seeing Maggie and Glenn looking out the window as the Abraham & Co.bus pulled away, and it still doesn’t feel real, or right, their leaving. It all makes me feel very worried and anxious.

I thought about Beth, and wondered what has been happening to her, since she was abducted in a creepy black funeral car, and taken away, somewhere. I thought about what the night’s episode, “Slabtown,” would have in store for us. I thought about Gabriel, of his terrible tale, and what his ultimate fate on the show would be. I thought about Carol, and of that final scene, of Daryl coming out of the bushes, and how, when Michonne asks him, “Where’s Carol?” I thought about the weird look Daryl gives her, before turning back to the dark bushes behind him, and saying, curtly, to some mysterious somebody, “Come on out.”

And I thought, Who is in those damn bushes?

My friends and I asked each other this question on Halloween night, as we sat around the fire and watched our kids run around the yard in their costumes, hopped up on their Halloween haul of candy. My friends and I all agreed that we wanted the person(s) in the bushes to be Carol, Beth, and maybe Morgan, hanging back in the dark while Daryl made sure the coast was clear. That would be a pretty ideal scenario, right? But…we were doubtful, worried about Daryl’s vibe in that ending scene.  He was acting so weird, on edge. Not happy, not like, “Hey guys, we found Beth, and here’s Carol, and this is Morgan…he says he knows you, Rick. Now, we can all go to Washington, and cure this thing!”

As I worked, I thought about all this.  And there was something about that line...‘Go to Washington, and cure this thing.’  Where had I heard that line before?  Gareth.  In my mind, clear as day, I could hear Gareth’s voice, saying, “You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

That scene, of Gareth, saying those words, was in the Season 5 trailer, which I deconstructed at length, in my Season 5 prepost, “ReEntry.”  In the post, I even provided a Youtube video link for the reader to watch the trailer, if they wanted. I must have watched that trailer 20 times myself in the writing process, and I could hear Gareth’s voice saying those words.  And, sure enough, when I went back to my “ReEntry” post, and played the trailer again, later, there was Gareth, sitting in the dark, talking to someone (presumably Rick and the gang), saying:

“You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

Watching it again, I was like, “Wait…that scene hasn’t happened yet.”

Now, if you actually read this crazy blog, you know that if this Gareth scene had indeed happened yet, I would have probably transcribed it for you, word for word, in one of my Season 5 posts by now. While I don’t strive to recap every little scene in every WD episode, that scene would be a significant moment, significant enough for me to transcribe, significant enough for Kirkman, Gimple, & Co. to put in the Season 5 trailer, right near the beginning. It’s important. It’s a plot-changer.

And, that scene hasn’t happened yet.

But wait…Gareth’s dead…right? But, there he is, in the trailer, in that scene, sitting there in the dark, uttering those words, in that scene that hasn’t happened yet.

???

I called my WD buddy, and told her all this, and told her the crazy theory I was putting together in my head.  Then. I saw my other WD buddy, Mona, and while we walked dogs together, I told her what I was thinking, and shared my theory with her. They both went back to my “ReEntry”  post, and watched the trailer, again. And yep, there was Gareth, not dead, sitting in the dark, saying that line.

My WD buddy asked me, “Are you sure that hasn’t happened yet? He didn’t say that yet?”  I told her, “It hasn’t happened yet.”  And we were silent, as we tried to make sense of this.

So now, I ask you this, my readers…is there an Evil Twin Situation happening here? Does Gareth have an identical twin brother, a brother who was put in charge of Bob, and the other five Terms in his group, while Gareth went off to capture Carol, or do some other evil shit elsewhere  in the woods, using the markings they carved into the trees to keep track of where they were during their night lurkings?

Or…was Gareth the one who stayed back, because his shoulder was shot (by Rick, in the Season 5 premiere), while his evil twin brother, Greg (?), went after Carol (and was this close to getting her before Daryl’s fine self showed up and foiled his evil plan)?  And, so while Gareth got hacked to death by Rick’s Red-Handled Machete of Bloody Justice, evil twin brother Greg, or whatever his name is, is still out there, in the woods, on the loose, maybe lurking behind Daryl in the bushes in that final scene? (I actually have another guess as to who is in those bushes, a guess shared by many…we’ll get to that later in the post.)

Hmmmm....

Hmmmm….

...could it be?

…could it be?  Evil twins? Crazy…or crazy genius? 

An evil twin brother?  I wish I had one of those! (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers...just sayin'.)

“An evil twin brother? I wish I had one of those!” (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers, long ago…just sayin’.)

Welcome to my Evil Terminal Twin Conspiracy Theory, aka the ETTCT.  my WDO darlings.  In the ETTCT, I theorize that Gareth had an identical twin brother, probably Greg, (because Gareth and Greg just sounds right together, like names that identical twin brothers would have, and Gareth did refer to a “Greg” almost capturing Carol, before Daryl showed up). In the ETTCT, one twin brother gets killed by Rick, leaving the other twin out there in the woods, with weapons, and a small Term army, and a plan in the making to mete out some Terminal Revenge on Rick and the gang, probably in the form of making Rick and the gang join forces with them, and going up to Washington D.C. all together, “and cure this thing.”

Crazy? Perhaps…believe me, I’ve been called worse. My WD buddy thinks that maybe the trailer is messed up and that scene with Gareth got cut. Maybe… but the ETTCT could explain why we are seeing a dead man, in the Season 5 trailer, in a scene that hasn’t happened yet, making a deal with (probably) our gang, to ostensibly join forces, go up to D.C.together, and cure the walker epidemic, right?

Maybe I am totally wrong, which is fine, because evil twins are just super fun to talk about in general, as are conspiracy theories.  Maybe you all theorized that Gareth may have an evil identical twin already, and I’m just a step behind, and just now catching up, or catching on. If so, mad props, once again, to the forward thinkers…and to evil twins, and conspiracy theories.

But, before you say nay to the ETTCT, let us remember the Law of Kirkman, darlings….Kirkman will do as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions.

I suppose all shall be revealed in due time…and btw, if there isn’t a band already named Evil Twin, well, there should be.

_______________________________________________

“Slabtown”

The opening scene of fourth episode of The Walking Dead’s Season 5, “Slabtown,” shows Beth’s eyelids, closed and still for a moment, then beginning to flutter, and move, as Beth blinks awake.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings. We know she’s thinking, “Where am I?”

The first thing that captures Beth’s attention in the bright, sterile room is the second hand of a working analogue clock, as it moves around the clock’s face. As the camera pans back, Beth sits up in the hospital-type bed she is in, looks around. She has a deep cut across her left cheek, which looks like it’s been stitched closed, and she is hooked up to an I.V.. Beth gets up from the bed and moves to the window, taking the I.V. stand with her.  As she peers out the window, Beth takes in the grim sight of the blasted skyline of Atlanta.

beth sees bombed atlanta 1

As the second hand of the clock ticks from line to line, number to number, Beth moves to the the door, and finding it locked, begins rapping on the door loudly, calling out. When she hears footsteps approach, Beth quickly pulls the I.V. needle from her arm and holds it ready, to use as a weapon if she needs to.

The door opens, and a smallish dark-haired woman of sporty build, wearing a cop’s uniform, strides into the room first, followed by a lanky, bearded man wearing heavy-framed glasses and a white doctor’s coat.  The lady cop’s manner is stern, no-nonsense, aggressive, as she charges through the door, while the doctor’s manner is more submissive, placating, nervous.  He motions Beth down with his hands, as he walks through the door, behind the lady cop, tells Beth quickly that, “Everything’s ok, ok?”

beth meets dawn and the doc

The lady cop isn’t as placating. “Put it down,” she orders Beth curtly, referring to the I.V. needle, poised and ready, in Beth’s hand. “Drop it, right now.” There is no leniency in her voice, or manner, and Beth immediately complies, drops the needle to the floor.

The doctor introduces himself, with a slight, annoyed sigh in his voice at the lady cop’s hardball antics. “I’m Doctor Steven Edwards,” he says, “and this is Officer Dawn Lerner,” motioning towards the lady cop slightly with his head.

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is...his hands are stuffed into  the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready...

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is…his hands are stuffed into the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready to shut down any insubordination, whatsoever.

Doc Edwards asks Beth how she is feeling…Beth asks immediately, “Where am I?” Doc Edwards tells her that she is at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.  Beth asks how she got there, and Officer Dawn answers quickly, telling Beth that “her officers” found her on the side of a road, surrounded by “rotters.”

Doc Edwards adds that Beth’s wrist was fractured, and that she suffered a “superficial head wound.” Beth takes all this in in shocked silence, and my first thought, while watching this, was that those wounds were incurred most probably by Beth’s resisting Dawn’s “officers” as they forced her into the funeral car, against her will, and subduing her by force.  The injuries that Beth sustained don’t seem, (to me) to be the type of wounds one would get by fighting off walkers, although, of course, they could be. But, I’m not really buying Officer Dawn’s story here, and it doesn’t look to me like Beth is, either.

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately,

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately, “Beth.”

Then, hoping against hope, Beth asks, in a shaky voice, if “the man I was with, is he here too?” Officer Dawn replies quickly, “You were alone.  If we hadn’t saved you, you’d be one of them, right now…” ,  and Officer Dawn motions her head towards the window, towards the outside world, full of “rotters.”

And as we watch, Officer Dawn’s eyes narrow, from a look of wide-eyed concern and do-right vigilance, to something darker, harder, angrier…

Officer Dawn looks at Beth, says,”So, you owe us.”  And with those words, another debt meter starts running at Grady Memorial Hospital.

After this scene, the nimble, strident strings of the Bear McCreary opening title sequence build, and it is clear to Beth, and to all of us, what Doctor Edwards, judging from his cowed demeanor, already knows: Officer Dawn Lerner is a crazy bitch, and scary.  If Officer Dawn isn’t crazy, by the court-definition-legal-sense-of-the-word, she has at least four or five serious personality disorders kicking, with a vicious mean streak twisting and winding through it all. If Gareth could hold a grudge for a thousand years, it seems like Officer Dawn could hold a grudge for a thousand light years.

Later, as Beth joins Doctor Edwards on rounds, she follows him into one patient’s room, with the respirator and monitors all hooked up to batteries and generators. Doc Edwards explains that the patient was found on a recent run, under a bridge, suffering cardiac arrest and extreme dehydration. He was brought to the hospital, but, despite Doctor Edward’s efforts, the patient was showing no real signs of improvement.

cardiac arrest goner guy

code red is declared

.”I tried to do what I could,” Doctor Edwards says, resigned, as he reaches over and turns off the respirator.

“Wait,” says Beth, “that’s it?” We hear the cardiac monitor beeping in quick, irregular succession, then flatline. “If a patient doesn’t show signs of improvement,” Doctor Edwards explains. “Dawn calls it.” He walks away, leaving Beth to digest this disturbing piece of information, and gets what looks like the patient’s chart, and a scalpel, which Doc Edwards knifes matter-of-factly into the man’s temple, rekilling him. Beth looks away.

As she helps Doc Edwards wheel the body out of the room, Beth sees Officer Dawn talking with another officer in the hallway.  As they pass, Officer Dawn looks down, eyes the body of the dead patient on the stretcher, prompting Doc Edwards to stop, explain his decision to Officer Dawn as she listens for a moment before finally nodding her approval. Beth  takes this unsupervised moment to peer down the hallway, as if making mental notes to herself as to the layout of the hospital.

It seems Officer Dawn's approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

It seems Officer Dawn’s approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

Beth ventures a little further down the hallway, looks in one of the rooms, sees a young woman inside, dressed in hospital scrubs. The young woman, looking fearful, quickly closes the door in Beth’s face. Officer Dawn strides by, bids Beth to, “Come on, the body’s getting cold.”  Led by Officer Dawn, they approach a set double-doors, and Officer Dawn steps forward, pulls out a large set keys, and unlocks the doors, holding the door open and nodding Beth and Doc Grady through.

As they wheel the stretcher down the darkened, empty hallway, Beth asks Doc Edwards how many people are at the hospital. “Just enough to keep us going,” he replies. Doctor Edwards adds that while some people started here, others arrived later, as patients, and that “everyone has a job.”  When Beth asks if they could just bury this body, Doc Edwards replies that they “only go out when we need to,” and while dumping the bodies down the chute to the basement isn’t the most dignified system, it’s the safest and easiest way available to them.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows of the bottom floor were blown out, and they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers...

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows on the bottom floor of the hospital were blown out, but they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers, so it seems that entry and exit from the hospital is not so easy…

...and if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement

Doc Edwards adds if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement “take care” of some of the mess.

Beth watches the body fall down the tall, dark chute, and then hears the loud crash of the body hitting the basement floor, far down in the blackness below. Immediately, we hear the savagery and carnage of the walkers as they begin to feast upon the dead patient’s remains.

Later, Beth enters a small cafeteria room, and as she cautiously begins to select the offerings from the warming trays and spoon them onto her plate, she is approached by.. Gorman.

Gorman's opening line to Beth,

Gorman’s opening line to Beth, “You’re lookin’ better and better.” Ewwww.

Gorman is disguhhsting

Gorman is a disgusting, creepy nightmare.

Gorman recounts to Beth how he and another officer got a lead on some guns, so one night, they were “way out there” when they saw her, “wrigglin’ around in the road” with a “rotter” on top of her.  Beth continues to focus on loading her tray, does not respond, nor look at Gorman,. prompting him to ask her, “You don’t remember me, huh?”

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black,

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black.

Gorman leans forward, with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter

Gorman leans forward, and with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter “high on her thighs” when he and the other officer found her, but, lucky for her, “I got there first.”

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this creepy statement oozes over her.

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this lewd statement oozes over her.

Watching Beth silently load up her tray, Gorman introduces himself, “I’m Gorman.” When Beth continues to not engage with him, Gorman tells her that when someone does something nice for someone else, “it’s courtesy to show some appreciation.” Beth registers his meaning, but still says nothing, does not look at him.  Gorman adds, “Unless you want me to write down everything you’re taking,” and motions to Beth’s tray, full of food, drink. says, “Everything costs something, right?” Beth looks at him now, wide eyed and totally creeped out,  but says nothing. She turns with her tray, walks out of the room.  Gorman checks out her ass as she leaves, goes back to his business, whatever that is.

I find it a show of real strength that Beth did not cow down to Gorman in this scene. Although Beth is still young, and has questioned her own strength and value in these dire times, she is demonstrating how much she has learned from her father, from Daryl, from Maggie, Rick and the rest of the prison gang.  She is staying focused, assessing her situation, playing the game, until an opportunity arises for her to break free of this hospital of horrors .

As Beth walks down the long hallway, carrying her tray, she hears Officer Dawn’s voice coming from a room, instructing Noah, the young man who Beth saw mopping, earlier, “We’ll find Joan…until then, you’re on laundry duty, and I want my uniform washed,” and Noah echoes Officer Dawn’s next words, words he has heard many times before, “separately, and pressed.” Noah looks through the window, through the slats of the horizontal blinds, out at Beth as he says this, then turns with raised, joking eyebrows at Dawn, who regards him coolly from the recumbent stationary bike she is pedaling.

dawn and noah noah echoes dawn

“Smartass,” Officer Dawn Lerner mutters, and Noah salutes her playfully, with a small smile, before turning back to his task.

Beth steps into Doc Edwards’ lair, finds him spinning some vinyl…

doc edwards listens to some vinyl

A little blues by Junior Kimbrough…Beth says she can’t remember the last time she heard a record. Doc Edwards says playing  records is one of the few perks he gets as the only doctor at Grady Memorial.

doc edwards suffocating in boredom

Doc Edwards tells Beth that at one point in his life, he felt like he was drowning in research, but “now the oceans are dry, and I’m suffocating in boredom.” Beth tells him,”If you’re safe enough to be bored, you’re lucky.”

Beth tries to give her tray of food to Doc Edwards, and when he asks her about her food, she replies, “The more you take, the more you owe, right?” After Doc Edwards promises he won’t tell Dawn, he bids Beth to sit, try the not-quite-delicious guinea pig creation that is constituting the meat entree on Beth’s plate. Doc Edwards cuts her off a bite, holds it out to her…

Mmmm...guinea pig.  I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the plate...is there a garden somewhere?

Mmmm…guinea pig. I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the plate…is there a garden somewhere?

Chewing, Beth’s face says it all, but she gives Doc Edwards a good-natured smile of thanks. She turns to notice the large painting to her right, “The Denial of Saint Peter,” by Caravaggio.  Doctor Edwards says that he found it outside of the High Museum of Art, in the trash. Beth remarks on the beauty of the painting, and Doc Edwards regards the masterpiece, says that it has no place in this world anymore…art has nothing to do with survival…art is about transcendence, rising to a higher level.

“We can’t do that anymore?” Beth asks.  Doc Edwards turns to look at her. “I don’t know,” he replies.  Beth tells him she still sings…he smiles at her.  Doc Edwards seems to have a genuine liking for Beth.  She seems to represent a light, a spark of life, that he hasn’t encountered in a long, long time.

Just then, Officer Dawn pokes her head in the doorway, announces, “We’ve got a new one.” As they gather around the new arrival, an unconscious man, a male officer announces they found his wallet, and his identification.  He then goes over to Officer Dawn, whispers something to her that catches her attention, as the female officer recounts how the man dropped from the first floor of a building, trying to get away from…something, presumably a walker (or a rotter, as they say in these parts).

Doctor Edwards is quick to announce that the man’s vitals are dropping, he’s lost a lot of blood, and concludes, “I don’t think he’s going to make it,” Officer Dawn tells the male officer, “I’ve got this,” pushes her way through, and tells Doc Edwards, “You said you wanted to save people, so save him.”

Doc Edwards tells Dawn,

Doc Edwards tells Dawn, “You told me not to waste resources…this guy’s a loser.”

“Well,” replies Officer Dawn, “this time, I want you to try.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Doc Edwards gets to work, asking Beth to plug the ultrasound and EKG into the battery pack.  As he moves the ultrasound over the unconscious man’s lungs, Doctor Edwards sees on the imaging monitor that the man has a punctured lung, which is filling the thorax cavity up with blood, making the man unable to breathe.  The EKG monitor starts to beep quickly, signalling cardiac distress. When Doc Edwards hands Beth a set of keys and asks her to get him a large hollow needle from the cabinet, Officer Dawn grabs the keys from Beth’s hand, shoves her aside, unlocks the cabinet and grabs a needle and syringe from inside, and hands it to Doctor Edwards.  Doctor Edwards plunges the needle through the man’s chest, releasing the blood in a spray.  The man immediately begins to breathe easier.

needle plunge

When Officer Dawn asks Doc Edwards if the man is going to make it, Doc Edwards pulls up the man’s shirt, exposing the severe bruising on his abdomen, suggesting internal bleeding…Doc Edwards is pretty hell bent on pronouncing the man a lost cause, which sends Officer Dawn into a silent fury.  She hauls off and slaps poor Beth, hard, right on the cut on her cheek, reopening the wound, causing it to bleed anew. Bitch!

It's like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by...

It’s like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by…

As Doc Edwards looks on in shock and horror, Officer Crazy-Ass Dawn Lerner looks him in the eye, tells him to “consider the stakes, here.” As Dawn the Devil Spawn stalks out of the room, Beth lifts a shaky hand to her bleeding cheek.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Later, as Doc Edwards tends to her wound, Beth asks him if she, Officer Dawn, is always like that.  “Only on her bad days, ” Doc Edwards replies. “Unfortunately for us, those are the only kind she has.”

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt...Dawn likes things neat.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt, as Dawn likes things neat. “She must love your office,” Beth says sarcastically.  Doc Edwards grins at this.  “We all have ways of making her pay.”

After Doc Edwards steps out to let Beth get changed into her clean shirt, Beth discovers that Noah has left her a gift in the clean shirt’s pocket…a green lollipop, like the kind a doctor’s office would keep on hand to give to children. This brings a small, secret smile to Beth’s face.

Her respite doesn’t last long, because outside in the hall, two officers are bringing in a young woman, who is wearing the telltale blue scrubs of Grady Memorial Hospital and struggling against them.  Joan, the woman who Officer Dawn spoke of “finding” earlier. She has a walker bite on her arm.

So gnarly.

So gnarly.

As they strap Joan down to the bed, Dawn begins by chastising Joan, telling her she doesn’t know what she was thinking, but Joan has two choices now…either they cut off her arm, or Joan does. Clearly, Officer Dawn’s bedside manner leaves something to be desired…

screw you says joan

Joan replies, through clenched teeth, “Screw you!” She then looks at Gorman, and I think she says, “And your little bitch, too!” Enraged, Gorman lunges towards Joan, only to be pushed back and ordered out of the room by Dawn.

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire...

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire…”We are not going to let you die, we are not going to let you turn,” Officer Dawn yells at Joan before Doc Edwards does the deed. “I’m not going back to them!” Joan yells at Officer Dawn. “You can’t control them!” Officer Dawn insists, “I will!”

After this horrific incident, Beth brings some bloodied scrubs into the laundry room. Noah is there, ironing clothes with an old-timey style iron. He introduces himself as the one who put a lollipop in her shirt pocket.  Beth thanks him for that, to which he replies that it seemed like she could use a pick-me-up.  As he takes the bloodstained clothes, he adds that after this day, he should have given her the whole jar.

Beth asks him about Joan, asks if she had just stayed, and worked, couldn’t she have done her time, paid her debt to the hospital, and left?  Noah shakes his head, with a wry little smile, replies that he hasn’t seen it work like that, yet.  Beth asks him how long he’s been there…he replies that he’s been there just over a year.  Beth’s face registers her dismay and horror at this news, as the gravity of her situation sinks in.  Noah shows her a long scar on the back of his leg, tells her that he and his dad were pretty messed up when Dawn’s officers found them…at least, that’s what they told him. They told Noah that they could only save one of them, either him, or his dad.

Noah tells Beth that he believed that story for the longest time…but now, he knows. His dad was bigger, stronger, and would have fought back…his dad was more of a threat. “So they left him behind,” Beth says.  Noah says that Dawn looked the other way, that while she says she is in charge, she is, only just barely…and it’s getting worse. And that’s why, when the time is right, Noah says that he is leaving this place, going to find his uncle, and make his way back up to Richmond to get his mom.

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak,

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak, “But they don’t know shit about me, what I am, what you are…” And as he says this, Beth smiles, the first real smile since she woke up in Grady Memorial.

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, relieves the female officer standing guard. She has a try of food for Beth, bids her eat. Beth replies that she doesn’t eat much, that she’s “not staying longer than you make me.”

Dawn says nothing, sits, pats the spot next to her for Beth to join her.

dawn has a chat with beth

Dawn advises Beth not to look at her stay at Grady Memorial as a sentence, that they are giving Beth clothing, shelter, protection…and when have those things ever been free? Beth tells Dawn that she didn’t ask for their help, and Dawn replies, “But you needed it.”  Beth sits with her hands folded, says nothing. Dawn continues her proselytizing, saying that one day the world will return to what it was like before, and until then, they have to tow the line, and people like Beth, who have been given help, need to give back.

Beth looks at Dawn, asks her if she really thinks that someone is going to come save them…Dawn seems assured that there are “people like us” out there, people who will restore order to the world, and until then, they all need to chip in, to work, and give back.  She tells Beth to keep working, and she’ll pay off her debt, be out of there in no time.  Beth, after hearing Noah’s story, knows better, but says nothing.  Dawn tells Beth in order for her to do all this, she needs to eat, to get strong, and heal.  So, Beth reaches over, spears a bite of food on her fork, and begins to eat in small bites. Satisfied, Dawn leaves.

Later, Beth is in Joan’s room, mopping up blood from the floor.  She is humming a little tune to herself. and Joan smiles, says, “That’s really nice.”

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her,

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her, “Not yet.”

Beth, at a loss for what to say, tells Joan, “I’m so sorry.” Joan replies that she (Officer Dawn) can control them, but she won’t, because it’s easier not to, because “she’s a coward.” Beth asks Joan what he, Gorman, did to her. Joan replies that it doesn’t matter.  She looks off sadly, says, “I guess it’s easier to make a deal with the devil when you’re not the one paying the price.”

The implication here, the way I see it, is that Dawn has the male officers do her bidding, provide the muscle to get her will done, and take on the dirty, dangerous work, like going on runs, and “savenapping” people (Chris Hardwick’s term on Talking Dead for the Grady Memorial officers’ predilection for “saving/kidnapping” vulnerable and injured people), bringing them back to Grady Memorial, and keeping them there against their will, while the poor savenapped people incur debt to the hospital by needing treatment, and getting their most basic needs met…a debt that they can never seem to pay off, to one day leave the hospital.

In return, Dawn looks the other way while the officers harass, rape, and brutalize the female patients, or whomever they want to…and lately, it seems that the balance of power is shifting. Dawn Lerner calls the shots, but she is more and more of a figurehead, while the male officers do as they please, under her nose, without her knowing the full extent of what is really going on.  And instead of confronting the officers, Dawn has taken the path of least resistance, and looks the other way.

Later, Beth is in her room, washing bloodied bandages…she stops, and goes to her bed, feels under the mattress for the lollipop that Noah had slipped her.  It is not there. Beth is startled by a voice behind her. “Lose somethin’?” She turns around to see Gorman, who is holding up her lollipop.  “This is yours, ain’t it?”

Gorman pulls the plastic wrapper off the lollipop and begins to suck on it. “Mmmmm.”

I may never eat another lollipop again.

I may never eat another lollipop again…

After making a big show of eating Beth’s lollipop, Gorman offers it to her, telling her that maybe he’ll let her have a taste…

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless...

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless.

So. Gross.

So. Gross!

Before things can get too much grosser (and things are pretty much at gross max-capacity right about now), Doc Edwards steps into the room, tells Gorman to back off of Beth.  Gorman is pretty pissed at being interrupted, says that “the girl should have been mine.” Doc Edwards replies that nobody is his, and that Gorman isn’t getting Joan back, either.  Gorman disagrees, saying he will get Joan back…he turns to Doc Edwards, asks, “Do you think Dawn’s gonna stop me?” Doc Edwards says that he will stop Gorman.

Gorman, with a little laugh, asks Doc Edwards if he’s stepping up…Doc Edwards steps closer to Gorman, asks him what’s going to happen if Gorman gets sick, or gets an infection, or gets bitten…Gorman points the lollipop at the doctor, replies that he thinks that maybe someone else will be there to help, someone who isn’t Doc Edwards…just then, Dawn appears in the doorway, summons Gorman.

Without missing a beat, as he backs away from Beth, Gorman tells Doc Edwards, and Beth, just out of Dawn’s earshot, that maybe, just maybe, someone else will be in charge, someone who’s not her, (meaning, of course, Dawn Lerner)…

...and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room.

…and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room. Damn!

After Gorman takes his leave, Beth turns to Doctor Edwards, asks him why he stays when he can leave any time he wants to. In reply, Doc Edwards brings Beth to the bottom floor, and shows her…

welcome to the ground floor of grady memorial

“Welcome to the ground floor of Grady Memorial Hospital.”

Doc Edwards then brings Beth up to the roof of the hospital, where we see the rooftop garden, and this…

...the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

…the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that after the turn, after they began to evacuate people from the hospital, they heard the bombs, and the screams, outside the hospital.  All the people they had evacuated were…gone.  They stayed put inside the hospital for a while, until the food ran out. Then, they began to go on runs, and they encountered people in need of help, of healing.  Doctor Edwards wanted to help them, but Dawn told him they couldn’t spare the resources.  One day, Doc Edwards saw a boy, covered in napalm burns and needing medical assistance, so he struck a deal with Dawn…those who were treated at the hospital would stay on, once they were healed, and work to compensate for the resources used in their treatment.

Doctor Edwards tells Beth that it was Dawn who kept them going, kept them alive…Beth asks him, “You call this living?” Doc Edwards laughs a little at his, says that at least they are protected, breathing…not out there.

Beth hedges, says that she should get back. Doc Edwards suggests that Beth go check on Mr.Trevitt, the man who was brought in earlier, and then call it a day. He tells her that Mr. Trevitt is stable, and is due for another 20 mg of clozapine. Tomorrow is another day, and they can start fresh.  Beth agrees, and goes to do as he asks.

Beth prepares the clozapine, crushing the capsules into powder, adding water, and filling the syringe.  As she injects the solution into Mr.Trevitt’s arm, Noah comes by to check on her.  As they greet each other, Mr. Trevitt begins violently convulsing in his bed, the EKG beeping wildly.  Not good.  Beth stares, helpless, unbelieving, saying, “No…no…”

Mr. Trevor goes flatline...so not good for poor Beth.

Mr. Trevitt goes flatline…so not good for poor Beth.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevor.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevitt.

After rekilling Mr.Trevitt, Dawn whirls to face Beth, pointing the bloody point of her scissors at Beth. “What did you do to him?” she demands.  Beth is at a loss for an explanation.

Officer Dawn says,

Officer Dawn says, “He was fine until you two were alone with him…something happened.”

Noah speaks up, covers for Beth, tells Dawn that while Beth stepped out to get some gauze, he was mopping and accidentally unplugged the ventilator, just for a second, before plugging it back in again…Dawn orders Gorman to take Noah to her office, and Noah is roughly led away.  Doc Edwards tries to step in, telling Dawn it was an accident, to no avail.  She stalks off after Gorman and Noah.

Beth tells Doc Edwards that Noah’s version is not what happened…Mr. Trevitt just started seizing…Doc Edwards furrows his brow, asks her, “You gave him clonazepam, right?”  Beth thinks a moment, says, “Clozapine…you said clozapine.” Doc Edwards looks at her like, poor stupid girl, denies this, says he told her clonazepam (which he didn’t, he said “clozapine,” and set Beth up…what a douche).

Suddenly, they hear the sounds of Noah’s savage beating in Dawn’s office…Beth tries to run to help Noah, while Douchey Doc Edwards holds her back.

Poor Noah!

Poor Noah!

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, closes the door behind her.  She informs Beth that she knows what really happened, that while Noah is one of her “best workers,” he is not a good liar. Dawn tells Beth that they are there to serve the greater good, and that, she, Beth, is “not the greater good.” She tells Beth that she is weak, and when Beth protests, Officer Dawn asks her how many people had to risk their lives to save hers?

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that “the wards work to keep the officers happy, and if the officers are happy, they work harder” at serving the greater good, by keeping the system going.

Officer Dawn says that one day, they will be rescued, and they will then help put the world back together, and while there have been compromises that have had to be made, their system is working…she tries to cut Beth’s self-worth down, telling her that while in here, she is worth something, out there, she is somebody’s burden.

When Beth calls “bullshit” on this, Officer Dawn yanks up Beth’s arm,  showing the scars from when Beth tried to cut her wrists in despair, back in Season 2, at her father’s farm, back in the early days of the turn.

Then, Officer Dawn tells Beth that it’s ok, “some people aren’t meant for this life, but they shouldn’t hold back the people who are.”  And with this shitty proclamation, Dawn Lerner leaves Beth standing in the room, alone, closing the door behind her as she walks out.

Later, Noah, sporting a black eye, tells Beth “it’s not as bad as it looks.” Besides, in an act of contrition, Dawn has been generous with the painkillers.

Noah  shows come compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn's

Noah shows some compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn needed Trevitt for something, that that’s what the whole thing was about.  He says, of Dawn Lerner, that she is “trapped, too.”

Beth tells Noah they're not trapped.

Beth tells Noah they’re not trapped. “I’m going with you,” she says.

Noah looks away for a moment, then they begin to make plans.  Down the chute is the fastest way out, and landing on the bodies below would muffle any noise. Noah tells Beth that he can keep Dawn occupied if she can find the spare key to the elevator bank in Dawn’s office. Beth nods.

Later, while helping Dawn reorganize a room, Noah gives Beth the signal to go ahead…she slips away and stealths into Dawn’s office…

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth finding Dawn's secret porno stash.

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth happening upon Dawn’s secret porn collection as she looked for the spare key.  While Beth doesn’t find any porn, she does find…

...poor Joan's body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out.  So sad, but so kind of badass too...Joan really doesn't seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker...she's like, bring it, bitch, and I'll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

…poor Joan’s body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out. So sad, but so kind of badass, too…Joan really doesn’t seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker…she’s like, bring it, bitch, and I’ll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

Unfortunately, Joan's deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth's need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and  she gets busted by Gorman...

Unfortunately, Joan’s deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth’s need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and she gets busted by Gorman…but not before she scores the spare key…go, Beth!

gorman sez maybe theres another solution

Gorman works the angle that Dawn doesn’t have to know…it can be our little secret. a lil win-win for both of us…”So how about it, Betty? We gonna work somethin’ out here?” Beth plays along, nods…

beth looks to joan walker

…and as Gorman moves in, Beth looks over to Joan’s body, waiting for her to turn…

joan walker wakes

…and right on cue, Joan Walker begins to wiggle her fingers.

Joan Walker is about to go AWOL on Grady Memorial.

Joan Walker is about to go AWOL on Grady Memorial. You go, Joan Walker!

Just as Gorman tells Beth,

Just as Gorman tells Beth, “You’re not a fighter,” Beth smashes the lollipop jar on Gorman’s head. Ah, poetic justice never tasted so sweet…

...especially when Gorman falls into Joan Walker's path...

…especially when Gorman falls into Joan Walker’s path…

Joan Walker feasts on her own flavor of poetic justice.

Joan Walker feasts on her own flavor of poetic justice.

It has always sucked to be you, Gorman, but in this moment, especially so.

It has always sucked to be you, Gorman, but in this moment, especially so.

Beth grabs Gorman's gun, heads down the hallway from the office.  She looks down and sees blood on her Chuck Taylors...I hate when that happens!

Beth grabs Gorman’s gun,  heads down the hallway from the office. She looks down and sees blood on her Chuck Taylors…I hate when that happens!

Beth passes Dawn in the hallway...Dawn stops Beth, asks her if everything is ok...

Beth passes Dawn in the hallway…Dawn stops Beth, asks her if everything is ok…

It takes Beth a moment to recover herself, but she does...

It takes Beth a moment to recover herself, but she does…

...telling Dawn that she just saw Joan and Gorman heading to her office, looking for her...slick, Beth!

…telling Dawn that she just saw Joan and Gorman heading to her office, looking for her…slick, Beth!

As Dawn goes towards the office, Beth and Noah know that now is the time to make a break for it. They head quickly and silently to the double doors of the elevator bank, unlock them, and head down the darkened hallway to the elevator chute.

At the opening of the steep drop, Noah ties the knotted rope of many sheets around Beth's waist, begins to lower her down...

At the opening of the steep drop, Noah ties the knotted rope of many sheets around Beth’s waist, begins to lower her down…

noah and beth escape 2

noah and beth escape 3 beth lowers down

Beth finds a foothold...

noah beth escape 5 foothold

Beth finds a foothold.

As Noah lowers hinself down, he gets grabbed by a walker...

As Noah lowers himself down, he gets grabbed by a walker…

In his struggle to escape the walker's clutches, Noah's grip slips, and he fells long and hard on a heap of bodies, injuring his leg.

In his struggle to escape the walker’s clutches, Noah’s grip slips, and he fells long and hard on a heap of bodies, injuring his leg.

Beth leads the way, and Noah shows her the door to the opening, to outside...

Beth leads the way, and Noah shows her the door to the opening, to outside…

When Noah is attacked by another walker...

When Noah is attacked by another walker…

...Beth fights it off him with Gorman's flashlight.

…Beth fights it off him with Gorman’s flashlight.

Beth shoots the basement walkers in a series of super gory effects, courtesy of Nicotero & Co.

Beth shoots the basement walkers in a series of super gory effects, courtesy of Nicotero & Co.

Finally, they get to the door, letting in the light of the...outside!

Finally, they get to the door, letting in the light of the…outside!

Beth is a badass.

Beth is a badass.

Upon seeing a walker woman on the ground, hissing and reaching up for her, Beth does the Walker Stomp on the walker's head...

Upon seeing a walker woman on the ground, hissing and reaching up for her, Beth does the Walker Stomp on the walker’s head…

...sending the walker woman's blood all over the concrete...and the lens.

…sending the walker woman’s blood all over the concrete…and the lens.

Once they slip through a hole in the chain link fence, Beth and Noah must face...the ATL Walkers!

Once they slip through a hole in the chain link fence, Beth and Noah must face…the ATL Walkers!

There are only so many bullets...and so many walkers.

There are only so many bullets…and there are so many walkers.

Beth must fight off the ATL Walkers hand-to-hand style...she is getting overrun, while Noah continues to make a break for it towards the last fence.

Beth must fight off the ATL Walkers hand-to-hand style…she is getting overrun, while Noah continues to make a break for it towards the last fence.

Suddenly, a shot from behind, and then another...Beth makes a run for it...

Suddenly, a shot from behind, and then another…Beth makes a run for it…

...as Noah makes it through the fence.

…as Noah makes it through the fence.

Poor Beth is not so lucky.

Poor Beth is not so lucky.

Noah feels so awful watching Beth get taken down by one of Dawn's officers...

Noah is anguished, watching Beth get taken down by one of Dawn’s officers…

...but Beth, seeing that Noah made it, smiles a real smile of happiness for him.

…but Beth, seeing that Noah made it, smiles a real smile of happiness for him.

Later, Officer Dawn has Beth in her office, asks Beth…

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

Beth isn’t scared any longer…she is unapologetic, tells Dawn that Gorman abused Joan, and that Dawn let it happen. Beth looks Dawn in the face and tells her that “No one’s coming, Dawn. No one’s coming.  We’re all gonna die, and you let this happen.”

As Beth tells Dawn the hard truth, Dawn looks down at the broken picture frame of herself, and her chief, her mentor, and her leather bully strap...

As Beth tells Dawn the hard truth, Dawn looks down at the broken picture frame of herself, and her chief, her mentor, and her leather bully strap…

...Dawn brings the strap down on poor Beth's head. Ouch, truth hurts!

…Dawn brings the strap down on poor Beth’s head. Ouch, the truth hurts!

Later, in his office, with Junior Kimbrough playing in the background, Doc Edwards gently cleans Beth’s new set of stitches, on her forehead, above her right eye. If that wound scars, it will set off the scar on Beth’s left cheek nicely, because if there’s anyone beautiful enough to rock two righteous facial scars and still look gorgeous, it’s Beth.

Doc Edwards says that she’s healing nicely, tries to end it there, turns to leave.  But New Beth, Unbreakable Beth (Emily Kinney’s name for the New Beth, which I love) has a question for him…how did he know that Trevitt was a doctor?  Because that’s why he had her give him the wrong meds, and kill him, right?  Because then he, Doc Edwards, wouldn’t be the only doctor at Grady Memorial any longer, right?

Stone-cold busted, Doc Edwards admits he knew Trevitt back before the turn. Trevitt was an oncologist at St. Augustine's. Doc Edwards likens himself to Saint Peter, who denied Christ to avoid certain crucifixion.

Stone-cold busted, Doc Edwards admits he knew Trevitt back before the turn. Trevitt was an oncologist at St. Augustine’s. Doc Edwards likens himself to Saint Peter, who denied Christ to avoid certain crucifixion.

New Beth ain't playin. When Doc Edwards walks out, Beth sees he left his sharp scissors behind with the gauze...

New Beth ain’t playin. When Doc Edwards walks out, Beth sees he left his sharp scissors behind with the gauze…

Beth walks down the hallway, scissors ready, ready to take down Doc Edwards first, then anyone else who comes for her...until she sees, being wheeled in on a stretcher...

Beth walks down the hallway, scissors ready, ready to take down Doc Edwards first, then anyone else who comes for her…until she sees, being wheeled in on a stretcher…

It's Carol!

Carol!

Damn!

It’s 4:32 am, and I don’t even know what I am doing anymore, so I’m making this quick…this week’s Deadie goes to Beth, who proved herself to be smart, resourceful, loyal, and kind…in short, a total badass. I knew you had it in you, girl, and now you do, too. Mad props and Deadie to Emily Kinney, who delivered an incredible performance.

It is super exciting to see this talented, beautiful young actress, musician, and all around It Girl’s star rise higher and higher these days.

All I gotta say is, Daryl better hurry his fine ass to Grady Memorial and save his two best ladies…and I have a feeling that he’ll have one who knows riding in that car, because I feel certain that it’s Noah, picked up by Daryl on the run to get Beth, who is the one hiding in the bushes…I love Noah and want him to be the newest member of the gang.

Until next week, gang, and enjoy the playlist.

Playlist:

TV on the Radio, “Satellite”

Cold War Kids, “Hospital Beds”

Purity Ring, “Lofticries”

Tom Waits, “Hold On” 

5 thoughts on “The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 4, “Slabtown”

  1. Ha, the morning after the all nighter…just did my first read through and needed a serious edit in the first paragraph…it’s like performance art, people, sometimes graceless, sometimes inspired…looking at the pictures, am so blown away at how Season 5 is being filmed…it’s all just incredible to me…love the evolution of Beth, what a badass she becomes by the end of the episode. I am always editing past posts, still finding errors, typos…so, if you see some, don’t worry, I’ll get to it eventually! Hope you like the post, and my Gareth conspiracy theory…lemme know what you think ❤

  2. Thanks, Jack! I am working hard at finishing the post for “Self Help” before going to work…may be another late night! It will definitely be a fun one…super homage to Eugene’s mullet.

    Thanks for the support, as always…these posts are taking on a life of their own! 🙂

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