This is a twin post of the same recap posted on Legend Zero.
This week on The Walking Dead, we finally find out what happened to Beth and who took her! About damn time, I say. Goes without saying, but SPOILERS!
Episode four, Slabtown, starts off very much like the beginning of the entire series, with our lead character walking up without a clue in a hospital room. Beth is dressed in scrubs and completely disoriented and unsure of where she is. She bangs on the door to be let out, and is greeted by a cop, Dawn, and a doctor, Edwards. They explain the situation: they saved her, she’s in Atlanta, and now she owes them. In exchange for being saved, Beth apparently now owes them her servitude until her debt is paid off.
She seems to take up the post of assistant to Edwards, who is actually nice to her and seems to care. He explains how the hospital works, as they take care of the body of a recently deceased patient. They take people in, and try to cure them, but if the person doesn’t show improvement after a certain amount of time, they kill them and dispose of the body via elevator shaft. Apparently, the basement of the hospital is overrun with walkers, or “rotters” (as this group calls them), and they take care of the clean up. Beth seems a little taken aback by the system, but she doesn’t question it – simply observes and goes along for the ride. Later on we see her getting food in a cafeteria, where she encounters another resident of the hospital, another cop, Gorman. He tells her he’s the one that picked her up off the side of the road and saved her, and she therefore owes him – “Everything costs something.” She’s very clearly unnerved by him, and chooses to keep her distance.
Beth, in her continued service, serves Edwards his dinner. They share a relatively peaceful conversation, where he shows his kindness by offering her some of his food. Beth knows that the more she takes, the more she has to give back, and she seems determined not to stay longer than she absolutely has to.
When another patient comes in, Dawn, after a brief conversation with another cop, urges Edwards to save him. He argues that she’s always telling him to conserve resources, but she continues to push, saying that she’s ordering him to save this one. After Edwards explains that this particular patient probably won’t make it and is beyond the help he can confidently give, she gets furious. Unfortunately for Beth, Dawn decides to take out her anger on her, slapping her and reopening her stitches.Dawn threatens the doctor, telling him to grasp what’s at stake in the situation. Edwards doesn’t have a choice in the matter, so they continue to try to save him. Afterwards, in an attempt to comfort Beth, Edwards explains that Dawn only ever has bad days. Beth gets a change of clothes (Dawn’s reopening of her stitches gets her shirt dirty) and a lollipop from a fellow indentured servant, Noah.
Suddenly, another person gets brought in, this time a girl that was in the hospital but tried to escape. She was bitten, and Dawn orders Edwards to save her. Their only choice is to cut off her arm, much like Herschel’s leg. Beth is forced to stay and help, watching as the doctor amputates the girl’s, Joan’s, arm. During the whole process we get hints about why she chose to escape. She accuses Dawn of not being able to control “them” – her officers – and it seems as though she’s been abused. After the harrowing experience, Beth goes to get clothes, and finally meets Noah. She asks him about the hospital, about how long he’s been there, and he explains that it’s been a year. They found him and his father, but claimed to only be able to save one (Noah was injured), and so they separated them, leaving his father out in the wild. Noah knows they could have saved them both, but that they took him in because he seemed weaker than his dad – he wouldn’t fight back, his father would. Dawn is only just barely in charge of the situation, and things are getting bad pretty quickly.
Dawn eventually goes looking for Beth, to further drive home the point that Beth needs to repay her debt, and in order to do so, she does need to take. Dawn forces Beth to eat, under the logic that if she doesn’t eat, she’ll grow weak and be unable to repay her debt and eventually leave the hospital. She also defends what she’s doing, saying that she’s what is keeping them going, that the give and take system is the only way to maintain order and survive long enough to be rescued.
The scene cuts to Beth in Joan’s hospital room, cleaning up the aftermath of her amputation. They talk, and Beth wants to go get Edwards, but Joan stops her. Joan explains that Dawn could control her men if she wanted to, but that it’s easier to look the other way in the interest of everyone’s protection. When Beth asks what happened to her, Joan says it’s not important, that it doesn’t make a difference because the facts remain. Beth is jarred by the conversation, but she once again keeps quiet, continuing to observe. Some time later, she’s cleaning up around what appears to be her room, when she tries to retrieve her lollipop. Gorman shows up, and it’s clear he’s stolen it from her. One of the creepiest scenes in TWD follows, in which Gorman shows that he clearly thinks Beth owes him physically for his services, and he’s determined to get payment. He forces the lollipop into her mouth (among the most in-your-face imagery for rape I’ve seen in a while) and he looks quite close to getting exactly what he wants, when Edwards shows up and makes him back off, though he’s clearly terrified of Gorman. Gorman threatens that one day they’ll have another doctor, and Dawn won’t be in charge, and that Edwards will no longer be safe. Dawn catches a glimpse of the exchange, but says nothing other than calling Gorman.
When Beth confronts Edwards about why he stays, he takes her to go look at the ground floor, where walkers are roaming. He says he stays because it’s better than being out with the walkers, safer. He reminds himself of this when he feels like leaving. Edwards goes on to explain that when everything first happened, Dawn reported to another officer named Hanson. They were to evacuate the hospital to a park, where people were to be extracted and saved. When Atlanta was bombed, all the people they’d tried to save were killed, forcing them to retreat back into the hospital. They remained there as the city fell, until everything was over. At first, they kept to themselves, until they ran out of food. When they began going out on runs, they started seeing people who needed help. When they could no longer look away, they started taking people in under the “give and take” rule. They saved people in exchange for service and work in the hospital, to keep it going. Eventually Hanson made a decision that almost cost everyone’s lives, and he died in the process. Dawn took over and kept them stable, alive, and going. Thanks to her, they’re all still alive. Despite the reservations she continues to have, Beth stops arguing, following Edwards’ order to go give a patient a dose of medicine (the same patient that Dawn ordered him to save).
Beth does as he asks, but it ends up causing the patient to go into a seizure. Noah and Beth are there for when it happens, and when Dawn and Edwards arrive, Noah takes the blame for the man’s death. He’s taken to Dawn’s office and beaten. Beth tells Edwards that it wasn’t Noah, and Edwards asks her if she gave him the medicine, but says a different name than his original order. Beth corrects him, but he says the other name again, claiming that Beth gave the patient the wrong medicine. Later on, Dawn confronts Beth again, knowing that Noah lied, and only punishing him to maintain order. She explains that they have to constantly work towards the greater good – that’s the only thing that matters. She makes it clear that Beth is not the greater good, and the only reason she’s still around is because Dawn can put her to work. As long as the wards work to keep the officers happy, the officers keep them all safe, and that’s the basis of the entire system.
Beth, finally sick of all of it, tells Noah she wants to escape with him when he figures out a plan. They come up with a plan to steal Dawn’s extra keys, and leave through the basement. While Noah distracts Dawn, Beth goes into her office to look for the keys, where she finds a dead Joan. It seems Joan cut up the bandages on her arms, allowing herself to bleed out. Just as Beth is about to leave, Gorman shows up. He offers not to tell Dawn about her intrusion if she gives him a little “something” in return – calls it a win-win for both of them. Beth, unwilling to let that happen, tries to find a way out, and knows it’s only a matter of time before Joan gets back up. Gorman tries to grope her, his hand up her shirt. She grabs a jar full of lollipops and smashes it over Gorman’s head, knocking him down within perfect distance for walker-Joan to take her revenge and eat him. She leaves them, running out of the room with bloody shoes, hoping no one notices.
When she runs into Dawn, she sends her Gorman and Joan’s way, giving her and Noah enough time to get out to the elevator shaft and climb/jump down. Noah is injured in the process, but they’re both overall okay, managing to maneuver through the basement. Frantic shots in the dark and some running later, they make it outside, but they’re surrounded. As Noah continues to run, Beth is forced to slow down and shoot at the walkers. This eventually leads to Noah’s escape and Beth’s recapture. Two cops take Beth back inside, but she smiles when she sees that Noah got out. Yet again, Dawn is furious, taking it out once again on Beth.
Later, as the doctor once again cleans up her injuries, Beth confronts Edwards about the man he tricked her into killing. It turns out the other man was a doctor, and oncologist that Edwards knew from before. He was afraid that, if he were no longer the only doctor, he wouldn’t be valued anymore, and get killed. Beth pretends to accept it, to understand that they have to use everything they have. When he walks away, it looks like she’s prepared to go after him with a weapon, until some others come in with yet another patient. As Beth watches them bring the gurney in, she sees an unconscious Carol.
Conclusion: While this episode was a bit slower than we’ve been given so far, it didn’t lack in tension and creep-factor (looking at you Gorman!), not to mention action. I enjoyed the episode, and can’t wait to see how Carol moves about this environment. I’m a little upset that focus is switching to Abraham’s group next week, but oh well. Also, I’m pretty sure the person in the shadows with Daryl is Noah, and they’re going to mount an attack/rescue mission against the hospital.
What do you think? Any theories, thoughts? Sound off below!
As always, think happy thoughts!
Image credit: image found via Google Image Search, walkingdead.wikia.com