Last night’s episode titled ‘Slabtown’ felt more like an episode of General Hospital or House M.D. with zombies. It highly diverged from the story-line of Rick and his group as well as Abraham and his voyage to Washington D.C. The star of this episode was long time missing-in-action Beth. We finally found out what happened to her after she was seemingly kidnapped by the car with a white cross painted on the rear window. Beth is back!
Beth wakes up with a stitched cut on her cheek in a room at Grady Memorial Hospital inside Atlanta, GA. She immediately gets introduced to the new place filled with a few police officers, patients and a doctor. Dr. Steven Edwards brings Beth into a patient room as he tries to save him. Unfortunately he does not and is forced to stick a knife in the recently deceased person. There’s the female cop Officer Dawn Lerner and sleazy officer Gorman who most likely run the system. A system that is built around the principle that if they save you, you must stay and commit to helping others. As Gorman tells Beth there is a price to pay for her safety.
Although it seems like a good idea, keeping anyone under their will regardless of any apocalyptic or intense circumstance, is wrong. So Beth has food, shelter and protection as long as she contributes in helping save the patients; like a nurse would. Officer Dawn tells Beth they found her passed out alone on the road as she was about to become walker meat. Steven who is the only doctor in the building explains how he stayed at the hospital during the incidental outbreak and bombing of Atlanta. The doctor stays because he is too afraid of facing what is outside and feels obligated by the cops.
They relay for patient Gavin Trevitt who just feel out of a two story window. Dr. Edwards tells Dawn there is no chance of him surviving since there is internal bleeding and they don’t have the resources. Regardless, Dawn is still intent on saving the man. After the patient is presumed dead, Dawn lashes out at Beth slapping her in the cheek where she was cut. It reopens as the Dr. Edwards restitches it. A new pair of clean clothes with a lollipop in the pocket are waiting for Beth in her room.
Beth then meets Noah, a person in her shoes who has been in the hospital for a year. Noah (the actor from TV show Everybody Hates Chris) says he was the one that gave her the lollipop. He also explains that Dawn has kept him because she believes he’s too weak to leave. Noah reiterates and states he is not weak while giving Beth extra pairs of hospital clothes. Noah also states that Officer Dawn likes her peers clean and neat. Not long enough after you find out that Dawn is extremely abusive and will beat up the workers if they do not do their duty of saving lives. There is an area where the hospital disposes of all the dead, at the bottom of the broken elevator shaft down into the basement pit where other walkers roam.
Another patient worker Joan tries to escape the hospital but in doing so gets bit on the arm. Joan refuses to receive treatment as Dr. Edwards is forced to amputate her arm by sawing it off while Beth holds her down.
It is difficult to pinpoint each event in chronological order because each scene is very similar. Beth visits Steven in his office as she learns of his boredom in this world and displays a religious painting that has a lot of meaning for him. Beth advises the doctor that he is lucky to be bored.
When Beth checks up on Joan, Joan tells her that Officer Gorman has raped her in the past and that the people who run this place are monsters. When Beth returns to her room Gorman harasses Beth when he steals her lollipop licks it and then forces it in her mouth. Dr. Edwards eventually enters the room and tells Gorman to leave Beth alone.
A third patient now enters the facility as Steven, Dawn and Beth race to save his life. The doctor this time is able to subdue the patient and keep him on life support. Stevens eventually tells Beth to give the patient a specific kind of medication. She enters the room using the doctor’s instructions, administers the comatose patient with a dosage of a syringe when suddenly he goes into a seizure and dies. Noah comes to her aid when Dawn and Dr. Edwards follow. Dawn questions Beth and Noah, Noah lies and says he may have accidentally turned off the machines. Dawn grabs Noah around the hallway and punches him. The doctor tells Beth she gave the patient the wrong set of drugs.
Dawn approaches Beth and tells her she knows that Noah lied. “He’s my best worker, but a terrible liar,” she says. Even though she knew he was lying, she still beat him up. Looks like she’s got some anger problems.
At some point, Beth finds Noah with a massive bruise on his face. In the laundry room they both plan for an escape. The plan is for Noah to distract the officers as Beth gets inside the room full of keys. When Beth enters the room she finds Joan lying face down on the floor dead with a bloody surgical knife next to her. When Beth grabs one of the keys, Gorman enters and confronts her, this time attempting to rape her. Before Gorman gets to first base, Beth breaks a glass bottle over his head and knocks him to the ground next to walker Joan who then immediately devours Gorman’s neck. Beth grabs Gorman’s pistol. The scene is extremely gory as blood protrudes out of Gorman’s neck. You got to love poetic justice.
Noah and Beth run towards the elevator shaft as Noah eases Beth down the pit with a rope he made out of the sheets and fabric. Eventually, Beth makes it down the pit full of dead and rotten walkers; blood and body parts everywhere. Noah falls a bit short and sprains his leg. With pistol in hand, Beth takes out walkers in an infested basement as her and Noah make their way outside. Once outside they see another gang of walkers approaching them as Beth notices a line of cars with the white crosses painted over them. Looks like they were lying to her the whole time. They were the ones who kidnapped her from Daryl in the funeral home. Beth takes out a few more walkers as Noah slips away and escapes. Beth on the other hand gets recaptured by her captors, the police officers. Beth smiles as she sees Noah running away.
Back inside the hospital, Dawn has a talk with Beth telling her what they’re doing is for the greater good. Dawn continues to explain that she is a hero and that Beth can be one to, saving people’s lives, making a difference while bringing the world back to how it was. In the hospital, Dawn explains, “you’re part of a system”. Beth disagrees with Dawn’s philosophy and instead replies, “No one’s coming Dawn. We’re all gonna die and you let this happen for nothin!” Dawn then smacks Beth in the face thus cutting her forehead.
After Steven fixes Beth up they talk about the beauty behind the religious painting. Beth then asks why Dr. Edwards purposefully gave her the wrong instructions for the patient. Stevens admits that he did that because the patient was a doctor and did not know what Dawn would do to him if they revived him. Dr. Edwards is in fear that once they find a replacement, Officer Dawn won’t need him anymore and will either dispose or exile him.
Moments after, there is commotion as Dawn, Stevens and a few helpers bring out the next patient on a gurney. The patient turns out to be Carol who is unconscious. What will happen to Carol? Will we see Noah again? Will Beth eventually get out and reunite with Rick and the others? Where is Daryl at? If you remember from Episode 2, Daryl and Carol both went looking for Beth after Daryl saw the car with the white crossed paint.
In all honesty, I was not a huge fan of this episode. ‘Slabtown’ felt a bit dragged on while it also seemed to rush a separate story-line. Besides Beth’s new marksmanship skills, she still is the same Beth but surrounded by a completely different group of people.
It was also hard to tell if Dr. Steven Edwards was bad. I think he’s just a big wuss since he had a doctor killed just so he felt needed. And Dawn has an ironic sense of morality. Since she has good intentions of saving others but is severely abusive to her peers and treats individuals poorly because what is more important in her eyes is “the greater good”. It was an odd episode that felt misplaced from the rest of the season. I was disoriented by the overwhelming number of new characters and plot lines I did not care too much for. Hopefully, next episode will be more exciting and less confusing.
Catch The Walking Dead every Sunday at 9 pm on AMC.