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The Walking Dead – S5E4 – Slabtown

Previously on The Walking Dead, ‘Four Walls and a Roof’


I wasn’t really looking forward to this episode, and it’s not because I’m opposed to standalone episodes – I loved Clear, Live Bait, Dead Weight, Alone, etc. – but I am opposed to the character of Beth Greene. Or, rather, I’m opposed to what they’re doing with this character. I’m having a really hard time caring about what happens to her. Given that, I was hoping that the reveal of where Beth was being held, and why, would make up for an hour without characters I actually like. No such luck.

The Walking Dead S5E4 Beth in Bed

Beth was rescued (?) from rotters and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. When she awakens, she gets her first real look at the devastation in Atlanta (Remember: She was always on the farm or on the run in the country.), and meets her saviors/captors: doctor Edwards and police office Dawn Lerner.

It’s not really clear how many people are staying in the hospital, but the ones who are there adhere to a very strict structure: the place is kept clean, everyone works to pay back for their rescue, the food they’re given, the clothes (scrubs for everyone except the cops) they’re given, etc. When patients are beyond saving, or when they’ll take up too many resources to be saved, they’re tossed down an elevator shaft where walkers wait at the bottom to maybe eat their corpses. Apparently, walkers are finicky and prefer warm or somewhat warm food.

It doesn’t take long for Beth to realize shit ain’t right – although, the way this episode played, it suggests that she’s been there a lot longer than the time elapsed between when she was snatched and where our group is now. When an injured man is brought in, Edwards claims he can’t save him. This doesn’t please Dawn, who takes out her frustration on Beth by slapping her in the face. The friendly janitor, Noah, warns that they only rescue people who will be useful and not fight back. One police officer, Gorman, is a straight up rapist. Joan, another saved tenant, escapes but is caught and returned. During her attempt to break out, she was bitten by a walker and Dawn insists that her arm is amputated even though Joan clearly wants to die.

Noah and Beth finally have enough and try to escape. Of course, this doesn’t go smoothly: Beth is almost raped by Gorman, but she uses a newly-turned Joan to take him out, and they’re both injured trying to shimmy down the elevator shaft. They make it outside with Beth unlocking the headshot achievement on walkers as they break for the fence. Unfortunately for Beth, Noah can limp faster and more effectively than Beth can run and he makes it out while she’s tackled and brought back in.

The Walking Dead S5E4 Beth in Elevator

Dawn thinks she’s providing protection and order, and that they’ll be rescued one day. Beth tells her she’s about ten kinds of crazy and gets hit again for her honesty. Later, Beth figures out Edwards purposely made her kill the patient (by instructing her to dispense the wrong meds) he claimed couldn’t be saved because the man was a doctor, and he didn’t want two doctors in attendance. Why would Dawn need him if there was another doctor in their group? Oh, and did I forget to mention that Dawn would look the other way when her officers raped women group members? Yeah. She needs to go.

The Walking Dead S5E4 Beth

Just when I thought maybe this was the show’s way of writing Beth off – kidding; I knew I wouldn’t be so lucky – Carol is wheeled into Grady. They done fucked around and let the wrong one in. Carol is going to fuck.Dawn.up.

Score | 5/10Thoughts & Questions:
  • I love getting glimpses of how other small societies are functioning in the ZA. We’ve seen Morgan, Woodbury, Terminus, Gabriel, and peek at the awful guys Randall rode with. But this seems so pointless. Grady is like a notch below Terminus and MAYBE somewhat better than Woodbury. No. I take that back. There wasn’t any rape at Woodbury. It does feel like they’re setting up Dawn to be on the Governor’s level of crazy.
  • Do we think Noah is with Daryl? Could be. It would depend on how far he and Carol were able to follow the car.
  • When Noah and Beth first made it outside, it reminded me of the Shane and Otis scene at the school. At first, I was side-eye’ing the fuck out of him for leaving Beth, but that’s what you got to do. She wasn’t as injured as he was and she had the gun. It was nice to see that she was happy he made it out.
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

25 Comments on The Walking Dead – S5E4 – Slabtown

  1. This episode was so meh for me. I didn’t relish the thought if an all Beth episode, but I hoped there would be some redeeming qualities. I got nothin. I won’t even waste time on how much I don’t like this character. I will say, i found myself getting more and more upset about the fact that she wouldn’t use what she’s learned with Rick and the gang and fight back. Maybe she was feeling the place out? But it seemed like she was ready to go once she woke up. I read a few threads on other sites this morning and people are saying they “loved” this episode for Beth’s backstory and character development.

  2. When the Dr said “I’m suffocating in boredom” I was like yep, we are all doc…..

  3. I don’t know that centering an entire episode around the worst actor on the cast was necessarily the brightest idea. I feel like the one thing The Walking Dead lacks is the “Are you fucking kidding me?” guy in the writer’s room. Someone has to be there to point out how bad some of these ideas are.

    Also, way too heavy-handed with the “Beth, you suck at post-apocalypse” stuff. How many different ways do you need to say that? We just spent 8 episodes last season witnessing that first-hand. The lack of subtlety is annoying as shit on this show.

    I put this in the Top 5 worst episodes ever.

  4. Don’t have much to say about this episode because zzzzzz… Oops, sorry, fell asleep just thinking about it. Felt like one of the slow Battlestar Galactica episodes, except without Katie Sackhoff to dull the pain. They better not be setting up Carol to die for Beth or something similarly redemptive to save one girl in the place of the ones she lost. That will kill all the cred they built up this season so far, and I just don’t trust them not to do it. The only acceptable way to end the next hospital episode is with Carol and Beth slow mo walking away as they flick cigarettes and blow up the hospital Waiting to Exhale style.

    The speed was a huge problem. We’ve had so much forward motion on the other plots and we’re not burnt out yet, so there was no need for a break. They could have shortened this by half and put in scenes from the other two groups. The casting was the other problem. Not only is Beth not a strong actress, but the other actors, Noah excluded, were marginal character actor level as well. Annabeth Gish is doing the Dawn role on Sons of Anarchy right now 10x better, and she’s the least important character. The other characters were barely watchable.

    The final scene could’ve actually gone on longer. Beth advancing on the doctor with a sharp object, watching him with a cocked head like he was a study specimen was one of the more interesting takes. They could’ve let that anxiety build a little more since I otherwise didn’t feel any danger to Beth. To me, it felt obvious she wasn’t going to be truly victimized or do anything horribly stupid, but I was curious about what she was going to do in that moment.

    Lastly they need to hire Noah for Frank Irving flashbacks on Sleepy Hollow.

  5. Seriously, was this supposed to make us like Beth?

  6. We tried hard to stay enthused, but it dragged on longer than an episode of Freak Show.
    Beth is boring. Always. She almost caught my attention in this episode when she got a little ballsy, but it fizzled out quickly. I was just not impressed. I spent the entire episode wanting to know who was with Daryl walking out of those woods. I feel like we will see Noah walk out with Daryl and show them how to get back to Beth and Carol. Either way, I wanted to see more of that and less of Beth.

  7. I imagine this was a very polarizing episode depending on whether you like Beth or Emily Kinney’s acting. I thought it was just ok as a stand alone episode, definitely not as engaging or tense as the previous three. The overall problem was the writing, the dialogue felt stilted and the character actions and motivations were basic. Also the character of Beth and Emily Kinney weren’t engaging enough to carry a full episode with totally new characters. I wonder why the writers chose to go that route. I hope that the eventual rescue mission is better and makes up for it.

    Just a couple observations: Those cops were the worst! I’d hate to be shacked up in the apocalypse with the Ferguson PD! Gomer is the kind of dude that imposes on women and then be like “What’s wrong with just saying Hello?!” Did y’all see the way Beth and Everybody Hates Chris were bonding?! Ooh Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl… I can’t wait for next week to see Carol wreck shit!

    Welcome back Nina and John be well and take care.

  8. I fully expected the slow episode. It was right out of the X-Files playbook. Have a huge, blow out, episode and then tone it down. I don’t hate Beth as much as all of you. If it reflects real life there will be major weak links, who hold others back. Not everyone can be a killing machine. I liked the idea that there are so many survivor groups that live so differently from each other and by a different set of rules. From the prison to Woodbury to the gang that Rick and Daryl killed to Terminus to the hospital. Each group is so unique and all have/had unstable leaders, driven by fear and the past, who think they get it.

    This all leads to Virginia/DC. Noah is from there. Glen and Maggie are headed there. I’m sure part 1 of the season ends up with a reunion, while part 2 is a combination of Woodbury on roids plus the abuse happy hospital.

  9. Obviously Beth needs to go back to survival class with Carol because she would have told you to use the guts of the walkers to get out and escape. I guess she was taking care of little kickass and missed that lesson. I liked it but wasn’t in love with it. Will I rewatch it – doubtful.

  10. First of all, I want to say RIP to Meghan. I never knew her personally, but as a fan of Project Fandom over the last several months it feels like I know all of you all to a certain extent. It sucks that she?s gone so soon. Much love to her friends and family, and the Project Fandom crew in dealing with her loss.
    Now on to the Bethisode?
    Beth is a character most of us, including her own sister, don?t give a fuck about. It?s not because she?s a bad character, it?s pretty much because they haven?t done much to make us really care about her. She?s just there. Anyway, she was the focus of tonight?s episode and here are a few thoughts about it.
    1. Beth ? Oh hey, Beth. Long time no see. How?ve you been? For most of her time on this show Beth has been someone most of us didn?t really have much of an attachment to. I still don?t think we do now, but this episode wasn?t too bad in my opinion. It seemed to me like we saw Beth learn pretty quickly that this hospital is some bullshit. I like that she was able to think quickly on her feet and protect herself. It was also cool that she figured out why the doctor had her kill that man and called him out on it. Her working with Noah to escape was pretty good too. I was actually surprised that he got away and she got caught. The look in her eyes after that said that she wasn?t scared anymore & was gonna do whatever it takes to get free. In some ways it kinda felt like she made the same transition Carol made, but at much quicker pace. It?ll be interesting to see what happens with her from here on.
    2. Dawn ? This bitch is crazy! Who hurt you? Who didn?t love you enough as a girl? You can already tell she is gonna be a problem if she is around for a while. In some ways she and her crew at the hospital are scarier than the Governor& Gareth. I think what makes her seem so scary is that she seemed menacing from the beginning. The Governor and Gareth seemed like nice guys at first. The towns they ran seemed like nice places. Then we realized that all that was a front and that they were all buggin out. Dawn seemed like someone we shouldn?t trust from the moment she told Beth she saved her and she should be grateful. Dawn might be the biggest bad we?ve seen. I don?t know if that will happen or not, but she has a look in her eyes that says no one is home.
    3. Gorman ? Fuck you, you rapey son of a bitch. I wish it was HBO so we could have seen your dick bitten off. It was good to see a guy like that get fucked up. Especially with all the recent issues with street harassment & rape we?ve seen in the real world.
    4. Office Walker ? Thank you for eating Gorman?s neck. Fuck that guy. Also, is it me, or did the office walker give Beth a Bruh Man Head Nod (Nina, that?s a Martin reference in case you didn?t know, lol) before the attack? Seemed like they made eye contact. It was like she said to Beth ?Psst. Hey, girl. Hey. Knock him down, and I?ll take care of the rest?. Good to see Human/Walker unity in defeating that asshole Gorman.
    5. Noah ? Damn, Lil Chris got big as shit! Anyway, in this 1 episode he proved to be more valuable & useful than T-Dogg and Tyrese?s bitch asses. Don?t know if we?ll see him again, but I liked Noah in this episode.
    6. Carol ? Did she get caught on purpose? I think so. I hope so. Set it off, Carol!

  11. Ok so I wanna start by saying, going into the episode I really wasn’t feeling a Beth stand alone episode! But after watching it I must say the Internet is wrong and this is why we can’t have nice things!!!
    I loved this episode even more so on a rewatch!!! The fact that they made me care for a character that is clearly in the third tier of people I give a fuck about on the show was great!!!
    I honestly felt everyone was so into being a “cool kid” and hating on Beth that they missed out on a great hour of tv!!!
    Now as I defend the show, I do wanna say that I was bit confused as to how Beth graduated to head nurse immediately while Noah or Kunta as I call him has been there a year and he is on laundry duty? Speaking of Kunta I love his intro into the show I feel he is our replacement colored person for Bob and I’m ok with that trade!!! It’s got to be him in the bushes wit darryl right?
    The most shocking thing of the episode had to be the escape, to see the black man get away from the police while the sheltered snow bunny was cuffed really had me feeling some type of way!!!

  12. i liked this episode not loved but liked. beth is back yaaay!!! damn there is alot of hate for her character on twitter and in the feedback im reading and i really dont get. maybe the episode wasnt the best walking dead episode but i dont get why ppl are saying that beth is the worst or she ruined the episode i actually think she was the best thing about this episode her and everybody hates chris (i know his name is noah but im going to call him everybody hates chris)

  13. ok so first sarah palin (john barrowman called her that on the talking dead and i think it is perfect for her character) ms palin is the fucking worst and i really dont know how to even talk about her character because i dont get her, why is she always hitting ppl and always so angry and is she just allowing the cops to have their way with the patience? and if the cops and there are alot more rapey cops then there is of her so why didnt they just take over and say fuck off ugh im so confused. DR. Steven: was i the only one thinking that this guy was going to end up macking on beth or was that just me? i liked how he tried standing up for beth even though im pretty sure that guy has never had to fight someone a day in his life. Nasty ass gorman: i am so glad this guy died this episode because i really couldnt handle another episode with him. that lollipop scene was so disgusting and creepy and i know the actress who plays beth is like 28 or something but she looks so much younger it really made super uncomfortable to watch this scene i had to fast forward it on my rewatch. and poor joan she was probably raped by that guy repeatedly and would have rather taken her chances with the rotters (as evrybody hates chris calls them) then with these guys at least she kind of got her revenge in the end. Chris aka Noah: (ok im going to call him noah just so i dont confuse you guys) i immediatley love his character, i love his personality and i loved the way he interacted with beth. i didnt get a flirtatiious vype with them just that they are going to be really good friends i think he is really going to help beth become a stronger person and i love the line when he basically tells her that she is stronger then she thinks she is and i was just screaming yes listen to that brother he is right beth, and then she goes on to prove it.

  14. Beth: beth handle herself really well this episode and even i didnt know she had it in her. she asked about daryl but didnt mention anything about the other people in her group which was smart. she could already tell that nasty gorman was a creep but stayed close to nerdy doctor stevens which probably saved her ass when nasty gorman did the whole gross lollipop thing. i think it was smart of her not to really fight nasty gorman the first time because then when he came back for her he wouldnt know what he was messing with. ok beth and noahs escape plan was a little confusing, where did they think they were going to go when they escaped and with only one gun and wasnt noahs leg broken or something that plan wasnt really thought out well but i dont balme beth and noah i blame bad writing. i think noah escaped and since carole is in the hospital daryl is probably not to far and he is goign to get noah bring him back and the group is going to help get beth out, that or carole is going to wake up and her and beth are goign to start regulating shit and her and beth are going to walk out of that hospital in slow motion while it blows up behind them.

  15. I would like to add that it being Beth only wasn’t the biggest problem. The writing was bad, the acting was bad, nothing seemed well thought out; it seemed like the writers didn’t know what to do, so the just threw some shit together. I mean really? The plan was to escape through the walker feeding pit? Really, a guy with a broken or at least semi-fractured leg could get away but not Beth. It seems like a huge setup for something else to happen and the writers could have found a better way to do that. If this shit goes past one more episode, I’ll be pissed. I would have rather seen more of the Hunters.

  16. I thought the episode was good because part of the Walking Dead’s “charm” is they throw the offbeat episodes at us occasionally. I thought Emily Kinney did really well considering she is the character most underwritten of them all.

  17. I thought/think the good doctor will try to Mack on her soon.

  18. The group holding Beth are clearly big Nas and Ginuwine they think you owe them pussy for everything! Can’t wait for the think pieces about rape culture, cause seriously they were really about that rape until anti rape zombie stopped that. She died so Beth may live in her purity.

    Wow at the racism too a hurt black man still runs faster that a white women? Really Walking Dead, really?

  19. Boring episode, but they had to set things up for a new storyline. We can’t have another season of them wandering around in the same ten square miles of Georgia woods until they run into something interesting

  20. Not much to say that hasn’t already been said.

    Picked up for the last 20 minutes or so.

    I think Everybody Loves Chris was the one with Daryl last week.

    Happy seeing Officer Rapey get bit by one of his victims.

    And Carol better be faking them out & about to open that can of whoop ass on them! If she’s really hurt, over singing Beth, I’m rioting!

    Worst episode of the season so far but mildly entertaining. We’ll see what happens next.

  21. I thought it was fine. That scene with the lolly pop equaled Gareth chowing down on Bob while chit chatting with him in shear squicky creepiness. In fact it was even harder to watch than the hunters.

    The whole episode had a very different feel to it from the cinematography to the music. It played like a 1980’s cop drama. It was kind of jarring after the last 3 episodes but I think that may have been intentional.

    I thought EK’s performance was better than usual. She pulls off an awkward teen fairly well and I liked her gumption.

    Noah was a standout. Can’t wait to see more. And I wish we had more of Obara Sand/Joan but at least she got a good revenge on lolly pop creeper. And Beth using her as a stealth walker bomb was great!

  22. It’s funny you mention the Shane and Otis scene because for a split second when Beth turned around I was thinking “get the fuck out of here she’s going to go Shane on him and shoot him in the other leg (he was limping to fast)” that would’ve bumped the episode to a at least but 9 but alas it wasn’t to be.

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