It’s a sad day for millions of fans of The Walking Dead. Beth Greene, played by Emily Kinney, was the rumored mid-season finale casualty for Season 5. It’s never easy when a main cast member dies because the group is so small now that every loss feels magnified. But the writers have always said that their loyalty is to the ongoing story of the survivors and how they adapt to a post-apocalypse world. In order to tell that story they are willing to sacrifice any and all of the main cast members. Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead, has repeatedly said that no character is safe. Even the most popular characters could fall at any time. And in the bigger storyline it was the right time for Beth Greene’s story arc to come to an end.
Change is the Only Constant
The world that the survivors inhabit is always changing and as time goes on it’s getting harsher and more deadly. In Season 2 when Hershel, Maggie, and Beth first entered the story there were still large portions of the area that seemed relatively serene. The Greene farm had been pretty much untouched by what had happened. But in just a short time they lost the farm and had to adapt and create their new home at the prison. It didn’t take long for the prison to get ripped away from them and then they were scattered and left to fend for themselves. By this time in the story the only people who are left are either remarkably lucky or remarkably evil. And everyone in the original group has had to adapt in order to survive the changes of the world they live in. From the very beginning Beth had trouble adjusting to the harshness of the reality that they had to live in. Maggie adapted and become a real asset to the group with serious fighting skills. But Beth, the eternal artist, was much better suited to caring for Judith and letting the others fight. In the world that the survivors in now getting to sit on the sidelines and depend on others for protection is a luxury that the group doesn’t have anymore.
Beth’s Character Development
Back on the farm Beth was still very much a child. After the walkers were found in the barn and the group put down her mother, brother, and their other friends and relatives that Hershel believed were just sick she went into a period of shock and depression. She even tried to commit suicide at one point. As the group made their way to the prison and started to make a new life for themselves Beth did become a little tougher. She clung to what Hershel had always told them in times of trouble which was that everyone had jobs to do and they needed to focus on their jobs. By the time the other survivors from Woodbury joined the prison group she was trying to live in the present and not focus on what could happen tomorrow. The death of her boyfriend Zach didn’t seem to have that much of an impact on her. She learned to accept that any day she got to see the people she cared about was a good day. She appreciated the presence of her loved ones each day.
After Hershel’s death she acted out for a little bit but with Daryl she found her inner strength. She radiated a sense of peace, calm and hope that was like a flame in the dark for the others in the group. But her character development really had reached the end. She was never going to become a solid fighter. As the group begins to head for the Alexandria Safe Zone and Washington in order to find out what’s left in the world she would have been more of a liability than an asset. All this time the group has been searching for a place where they could settle in and put down roots. But now they are accepting that there is no place like that where they are. They are moving on to find out if there’s more left in the world and Beth just wouldn’t be able to survive on the journey. Just like Hershel with is missing leg and advanced age wouldn’t have been able to keep up with them as they start the long road to Washington. So even though fans will miss Beth just like they still miss Hershel it was time for Beth to take her bow and join her father.