**Spoilers! If you don’t want to know what happened to Beth after she and Daryl were split up in Season4 don’t read this recap! Just wait and hope she’s ok. ***
Beth is back, and Beth isn’t a pushover anymore. The question of whether or not Beth can survive in the brutal post-apocalypse world has been answered, and by the end of the episode the cavalry may have arrived to help her get back with the group.
Beth has been absent from the series since last season’s “Alone” episode when she and Daryl separated when the funeral home they were crashing in became overrun. Daryl drew the walkers off and gave Beth the chance to escape. Daryl made it out of the funeral home just in time to see Beth scooped up and driven off in a black car with a white cross drawn on the back. He chased the car but was not able to catch up to it and Beth was gone.
Daryl didn’t forget about Beth though. In the second episode of Season 5 he and Carol see the same black car with a white cross speeding by them and they go after it to try and find Beth. Will they find her? The end of “Slabtown” indicates that they will, although maybe not as they intended.
Where is Beth?
When Slabtown opens fans see Beth opening her eyes in a hospital, much the same way that they were introduced to Rick waking up in a hospital. There is a clock ticking on the wall, indicating that the hospital has either power or batteries. Beth is hooked to an IV and her arm has been bandaged. There is a gash on her cheek. She tries to open the door but is locked in. She yells for someone to let her out and takes the IV out of her hand, keeping the needle to use as a weapon. A doctor and a police officer bust into the room and tell her to drop the needle and that she is safe. But safety is always relative in the post-apocalypse worlds, especially when dealing with other survivors. She is immediately put to work helping with other patients.
Beth talks to the doctor, who seems to be a quiet and trustworthy person. As she is getting him lunch in the hospital cafeteria she has the first of several run- ins with Officer Gorman, who is creepy and makes advances to her telling her that because he saved her she owes him and is not being grateful enough to him. The theme of debt and owing service to the people in the hospital is repeated often in the episode as the woman in charge of the hospital, Officer Dawn Lerner, reiterates over and over that Beth must work off her debt to them for saving her. She says she wants to leave and she is told that she can, once she works off her debt, so the possibility of her being allowed to leave seems slim.
Atlanta After the Apocalypse
While Beth is talking to the doctor they discuss art and the role of art in the new world because the doctor is listening to a record and has a painting in his office. He says that Dawn gives him privileges because he is the doctor. He takes Beth on a tour of the hospital and shows her that the walkers have pretty much overrun the first floor. They use the walkers as part of a disposal system for the dead bodies. The bodies are thrown down the elevator shaft, and while the bodies are still warm the walkers on the first floor eat them. The bodies are piles up pretty high.
He also takes her up on the roof, where there are plants growing and solar arrays gathering power from the hot Georgia sun. They are in Atlanta, and it’s the first time since Season 1 that fans get to see an overall picture of what is left in Atlanta. The image is pretty intense. Atlanta, she learns from the doctor, was bombed and napalm was dropped in the streets to try and stop the outbreak in the beginning. It didn’t work and the city was declared a loss. The haunting images of the city skyscrapers falling into ruin are really impressive.
What’s Going on in the Hospital
The doctor tells her that Dawn became the leader after the officer who took over after the city fell lost his mind and made some bad decisions. Dawn is violent, petty, and appears cruel but she runs the hospital thinking that some type of government organization will come in to save them and put the world right again. She is trying to keep order, as she sees is, until that happens.
Beth makes friends with Noah, a boy about her own age who seems like he’s been pretty badly injured in the past. While Beth is still trying to adjust the staff bring in a woman on a gurney who has been bitten on the arm while trying to escape the hospital. She is hostile to Dawn and refuses anesthetic. She wants them to let her die but Dawn insists she be kept alive. Beth is immediately told to help hold her down while the doctor saws her arm off with wire. Her scrub top gets bloody and when she goes to her room Noah, who is in charge of laundry, has left her a clean one with a green lollipop in the pocket. She hides it under her mattress.
Not Everyone Can be Trusted
A man is brought in that is in bad shape. The doctor says that it’s not worth the resources to try and save him but Dawn insists that the doctor save him. So the doctor does, with Beth’s help, but he isn’t happy about it. Later on in the episode he tells Beth to give the man a certain medication and then she will be done for the day. She gives the medication, but the man starts having a seizure and dies. Beth questions the doctor about the medicine he told her to give the man in front of Dawn and the doctor tells Dawn that Beth made a mistake. He tries to convince Beth she is responsible for the man’s death but she knows better and at that point realizes she can’t trust the doctor.
Noah had taken the blame for the other doctor’s death when the medicine Beth gave him killed him. He got a beating from Dawn for lying but Dawn also hit Beth because she knew Noah was lying. Throughout the episode Beth catches blows from Dawn quite a bit.
Noah tells Beth he plans to escape. He has made Dawn think that he is weak and docile but really he has a plan to get to the ground floor and past the walkers and out of the hospital. He plans on stealing Dawn’s key to the elevators to get free once he goes down the elevator shaft that currently houses the dead bodies. Beth tells him that she is coming with him. He asks her if she can get the elevator key from Dawn’s office.
Beth returns to her room to get the lollipop that Noah gave her and finds Officer Gorman, who immediately starts being creepy and inappropriate with her again. The doctor comes in and gives her an escape from the creepy situation with Gorman. While Dawn is distracted Beth sneaks into her office. She sees a jar full of lollipops on the desk like the one Noah had given her. She begins digging around in the office for the elevator key card. She notices that the woman whose arm had been cut off lying on the floor in a pool of blood. She killed herself in the office, presumably so she would turn and kill Dawn. Beth knows she has to hurry and get out of the office but she stops long enough to take Gorman’s gun.
Gorman corners her in Dawn’s office and makes it clear that she needs to have sex with him or he will tell Dawn that he found her digging around in her office. Beth seems to agree, in order to distract him. Fans watching clenched with disgust as Gorman put his hands on her and started to reach under her scrub top. But Beth had noticed that the woman on the floor had turned, and was starting to move. She hit Gorman in the back of the head with the glass jar of Lollipops and moved to the side. He fell to the floor and was immediately ripped apart by the walker. Fans at home cheered.
As Beth walks down the hall she signals to Noah that she has the key card. Dawn stops her and asks her if everything is OK. Beth tells her that the woman and Gorman were looking for her and they were in her office. As Dawn heads to her office Beth and Noah make their escape by dropping down the elevator shaft using ropes made from sheets that Noah got from the laundry. Beth drops down onto the pile of bodies below and waits for Noah. On his way down a walker on another floor surprises him and almost grabs him. He fights off the walker but drops hard onto the pile, injuring his leg.
In the tunnel leading to the outside they are surrounded by walkers, and Noah is slowing them down because of his injured leg. Beth uses almost all the ammunition in Gorman’s gun firing at the walkers but they make it out of the tunnel and to the outside. They open a door that leads to a parking lot. In the lot are many vehicles with white crosses painted on them, including the black car that grabbed her. There are dozens of walkers in the parking lot and courtyard standing between them and the fence that they need to get to in order to get out. Beth fires again at as many of the walkers as she can, telling Noah to go first while she covers him. She even stomps the head of one walker on the ground to kill it. Just as Noah slips through a gap in the fence and is free Dawn and another officer capture her and put her in handcuffs. Beth smiles though, happy that Noah was able to get free.
The Aftermath, and an Ally
Beth faces off with Dawn, who ends up beating her with a picture frame. She is beaten pretty badly and sports several deep cuts and bruises on her face. As the doctor is taking care of her Beth makes it clear that she knows she can’t trust the doctor. He leaves her alone in his office as officers rush in with a woman on a gurney and Beth picks up a sharp tool from the doctor’s desk, intending to use it to kill Dawn. But she changes her plans when she sees that the woman on the gurney is Carol, who is unconscious.
At the end fans were left with more questions than answers. Is Carol faking or is she really hurt? How did they capture her? Is Daryl with her? Is Noah the person Daryl was speaking to in the bushes outside the church? While Carol does appear to be hurt Beth must be glad to see her, and presumably these two strong women can fight their way out of the hospital if necessary.