Here be plot spoilers; if you’re not up to date, then don’t be here.
This is the unofficial “little sibling” episode, as “Slabtown” is All About Beth, TWD’s least-begotten little sib.
Let’s recap. Not a lot has gone right for Beth in the zombie apocalypse. A Bible-totin’ south Georgia teen being raised on a farm, she’s lost just about everything except a mopey look and an apparent love of Tom Waits ballads. Her momma was a barn-kept walker, until Rick ‘n them shot her in the head. Her boyfriend Jimmy and Otis’s wife, Patricia, both died hard back on the farm, what with Patricia being eaten alive while Beth was trying to pull her to safety. Her daddy, the late and lamented Hershel, didn’t do well under the Governor’s regime, either. Last we saw of Beth, she was taken off in a dark car with a cross in the back window. The only family she’s got left is her sis, Maggie, who decided last week that she’d devote half a day to looking her dear old Beth, then bugger off for D.C. with pizza-boy-paramour-turned-hubbie Glenn and their new Army buddies.
Who does that leave to come bail her out? Who ran two days to try to find her? Who gave her a “serious piggyback”? Who held her hand? Why, none other than TWD’s Most Boss Little Brother, Daryl!! They have a bond, and we’re betting Daryl is going to open up a can of cross-bow to get her back.
So lights down and…ACTION!
Beth comes to in a locked hospital room, opening her eyes slowly — a nice little shout-out to how the series began, with Rick coming out of his coma. She tries the window, then the locked door, shouting to be let out. Two people come in: Dude introduces himself Dr. Stephen Edwards, and Officer Dawn Lerner, and they’re at Grady Memorial in Hotlanta. They tell her she was found on side of road, surrounded by “rotters,” with a broken wrist and a head laceration. She asks if Daryl is there, too, and Officer Dawn says, “You were alone. If we hadn’t saved you, you’d be one of them right now. So you owe us.”
Okay, this is so totally bogus. She and Daryl’s country safe-haven house was overrun by walkers one night. She ran down the driveway and by the time Daryl started to catch up, a dark car with a cross in the back was peeling out with her in tow. They’re the ones who likely busted her wrist and her face.
Back from the break, Beth has been pressed into service as Doc’s orderly. The Good Doc is quick to pull the plug on patients, on Dawn’s orders. They wheel a corpse to an open elevator shaft and dump it, a snack for walkers in the basement. (As Gareth told us last week, “a man’s gotta eat.” That goes for the undead too, y’all.)
Beth goes to the cafeteria, which appears to be even worse than even your pre-apocalyptic variety, and a cop named Gorman, clean-cut and beefy and looking like the guy in the office who trolls porn sites at his desk, introduces himself as one of the guys who saved her. Says she should show a little…appreciation. Ewwww.
Upstairs, we overhear Officer Dawn, riding an exercise bike, saying that “we’ll find Joan,” who, we learn shortly, is a worker who has run off from the hospital, which is looking more like an asylum by the minute. Beth takes the tray to the Good Doc, who’s sitting in a darkened office, with a Caravaggio that he scavenged off the street. (Boy, fine art is a deal these days.) Turns out the meal Beth has brought him is…guinea pig, which we think we actually ate this one time at a hospital in Memphis, but that’s a different story.
The hospital cops wheel in a comatose guy off the street, Gavin Trevitt from his wallet ID, who fell out of a first-story window trying to escape from walkers. When the Doc tells Officer Dawn it’s hopeless, she turns and slaps…Beth. Of course. The Doc winds up stabilizing Trevitt.
A few minutes later, after Doc goes up to Beth’s room and tries to tell her Dawn’s not all that bad, they literally drag a woman in from outside. She’s been bitten on the forearm by a walker. They strap her to a gurney and it’s Joan! Who had run off! She is so not happy to be back, calling everybody names.
“I’m not going back to him!” she screams at Dawn.
“You don’t have to!” Dawn yells back.
“You can’t control them!”
Then they hack off her arm.
Who is “him,” and what has he done to been doing to Joan that she’d rather be bit by the undead?
Beth meets up with Noah, who’s ironing clothes. He says that nobody can leave, that you’re sort of an indentured servant in the Hospital from Hell. He says the cops found him and his dad out in Atlanta in a tough spot. They left his Dad by the side of the road, he now realizes, because he was bigger and stronger and would have fought back. Noah says he’s secretly strong, like her. He’s from Richmond, VA, and was down in Atlanta, looking for his uncle. They buddy up.
Officer Dawn and Beth sit for a girl chat. Dawn gives a patronizing little speech about sacrifice and how nice they are, letting Beth stick around, useless as she is, and she ought to be grateful. Boy, do we not like Officer Dawn. This feeling is enhanced a few minutes later when Beth is mopping up Joan’s room. Stumpy Joan hints at the dark bargains Officer Dawn has made: “It’s easier to make a deal with the devil when you’re not the one paying the price.”
There’s not much mystery to what she means, because just after the break, Officer Gorman saunters in Beth’s room, dangling a lollipop. He sucks on it, then, in this creepy sort of way, makes her take it in her mouth. The Good Doc comes in and puts an end to it. Doc takes Beth to the ground floor, beats on a grated door and walkers galore come pounding up against it. There isn’t a way out, “not from here.” They go up to the roof, which has a little garden thing going, and gives the back story to the place: When Atlanta was being overrun, Officer Dawn was second in command of the detail that was to evac the place. The jets came, the city fell to walkers. He says things got tight when resources ran out. The cop in charge, Hanson, cracked, and he and Dawn made a deal: She and her officers would provide security, and he, the only doc in the place, would take care of the sick, who would repay their treatment by service. “As bad as it gets,” he says, “it’s still better than down there.” When she leaves, he reminds her to give Trevitt, the patient from earlier, 75 mgs of Clozapine.
Beth goes and gives him a shot, Noah looks in and Trevitt goes into a massive seizure and dies. Noah takes the blame, saying he must have bumped the ventilator, and Dawn’s henchmen drag him off for a beating. The Good Doc tells Beth he told her to give Clonazepam, which he mostly definitely did not.
Back in Beth’s room, Officer Dawn comes in and gives Beth yet another self-righteous speech, about how “the wards keep my officers happy, and then the officers work harder to keep everyone safe and there have been…compromises.” Great. A rape hospital. That’s what was up with Joan, being raped by Gorman. Officer Dawn pulls up Beth’s wrist from her long-ago suicide attempt to show her that she’s “nothing.”
Beth and Noah make plans to escape down the elevator shaft, figuring they’ll somehow dodge the walkers, which sort of sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen. Beth sneaks into Dawn’s office and sees a pic of Hanson, the former director, and Dawn. They seem to have had some sort of relationship. Beth pulls out a wallet and sees an ID that we can’t see. She looks down…and there is Joan, dead on the floor, the stump of her arm leaking congealed blood! She has scissors in her other hand, perhaps from cutting it open. A suicide? Beth shakes this off, finds the elevator key in a drawer — and Gorman catches her.
He strolls over, invading her personal space and all, sliding his hand up her shirt. Before he can cop a feel, Beth smacks him upside the head with a glass! He falls! Joan, who had been stirring to reanimated zombie life, smells fresh meat! Bites him on the neck, ripping it open and you know what they say about payback, Gorman.
Beth then gets out and walks the hall, stricken, and passes Dawn. She tells her she saw Joan and Gorman headed for her office, looking for her. HAHAHA, Beth, you kill me.
Quickly, she and Noah tie sheets together to slide down the elevator shaft. She gets down okay, but a walker leans through a doorway as Noah’s coming down and he falls into the dumpster of dead bodies. SO gross. He’s hurt his leg, too, and now they stagger outside into the parking lot. It’s full of walkers! Beth stomps a walker in the head! Shoots others. But then she’s tackled by cops, who have spotted them. Noah gimps it a gap in the fence and gets away.
After the break, Dawn is giving Beth what for in her office, and a pop or three upside the head besides. When the Good Doc comes in to take a look at her, Beth tears into him. You knew Trevitt was a doctor, she guesses, and you had me give him the wrong medication to kill him. The Good Doc crumbles. Says he knew Trevitt was an oncologist at a different hospital. If Officer Dawn had another doctor around, he would have been expendable. “They would have kicked me out,” he says.
Beth, who is through with these people, goes walking down the hallway, knife in her hand. She’s gonna waste somebody. But they’re bringing in another gurney, someone unconscious on a stretcher and it’s…CAROL!!!!
Fade to black.
SO: We know that Daryl and Carol caught up with the car they were chasing. They bad guys wound up taking Carol. Daryl staggered back to the church with…we’re guessing one of the bad-guy cops. Hostage for hostage negotiations to come? Previews, though, show next week seems to be all about Abraham’s crew on the bus, which has evidently crashed.