The Walking Dead, “Slabtown,” finally reveals Beth’s location, continues to explore the corruption of those who cling to dead tropes (specifically uniformed cops and docs), and tops it all off with poetic justice.
The episode begins with Beth in a hospital bed, staring at a clock. The camera cuts to the clock at 5:17:40, which may be significant.
This episode, like others in Season 5, includes Catholic allusions. Dr. Steven Edwards alludes to Peter’s denial of Christ to justify using Beth to (unwittingly) kill another doctor. So it isn’t crazy to assume 5:17:40 is an allusion to the Book of Acts.
In the Book of Acts, the apostles are imprisoned by jealous Sadducees and freed by an angel of the Lord. They were sent to evangelize, leaving their locked cells as proof that they were doing the Lord’s work. Peter says that he must obey God, not humans. After some intervention, Peter and the rest of the apostles were flogged and released.
Does this passage foreshadow Beth’s fate? Will she be released after her suffering and refusal to succumb to Dawn’s laws? Who will be the angel to set her free?
Officer Dawn Learner is a Governoresque leader– she allows her officers to sexually assault the wards of the hospital, just to keep the officers happy. Learner thinks allowing the officers to rape her wards is for the greater good– that the women who they “rescued” some how owe Learner and her officers something.
Watching a woman allow the abuse and exploitation of other women is particularly upsetting and especially corrupt. Thankfully, this episode of The Walking Dead was not without its poetic justice.
Joan, a survivor of Officer Gorman’s sexual assault, dies in Learner’s office. Gorman tracks Beth down to Learner’s office and, for the third time, makes unwanted sexual advances, escalating in aggression and intensity. Beth, who seconds earlier notices that Joan is about to turn, tricks Gorman and feeds him to Joan. Now that’s just desserts! It turns out, Learner has severely underestimated Beth, but she’s not the only ward Learner underestimates.
Beth and Noah, another ward of Grady Memorial Hospital, make a run for it. Sadly, Beth is brought down by Learner’s thugs as Noah, thankfully, wiggles through the fence. Beth looks up from the pavement to see him escape and smiles. There is hope. In the context of Acts 5:17:40, we know Beth will soon be free. But there is another reason to believe her stay at Grady will be short lived.
Noah escapes and Carol is wheeled into the hospital at the end of the episode. Will Carol, who single handedly brought down Terminus, team up with Beth and show Learner how real women lead. But how did they get Carol?
At the end of the episode 3, Daryl calls someone out of the woods. Is he calling Noah? Chances are when Carol and Daryl stopped to help Noah, Carol was taken. How long will it be until Noah leads the group to Beth and Carol?
Now that Noah is with Rick’s group, it’s a pretty safe bet that Rick, Daryl, and the rest of the group will storm the hospital and rescue Beth and Carol. Do you think Learner will survive Rick’s brand of justice?
One thing is for sure, Beth proves she can handle herself. If she didn’t see Carol wheeled in unconscious at the end of the episode, someone would have felt the sharp side of her scissors. Do you think Beth has the killer instinct?
The Walking Dead airs Sunday at 9 PM on AMC. What do you think Episode 5 will bring? Share your predictions and insights in the comment section.