Only four more episodes of “The Walking Dead” before they take their winter break. Episode four of season five was called “Slabtown”, but could have been titled “AMC’s Creepy Version Of NBC’s ER”. With the groups splintering off at the end of last week’s show, I knew we were in for some different set up this week. I didn’t think it would be completely about Beth however. The girl has been gone for what seems like a couple years to me. I just assumed she was dead. Daryl didn’t seem to be holding out much hope, so why would any of us?
Beth awakes in a well lit hospital that seems to be civilized. We all know how that usually plays out in this show. A calm looking town can turn into a brutal dictatorship in a hurry, as we witnessed in Governorland. Beth is quickly acquainted with a cop named Dawn and Dr. Steven. The Doc appears to be a much nicer person than the uniformed lady cop, who lets Beth know immediately that she, as a newcomer, owes them. After all, they saved / abducted her when Beth and Daryl were in dire straights last season.
The hospital is surprisingly clean and appears normal considering what all has transpired since the zombie apocalypse got rolling. But the civilized facade of the place doesn’t last long as Beth meets ubercreeper, Gorman, another cop. He tells Beth that everything has a price, alluding to the fact that she better get some cash for her food, or prepare to be sexually assaulted by the corrupt policeman. This Gorman doesn’t appear to be that big a threat to anyone and it is a surprise that he has survived this long. Sure, he turns out to be a terrible human being, but he doesn’t seem like the type that would have thrived in this current state of the world.
The good doctor seems to be just that, as he befriends Beth. He even offers her some cooked guinea pig in exchange for nothing. He is just a kind guy from all appearances. He does take the time to show Beth why no one has tried to leave the hospital. They go down to the basement and Steven makes some noise to arouse the local zombie neighbors. It is another awful scene with “rotters” everywhere. I love how each new group has a new name for the undead. Perhaps some crew will eventually call them what they are, zombies. Maybe that is a politically incorrect term in their world…who knows.
This episode goes back to the theme of “the nightmare being over” and how people will deal with each other then. This is the aspect of the show that I love. I know they have to bash in heads with heels of boots and find different tools to pierce the brains of the rotters. But I enjoy the philosophy theme. How would you trust any new group that you came across? Will people go right back to being civilized with laws and such if the zombies all perished overnight? Or would humans have become too brutal during the apocalypse to go back to the ways prior to the undead lurking around every corner? Dr. Steven makes the point about human beings needing to be more than animals while looking at the painting in his office. Unfortunately for these people, now is not the time to be better than animals. At least not on a daily basis. That will get you killed or turned into a rotter. Actually it will cause both to happen.
Toward the end of the episode the creeper cop Gorman gets his rapist reward. He attempts to attack Beth only to be cracked in his dome with a glass vase. I told you I was amazed that he had made it this far in this brutal world. After getting cold cocked, police officer Gorman is savagely eaten by a female patient zombie that had gotten her arm amputated earlier in the show due to a bite. Officer Gorman may not have been a mainstay on “The Walking Dead“, but his repulsiveness to actual screen time ratio was off the charts. I was glad to see him go in a hurry.
One of the most telling plot lines this week was the good doctor protecting his position in the group. He had Beth give a patient the wrong medicine and it ended the man’s life. It turns out the guy was a doctor himself and Steven wanted to remain vital in the hospital. Having another MD around would have put him at risk had he pissed off Dawn at the wrong moment. It is hard to say he did the right thing…Ok, it was the wrong thing. He killed another man who was defenseless. However, if the goal is to stay alive, then he did what he had to do. Just bad timing for the guy who got wheeled into the worst / best medical facility in Atlanta.
The end of the episode sees Beth and her new BFF Noah try and make a getaway. It is a poorly thought out plan from the start of the decent down an elevator shaft meant for feeding the rotters. Noah manages to fall and badly injure his leg but they keep moving. There are some cool shots, gunshots that is, in the dark as they have to cap a few walkers on their way out of the hospital. This was one of the better scenes I have witnessed lately on the show. They make it outside only to be surrounded by more walkers, which Beth and Noah manage to fend off. But then the remaining police officers from the building manage to apprehend Beth. Her buddy Noah escapes through a chained gate….dude was pretty skinny. He had a bad limp when he went out of sight so I’m not sure how long this guy is going to make it on the outside. If I had to guess, I would say he is being eaten as I type.
Beth gets dragged back into Grady Memorial Hospital for her trouble. There she gets more medical work on her face from Dr. Steven. I hope she has a low deductible on her medical insurance. She has been at this place about one day and received four hours of medical care. After walking into the hallway, Beth sees one of her old crew being wheeled in on a cart, out cold. Carol, the death dealer, has been rescucaptured by the white cross folks.
Look for a new group to be featured next week. It might take two weeks to get back to the Beth plot. Also, do you think that Carol has faked her way into the hospital or did she ‘savenapped’ like Beth?