The Walking Dead S5E4, “Slabtown”

Season 5 Poster

The first three episodes of this season sure were great, weren’t they?  They sure were.  Can’t have too many of those episodes in a row, can we?  Let’s get bogged down for an episode.

I know everyone has been wondering where Beth has been, so I figured we’d get caught up with her at some point.  I was hoping it would be through a series of small reveals here and there.  Maybe we’d catch some glimpses, and she would make her grand escape at the midseason finale.  Oh, how wrong I was.

We didn’t need a full episode of Beth.  I have nothing against Beth.  I think she has a lovely singing voice and I like her taste in music.  But she has never been a character I thought could carry an entire episode.  It looks like I was right.

A question: Carol coming in at the end.  What timeline is this?  Is this present day Carol?  My original theory was that Daryl and Carol met up with the recently escaped Noah, who made mention of Beth and told them how they could break her out.  (That theory continues that Daryl brought Noah back with him to the camp in order to convince the others to help with Beth’s break-out while Carol faked an injury to help break out Beth from the inside.)
However, after thinking about it, I’m not sure if that’s accurate.  How long ago was Beth captured?  And how long has she been at the hospital?  Even if they drugged her for a while, I can’t imagine she has been at the hospital for longer than a week (even that might be generous: the entire episode seems to take place over the course of a day or two).  Which would make the unconscious Carol she comes across an on-her-own Carol, not a recently-reunited-with-the-group Carol.

I guess we’ll find out soon.  Or maybe it’ll take a while.  Just please not another episode that focuses only on Beth.  We were doing so well this season.  Let’s not muck it up now.


1. On the “previously on The Walking Dead” section, they showed how Daryl and Beth got separated.  I forgot how dumb that whole thing was.  Daryl casually opened the door to a horde of zombies.  No checking the door beforehand or anything.  So stupid and out-of-character.

2. Gorman the rapist.  Dr. Edwards seems like a decent human being.  I have a hard time believing he would allow Gorman to go around raping at will and never do anything about it.  Same goes for Dawn.  No, she doesn’t seem like she’s open to suggestions, but it does seem like she’s trying to keep everyone safe, even if she’s going about it all wrong.  Gorman openly questions her authority, yet he is able to continue with his normal life (this makes him a more rapey Starscream).  I know we don’t know much about these characters, but the little we do know seems to suggest that they wouldn’t be fine with a man raping with impunity.

3. Let’s talk about Dawn for a second, because I’ve seen some backlash at the anti-Dawn sentiment (some of it coming from my sister in horror, the great LC Fremont).  I wasn’t offended by Dawn’s behavior, but I certainly don’t like her as a character, and that has nothing to do with her being a woman.  It has everything to do with her being the absolute voice of authority while also being pretty ignorant.  Man or woman, her leadership style leaves much to be desired.  Again, we only get a glimpse of her character.  Maybe I wouldn’t feel that way if I saw how she was when they were making the hospital safe.  Rick is doing pretty good work now, but there have been a number of times where he looked terrible, and would look even worse if we just dropped in on him for a single episode.
Let’s take a look at her biggest use of failed logic:
“After they rescue us, we’re going to help put the world back together.”  All her decisions – every single one – are made based on the assumption that they’re eventually going to be saved.  That’s a fool’s assumption.
Dawn is a bad leader.  That would be the case even if her name were David.

4. Why are Dawn and Gorman still wearing police uniforms?  Like, the entire uniform?  I guess it’s to project an air of authority, but it just comes off as extremely annoying.  It’s the apocalypse and you’re in a hospital.  Just wear scrubs.  They’re way more comfortable.

5. They keep saying stuff like, “Keep working off what you owe and you’ll be out of here in no time.”  Is there a chart showing this trade-off?  “Cleaning a wound is worth a plate of food.”  Something like that.  There needs to be some sort of bartering chart, otherwise the entire system is broken.  (Surprise surprise: the entire system is broken.)

6. Fremont pointed this out, but it’s worth repeating here.  They said there’s no way out.  But there’s a way in, right?  How is there not a way out if there’s a way in?


1. Throwing dead bodies down the elevator shaft.  A terrible job that was handled with all the ho-humness of taking out the trash.  The body falling gave off a whiff of Titanic’s infamous propellerman, which made me chuckle, but it was still a pretty rough image.  It was even worse when Beth and Noah made their way to the bottom and found limbs and bodies everywhere.
Noah should have yelled, “I don’t care what you smell,” when getting Beth to descent the chute, though.

2. Dr. Edwards trying to piss off Dawn by keeping his office messy.  “We all have ways of making her pay.”  Even during the apocalypse people are still finding their own happiness wherever they can.

3. “Every sacrifice we make must be for the greater good.”


4. Lots of zombie throat-biting in this season.  If there were a box to check that requested more throat-biting, I would always check that box.  Always.

5. Beth turning into zombie Rambo and killing everything in sight.  She was suddenly a crack-shot.  Normally that would get on my nerves, but she smashed a zombie’s head with her foot.  If you do that, your killing spree gets a thumbs up from me.

6. Beth’s smile as she saw Noah escaping.  Even though she knew she was going back to the hospital (and would be punished for her escape attempt), she could still be happy for Noah.

Final thoughts:

Not a terrible episode, but not nearly as good as this season has been up to this point.  Let’s hope they correct the ship and don’t spend too much more time on Beth.  Let’s get her out of there and back with the rest of the group.

Fun fact: Erik Jensen (the actor who played Dr. Edwards) played Yankee great Thurman Munson in the series The Bronx is Burning.  According to former teammate Fritz Peterson, Munson had penis “like a beer can”.  That doesn’t have anything to do with The Walking Dead, but it’s a fact I have kicking around my head and I thought I’d share it with you.  You’re welcome.