A Closer Look: The Walking Dead – “Slabtown”

After half a season, we finally found out what became of Beth and it looks like a cross between The Walking Dead and Scrubs – with some police brutality videos thrown in. The cannibals of Terminus might be gone; but that doesn’t mean the unease of The Walking Dead has passed for good. With threats of rape in a ‘safe haven’ built upon indentured servitude and appeasement, we see Beth emerge at the product of Hershel’s upbringing and Daryl’s training. So let’s take a closer look at this week’s episode, “Slabtown”.

Illusion of “The Greater Good”:

Dawn’s whole reasoning for doing what she’s doing is “the greater good”; but as we quickly discover, “its easy to make a deal with the devil when you’re not the one paying the price.” Though is it really the ‘greater good’ at work here, or just one big delusion after another? Dawn allows the brutality and corruption her officers display because she feels if it keeps her force happy, then they’ll keep protecting everyone until rescue arrives. Meanwhile everyone else will pull their own weight – or rather the weight they take up – and work to keep everything afloat.

What Dawn doesn’t realize is that there is no one coming. Appeasing her officers is accomplishing nothing as everyone in this ‘safe-haven’ is out for themselves. Most of the people here are only here because they can offer something and take orders. If you’re too strong and pose a chance of resisting, then you’re a threat and shouldn’t be saved. Hell, whether you want to die or not, they’ll save you and add it to your tab. Instead of promoting group togetherness, there is an overarching sense of servitude and everyone has to make sure they are the sole specialist even if it condemns the others – ie: Dr Edwards killing the other doctor.

Beths new fate 2This system seems so messed up not only because it directly contradicts with Rick’s and the others; but because it contradicts EVERY survival strategy we’ve seen thus far. The Governor, Joe and Garreth had some pretty messed up ideas about community and survival; but in the end they at least all realized the need for strong people who can become ‘one of them’. Dawn’s group actually seeks out the weak as a means of control whereby her and her police force can rule by fear and hierarchy. Dawn represents the exact opposite of everything we’ve seen thus far this Season; and as such I wouldn’t be surprised if Beth and Carol can take them all out single handedly.

Déjà – Season 1 – Vu:

This video was full of Season 1-esque moments, the most noticeable of which was when Beth first woke up in the hospital bed. This is a direct reference to the opening of Season 1 when Rick Grimes woke up in a hospital bed after the initial outbreak. There is also something to be said for this episode taking place in Atlanta, which is where the series began. In the span of 5 seasons, the action hasn’t really moved all that far from Atlanta. Now sure CDC to farm to prison to Terminus could have slowly but surely led them back towards Atlanta; but it still puts the whole ‘Go To DC’ mission in perspective as far as distance traveled.

Another Season 1 throwback had to be the overarching threat of corrupt and forceful cops. Dawn might have had the best intentions; but Goreman was a straight up douchebag that was forcing himself on everyone and everything just because he felt they OWED him. Sound familiar? Whether he started as nice or not, this fallout turned him into a power hungry abuser not too far off from Shane. When Goreman was forcing himself on Beth – both in the office and in force-feeding her the lollipop – I got such déjà-vu to Shane forcing himself on Lori at the CDC and other places on how she and Carl owed him for saving their lives.

walking-dead-slabtown-emily-kinney-beth-atlanta-600x300All these throwbacks do more than just reference Season 1; but actually show just how outdated Dawn’s thinking is. These survivors are still in a Season 1 mindset like the outbreak just happened; but it’s almost 2 years later (Season 5). No one’s coming for them and there is no way things can just be reset. Beth knows this to be true; but Dawn can’t accept it. She is still waiting for a quick rescue/fix that isn’t coming. Dawn would probably feel right at home with the “Get Eugene To DC To Save Everyone Mission”; but one has to wonder: If Dawn’s beliefs in a quick fix are so outdated, does that mean Eugene’s miracle plan is also just an outdated dream?

Escape Plan Logistics:

The means of Beth’s abduction – save-napped? – still seem a little hazy; but whatever they ‘saved’ her from, Beth is now out to save herself and newcomer Noah. Noah knows how to get the key to the zombie infested elevator shaft so that the two can work their way down and out. It’s a decent plan in theory, but Beth was never the strongest fighter of the group. So how can she make it through a labyrinth of pitch black tunnels filled with walkers while helping someone who has suffered some serious leg wounds? The answer: she’s been training at the Daryl Dixon School For Badassery.

Beth somehow managed to make all of her shots count in the underground tunnel and lead them both to safety. What followed might have seemed a little disjointed and strange in regards to the audio and monotone; but it is actually a reference to what they both just went through. With Beth firing a gun so many times in confined tunnels, the sound reverberations would have killed their ears leaving them in a daze, which explains the sound and stumbling.

Beths new fate?Of course Beth once again got ‘save-napped’ and dragged back into the hospital against her will; but Noah was able to make it out. Did he begin the long trek back to his walled camp in Richmond, Virginia or did he bump into someone else: Daryl. Could Noah be the one in the bushes that Daryl told to “Come out”? With Carol now at the hospital too for some reason, Beth now has a powerful ally whom the residents at hospital will most likely also underestimate.

One thought on “A Closer Look: The Walking Dead – “Slabtown”

  1. “In the span of 5 seasons, the action hasn’t really moved all that far from Atlanta.” That was something that stuck out to me. I mean, five seasons in and these people haven’t really covered much ground at all. CDC may have been the most modern and that was way back in the FIRST season. I did find it a bit easy that all of Beth’s shots during the escape were on point because there’s no way she became such an expert shot in a short amount of time, particularly without a lot of practice. But for the sake of convenience, it at least made for a nice escape.

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