Review by Gene
After half a seasons worth of episodes since Beth was taken, we finally catch up with her. And she’s totally fine. If you consider being locked in a hospital room in a war-mangled city, then told you “owe” your saviors certain unspecified tasks all for the greater good as being totally fine. (spoilers ahead)
Beth is in Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta under the care of Dr. Steven Edwards and under the thumb of Officer Dawn. The status quo in this joint is made quite clear to Beth from the start. They saved her life, now she owes them. They expect something in return for their good deeds. While this is a bit of a strange ice-breaker, it seems innocent enough at first. Until Beth meets Officer Gorman at the lunch line. Then things begin to become more clear. Gorman has that stare about him that sets off instant creep alerts. He expects a ‘thank you’ from Beth, and even threatens her food rations. “Everything costs somethin’, right?”, he tells Beth. His smirk alone is enough to signify that his motives are less than pure.
As the episode unfolds, we’re shown a pretty curious arrangement of authority at the hospital. There appears to be no good reason that people follow Dawn except that she worked with and possibly killed her predecessor, and she’ll smack anyone who disagrees with her. That whole setup is asking a lot from the viewers. We’ve had the Governor and Gareth as leaders of other groups in the past. The reasons for which they are the leaders are numerous and not in question. But Dawn, at least from what we learn in this episode, leaves a lot to be desired. Why follow her?
In one conversation with Dawn, Beth is told how it really works around this hospital. Long story short; the wards (those saved from the streets) exist to please Dawn’s officers and keep them happy so they can continue their work of keeping the hospital up and running. They are sex slaves. At least the women are. Other clues throughout the episode imply that Beth was meant to be Dr. Edwards’ personal servant. As Dawn explains it to Beth, this is all for the “greater good”. It becomes apparent to Beth that she will never be clear of her alleged debt and leave on her own will. Even the food she eats is viewed as a favor to her. The cycle never ends. This idea of an un-payable debt should ring very familiar to Christians…
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. -Ephesians 2:4-9
Grace is free and unmerited favor. God ‘s mercy to us is evidence of his love for us. A love which desires to be with us in eternity. Furthermore, this offer of salvation through His Son is free! At the hospital, Beth is told that nothing is free. That’s how it works among men. This “give some to take some” system that Dawn has arranged is a perfect example of how the ways of man are not the ways of God. (Isaiah 55:8). There is nothing we could give to earn a claim to our salvation. Nothing we could do for God that would oblige him to grant us eternity in Heaven. No, he offers that out of his love for us, not as a result of works.
If her works will not earn her freedom from the hospital, she’ll have to take it herself. Beth befriends another ward, Noah, who has been there for about a year. He’s never seen anyone work off their debt and leave freely. Beth’s unease with this place is matched by Noah’s desire to return to his family. They devise a ridiculously easy plan to escape, prompting me to wonder why nobody has tried this before. Noah is apparently a terrific knot-tier but terrible at rappelling. Beth has become quite the sharp-shooter. She’s able to accurately shoot each walker in the head in the pitch dark. Beth and Noah escape into something of a parking lot where we see a handful of vehicles bearing the cross. But when Beth is overrun by walkers and eventually saved by officers from the hospital, she glances up long enough to see Noah realizing his freedom as he makes it out of the gates. We’re not likely to see him again since he had his own family he wanted to get back to. Unless… gasp!… he’s the one with Daryl in the woods!
Beth is brought back into the hospital and confronts Dr. Edwards on a decision he made to end the life of another doctor. Edwards saw the other doctor as a threat. If there were two doctors around, he was expendable. With just him, he holds all the cards. He really had no choice, you see. While that certainly fits the “survival of the fittest” model employed by nearly everyone on this show, Beth isn’t buying it. After Dr. Edwards makes a pretty ridiculous assertion regarding Peter’s denial of Jesus, Beth appears to be moving toward him with the intent to kill, or at least severely injure. At that moment she is stopped by officers wheeling in a woman on a stretcher, rushing her to Dr. Edwards. It’s Carol. The episode ends with yet another cliffhanger, and we’re all revising our predictions on who is with Daryl in the woods!
Episode Rating: C
A Beth-centric episode is a bit of a risk. While she is a member of our main group I wouldn’t consider her even top 5 in leading characters of the show. I think this episode falls short about as much as it succeeds, so it gets a pretty average rating. Beth is asked to carry the majority of emotional highs and lows and I think she almost pulls it off, but misses on a couple of scenes she really needed to sell. The musical choices were nice and the idea of a semi-functioning hospital was interesting, but there were too many “Huh?” moments for me. Officer Dawn seems relatively un-liked, yet everyone follows her orders? There really is no other group that has managed to co-exist without resorting to cannibalism or indentured servitude, with an emphasis on sex slavery? And I’m supposed to believe that a woman forces other women into sex slavery to please her male officers so they can…. do what exactly? Fetch more slaves? They’re low on resources, but still bringing people in to clean the floors and dust? How do the officers come and go if the only plausible way of escape is down an elevator shaft? A series of knotted towels can hold Beth and Noah down an elevator shaft? A limping Noah can run around 8-10 walkers, but Beth can’t?
From the previous week(s):
- This hospital confirms my relatively easy guess that the car with the cross was not associated with Gabriel’s church (+1). I guessed Daryl was calling for Beth to come out of the woods last week. It was not Beth or Carol, as they are both at the hospital still (-1). I predicted that Carol dies as a result of going after the car with the cross. That remains to be seen (undetermined). My overall prediction that Rick ends this season basically alone out of choice of the group losing trust in him remains on the table. Current running total: +1
- I’m not going to take another shot at who’s with Daryl. I’ll cut my losses there. It could be anyone: Morgan, an officer from the hospital, Noah, another group entirely… who knows. But, I am sticking with my prediction that Carol dies from some wound suffered while chasing the car with Daryl.
- Aside from a guess on Carol’s future, there isn’t a lot this episode offers by way of future predictions. But to bring our main group back into play and not just sitting around at the church, my lone prediction from this episode is simply that Rick will lead our group to the hospital to save Beth and/or Carol. He almost has to, doesn’t he? Additionally, I think his decisions and methods used to exact vengeance on Dawn and her officers will further the wedge between him and the rest of the group.