Where is Beth? We’ve been hanging on that question since March 9. Can you believe it? Almost eight months.
All of that waiting will now pay off. She’s not dead. She’s not Bethburgers. So let’s get straight to the recap and the answers.
The episode begins with a closeup of Beth’s eyes opening. Wow, Emily Kinney has such nice eyes.
Anyway, Beth sees a clock that says it’s 5:17. She looks around and she’s in some kind of hospital room, in a hospital gown with a big stitched up cut on her cheek and a cast on her right hand. She looks outside the window and sees the bombed-out ruins of Atlanta. So far the scene is an echo of Rick’s awakening in the first episode.
Beth finds the door to her room is locked. She beats on it and calls “Hey!” She hears people coming to the door and pulls the IV from her arm.
A doctor, Steven Edwards, and a cop, Dawn Lerner, enter. Officer Lerner makes Beth drop the IV needle as if Beth was going to use it as a weapon.
So where is Beth? Edwards says she’s at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Here, check it out on Google Maps.
The cop tells Beth she was found on the side of the road surrounded by “rotters.” They ask her if she can remember her name and she can. She asks if Daryl is there too.
The cop tells her she was alone.
“If we hadn’t saved you, you’d be one of them right now. So you owe us,” Dawn says. Uh oh. Beth’s expression slowly falls as she realizes she’s in trouble.
Beth has been made Dr. Edwards’ assistant and he takes her on his rounds. He goes to a patient who had been found suffering cardiac arrest and casually shuts off his life support, which seems to be rigged to run on car batteries. He tells Beth that if patients don’t show improvement “Dawn calls it.” He stabs the patient in the brain so he won’t turn.
Out in the hallway Edwards talks to Dawn. Beth notices a man mopping and wanders off. Another patient shuts the door suspiciously when Beth looks in.
Edwards explains that everyone at the hospital has a job and they only go out when they need to. That means they don’t bury the bodies. Instead their body disposal system, which he demonstrates to Beth, is dumping bodies down an elevator shaft for “rotters” on the ground floor to eat.
Beth goes to the cafeteria. As she’s making herself a plate another cop comes up to her and says he and his partner were on a hunt for some guns when they found here “wriggling in the road.” He says his name is Gorman.
“When someone does you a favor it’s a courtesy to show some appreciation,” he says, implying sexual favors of course. If she doesn’t he’ll write down everything she’s taking from the food table.
“Everything costs something right?” Gorman says. Beth just takes her tray and walks away, and Gorman starts writing on a clipboard.
Beth walks by a room where Lerner is berating another patient, Noah, about a missing patient, Joan, telling him he’ll have to do the laundry and wash and press her uniform separately.
Beth goes to see Dr. Edwards who says he’s bored. She says if he’s safe enough to be bored, he’s lucky. His office is nice and he has a classical painting and records to play.
Beth gives the whole tray, which includes guinea pig, to the Dr. She says she didn’t take any food because “the more you take the more you owe.” Beth wants to work off her debt to the hospital quickly and get out.
He has her sit down and shares some of his guinea pig with her, saying “Dawn doesn’t have to know.”
His painting is a real Caravaggio, “The Denial of Saint Peter,” which he says he found discarded outside The High Museum of Art, like trash. That painting illustrates the account that after Jesus was arrested Peter denied being a disciple of Christ to three passers by to avoid the same fate, thus fulfilling one of Christ’s prophecies.
The painting is actually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the real world. Edwards says there’s no place for it in The Walking Dead world because it’s about transcendence and being more than animals.
Beth disagrees with that gloomy assessment.
“I still sing,” she says.
Before she breaks into song Dawn enters with a new patient.
The man, Gavin Trevitt, fell from a first floor apartment running from walkers. Although Dawn is the one who told Edwards not to waste resources, she insists he work on Gavin even after the doctor says he’s too injured to make it.
Edwards goes to work with Beth helping. Trevitt has a punctured lung and Edwards stabilizes him by plunging a hollow needle into his chest.
Dawn asks if Trevitt is going to make it and Edwards chews her out.
“He fell from a building, Dawn,” he says. Edwards complains he doesn’t have the modern medical tools needed and that it was a waste of resources.
Dawn gets mad and slaps, no, not the doctor. She slaps Beth. Hard. Her stitches break open. She tells Edwards to “try to grasp the stakes here and storms out.”
Edwards fixes Beth’s stitches and says Dawn is always like that. He gives Beth a new shirt to change into because hers is stained with blood. Someone has left a green lollipop in as a treat.
In the hallway cops bring Joan in. She’s been bitten on the arm by a walker. Dawn gives her a choice, they’ll cut off the arm or let her do it.
Joan curses. Gorman almost hits her by Dawn runs her out. Joan won’t take anesthetic so they do the procedure without it and make Beth help. Joan says “I’m not going back to him.” Lerner says she doesn’t have to but Joan says she can’t control them. They saw her arm off with a sharp metal wire.
Beth takes her very bloody shirt to the laundry room, where Noah introduces himself as Noah “of the Lollipop Guild.”
She thanks him. He gives her a new uniform. She asks if Joan could have just left after working for a while and Noah says he hasn’t seen it work that way yet. He’s been there a year. He shows her his scarred leg.
He says the cops told him when they found he and his dad injured they could only save one. But Noah says he now realizes they didn’t save his dad because he was bigger and stronger and would have been a threat. He says Dawn is “just barely” in charge and he wants to escape to get home to his mom in Richmond, Virginia, where they have walls to keep the walkers out. Comic readers will be putting two and two together here.
He says that although they think he and Beth are scrawny and weak they’re wrong, and Beth smiles.
Later Dawn interrupts Beth’s work and offers her a tray of food as a “peace treaty.” Beth refuses it, saying she’s not staying any longer than they make her. Dawn has Beth sit beside her.
Dawn tells her to try to not see it as a sentence and try to look at the good they are doing. She holds hope of rescue.
“There’s still people like us Beth. People trying to keep the world alive. To fix it. Until then we all have to contribute. To compromise,” Dawn says.
She tells her if she works off what she owes she’ll be out of there in no time, but that she has to eat so she can heal and do her job.
“I know you didn’t ask for this. I didn’t either,” Dawn says. Beth takes a tentative bite.
Beth is mopping up an awful amount of blood on the floor near Joan’s bed and humming. Joan says it’s really nice and wants to talk.
Beth says “I’m so sorry.” Joan says Dawn can control them but doesn’t because she’s a coward. When Beth asks what he did to her, referring to Gorman, Joan says it doesn’t matter and “I guess it’s easy to make a deal with the devil when you’re not the one paying the price.”
Later Beth is working and Gorman enters. He shows her the green lollipop then sticks it in his mouth. He forces it into Beth’s mouth in the rapiest way possible. Edwards enters and defends Beth. Gorman says Beth “should have been mine” and Edwards tells him no one is his and that he won’t get Joan back.
“You think Dawn’s going to stop me?” Gorman says.
“I will,” Edwards says. He asks him what happens when he gets sick. Gorman says there will be someone to help him “who ain’t you.” Dawn calls him away and before he leaves Gorman says “And maybe somebody in charge who ain’t her.”
Beth asks Edwards why he stays. He doesn’t answer.
Instead he takes Beth to the hospital’s ground floor. They walk to a grating blocking a hallway, which Edwards hits with a pipe to summon a horde of walkers. He says when he starts thinking about it too much he comes down here.
“Why did you bring me here?” Beth asks.
“You asked why I stay,” Edwards says.
Edwards takes Beth to the roof, where they have a nice garden, and explains what happened at the hospital. He says Dawn reported to a man named Hanson at the start of the outbreak. They tried to move everyone from the hospital to Butler Park when Atlanta was bombed. The camera angle shifts and we can see the city, damaged and scarred by the bombing. He says the remaining hospital staff were doing a final sweep when the bombs fell and they realized the evacuees were gone.
They kept to themselves until the food ran out then started going on scavenging runs. At first they left any survivors they ran into to die, but when Edwards found a napalm-burned kid he made a deal with Dawn that if he saved him the kid would work to make up the lost resources.
Edwards said Hanson cracked and made some decisions that got people killed and “Dawn took care of things” including Hanson, and kept them alive.
“You call this living?” Beth said.
Edwards says that it’s “still better than down there.” Beth goes off to do her rounds. Edwards directs her to inject Trevitt with a drug, Clozapine.
Beth gives the injection. Noah enters to check on her. Trevitt goes into cardiac arrest and dies.
Dawn accuses Beth and Noah of killing the patient. Beth tries to tell the truth but Noah takes the blame, saying he must have accidentally unplugged the ventilator when mopping. Noah is led away to Dawn’s office.
The doctor asks Beth if she gave the patient Clonazepam.
“You said Clozapine,” she says.
“No, I didn’t,” Edwards says.
Beth hears Noah being beaten. She wants to stop it, but Edwards holds her back.
Beth is making beds. Dawn says she knows Noah lied about the ventilator.
Dawn says she didn’t want to beat Noah, but she had to. Sacrifices need to be made for the greater good. And Beth is not the greater good. Not strong enough. She’s part of a system.
“The wards keep my officers happy. The happier my officers are the harder they work to keep us going,” Dawn says. She says Beth is “worth something” because she’s helping hold on to the rescue. Out in the world she’s “nothing” and a burden.
Beth disagrees. Dawn grabs her wrist and makes her look at the scar there from where Beth tried to kill herself in the season two episode “18 Miles Out.” She says some people aren’t meant for this life, and that’s okay as long as they don’t take advantage of those who are.
Noah tells Beth he looks worse than he is, which is good cause he looks awful. Noah says he knows Dawn needed Trevitt for something and that’s why she was so angry when he died. He says Dawn is trapped too.
Beth says they’re not trapped, and they start to make a plan to escape.
They put their plan into motion. Noah watches Dawn while Beth sneaks into her office to get a key to the elevator banks.
In the office Beth sees a picture of Dawn and Hanson. In a filing cabinet she finds a wallet, with a hospital card in it that says St. Ignatius Hospital. She also finds Joan, dead behind Dawn’s desk. She’s cut a defiant message to Dawn into the floor and opened the wound on her arm to let herself bleed to death. Beth finally finds the key in Dawn’s desk, but Gorman enters with rape on his mind.
He tells her he won’t tell Dawn she was sneaking around and it’s a “win win.” Beth sees Joan, behind her, start to twitch as she begins to turn.
“We gonna work something out here?” Gorman asks, and Beth nods. Gorman starts to take off her clothes.
“Lucky for me, you’re not a fighter,” Gorman says, and is immediately proven wrong as Beth smashes a glass jar filled with, ha, lollipops on his head. He falls in front of Joan, who rips his throat out as Beth takes his gun.
Beth tries to walk calmly down the hall, but she’s got blood on her shoes. When she gets to Noah Dawn stops her. Beth tells Dawn Joan was looking for her, that she saw her and Gorman headed toward her office. Beth and Noah get to the elevator shaft as a horrible screaming breaks out down the hall.
Noah has tied a rope made of towels to a makeshift harness and lowers Beth down. It is not a controlled descent for her and it’s even tougher for Noah. On the way down a walker snags him and he falls roughly on the pile of bodies below.
Noah is limping but can walk. The pair head through a dark corridor. Beth has to shoot several walkers before they make it out into the ruins of Atlanta. As she starts to leave you can see the hospital parking lot is filled with vehicles with white crosses on the back like the one that took her.
And the streets are filled with walkers. Beth stomps one. She shoots some more. She kicks a few others. She fights like Rambo or, even better, Carol. Noah makes it away while she’s fighting but the cops grab Beth. As they tie her up she has a smile on her face.
In Dawn’s office Beth tells Dawn that Gorman attacked her and she let him.
Dawn says she lets it happen “So that we make it.”
“No one’s coming, Dawn! No one’s coming! We’re all going to die and you let this happen for nothing!” Beth says.
Dawn looks at the bloody picture of herself and Harmon on her desk. Then she hits Beth hard and everything goes black.
In his office, Edwards is inspecting Beth’s new stitches and bruises from the beating Dawn gave her. He says she’s healing well and should be able to go back to work in a couple of days, implying it took some time for her to recover. He gets up to leave but she stop him.
“How’d you know Trevitt was a doctor? That’s why you had me give him the wrong meds, right? Why you had me kill him. Because if he’d lived there’d be another doctor and Dawn wouldn’t need you. She wouldn’t protect you,” Beth says.
Edwards says Trevitt was an oncologist at St. Ignatius, hence the card Beth found in his wallet and he knew him. Edwards said he didn’t have a choice, that Gorman would kill him.
Edwards glances at his Caravaggio.
“When they arrested Christ, Peter denied being one of his disciples. He didn’t have a choice. They would have crucified him too,” Edwards says and walks away. Beth leaves after a moment too, but not before pocketing a pair of scissors the doctor left out.
Out in the hallway, Beth looks kinda like she’s about to use those scissors on someone. But she sees the cops wheeling in a new unconscious patient. It’s Carol! She looks like she’s in rough shape. End of episode.