The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 4 “Slabtown” Review

Walking-Dead-5x04-15

The whereabouts of Beth is finally revealed in her stand alone episode entitled “Slabtown”.

Everything after the break will contain spoilers and a discussion of The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 4.

She’s Just Gone

One of the strengths of Season Five is that as quickly as the Terminus conflict wrapped up, there are a number of other story lines ready to take center stage. There’s Daryl’s quest to locate Beth and the unseen person he’s looking after in the bush. Then there’s Morgan following the Hunter’s tree markings on a possible intersect course with the Church. Somewhere down the line, all signs point to DC being an important location for the survivors. And since the ending to Season 4’s Episode 13 “Alone”, an ongoing question has been “Where is Beth?”.

Pairing Beth with Daryl in the second half of Season 4 turned out to be a good move by the writers. Not only did Beth become stronger by having Daryl as a teacher but having the series’ fan favorite character accept Beth for who she is made it a little easier for viewers to accept Beth themselves. Not every viewer is going to like Beth but she’s come a long way from being the catatonic girl back in Season 2.

Down The Elevator Shaft

Is Beth now a strong enough of a character to be the centre of an entire episode without any of the regular cast supporting her? Let me indirectly answer that by saying that as much as I’m warming to Beth, she’s not engaging enough to keep me from thinking where are Rick and the rest of the old gang. Some of it has to do with the young actress playing Beth. She’s likeable but hasn’t developed the ability to command the screen the way Andrew Lincoln or Danai Gurira can. That’s not to say “Slabtown” is lacklustre, it had its moments but it won’t go down as one of the strongest episodes of the season.

“Slabtown” started off feeling like an eerie episode of the Twilight Zone. It felt other worldly in the sense that it’s been a long time since the show has taken place in a big city. Having Beth’s eyes open in a hospital room is a call back to Rick in the pilot episode, except that there’s electricity which gave it a “is this all a dream” type feeling. By the way, creator Robert Kirkman has recently assured fans that the events of The Walking Dead are not a coma-induced dream inside Rick’s mind.

You Owe Us

It’s interesting to see how each community we come across functions. Whereas the Terminus lured people with the promise of sanctuary, the Hospital kidnaps those they believe they can easily control. Beth is a bit of a trojan horse in that the Hospital unknowingly brought in a young girl who’s deceptively more resourceful and strong-willed than she appears.

With each new community comes different leadership styles in controlling the flock so to speak. The Governor used a lot of lies and manipulation in pulling the strings in Woodbury. On the surface, Officer Dawn’s “you take and you give back” mentality doesn’t seems all that unreasonable; of course in typical Walking Dead fashion it turns out to be something more twisted, that is … indentured servitude. Between slapping Beth’s stitches and turning a blind eye to what her officers do, Dawn is one messed up lady.

The Walking Dead Slabtown Beth

Lollipop

Where “Slabtown” gets a little bogged down is in establishing a new cast of characters at the Hospital when I’m more invested in our regular crew. Carol arriving on a stretcher at the end does open up some more intriguing story possibilities as it’s apparent the writers are not done with this location yet.

Of the new characters, the creepy dude forcing his lollipop into Beth’s mouth got exactly what was coming to him. On the flip side, Noah was the only decent person in the hospital. Even though Beth is recaptured, she smiled as Noah escaped which not only speaks a lot about her character but also how she values freedom above all else, even if it’s not her own.

So Slabtown finally answered the question “Where is Beth?” After many months of anticipation, it would be a difficult task to meet expectations. This episode was decent enough and works well the second time watching it, but it’s not on par with the rest of the season so far.

What do you like or dislike about this episode?

More Posts You Might Like:

The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 3 “Four Walls And A Roof” Review

The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 2 “Strangers” Review

The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 1 “No Sanctuary” Review

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on November 3, 2014, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Nice review, I have mixed feelings of this episode. It had it’s moments as you said, but I can’t help but feel that it’s main purpose was to set up for something bigger. Check out my post if you’re interested in seeing what I think that is.

    • I think were on the same page about this episode. I can also see that with the amount of set up in this episode it will lead to something bigger. Thanks a bunch for commenting and I’ll be checking out your post in a bit.

  2. This is definitely a drop in quality from the first three episodes. And I think you’re spot on with your critique of the actress playing Beth. Most of the time she was just okay, but there were 2-3 scenes that she didn’t sell too well.

    I also noted in my review a lot more head-scratching moments than I’m accustomed to. Case in point: Noah is able to hobble around the walkers and escape, but Beth isn’t. Hmmmm.

    I also think Noah is the favorite now to be the one with Daryl in the woods.

    • Compared with the first three, this wasn’t definitely not their finest effort. I totally agree, the actress playing Beth was just okay, her limitations is noticeable in having to carrying almost every scene.

      I look forward to checking out your review, including the head-scratching moments you mentioned. Another one I found kind of implausible is Beth getting so many head shots in a row in the dark when I can’t recall her getting any before … Daryl must be one great teacher. 😉

      Good call on Noah being the one with Daryl in the woods, my money is on your theory.

  3. I agree; it was quite slow. It seems that Slabtown was more of an episode with a core focus on setting up more subplots to support the main plot for the season; getting to Washington. For what it’s worth, Beth needed the development, and her actress Emily Kinney needed the chance to develop herself as an actress; both were sort of in background, outshadowed by everyone else, for most of the last 4 seasons until she ended up with Daryl.

    • I would like to see how this episode which is stand alone in nature will end up tying in with the bigger picture of the season. Slabtown gave Beth lots to do and it was interesting to see her stand on her own two feet. This is also the most we’ve ever seen of Emily Kinney in a single hour, it’s a pretty big challenge because she had to carry the episode and work with actors she’s doesn’t have a history with. Beth was about to go homicidal until Carol got wheeled in, I’m interested in what will happen next.

  4. Definitely not the best episode. I would say it was intriguing rather than spectacular and part of that is that for majority of the episode you didn’t know what place Beth was in. Complete madhouse with a wired cop who constantly took out her frustration with the world by slapping Beth and turning a blind eye to everything else. Obviously there’s something more to this place, guess we have to keep watching, especially with that ending. It does make me wonder if there’s any sane people left besides Rick and the gang in the Walking Dead world. It seems everyone they encounter are psychos.

    On a positive note – nice to see the actor from Everybody Hates Chris. That boy is all grown up!

    • I’m right there with you about Slabtown. The morning after I thought a little more about this episode and I think I have a better handle on what the writers may be trying to do here.Yeah, more should be revealed in upcoming episodes and I’d like Beth to have another confrontation with the face-slapping cop. Compared to the people at the Hospital, Beth has a good head on her shoulders – the same with Rick, I just hope the group can keep him from going down too dark a path after butchering the Hunters.

      As soon as the actor playing Noah showed up on screen, I thought it’s “Everybody Hates Chris!” 🙂

      • Agree – I think because Beth has been around Rick/Darryl their ability to survive has rub off on her. I think she will survive the hospital nuthouse and hopefully take care of the face slapping cop!

        I know it’s early days and yes Slabtown is not the best ep but absolutely loving this series already. The writers obviously showing that humans can be scary too. Rick taking out the hunters was grim but will never forget how the hunters took Bob’s leg 😦

        • Totally agree, I think humans are a big scary threat .. from the Governor to the Hunters, they are responsible for lots of trauma and death. Of course zombies are killers too. The show has done a good job showing the evolution of Rick as a leader, I like how his experiences change him and he’s not the same person each season.

          • Most definitely! I think Rick has always tried to perserve his humanity. Hershel was a big influence in that. But whether it was the governor or the hunters, it’s make or break for him and he kinda becomes the thing he doesn’t want to be – a monster. Would hate to be in the same position as him!

  5. “There’s Carol! Given the events of the season premiere, we almost feel a little bad for the folks at the hospital. She may very well blow the whole building up and walk away from it like an action hero.”

  6. “The episode ended with Carol, aka the reigning queen of the zombie apocalypse, being wheeled into the hospital, so we’re guessing the status quo there is about to change radically. Because if there’s one thing Carol is good at, it’s taking out the humans who are worse than the zombies.”
    November 3, 2014; Entertain This

  7. Hey dude, I only just got around to watching this last night because I watch the show with my mum and sister. I thought this episode was pretty interesting. I agree that it wasn’t the strongest but I do believe it had its moments.

    As for the episode on a whole I thought it was super creepy and mean. There was that other worldly feel and for a little while I thought it was a dream or some sort of sick fantasy, but luckily there was some truth to it all. I can see where you’re coming from about Beth not being a strong enough character to center an episode around, but I guess, considering her long absence since last season, one episode would be required to give us an idea of where she is and how she’s doing. That police officer lady, what a bitch, the way she controls the weaker people and lets her fellow officers do what they want, I was disgusted. I know there have been some pretty detestable people in this show already, but this woman really got under my skin. I just wanted to deck her one in the face. I wish Beth showed a little more conviction and hit back, rather than taking that abuse to her face, I know I wouldn’t, but that’s because I’m naturally aggressive.

    I liked Noah, mainly because he’s my boy Tyler James Williams (from Everybody Hates Chris), he’s another nice guy in this corrupt world who I hope will survive longer than one episode (which he luckily did from the way he escaped). I just hope Williams survives longer than his old co-star Vincent Martella who died in the prison last season. But let’s talk about that dodgy policeman, fuck me, how fucking dodgy was he. I was laughing and feeling creeped out at the same time, but primarily freaked out. It was just the look in his eyes, that lollipop moment and then that attempt of sexual indecency, god I felt so uncomfortable. So glad Beth smacked him in the face and let the walker do the rest.

    I hope Carol will wake up and go Rambo/Commando on those hospital freaks and take Beth away because I doubt she’ll find a way out of that place on her own.

    Cool review man as always and I’m looking forward to the next one.

    • Hey man, that’s awesome you watch TWD with your family! I totally agree this episode had a creepy, eerie feeling. I felt for Beth being trapped and even if she escaped, the outside world is a bad place too. I also agree it made sense for the story and character-wise to dedicate the episode to Beth. I guess for me it would have worked better with another character and actress I’m more interested in. Beth did get some good development and I liked how she confronted the doctor & cop at the end. Speaking of the cop, I heard some speculation she might have been in the same police crew as Rick and Shane. That’s interesting because I was considering she wasn’t even a cop before, just wearing the uniform for authority. She sure does keep her uniform clean and poor Noah has to iron those hospital uniforms haha. I hope Noah joins Daryl’s and Rick’s group. He’s a stand up guy for taking a beating for Beth and helping her with the escape attempt. I also like the actor quite a bit. Oh man, the lollipop scene was ewwww, it was gross and kind of funny. You’re so right about the eyes of Gorman, it just screamed evil! Yeah, let’s hope Carol goes Rambo on those hospital kidnappers and I also want Beth to at least face slap the cop. Appreciate you as always discussing the show with me, looks like next episode will focus on Abraham & his crew.

  8. Still trying to decide if this was a good episode or not. While I overall like the actress who plays Beth, I think her personality (the actress) is that of a very reserved, quiet, and somewhat flat person. That’s how I view Beth as well. Her time with Daryl was clearly beneficial and did toughen her up, which came in handy in this episode. The scenes with the lollipop and then later when Gorman again tries to force himself upon Beth were super creepy. I wanted Beth to be more pissed off about both but I think that’s where the actress plays Beth as somewhat reserved. You think she’s this weak little person but she’s really not. I still don’t think she’s a strong enough of a character to have a whole episode devoted to her.
    Officer Dawn is weak and that shows in how her officers don’t respect her and aren’t under her control. Would prefer to see her story line come to a brutal end. Carol at the end was a bit unexpected for me. I do hope they don’t kill her off. Also think it’s Noah who is in the woods with Daryl. Hopefully we’ll find out this week.

    • I watched the actress who plays Beth on the Talking Dead aftershow and her personality is similar to her character. She’s friendly and likeable, but reserved just like you said. Beth came out of her shell more with Daryl and was a good sounding board for him. And her inner toughness came through in this episode. That lollipop scene probably got the biggest reaction from me out of anything in the episode, it was super creepy and full of innuendo. I guess it’s kind of fitting Beth used the jar of lollipops to crack his head and then the lady whom Gorman had his way with finished him off. Officer Dawn is in denial and has the blinders on. I wonder if Beth confronting Dawn saying “they’re not coming for you” will get through to her or if Dawn’s just going to shrug it off. Probably the latter making it necessary for Carol and Beth to take her out. I think Carol’s become a fan favorite and the writers put so much effort into developing her, it would be a shame to lose her at this point. Noah makes sense to be the person Daryl is protecting in the bush. Since Noah’s injured Daryl would be taking extra safety precaution with him.

  9. I just caught up with the last two episodes (I wait to watch them with my brother) just in time to be behind on the new one… haha. Anyway, I can finally comment on the last two episodes (will just drop both in here).

    I was surprised how emotional they managed to make Bob’s death. I’d never have imagined feeling so bad for him dying when he first appeared on the show, but he really grew on me. I really got a kick out of him laughing at the guys for eating him at the beginning. Glad Tyrese came in and handled the final blow for his daughter though I agree it seemed to slide in pretty easy (Bob clearly has a soft skull…). The way they killed Gareth and company was brutal.

    “Slabtown” wasn’t quite as good. This show does a good job of making these different groups of people/leaders be different sorts of messed up. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of this being a storyline going forward at first as I watched this episode, but Carol showing up makes it more interesting. The part where Beth got that gross cop dude killed was my favorite moment. He was such a creep. I also liked that she smiled at the other guy getting away. That was nice.

    This season has been really enjoyable so far. Great reviews. Sorry I am always so late to them!

    • I’m the same way with Gotham and Sleepy Hollow, as soon as I catch up I get behind on the new episode. 🙂 The Walking Dead is a great show to watch with friends and family, there’s so much to talk about after the episode and it’s fun entertainment.

      I grew to like Bob too. I liked his optimism and his new relationship with Sasha, I guess that added to the sympathy knowing he could have had something special with her. The way he went out was sad too, kind of gross with the Hunters eating his leg in front of him. The hysterical laughter was great too, the actor did a good job with that scene. The sound of Rick’s machete hacking and slashing the flesh added to the brutality. Whenever I rewatch the show on higher quality DVD I’m taken aback at how gory the effects can be.

      I’m interesting in finding out how Carol got to the hospital and what’ll happen now that she’s there. I hope Beth gets her way with the mean cop haha. The actor playing the cop dude did a solid job at playing a creep and sleezeball. During the escape I thought they might have taken one of the cars and drove out of there. I liked that at least one of them got out alive.

      This season is flying by, glad to hear your enjoying it. Thanks and never too late to stop by and discuss the show. 🙂

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