Smacking Zombies: Godsmack’s Shannon Larkin Recaps ‘The Walking Dead’ – Season 5, Episode 4
The eyes open, and we get ... Beth! Nice. I would like to think this pretty little one ends up being Darryl’s girl. Wishful thinking, I know ... but I can’t be alone in my thoughts. They’d make great apocalyptic children. But yeah, Beth awakens in a hospital with no recollection of how she got there, and also locked in the room. Looking out the window she sees a city totally dead. She is in downtown Atlanta. It is quite a picture of desolation and destruction and is portrayed well in a ten second scene. She bangs on the door and a doctor (Steven) comes in with a female cop (Dawn), and basically they inform her they saved her from walkers…so she owes them. That’s right, nothing is free in the apocalypse.
So we know now that there is a new community of survivors, right in downtown ATL. Are they cannibals? Religious freaks? Is this where Season 5 will end up? In a major city full of Dead? Bring it on!!!
A weird vibe is in effect, as Beth is being utilized as Dr. Steven’s assistant to helping (and disposing of) patients. The hospital is safe and sufficient from the dead outside, and has a cafeteria with food and pretty much full facilities. It is run by Dawn and a group of her fellow cops that are shady as hell (especially one named Gorman, who just has a face you immediately wanna punch -- kudos again to casting and acting). Beth learns quickly that she is but a prisoner; a slave that is safe from the dead, but surrounded and trapped in a place that nothing comes free, or easy.
Dr. Steven gives her a little lesson on the situation, which seems to be: The place is run by the po po, they search for supplies and survivors, picking only the ones that have a service useful to their little community, and others be damned. It is disconcerting but makes you think. Supply, demand. Only the strong deserve to survive, and all that. But how far should that go…
They rescue a dude and bring him in. At this point, Dawn makes it clear she wants this guy saved. Dr. Steven points out he has been way too damaged to save (he fell from two stories running from the dead when they had found him), as Beth looks on. Upon hearing this news, Dawn (who is definitely the leader and in charge of this new group) smacks Beth out of the blue, and right in the stitches in her cheek, reopening them, and tells Dr. Steven he better do what he has to, to save this one. WTF? I mention this because there seemed to be absolutely no reason for this bitch-slap, and it kinda let me know this chick Dawn is insane. How insane she really is remains to be seen…
Dr. Steven again helps Beth and he seems OK.
We cut to Dawn and a couple of cops bringing in a new “rescue”. This girl has been bitten, and they try to save her (against her will) by amputating her arm with a wire, in a brutal way that is cringe inducing, but upon thinking about it, very efficient. Beth is tripping out, but helping hold the girl down. Helluva scene.
After the carnage, she goes to replace her bloody scrubs at the laundry department where she meets a dude named Noah that opens up to her, and tells her more about the prison they’re in. He’s been there a year, and wants to get out. We learn they only save who they think is useful to their community, and weak enough to control. A bond is made. Noah is cool.
Next, Dawn gives a speech alone with Beth, trying to explain herself. She has good points (they saved her, are feeding her, keeping her safe from the walkers, etc), but she still believes someone from the government is on the way to save them, which Beth knows is crazy. But still, nothing outwardly insane (like the Guv or Termites craziness); but I still feel uneasy and don’t trust these folks. But at this point, it looks like they’re just trying to survive and might be alright after all. Maybe.
Then creepy Gorman comes along and claims Beth should be his for saving her, and pulls an ultra-creep move with a sucker. It looked bleak, but then Dr. Steven intervenes; and hearing the commotion, Dawn comes in and makes Gorman leave them alone…for the time being.
Alone with Dr. Steve, Beth begs the question, “Why don’t you leave?”, and now we get to see some dead, as he walks her to the only viable way out, and we see many dead outside making escape seem improbable, if not impossible. For you zombie lovers, this scene was shot wonderfully and made for a claustrophobic nightmare that made this viewer feel trapped. But then Doc takes Beth up to the roof and explains how they came to be there and how the order of power was conceived.
There are guards around and food being grown on the roof, which looks promising. But this Dr. Steve is basically a wuss that is living scared under a tyrannical bitch cop with obvious issues and sadistic subordinates, but he’s just content to be safe from walkers and breathing. He describes the fall of the ATL and the nightmare that ensued. We see he is a good guy, but a p--sy. But hey, he’s taken Beth under his wing and is the only doctor there, so he has some semblance of power. He tells Beth to give some medicine to the dude they rescued earlier (the one Dawn insisted the doctor try to save), and Beth heads off to comply.
After administering the medicine Dr. Steve had told her, the patient goes into convulsions and dies. Dawn comes in and is enraged, and before Beth can explain, Noah comes in and takes the blame, saying he accidentally unhooked the ventilator when he mopped the floor in the room. He is taken away, and you can hear the beating he’s being given. And so can Beth.
Beth is again confronted alone by Dawn, who (again) pleads a pretty convincing case as to why she’s doing what she’s doing. But again, her belief in help coming is bogus, and there is something off with her…I can just tell. And so can Beth…
Beth realizes that “good guy” Dr. Steve told to her to administer the wrong medicine that actually killed the rescued guy that earlier Dawn was so adamantly trying to save, because the guy was also a doctor, and that threatened Dr. Steve’s position and worth in the community as being the only doc.
So Beth goes to Noah who’s been beaten (but is OK), and they plot an escape. Did I mention Noah is cool? I hope he lives. Anyway, he tells Beth there is a key to the basement where there is a way out. However, they have to get the key from Dawn’s office, get to the basement through the elevator shaft, and then face whatever zombies are outside to escape! Action!
So keeping watch, Noah signals Beth the coast is clear and she sneaks into Dawn’s office to find the key. She finds it, and also finds the girl rescued earlier who had her arm amputated lying on the floor behind the desk in a pool of blood. Not knowing WTF, she starts to leave the office when Gorman the dick comes walking in. She is busted, but Gorman says he won’t tell. But he wants some. You know what. Beth has no choice at this point but to play along. As Gorman starts feeling her up, she looks back and sees aforementioned girl with the amputated arm's hand on the floor start to twitch.
The girl with the amputated arm opens her eyes in probably the coolest scene in this episode. Gorman shoves his hands up Beth’s shirt, and she grabs a jar of suckers off the desk and smashes him in the head with it, knocking him to the floor where she goes for his throat and rips it out. Yes!
Beth grabs the dying cop’s gun and makes her way out of the office to rendezvous with Noah. She gets by Dawn with a quick little lie, and her and Noah make it to the elevator shaft, where they get down using rope made of towels. Of course Noah falls and hurts his leg, which is a bummer. But he can still walk. This is a great scene also, as Dawn and Co. had used the elevator to dispose of bodies, so they land on a spongy mattress of corpses and one can only imagine the squelching feel and sound of trying to walk on decaying bodies. The make-up is again perfect; the direction and atmosphere perfectly creepy.
It just gets better as they move through the tunnel-like maze of the basement, the only light being a flashlight, and walkers jump scaring from the blackness. Rad. This is what this show brings to me again and again – the haunted house experience of not knowing what’s around the next corner. Oh, and headshots! Beth is an excellent shot (almost as good as me on Dead Island!). Well, I guess it’s realistic because, after all, she learned from Darryl! But yeah, she blows some heads away and leads her and Noah outside into the sunlight to freedom…
We see the burnt out ATL in the skyline as they run in slow-mo for escape. Then come the walkers. Scores of 'em, all broad daylight dead, lookin fuckin perfect. Not much better in the special effects/make-up dept. than this show, in my horror book.
In an honorable mention, Beth sees a zombie laying on the ground and gives a great head stomp that sprays the camera at ground level with blood. Great view.
Beth and Noah are quickly being surrounded by the hoard, and Beth once again shows off her shooting skills. But there’s too many!
Suddenly, more zombie heads start exploding and we see Dawn’s cop crew has arrived. They slaughter the hoard and take down Beth and re-capture her, but Noah has made it out through a gap in the fence!
Lying on the ground being zip-tied, we see the smile on Beth’s face as Noah escapes to the outside into downtown ATL… We then see Beth in the hospital again, as a new patient is rolled in -- and it's none other than Carol!
A lot of questions to be answered now. Lookin' forward to catching back up with our main group after this episode of Walking Beth. Still satisfying as the plot thickens. Our group is coming to Atlanta! City hordes and unlimited danger await, as do I.
Next week, holla. Apocalypse!
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