Beth and Noah then make their escape. Noah is severely injured but managed to make it out the building with her. Unfortunately, as she's covering his dash to the nearby fence - part of an exceptional sequence of headshot kills that demonstrates, again, how badass Rick's crew is - she's slowed down enough to be recaptured by Dawn and the remaining officers who clearly have a more convenient exit they haven't told anyone else about.
Back inside, Beth (having been severely beaten by Dawn for telling her how deluded she is for thinking things will ever go back to normal) confronts Edwards about his using her to commit murder. The conversation, as it turns out, is mainly a distraction so she could grab a long sharp metal object to use a weapon. She follows Edwards out of his office, and it looks like she's about to kill him (or, someone else nearby. I'm assuming it's escape plan 2.0). But then we see an unconscious new "rescuee" being wheeled into the hospital on a gurney: It's Carol, last seen leaving with Daryl to look for Beth. CREDITS.
- The writers of The Walking Dead have apparently figured out the secret to keeping things tight and focused this season, and to my shock, it's splitting up the survivors.
I'd assumed that the decision in last week's episode to send Abe and the members of the group bent on heading to Washington, D.C. off on their own while Rick and the rest stayed behind to search for Carol, Daryl and Beth was a sign of falling back on lazy, tried and tested formulas from previous seasons. Nope. Instead, we'll be following the individual stories piecemeal, allowing us viewers to enjoy very densely packed episodes that do a lot to advance the story and key themes despite being packed with gore and tension.
- Noah made good his escape, albeit with a severely broken leg. He's not likely to be any good on his own, but as we saw so much of him in this episode and he didn't die onscreen, he's probably going to be back the next time we check in on Beth. A couple of things about that:
1) Could Noah be the mysterious person in the shadows Daryl asked to "come on out" last week? We don't know for how long Daryl and Carol were gone - I'm assuming they're only a couple of hours away from Atlanta by car at most. Obviously, Carol's been kidnapped, and she and Beth are probably going to team up and wreck some serious fucking havoc when we see them next. Perhaps they encountered Noah. And...
- Doctor Edwards delivers a chilling justification for his having murdered a former friend, noting that Peter denied Jesus three times when Jesus was arrested, adding "he had no choice. They would have crucified him too." He comes off as deeply troubled by his circumstances and mournful, but I suspect he's far more compromised than he's let on. I wonder how many other potential victims he's murdered since the apocalypse began. Meanwhile, it was a nice line of dialogue that continues the heavy biblical themes seen in the previous two episodes.
- By the way, kind of a dick move the way Maggie bailed with Abe and his group instead of staying behind to look for her sister. I wonder how that's going to play out later.
- About the woman with the amputated arm - Amber. The scene was, from my viewing, ambiguous. It looks to me like she either offed herself or was murdered, and Gorman's derisive comment about her not being able to get with the program at Grady suggested that she was killed for disobedience. But it's been pointed out by a commenter that she did write a final f-you to the guards in liquid paper. I missed that because it was obscured by her blood. So now I'm coming around to the idea she killed herself. Maybe she wrote the message while dying, but I've been wrong before. Thoughts?
Next week, we check in with Abe, Porter and the rest of the D.C.-bound survivors in "Self Help," written by Heather Bellson.
Tonight's episode demonstrates handily that we're done, seemingly for good, having to endure seeing our main band of survivors constantly having to learn and re-learn the same lessons over and over again. It continue the exploitative, bloody overload that's made this season so fun, but it also advances something that should have been clearer two season ago: By this point, our survivors are all seasoned and extremely hardened by bitter experience, and it shows every time they encounter other groups of survivors who have learned very different lessons since the world went to hell. Even meek little Beth is no exception, and it's kind of great.
Once again, Season 5 is shaping up to be the most consistent and high quality season in the show's history, and "Slabtown" is only bested by last week's standout featuring the death of the totally chill hipster cannibals.