Airdate: November 2, 2014
Directed by: Michael E. Satrazemis
Showrunner: Scott M. Gimple
Written by: Matthew Negrete, Channing Powell
Season 5 has hit us with three great episodes in a row, maintaining a frenetic and tense pace that I didn’t think would be sustainable. This isn’t a case of AMC and showrunner Scott M. Gimple blowing all of their shots and leaving nothing in the tank; in fact, if the previews (not to mention Daryl’s mysterious companion at the end of last episode) are any indication, the tension is about to get ratcheted up yet again. Click through to read my preview of tonight’s episode.
<<Spoiler Warning: This Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 4 “Slabtown” includes promotional material from AMC, discusses recent episodes, and will speculate on future events.>>
Whomever it is that Daryl has hidden in the bushes, I can guarantee that it will be someone we see in tonight’s episode. On our podcast earlier in the week, Dan and I speculated that it might be Carol (though why would Daryl keep her hidden), Beth (ditto), or Morgan (doubtful). Here’s a fourth possibility: someone Daryl captures and brings back as a prisoner, meaning that Beth and/or Carol will need rescuing. Enough with the speculation – let’s take a look at what we do know.
The plot synopsis at IMDB reads: “Beth finds herself in a hospital in the middle of Atlanta after being kidnapped by a car with a white cross;” and the AMC official synopsis reads: “A group of other survivors are encountered. Things appear safe and nice, but there is a bit of a dark side for another group of survivors.”
The hospital setting combined with the title of the episode, “Slabtown,” locates us precisely. According to Wikipedia, Slabtown was the old redlight district of Atlanta, and the present-day location of Grady Memorial Hospital. So we know where Beth is – now the question is, why? The white cross, which I speculated last season might be hints of a religious cult, is likely connected to the hospital. That would make their roaming vehicles some sort of converted ambulance, at least in the minds of those running Grady Memorial in the post-apocalypse. And the idea of safety and danger being part of the same set-up? Woodbury, anyone? Terminus? It seems that every set of survivors that our group comes across has a dark side just waiting to come out.
Now, let’s take a look at the official AMC preview video:
Okay – a pretty straightforward long shot showing Beth waking up in a hospital bed. A couple of interesting points: first, we’re definitely in Atlanta again, which Beth can see from her window. The city is showing the wear and tear of three years of no upkeep, plants taking over again and buildings beginning to crumble. Second, the hospital has power. Most any hospital is going to have a generator capacity, but it needs energy to run, usually in the form of gasoline – and it won’t run for more than a day or two at best before running out of fuel. This means that the group we’re dealing with is very well organized, something that should prove to be a fairly large threat to Rick and the other survivors.
Note that the officer has her hand near her gun as she enters the room with the doctor; she obviously sees Beth as a potential threat, despite that she holds all the cards in this situation. The questions of why Beth was taken, and what’s really going on here, are not even touched on in this preview, but it certainly is a tasty tidbit of what we’re going to be getting tonight. A bit of a mystery episode, with a touch of horror, should fit very well with Halloween weekend.
There are other videos out there if you wish to take a look – at least one shows Keisha Castle-Hughes (famous for her Oscar-nominated turn in The Whale Rider, as well as for being cast recently as one of the Sand Snakes in Game of Thrones) as another “patient” in the hospital – but I won’t link to them here, as they reveal perhaps a bit too much of tonight’s events. To be honest, although I normally do pull from multiple videos in these preview articles, to me it looks a lot like tonight’s episode is heavily reliant on suspense and mystery; going in with too much knowledge might spoil that.
If AMC and Gimple can pull off another excellent episode tonight (and there’s no reason to suppose they won’t), it will mark four for four so far – making the fifth season of The Walking Dead the best one so far. Stay tuned for my review late tonight, and for The Steve and Dan Podcast review online late Monday or early Tuesday.