Well, that episode bored me to Beth, a more fitting title would have been ‘drabtown’.
For those who read last week’s review, I apologize because I well and truly gave last night’s episode the kiss of death. The opening three episodes expertly dealt with the cannibal story, maintaining exceptional levels of consistency and excitement. This left the forth episode with the chance to complete the home run and knock it out of the park, but it was too much of a big ask, especially with Beth being the only character standing at the batting plate.
There are two key problems with Beth. Firstly, the fact that she is a character, like T-Dogg, that has fallen through the cracks from one season to the next. It’s like the writers know they are going to kill her off at some point but there’s always an excuse to keep her alive in the short term. Whether that’s looking after Judith or whoever is sick/dying/wounded, she’s always been the fallback for off screen tasks that allows more interesting characters to get a bigger share of screen time.
The other problem with Beth is Emily Kinney. I feel sorry for her because she was probably given the role when it was in a minor form and not expected to be the lead in episodes like this. That said, and not wanting to single her out, her acting in this episode was dreadful. I’ve seen garden gnomes show more emotion; it’s not that she tries and gets it wrong (that would be forgivable) it’s simply the lack of charisma.
Even after watching a woman get her leg cut off with razor wire or after being molested by a disgusting pervert her facial expression was still a vacant mixture between confusion and numbness, she made Kristen Stewart look like Meryl Steep.
The writing here is also at fault. As the viewer we relied on Beth to ask the questions we were thinking in order for us to digest who the new characters were. Yet, there was never an opportunity for this; instead Beth just accepted this new clinical life without practically questioning any of it. This annoyed me so much that I actually cracked out laughing when I saw her with a clip board, what could she possibly be writing down?
Beth aside, Slabtown wasn’t all bad news, at least we got to meet some new characters and a variation in setting is always positive. Being back in the city was quite refreshing and it gave us a break from the endless, generic woodland. However, the characters inside the hospital were poorly developed and unconvincing in their roles. A cop that has optional morals and a porter who could have escaped a year ago but has been hanging around, ironing, waiting for someone like Beth to turn up because….?. The doctor had a few moments of intrigue that should have been exploited way more than they were. The biggest problem here was simply the fact that too much was going on.
The sight of Carol being wheeled in gave us at least one reason to tune in next week. Many have speculated that she may be faking in order to gain access to the ward and to save Beth, which is a fair bet to wager. In the greater scheme of things, this could be ‘pay it forward’ moment between Carol and Beth where we see the former teach the latter how she managed to move from the group’s weak link to one of its rising forces. Whatever the case, let’s just hope it happens soon otherwise we’ll be forced to stop watching on pain of Beth.
For a flashback/side story that will play out similarly to what happened with the Governor last season, there was a lot of potential for the writers to etch their name in the sand of this Kirkman-inspire world. Instead, a story that could have echoed what happened to ‘the bride’ in Kill Bill turned out to be more like an episode of Scrubs.
Do you agree with our review? What did you think of Slabtown? Let us know in the comments section below or via our Facebook page.