Talk about bad luck. The zombie apocalypse started only months after health care reform became law, so guess what never got done? ANYTHING. Pre-existing conditions still rule, deductibles are out of control, and there’s exactly one doctor in your network. One. And he sucks!
The worst hospital in the post-zombie world is one Grady Memorial. With an elevator-shaft zombie-disposal system, brutally effective security, and captive orderlies forced to pay off what they “owe” for medical care, this is NOT the place to schedule your appendectomy. Go literally anywhere else.
Poor Beth — now one of those captive orderlies, dragged to Grady after a fight with a walker — has been brought here to “recover.” She learns quickly what a bad deal that is:
You were alone. If we hadn’t saved you, you’d still be out there. You owe us. – Dawn Lerner
Officer Lerner is the Nurse Ratched of this operation. She’s the preachy, punchy hand of justice on Beth’s ward, and she has a very specific system for keeping the peace. While she and her captives wait to be rescued, she tells Beth, they have to make “compromises.”
These compromises include letting the brutal cops who patrol the hospital rape her wards. One of these wards, a former patient named Joan, tries to escape the abuse, only to end up getting bitten by a walker and recaptured. Life inside the hospital is clearly a fate that Joan would rather die than endure.
She can control them, but she doesn’t because it’s easier. – Joan
Joan is speaking of Lerner, and her inability to keep the creepy Officer Gorman from assaulting patients like her. Gorman, obviously used to getting his way with the indentured servants on Lerner’s ward, casts his skeevy eye on Beth: “Everything costs something, right?” he leers.
Unfortunately for Gorman, he decides to make his big pass at Beth while infected Joan is still in the room. Joan goes Full Zombie just in time, and for the second time in as many weeks, a real jerk meets a satisfyingly gory end.
If only creepy cops were the extent of Beth’s problems. She also has to contend with corrupt Dr. Edwards, who hates his job but is not above killing a wounded would-be colleague because he’s afraid of losing that job.
Transcendence. Being more than animals. Rising above. – Dr. Edwards, musing on his office art
Edwards, the doctor so mediocre that people are actually dying to escape his care, loses a patient — brave Noah, whose plan to free himself and Beth almost works — but he also gains one: Carol.
Yes! The badass of the zombie apocalypse has been admitted to Grady Memorial. Say your prayers, Officer Lerner!
Final episode thoughts:
- I LOVED the health care metaphors in this episode. Poor Beth’s got a hell of a deductible to meet! And the horde of zombies outside? THE UNINSURED.
- I do not believe that Lerner actually thinks she — or anyone else at that hospital — will be “rescued.” I’ve heard enough motivational speeches from enough female gatekeepers to recognize a person who’s comfortable using others’ pain to secure her power. Lerner is content where she is. She knows the cavalry isn’t coming. She’s good with that.
Every sacrifice we make has to be for the greater good. – Lerner
- My prediction for next week: Noah, Beth’s fellow captive who made it to the outside, is the person who returned to Father Gabe’s church with Daryl. (“Come on out,” Daryl said last week, to someone we did not see.) It’s my hope that Carol went into that hospital of her own free will, and sent Daryl and Noah back to bring the others for reinforcement.
- I like Noah. It’s a rare guy who understands the unfortunate practicalities of his own survival. (“Dad was bigger. Stronger. He’d have fought back.”) Also, Tyler James Williams was the star of the wonderful Everybody Hates Chris. He’s a fighter!