The Walking Dead Recap: You Owe Us

 Posted by on November 3, 2014 at 2:49 am  The Walking Dead
Nov 032014

Walking-Dead-Season-5-Emily-Kinney-665x385Talk 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!

  8 Responses to “The Walking Dead Recap: You Owe Us”

  1. More debt bondage (peonage) than indentured servitude, I would say. Don’t police uniforms south of the Mason-Dixon line tend to be khaki or brown rather than blue? I agree the hospital would make a great location for the group after the local constabulary departed.

  2. “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 this idea A WHOLE LOT.

    I felt the episode was longwinded and inefficient use of time. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for it? I would have preferred half the time spent on the hospital and some story with one of the other two groups.

    For some reason, I thought we were hundreds of miles away from Atlanta. Certainly not close enough for everyone to end up back there. That alone caused me to feel like we were regressing in the story.

  3. First clunker of the season, IMO. The concept was great, but the dialogue was awful. Most of it sounded like vaguebooking. Can you imagine how much more powerful the episode would have been if Dawn had turned to Beth and said “You’re small and I don’t trust you. The job I’m assigning you is to be Gorman’s sex slave.” Can you imagine if Beth had been more specific than to say she was “attacked”? “ATTACKED”! How Victorian, get me my smelling salts.

    I agree that it’s Noah in the woods behind Daryl.

    • Are the books also so wary of sexuality and sex? Life stripped down. Rawing. Oxidation. Primal. Sex and violence. Nature and art. I’m cool with it not being an HBO skinfest, but it almost feels like sexuality is off limits. Is that for people like my aunt who feels Mad Men is far too racy for her to watch? Ratings. Handle sexual nastiness with kid gloves?

      Wasn’t the 2nd gash on Beth’s face put on the wrong side? She obviously took a beating and not just a single whack, but it seemed weird to me anyway.

      • Michonne was a very sexual character in the books, but other than her, and Laurie’s affair with Shane, it’s about on-par.

      • Wasn’t the 2nd gash on Beth’s face put on the wrong side? She obviously took a beating and not just a single whack, but it seemed weird to me anyway.

        White T Jim B noticed this too. Whoops.

    • What is “vaguebooking”?

      • “Vaguebooking” is a Facebook phrase, when people post vague but meaningful statuses. “Wow, what a day. Some people are so difficult.” Or, “I heard some news today that really affected me.” That sort of thing.

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