Is The Beth Hospital Scene A Flashback On 'The Walking Dead'?

What in dark and terrible world of The Walking Dead is going on with Beth? So far in Season 5 (which has been incredible in my opinion), we've learned that Beth is alive but we have no idea where she is or what has happened to her. Now the promos for The Walking Dead Season 5 fourth episode "Slabtown" gives us a glimpse of what Beth has been through, and while it's arguably not as frightening as the Grimes Gang dealing with both zombies and cannibals trying to eat them, it's definitely no picnic. At the end of last week's The Talking Dead, AMC showed a scene of Beth in a hospital and it left me (and Talking Dead guest Mary Lynn Rajskub) with a lingering question: Is Beth's Walking Dead hospital scene a flashback?

I want to believe, for Beth's sake, that it's the present so that we can still have hope that she's alive and fighting. But knowing this show's history and overall tone of dread this season, it seems almost certainly like the hospital scene (which starts out very-Lost like) is in the past.

We know Beth was with Daryl for a while — he knows she's alive, so that's a good sign. But if he did see her, that could mean that what she's going through in the hospital takes place after Daryl and Beth crossed paths. Even this spoiler about "Slabtown" from Entertainment Weekly says that the episode will focus on "what happened to Beth" and "where she ended up." That past tense is a bit unnerving but does seem to give the flashback theory more weight.

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I am leaning more and more towards the preview scene being a snippet from Beth's past, as she still seems to be unable to piece together where she is and what is going on. It's been quite a while since Beth was taken and it does not seem likely that she would be so completely unaware of her surroundings if she's spent the whole time at this hospital.

We also know that Daryl was telling someone to come out of the shadows at the end of "Four Walls and a Roof." Many have speculated that it could be Beth herself which would confirm that this hospital scene is a flashback, but Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly put it best when he said that Daryl would be way more excited to reunite with Beth if she was the one coming out of the bushes.

Others have theorized that it could be Tyler James Williams' Noah, a new character for Season 5, that comes out of the woods with Daryl. This could be news on the Beth front because promos from New Zealand show Beth with Noah trying to make their escape from the hospital which we also saw glimpses of in The Walking Dead Comic-Con trailer. So if Noah is with Daryl now, does that mean that Noah escaped and Beth did not? Could Beth still be going through whatever hell is going on in the "system" or "greater good" of the hospital or will Noah reveal that they did escape but he lost Beth in the process?

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Here's my theory: The hospital scenes are flashbacks of the beginning of Beth's time away from the Grimes Gang. I believe that when she was abducted in the car that Daryl chased after, she may have tried to escape during the ride or as soon as they reached their destination, and in the process she got hurt. That's why the hospital scene shows her bandaged up with an IV. She then comes across the cop and the doctor who force her to stay in her room, she encounters another cop (who seems super creepy), a woman played by Oscar nominee Keisha Castle Hughes (who then probably turns into a zombie) and then tries to make her escape with hospital worker or possibly fellow patient Noah, but only he makes it out. Beth is still trapped but is starting to learn more about the people who took her.

No matter what, the most important thing to find out besides the time frame of the hospital scene is if Beth is still fighting and whether or not she knows anything about the people who took her. From the looks of the many, many promos, scenes and snippets that have been released involving everyone's favorite missing sister, it looks like we'll find out about her past but we still know nothing about where she is and what she's doing in the present. Someone give this poor girl a break.

Images: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC