Let’s close out this Beth-heavy week with an exercise in hypothetical plotting. I mean, let’s be honest, are they going to change episode 8 so Beth didn’t die? No. Could they write her back into the show? Not really. At least not as a living, breathing person. They’ve finished shooting the second half of the season already. That’s 8 episodes. It’s not like they could reshoot them if they wanted to. Or maybe they could George Lucas her into a bunch of episodes. But anyway, we’re not here to discuss practicality! We’re going to think up some ways they could bring Beth back!
Ok, yes, Beth was shot in the head. But maybe they missed her brain (didn’t look like it)? I mean, people are still expecting zombie Lori to come shambling into camp, so maybe zombie Beth can make an appearance. It would probably make for some drama. Daryl would lose it, that’s for sure. Maggie too. Abraham would try to take her out, because that’s the logical thing to do. Daryl would draw down on him. Chaos ensues.
REALISM SCALE: EXTRATERRESTRIALS HERE ON EARTH (probably not)
TWD loves flashbacks as framing devices. I could definitely see this happening in a Daryl-centric episode, possibly exploring his emotional state post-Beth. Example: The episode starts with the scene right before they burned down the house in episode 412, where Beth tells Daryl that he’ll be the last man standing. Although, the show also likes to show new scenes from those episodes so maybe something from around that time. Maybe something after they burnt down the house. Beth and Daryl, a little bit of soot covering their faces, Beth says something about the past being the past and Daryl smiles and hearts melt.
REALISM SCALE: EXTRATERRESTRIALS OUTSIDE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM (definitely possible)
Dream Beth is very similar to Flashback Beth. And since TWD films new scenes even for “flashbacks” they could easily just shoot in whatever new location they’re in to make it a dream instead of a memory. I’m going to include Hallucination Beth in this category since they’re basically the same thing and you know who’s hallucinated someone before? Daryl. And you know who might have a vision of Beth? Daryl. But also Maggie. I know it seems like Maggie kind of forgot about her sister for a hot minute, but I don’t think that was the intention of the writers. I think Beth’s death (and not long after their father’s death) will have a pretty deep impact on Maggie, especially since she no longer has her quest for Glenn to occupy her.
REALISM SCALE: EXTRATERRESTRIALS OUTSIDE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, ALSO INTELLIGENT (still very possible)
Ok yes, so this would mean that a real doctor/surgeon didn’t help and they are WALKING out of the one place that could best care for her, but if for some reason they THOUGHT Beth was dead and they like, go to bury her, and she sputters and coughs and is like “bros, wut?” and they’re all like, “omg we thought you getting shot full in the head and bleeding every where meant you were, like, almost certainly dead but this is awesome and now you and Daryl can get married or maybe not because he’s in love with Carol but also maybe not but you’re alive and that’s awesome!” and then they all hug and laugh and have a pillow fight and it looks like that scene at the end of Return of the King where Frodo wakes up*.
REALISM SCALE: EXTRATERRESTRIALS HERE ON EARTH RIDING UNICORNS (nothing’s impossible, but this is close)
BETH NEVER DIED
Say what? Bear with me here. A few people have floated this one. Prevailing theory says that Beth getting shot was all a bad dream. I mostly see Carol being cited as the dreamer but I’ve also seen Daryl. But here’s my twist: remember that scene where Rick is laying out his plan to infiltrate Grady and kill everyone? And then Tyreese and Daryl are like, complete peaceniks and Rick decides to try their plan? What if at that point, Rick started envisioning the entire course of events that are associated with that plan? And realizes that ultimately it will end with SOMEONE getting killed? Think about it: if you’re Rick, is that not the one thing you want to avoid? And wouldn’t he play devil’s advocate a bit and assume best case scenario? And when best case scenario involves someone they’re rescuing getting killed, wouldn’t he scrap it?
So here’s what happens. They come out of the hospital, Daryl is carrying Beth, Maggie sees and drops to her knees, close up on Rick, time slows down and then reverses all the way back to Rick laying out the plan and he goes, “F**k it, we do it my way.”
CUT TO: Hospital exploding, Rick and EVERYONE alive and well inside a chopper as it flies into the sunset. Daryl, with Beth in his arms, looks at Rick. “You were right, man. You were right. How do you do it?” Rick looks into the camera and winks. A-TEAM music plays over end credits.
REALISM SCALE: EXTRATERRESTRIALS HERE ON EARTH RIDING NARWHALS (like two stops from impossible)
So I guess what we’re saying is, it’s kind of likely that Beth will be back, just not in any sort of real, corporeal form. Beth, as a living character is gone (probably). She grew from timid farm girl to bold, brave woman who would (and did) die for her friends. And her death, like Hershel’s, will probably have lasting impact on the characters on the show. What more could you ask for?
*I say “end of Return of the King” but I’m also pretty sure I had time to take a nap, go to the bathroom, do some shopping, and come back to the theater after this scene and we still weren’t at the credits.