In the final flashback scene of The Walking Dead Season 4 finale, fledgling farmer Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) lost his hat. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) picked it up, and gave it to Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), joking, “There’s a new sheriff in town.”
Foreshadowing? Season 4 left Rick, Carl and company in a Terminus train car, but Beth is still out there. If she gets the hat, is that a hint that she’ll swoop in to save the day in Season 5? These are the questions The Powers That Be want to keep us asking for the next six months, until the October premiere.
AMC just held a fan Q&A with showrunner Scott Gimple, and at least one viewer already seems close to a breakdown over the Beth mystery: “Scott, are you sadistic and evil? WHERE’S BETH?!?!?!” Scott answered, “I’m neither sadistic nor evil, as far as I know. I will say Beth, in some state, is totally somewhere. I’ll say then, that that’s going to be answered next season. And I’m really excited to tell everybody the answer. It might be a little heartbreaking, it might be a little heartwarming, but it’s going to be interesting.”
It’s already interesting.
Comic book writer/producer Robert Kirkman — the really sadistic one — previously told TVLine we’ll deal with the whereabouts of Beth, Carol, Tyreese, and Judith fairly quickly when Season 5 premieres. “They could be in another train car. They could be in part of the barbecue, as you say. Or, maybe, they found a Denny’s and they’re just having a good time.” Nah, probably Waffle House.
What really happened to Beth — heartbreaking, heartwarming or not?
*Comic book spoilers and speculation ahead*
There are a lot of options for where Beth could be, which makes it fun. Maybe she will save everyone at Terminus. Maybe she’s already at Terminus. But — unlike everyone else — she and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) were not on the way to Terminus when she was abducted by someone in a black car with a white cross in the back. For all we know, Beth has never heard of Terminus.
It’s very possible that car belonged to whoever was staying in the funeral home, since Bethyl basically crashed their sanctuary. The walker attack looked like a set-up and it’s still possible whoever took Beth did it with a less-than-completely-evil intent. She was already injured and maybe they wanted to save her from being killed by walkers. Then again, they sped off in the car, with her stuff on the ground and Daryl behind. Maybe they were just afraid of Daryl?
But Beth is Beth — she’s a charmer and if anyone can win over a stranger, it’s her. (Just keep the singing to a minimum.) She already praised whoever was living in that funeral home as taking beautiful care of the dead, instead of treating them as non-human things.
Beth may have been “taken” by a TV version of Father Gabriel Stokes, which wouldn’t be a terrible fate for her. Gabriel confessed to Rick’s group that he was a coward who locked the church doors at the start of the outbreak and let a lot of his parishioners be attacked, but other than that he wasn’t really a “bad” guy.
In the comics, Rick’s group spends some time at Gabriel’s church on the road to Washington, D.C., during The Hunters storyline, and the timing would work with Season 5. AMC also shared a poster showing Rick with light shining on him, through what appears to be a church window.
That’s just one theory, though. What’s your Beth theory — and is it heartbreaking, heartwarming or what? Tell us below!
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October 2014 on AMC.