|The Walking Dead character|
Beth Greene, as portrayed by Emily Kinney in the television series
(episode 2.02) (2011)
|Last appearance||"Forget" (episode 5.13) (2015)|
|Created by||Glen Mazzara|
|Portrayed by||Emily Kinney|
|Occupation||High school student / farmhand|
|Family||Hershel Greene (father)
Annette Greene (mother)
Maggie Greene (half-sister)
Shawn Greene (half-brother)
Arnold Greene (cousin)
Glenn Rhee (half-brother-in-law)
Beth Greene is a fictional character from the American horror drama television series The Walking Dead. The character was created by season 2 showrunner Glen Mazzara, and is portrayed by Emily Kinney from the series' second season to its fifth season. Unlike many of the characters in the show, she has no counterpart in the graphic novels the series is based on. She is the daughter of veterinarian and farmer Hershel Greene and younger, half-sister of Maggie, and later joins the group of protagonist Rick Grimes after her family's farm is overrun by walkers.
Described as a source of optimism and hope for the group, often singing to help boost morale, Beth is soft-spoken and a devout Christian teenager. After the loss of her mother, Beth attempts suicide but ultimately chooses to live. During the initial outbreak and beyond, Beth is a sheltered girl, but is eventually forced into hard laboring survival after the downfall of the prison (a place that had been a safe haven). She forms a close bond with fellow survivor and group member Daryl Dixon, until her abduction. Her final arc revolves around being held captive under the service of Officer Dawn Lerner in Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and the subsequent efforts of Rick's group to find and rescue her become the primary driving force behind the first half of the fifth season.
Beth Greene is Hershel's daughter and Maggie's younger, half-sister. In the episode "Bloodletting", Beth and her boyfriend, Jimmy, first appear as residents on Hershel's farm, and witness Rick bringing his son, Carl, to the farm. Carl has been unintentionally shot by Otis, and needs immediate medical attention. When Hershel leads Rick inside the house to treat Carl, Beth helps by gathering some towels for Carl and putting them on the bed. In the episode "Cherokee Rose", Beth is seen gathering some rocks for Otis's funeral, and attends the funeral where everyone piles up the rocks in memory of his contributions to the group and, more specifically, Carl's survival. In the episode "Chupacabra", Beth helps Lori, Carol and Patricia prepare for dinner, which Lori and Carol mean as thanks to Hershel for letting them stay at the farm. In the episode "Secrets", Beth and Patricia approach Rick and Shane, announcing they would like to take part in gun training, and with Hershel's approval, he takes Beth, Patricia, and others to the shooting range. In the mid-season finale "Pretty Much Dead Already", Beth is playing checkers with Carl and Patricia when she witnesses Shane handing out guns to his group and notices her father, Jimmy, Rick, and two walkers approaching the barn. She runs towards the barn with the others and watches as Rick's group shoots the walkers that were kept in the barn, including her mother and half-brother. She and Jimmy hold each other and watch as all their zombified friends and family are shot.
In the mid-season premiere "Nebraska", she becomes hysterical after watching her family members and neighbors get shot. One of these was her mother, Annette, who was still undead and tried to attack Beth when she ran to her, only to be pulled away from Beth and killed by Andrea. She then attends the funeral for her mother, brother, and Sophia. Later, she is seen washing dishes and suddenly collapses to the kitchen floor. Maggie, Patricia and the others then lay Beth on a bed in the guest bedroom thinking she might be in shock of what she had seen earlier that day. Rick and Glenn then travel into town and accompany Hershel and tell him about Beth's catatonic state. In the episode "Triggerfinger", Beth wakes up from her state of shock, but wakes up after Hershel comes home. In the episode "18 Miles Out", Beth attempts to convince Maggie to commit suicide with her and shortly afterward, attempts it on her own by cutting her wrists in the bathroom, but she changes her mind before she can kill herself. In the episode "Judge, Jury, Executioner", Hershel takes care of Beth as she recovers, and Glenn comes in to check on her. In the episode "Better Angels", Beth attends Dale's funeral, and is later seen moving some of the Atlanta group's things into the house. She is then later seen fixing up and barricading the farmhouse for the group to move into. In the season finale "Beside the Dying Fire" the farm is over run by walkers and Beth loses her boyfriend Jimmy, as well as Patricia, a farmhand on the Greene farm who was very much a member of the family to her. Patricia is killed while holding Beth's hand, and Lori pulls Beth away, and they get into Otis's truck with T-Dog. Later, the survivors, with the exception of Andrea, regroup on the highway and she is devastated when she discovers Jimmy did not make it off the farm alive.
At the beginning of season 3, Beth becomes a more confident and useful member of the group, and is skilled at killing walkers. In the season premiere "Seed", when the group finds a prison, Beth helps clear out the prison yard by killing many of the walkers. She also seems to have caught the attention of Carl Grimes who has a child crush on her. In the episode "Sick", Beth worries and cares for her father, who had been bitten by a walker on the leg, which was immediately amputated by Rick to prevent the infection from spreading. In the episode "Killer Within", Beth assists Hershel as he is finally able to walk on crutches, but as the group celebrates the courtyard is overrun by walkers. As Beth takes Hershel back inside and hides, T-Dog is killed, and Lori dies during childbirth. After the walkers are killed, Beth and Hershel come back out, and Maggie brings out Rick and Lori's new baby. In the episode "Say the Word", when Daryl, Maggie, and Glenn decided to look for supplies for the baby, Daryl asked Beth to keep an eye on Carl. Beth and Hershel console a grief-stricken Carl over the death of Lori. In the episode "Hounded", Beth is seen holding the baby and hands her to Rick who holds her for the first time. In the episode "When the Dead Come Knocking", Beth, Carl, Hershel, and Rick carry the wounded Michonne into the prison. When she found out that her sister was kidnapped and taken to Woodbury, Beth volunteered to accompany the group to rescue Glenn and Maggie, but Rick has her stay behind. In the mid-season finale "Made to Suffer", Beth is seen holding Judith as Axel tries to flirt with her before being called out and reprimanded by Carol. Later when Beth, Carl, and Hershel hear screams, Carl goes and finds out where the screams came from and then locks up the unexpected group in the common room. Beth suggested to Carl that they should help the new group, and he replied that he did.
In the mid-season premiere "The Suicide King", Beth, Hershel, and Axel visit the new group of Tyreese, Sasha, Allen, and Ben. Beth and Carol discuss Daryl's leaving the group; Beth thinks they are weakened without Daryl, but Carol understands why Daryl chose his brother Merle. In the episode "Home", Beth is walking with Carl when The Governor attacks. Carl quickly protects her by leading her to a table for cover, where she hides behind Carl. While the Woodbury soldiers reload, she and Carl run behind a wall for cover. After The Governor's forces leave and walkers invade their field, Beth, Carl, Maggie and Carol run to the gate and open it for Hershel, Glenn, and Michonne. In the episode "I Ain't a Judas", when Andrea arrives at the prison Beth is seen along with the others running out to protect the prison. Beth is later seen with a gun protecting the prison along with the others. In the episode "Arrow on the Doorpost", Beth is seen helping put extra ammo around the prison. When Glenn and Merle are fighting, Beth shoots into the air to stop the fight between them. In the episode "This Sorrowful Life", Beth is seen setting up traps in the prison yard for Woodbury's impending attack. She is later seen praying with Hershel and Maggie. When Hershel stopped praying, she asked her father if he's okay and he replied that he would do anything to keep her and Maggie safe. In the season finale "Welcome to the Tombs", when the Governor attacks the prison a second time, Beth hides with her father and Carl in the forest, and returns to the prison when the Woodbury army retreats.
In the beginning of season 4, Beth's storyline is mainly caring for Judith, and the other members of the group. She has seemed to have grown to be more mature and wise. In the season premiere "30 Days Without an Accident", Beth has begun a relationship with a young man named Zach. Daryl later informs her that Zach was killed while they were on a supply run together, and she does not seem upset but does hug Daryl. In the episode "Infected", Beth wraps Michonne's ankle after she was injured, and the two discuss the group's losses. Beth muses about what to call a parent who has lost a child, as there is no word equivalent to "widow" or "orphan"; Michonne begins to tear up but composes herself before Beth notices. Beth later asks Michonne to watch Judith, despite Michonne's reluctance; she later sees a teary Michonne hugging Judith, so she leaves her in peace. In the episode "Isolation", Maggie tells Beth that Glenn has contracted a deadly illness that is sweeping through the population at the prison. In the mid-season finale "Too Far Gone", Beth, Maggie, and the rest of the prison group witness when the Governor cuts Hershel's head off with Michonne's katana. Beth fights back when The Governor's group attacks the prison. Beth later comes across Daryl, where he responds to her with "We gotta go, Beth, we gotta go", and the two are then seen leaving the prison together.
In the episode "Inmates", Beth and Daryl are first seen fleeing walkers, and later trying to track down other members of their group. They break into several arguments as Daryl has given up all hope and Beth has faith that other people survived and can be found. In the end, they find the remains of recent attacks and Beth cries for the first time since seeing her father killed while Daryl waits for her to continue on. In the episode "Still", Beth and Daryl spend an entire night crammed into the trunk of a car, waiting for a large herd of walkers to pass and then camp in the woods, eating a snake that Daryl kills. Daryl has stopped communicating so Beth declares she is tired of it and that she is going to find a drink; so he reluctantly follows her. They go to a country club, and find the remnants of a small class war, as well as a few walkers which Daryl angrily kills. Beth first finds a bottle of wine, but must use it to kill a walker and then finds a bottle of Peach Schnapps, but cries when she finally has it in front of her. Daryl smashes the bottle, telling her, "Ain't gonna have your first drink be no damn Peach Schnapps.", and takes her instead to a moonshine still he had previously found with Michonne. Beth and Daryl end up playing "Never Have I Ever", getting drunk in the process, which leads to a bitter fight between the two of them. Daryl attacks Beth for being coddled and unfeeling, and Beth attacks Daryl for letting his fear get the best of him. He admits that he feels guilty for her father's death because he did not save him and Beth comforts him. Later, they sit on the porch, and Beth reveals that she does not think she will make it, but she knows Daryl will miss her and that he will survive as long as he lets go of his troubled past. To help him do that, she suggests they burn down the moonshine still, which they do, flipping it off as they walk away. In the episode "Alone", Beth and Daryl eventually come across a funeral parlor, which still appears clean and the food does not have dust on it. Daryl quickly determines someone has been using the funeral parlor for shelter. Beth talks to Daryl about how she changed his mind about the fact that there are still good people in the world, and they have a moment of understanding, but it is interrupted by a sound at the door; when Daryl opens the door, expecting to see a stray dog from earlier that day, a herd of walkers instead attempts to barge through the front door. Daryl orders Beth to run outside and meet him while he fends them off. Once Daryl makes it outside, he sees Beth's bag on the floor, and a car with a white cross on the back window speeding off, presumably having kidnapped her. In the season finale "A", Beth appears in flashbacks during the episode.
In the episode "Strangers", Daryl sees the same car with a cross on the back window, which had been speeding away when Beth was taken, driving down a dirt road, so he and Carol immediately get into a car they found after smashing out the lights, and give chase. In the episode "Slabtown", Beth wakes up in a hospital. The episode begins with her waking up in Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia amongst a small community of survivors; led by police officer Dawn Lerner. It was revealed that Beth was injured and knocked unconscious while escaping from the walkers that overran the safehouse she and Daryl last stayed in. As payment for being "rescued" by her deputies, Beth must help keep the hospital community running until she has paid off her "debts". Beth soon becomes an assistant for the group's sole doctor, Steven Edwards - who tells her of the group's history and guides her through many of the community's amenities and pitfalls. She also befriends Noah - a fellow patient who is planning to escape. While enduring Officer Gorman's sexual advances, she reluctantly helps amputate a traumatized Joan's bitten arm, and unwittingly kills Gavin Trevitt with an injection after Steven purposefully tells her to give the man the wrong medicine. Beth discovers that Joan killed herself in Dawn's office, and when Gorman attempts to sexually assault Beth, she uses the reanimated Joan to kill Gorman and another officer in the process. Beth and Noah then attempt to escape through the chaos of getting down the elevator shaft, out of the basement of the hospital and attempting to bypass dozens of walkers - although only Noah manages to get away as Beth is caught by pursuing officers. She is beaten by Dawn in punishment, resulting in more cuts and bruises on her face. She confronts Steven over Gavin's death, deducing that he knew Gavin was a doctor and that he feared he would replace him should he survive, and that's why he had instructed her to inject Gavin with the wrong medications. Steven admits to Beth that he knew Gavin and that he feared he would have been kicked out - or even killed if Gavin was saved. After Steven leaves the room Beth spots a pair of scissors and takes them, following Steven down the hallway, but stops upon seeing Carol being carried into the ward on a stretcher.
In the episode "Crossed", as Beth is sweeping the floor, she listens in on Officer Dawn Lerner and Officer O'Donnell's conversation as the subject turns to the patient in exam room 2 (Carol). O'Donnell feels she is a lost cause, and keeping her alive is waste of resources. Beth intervenes, and an angry Dawn instructs O'Donnell to take Carol off life support. When O'Donnell leaves, Dawn chastises Beth for forcing her hand, but gives her the key to the drug locker so that she can save Carol. Dawn admits that she respects Beth, as she shows a strength she didn't think she possessed. Beth later confronts Dr. Edwards and convinces him to tell her which drug to use to save Carol. Beth hatches a plan which involves having another ex-patient pretend to choke. While officers assist the elderly patient, Beth retrieves some epinephrine from the locker and administers it to Carol. She holds Carol's hand, worrying for her safety.
In the mid-season finale "Coda", Beth speaks with Dawn about the hospital, and Dawn tells her that she is aware that Beth was responsible for the death of Officer Gorman, to which Officer O'Donnell overhears. During a fight between Dawn and O'Donnell over Dawn's leadership, Beth successfully pushes him down the elevator shaft, killing him. While hiding out in Carol's room, Beth comes to realize that Dawn is not so different from Edwards, in that she uses other people to get what she wants, such as using Beth to eliminate Gorman and O'Donnell, who were threats to her position. During their conversation, Carol wakes up. Rick's group successfully negotiates to trade their prisoners for Carol and Beth. When Dawn demands that they return Noah as well, Rick, Daryl and Beth are reluctant to let Noah go, but Noah decides to return to the hospital to prevent a confrontation. Beth approaches and gives him a hug, but, as she does so, Dawn makes a gloating comment about Noah's return, in reference to an earlier conversation. Beth faces Dawn and icily tells her, "I get it now." Beth then stabs her in the shoulder with a hidden pair of scissors, causing Dawn to reflexively shoot her in the head, killing her instantly. Daryl, overcome with emotion, shoots and kills Dawn. The rest of the group arrives in time to see Daryl carrying Beth's lifeless body out of the hospital, and Maggie breaks down in grief.
In the mid-season premiere "What Happened and What's Going On", Beth appears along with The Governor, Bob Stookey, Martin, and Lizzie and Mika Samuels during Tyreese's hallucinations after he is bitten on the forearm by one of Noah's reanimated twin brothers. She comforts him as he dies by telling him that it is okay to pass on as she also plays guitar and sings a song. In the episode "Forget", in the Alexandria Safe-Zone Sasha is struggling to adjust into their normal society hearing them complain about simple matters and Sasha experiences flashbacks of Bob, Beth and Tyreese which causes her to snap at the others and storm off.
Development and reception
Emily Kinney was cast as a recurring character in Season 2 of The Walking Dead, where she portrayed Beth Greene. Beth is introduced as the 16-year-old sister of Maggie Greene, while Kinney was 25 years old at the time of casting. The second season episode "18 Miles Out" deals with the aftermath of Beth's suicide attempt. IGN's Eric Goldman commended the development presented in the episode; "While there's no denying that Beth was pretty much a non-entity until this episode, I did like a lot of her material here with Maggie—especially when Maggie said she couldn't handle another funeral and Beth told her, 'You can't avoid it,' which is of course a very sad, very true statement, given the circumstances they're in." Gary Roszko of The Huffington Post affirmed that Beth's interactions with Lori were cliched, comparing it to "an after school anti-suicide special". New York 's Starlee Kine was much more pessimistic about the storyline than the general consensus and assailed the melodramatic nature of it. "We just aren’t going to care about the potential death of a character we don’t know," she iterated. "Or if it refused to learn that lesson, maybe it could’ve then learned this one: We are very tired of watching survivors of a still undefined and non-wondered-about apocalypse talk other survivors into not giving up."
After being on the show for two years, Kinney received a promotion to series regular for season 4, along with Chad Coleman and Sonequa Martin-Green. The fourth season episode "Still," which focuses only on Beth and Daryl, garnered praise in particular from television commentators, and viewers of the series in general have shipped Beth and Daryl as a couple. Writing for IGN, Roth Cornet commended the "Still" episode, stating that "Daryl and Beth revealed themselves to be more perfect a fit than any of the other combinations" and that "[t]hey brought out a raw honesty in one another that yielded what were some of the most grounded and engaging character moments of the season. They are two sides of a coin, and that's not something that had been entirely clear prior to this entry." She additionally commented positively on Kinney's acting, saying it was: "...the strongest acting we've seen from Emily Kinney, particularly in that final exchange on the porch." Kinney said that the show was never clear on whether Beth and Daryl had a romantic or brother-sisterly connection, but that "it was a situation where they were getting to know each other. First, they were just trying to get along" because they did not see "each other's point of view very well" and, later, "as the story went along they maybe became friends" and "it started to sort of go, 'Oh, what more could this be? Could it keep going into something else?'" In his review for Grantland praising the fifth season as a whole, Andy Greenwald had particular praise for the characters of Beth and Tyreese, citing their newly established complexities and character evolution in the fifth season.
Regarding Beth's death, critics agree that Dawn did not intentionally shoot her, and that it was rather an accident or a matter of reflex, commenting on Dawn's surprised expression at the trigger having been activated. Alan Sepinwall of HitFix stated that because the season had mostly neglected that Maggie and Beth are sisters, Beth's death in "Coda" does not have the emotional impact it could have when Maggie breaks down in grief at the sight of Beth's lifeless body. Matt Fowler of IGN said that although Beth's death was predictable, it "felt like a big moment and it's always wrenching to see other characters react to the death of their loved ones" and that although he liked Beth, he "still mostly felt bad about her death because Daryl and Maggie (who seemed to have to be reminded this week that Beth being gone at all was a topic she should care about) felt bad about it." Fowler ultimately gave the episode a 7.6 out of 10. Kinney said she understood Maggie not expressing much concern about Beth's whereabouts because it is "a world where they're losing people a lot. And if you're going to survive, you can't sit around mourning for very long," and that Maggie likely had unseen moments where she worried about Beth. Zach Handlen of The A.V. Club stated that the episode ends in "a shocking finale which reminds us that, whatever else it's learned, the show still hasn't given up on its most beloved trick: killing people because it can. Beth's sudden death was a shock, no question, although I imagine some viewers were expecting just such a gut-punch."
Rob Bricken, writing for io9, negatively commented on Beth's death. He criticized the deaths of Dawn and Beth as a "wasted opportunity", citing the "childish, ridiculous logic" Dawn had for demanding Noah back even though she had "zero leverage", and Beth's "inexplicable, dumb decision" to stab Dawn in the shoulder. He wondered:
So what the hell was [Beth] trying to do? Get Dawn killed indirectly? Free the hospital from her idiotic non-control? Commit suicide by idiot? Whatever she was trying to accomplish — presumably getting rid of Dawn in some manner — weren't there many, many other ways to do it that didn't involve her almost certainly getting shot or potentially turning the hostage trade into a bloodbath? We'll never know, because Beth is dead.
For her performance as Beth in the fifth season, Emily Kinney was nominated in 2015 for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television.
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- Farewell to Beth Greene spoiler video at amctv.com