If you haven’t watched the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead‘s fifth season, then you should probably know that this is a spoiler. I’ll get it out of the way first: Beth doesn’t make it.
There’s been mixed reactions to her character’s death by way of headshot, some ecstatic that we won’t have to deal with her anymore, while others, are a bit more upset. Take this change.org petition for instance, which was started on December 1st, and already has 33,180 supporters. It urges you to register and sign because, “There was so much more to be done with her character and they chose to kill her in a disgusting, unsatisfying death that caused more anger and disappointment than shock and mourning.”
There have been plenty of shocking deaths in The Walking Dead, and I agree that the demise of Beth was not as shocking as it was jarring, only because it came so suddenly and unexpectedly (as apposed to Hershel who had a sword to his head). But, and I say with all due respect to those that loved Beth, she just wasn’t that interesting. Her character ran her course organically, and wasn’t vital to the narrative of the show anymore — why waste time? She started as a weak-willed, vulnerable young woman, and she ended as a scissor-stabbing, semi-badass with a mission. Beth fulfilled her destiny, and now she’s gone. Done and done.
Amanda T., who bravely started this petition to bring Beth back, is not just interested in narrative strength, though. Here’s the full description and mission statement that Amanda wrote when she started the movement:
Beth Greene (played by Emily Kinney) was killed off in the mid-season finale in season 5 of The Walking Dead. Her death was far too soon and the writers threw away the potential of a perfectly good character. Her story wasn’t over. Emily Kinney and her character don’t deserve this. There was so much more to be done with her character and they chose to kill her in a disgusting, unsatifying death that caused more anger and dissapointment than shock and mourning. Beth was a symbol of hope that a lot of women could relate to and see themselves in (especially self-harmers who saw her as someone who overcame their suicidal/depressive feelings). By sloppily killing her it just shows that she was used to further a man’s (Daryl’s) storyline. We realize that the circumstances she dies in are irreverisble, but this is television. Anything is possible. By signing this petition you can at least show your support for Beth. Let’s show Emily Kinney how much we love her and want her back.
I understand the necessity for strong-willed women in film and TV, but to suggest that “Beth was a symbol of hope that a lot of women could relate to…” seems a bit strong-handed to me. Nevertheless, this petition is less than 2,000 signatures away from completion, in which case a letter will be sent to executive producer Scott Gimple begging him to negate mortality. Although “Anything is possible,” I highly doubt we’ll be seeing Beth sing again.