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In The Walking Dead, at the end of the episode Coda, Beth says to Dawn: "I get it now.". What does she mean?

Is it that Dawn is actually the problem, not everyone else as she tells all the time? But even so why would Beth kill her? (Besides being very stupid.)

How is it related to their earlier conversation?

Dawn to Noah: "I knew you would come back."

12 Answers 12

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The way I understood it is thus:

Beth has just realized that Dawn's power lies completely in making others subservient to her, and Dawn knows it. Dawn needs a ward who will listen to her and obey her. Noah filled that part prior to Beth's arrival. When Noah escapes, Dawn now needs to bind Beth to her, so she starts being nicer to her, covering up for her involvement in Gorman's death, and helping her get drugs for Carol ... etc. At the time Beth interpreted these actions as Dawn genuinely wanting to be a better person.

But when the hostage exchange happens, and Dawn demands Noah's return Beth suddenly understands. Dawn needs a ward. Now that Beth was slipping out of her hand, she needed to have Noah back. "I knew you would be back" was Dawn projecting her desperation for someone to need her as a false hope. With Dawn's true motivations exposed, Beth wanted to end the cycle of abuse that resulted from Dawn's broken psyche and decided to kill her.

Note how the atmosphere in the hospital immediately changes when Dawn is dead, the female officer says, She (Dawn) was the problem, and the hospital residents offer shelter and alliance to Rick's group with no strings attached.

Also, earlier in the episode, or the previous one, Noah says the exact same phrase, "I get it now", when referring to Dawn as she seeks weak people to serve under her. Later on, Dawn tells Beth "I thought you were weak, but you're not", after she learns of Beth's escape attempt. She gladly gives up Beth as an exchange because she doesn't want someone stronger than her. Dawn feels threatened by Beth's strength. When Beth says "I get it now", and attacks it's probably because she knows Noah will be badly mistreated again and is protecting him.

  • +1 on this because I think System said what I wanted to say but in a much more concise way. – Johnny Bones Dec 4 '14 at 18:49
  • Excellent insights. And bonus points for explicitly adressing why Beth might have killed her. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 4 '14 at 18:55
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    Great, you explained it better than Gale and Emily. It's like "I get it now, you're the new Hanson and someone needs to get you out of the way, like you did with him." – Chris Dec 5 '14 at 12:02
  • @Catija - Oh I definitely liked it! Never noticed that bit before. – System Down Nov 16 '15 at 23:47
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As for official sources, both the actress and an executive producer offered their opinion on the matter. Says Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd:

She gets that Dawn was the kind of person who made up the rules as she went along. She would do anything to not only survive, but to maintain power. There is no negotiating with someone like that, and it's never going to be fair. You can never predict what someone like that is going to do, and you can't trust them. So I think on one level there's that, and then on another level, I think the 'I get it' is speaking to herself, to Beth, saying: 'I get it now. The world has changed, and I'm no longer going to be a bystander. I'm going to act.'

Says Emily Kinney, who plays Beth:

I think that Beth was saying, “I get it now,” like you don’t really know… You know, Dawn’s whole thing is that sometimes you have to do bad things in order to survive. Like, “I’m doing a good thing by doing these controlling things because I’m actually protecting everyone.” I think there’s something about Beth where she’s saying, “I get it now. Sometimes you don’t realize how horrible a person you can be until you get pushed to the limit. You don’t even realize that you’re capable of killing someone and being such a horrible human being in a certain way, just in order to survive.” I think that’s part of Beth’s “I get it now.” There is that moment earlier in the episode where she pushes the other officer and I think that does make her feel really bad and start to question the kind of person that she is and what her morals are and who she’s looking out for.

[Interviewer:] Right, so on a level she understands Dawn.

Understands Dawn, yeah. They kind of have an interesting relationship where they don’t like each other and are out to get each other, but they somehow understand each other and respect each other. I think that’s part of what Beth is saying, like, “I get it now.”

In short, she finally understands Dawn's conduct (and in a larger sense, all the awful things people have to do and the tough decisions they have to make to survive in this world), and decides to act her part.

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    Hard to not +1 a canon answer, so... +1. – Johnny Bones Dec 4 '14 at 19:15
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Beth was walking away w/ her group til Dawn made the last minute demand for Noah. Just before Dawn does that, she turns slightly to her officers and then speaks. Her sociopathic control was at risk. She was all about maintaining her power and could not let herself appear weak in front of the others. It was who she was was at her core. Beth finally "got it". She wasn't going to allow the cruelty of such a twisted person to stay in charge, to continue to rule that way. Her father Herschel was killed by another version of that kind of crazy. She did indeed get it. Took me a second viewing to understand it though.

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I think it means that Beth realized Dawn had no power, and was as scared as everyone else. Dawn was merely the ruler of a small kingdom, a kingdom that was fragile. She depended on, and exploited, fear to remain as its leader. She probably killed (Hanson?), the former king to assume the top spot, and she merely had to watch her back for the next up-and-comer to try to assume her spot. Like all unsure, incompetant rulers, she depended on gifts and favors to her closest to appear benevolent and powerful. I don't think "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" was ever stated in episodes about the hospital, but the ambiance is one of deliberate fear.

I don't know what she meant to Noah in his former life in the hospital, but I think she was saying Noah thrived in the environment of fear she (Dawn) could deliver in controlled doses, but he couldn't handle the uncertainty and fear of the outside.

  • Do you also have a take on the "why would Beth kill her?" part of the question? – Napoleon Wilson Dec 4 '14 at 18:04
  • @NapoleonWilson - an illogical one, at best. Bad government, like tyranny, needs to be expunged, you just need to get within striking range. Beth took her shot and lost. I'm not saying Dawn compares to Hitler, but who wouldn't want to be known for killing Hitler? – wbogacz Dec 4 '14 at 18:39
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I think that when Beth said she got it, it is because Dawn put the fault on the others cops about how the hospital was managed. Each times she talked about what they had to do in order the other cops kept protecting the group. In the episode she said that her mentor died because he loved to help people but he put him in risky situation sometimes. She didn't need to be loved but she had to be respected to survive. The scene near the elevator, she pretended to care about Beth and that she wasn't like the other cops. She wanted to help people and not to overuse of her power like him (when he beat the old man). After in the Carol's room Beth said that she didn't believe her when Dawn said that she did not all the things for herself but for the other. She also said that she would remember what Beth did for her. Then for the hostage exchange, Dawn said that Beth took the place of Noah and now she was gone, she wanted to have Noah back. This moment means for me that Beth realizes that Dawn lies and that she is the only one who keeps the hospital managed like that. And when she will be gone, nothing is going to change. But I really don't understand the act of Beth at the end.

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I took it to mean that their group, the "hospital" group, is based off a very fragile alliance. No one is really in it for the group, they're each in it for themselves for different reasons. This is counter to Rick's group, where it's very much a Three Musketeers mentallity.

As for Dawn telling Noah that she knew he'd be back, I took that as more of a delusional "I know everything" statement. Noah was only sacrificing himself to appease the tension that was created by wanting to keep Beth, and he knew Beth should be with her people. Had Dawn not made that 11th hour stipulation, Noah would have definitely stuck with Rick's group.

  • Do you also have a take on the "why would Beth kill her?" part of the question? – Napoleon Wilson Dec 4 '14 at 18:03
  • I don't think Beth originally intended to kill Dawn, even though she stuffed the scisors in her cast beforehand. I think she took the scisors as a precaution in case she had to use it, and I think she stabbed Dawn because she didn't want to be Dawn's slave for the rest of her life. – Johnny Bones Dec 4 '14 at 18:43
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I think Dawn was raping Noah.

There were two types of cops in the hospital; the rapers and the non rapers. From the start we're given the impression that Dawn is on the non raper side but compromises with the rapers to maintain order, when in fact she is the lead raper and likely killed the old captain when he threatened to intervene in their rapist ways. Her keeping Noah was her declaration that the rape would go on, even though most of the people in her group were now dead. Though the other group of cops may have wanted to object at this point they couldn't for fear of looking weak in front of rick's group, and in this way they were in effect agreeing that the rape would go on.

I am aware that none of this is likely right, but it's more interesting than the alternative which we have seen like fifty times from this show, so i'm going to continue to believe the Dawn/Noah rape theory as it's at least kind of thought provoking.

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I believe Beth trusted Dawn. Not completely because- well how could you in that world. I think from 0%-100% Beth had around 25-30% trust for Dawn but was ready for whenever Dawn struck. I think that's also part of the reason why she packed a pair of scissors in her cast. Something-ANYTHING could have happened when Rick+the group came and Beth wasn't going to let anyone be the new 'Governor' or hurt someone close to her. Anyway with the lack of trust Dawn had for Beth, Beth took note. While Dawn only took advantage, and if she couldn't have her maid Beth, she needed her servant Noah. I forget what Dawn says that triggers something in Beth's mind because I've been focused on the tradgic death all this time, but whatever it was Beth was prepared and wanted the suffrage to end. She understood that she was taken advantage of as was Noah. I think Beth had many mixed emotions at that time. So she simply said she understood it now. Hope my crazy obsessive lodgic helped! :) RIP Beth Greene!! P.s I watched a small clip of the scene today and cried my guys out! 😂😂

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I think she meant "she gets it" in the post apocalyptic world they live in, you will die, and its how you choose to live, and decisions made while alive, that's most important. I think she realizes Dawn takes this from all those she "shelters" there, and i think she also realizes its her time to contribute by making a hard decision and acting on the behalf of someone else who needs help. I think she had to know there was a high probability she would die, but dying on her on accord was better than eventually winding up like the people at Woodbury, or at the Hospital, dying based on their decisions and not her own.

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Beth reacted emotionaly, it was emotional killing..it was weak..trying to kill Dawn with scissors..but it was pure..with all her heart..it is simbol for all young people..for liberation of any kind of supresivness..kill the sick leaders.. least try to kill anyone who plays with you like a slave or a little child.. on the other side- Dawn is also emotional..sick cop women emotional.she embodies the person who needs to control everybody because she is the fighter for law and her moral.. she is trying to balance the leadership very smart and her mistake is in persuation that she has it secured.. well she did it so sure in her judgement.. she had it all secured.. on thin emotional ice..

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poor writing, made very little sense, Beth was always a spoiled selfish impulsive character, but no one could be as stupid or impulsive as depicted. yeah right, you're in middle of hostage exchange and you decide to kill the top cop for no reason? she initiated violence that in real life would have resulted in an all out gun battle leaving probably everyone dead, including all the people in her group.

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    Hi @veeeach, please include cited sources which justify the response you're providing. Note that one of the answers on this page includes comments from the exec producer and a Walking Dead cast member addressing this very subject, so information which supports an objective answer does exist. Keeping this tip in mind for the future will help you provide effective answers. – freeling10 Feb 1 '17 at 7:04
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Beth understood all that. As well, Dawn is all about exchange. Beth figured Dawn would want something in return for getting stabbed. Dawn wouldn't have killed Beth but ask her to stay to heal wound. Although the consequences of her actions were the worst they could be, her death. I think it's how Beth wanted. Beth traded her value for the everybody hates Chris value in terms of exchange and the system Dawn had.

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