Christine Woods is Dawn Lerner in The Walking Dead season 5

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5: Dawn’s Leadership and Noah’s ‘Loyalties’

This week’s Walking Dead Season 5 Episode was a Beth-centric one, as the show finally revealed what happened to her after she was taken last season while on the road with Daryl. Until the final moments, she was the only one from the main group of survivors in the episode, and instead, “Slabtown” introduced a few new characters, including Christine Woods’ Officer Dawn Lerner and Tyler James Williams’ Noah.

Woods spoke to Entertainment Weekly about her character, and she said that Scott Gimple did tell her Dawn’s backstory “and a personal reason why [she] existed in the world.” As was addressed in this Walking Dead Season 5 Episode, she was working for Atlanta PD when the world and the city went to hell, and as the actress put it, “she ended up essentially being accidentally this anti-hero to all these people that she’s saved, essentially.” Check out an inside look at the episode below.

In her first episode, Dawn wasn’t someone to root for, especially considering her harsh treatment of Beth, which wasn’t even her fault, something that Woods admits.

“I think that is a little misplaced anger in that. But Dawn probably sees herself in Beth. It’s like that mean coach that screams at their athlete and is aggressive and rude and a lot of times people who are abusive and mean, they don’t know that there’s anything wrong with that behavior. And Dawn may be thinking that she’s just toughening Beth up.”

Dawn thinks she’s doing what’s best for Beth in the reality of their situation, especially since she doesn’t trust the other officers in the hospital. While some may be people she knew before, she is in a position of power now and because she doesn’t want to lose that, Woods said that it does affect how she treats the other officers.

“Dawn keeps a very tight ship, and she does it because she knows instinctively that if things get relaxed, she will lose control. So there’s that tension between her and her former friends. And this point she just had to turn the switch off and treat them like her soldiers essentially.”

But is Dawn another villain for the survivors to take down, much like they already have people like the Governor and Gareth on The Walking Dead, or is she a hero? If you ask Woods, she’s a hero, “trying to make the best out of what’s best for the people around” her.

“She is someone who was essentially socially in a position to protect and go out of her way to save people and keep things kind of going in an orderly way, because that was this person’s job in normal life. So she’s just acting in a way that is trying to keep her regular identity going. And so she thinks she’s being very helpful. And she’s keeping things going and keeping people safe, and so I think 100 percent her heart is completely in the right place here. …I think she’s a brave, scared person who is trying to be a hero.”

This Walking Dead season 5 episode also introduced the new character of Noah, who befriended Beth in the hospital and even took the blame when Beth killed a patient because of Dr. Edwards’ orders. Williams told Entertainment Weekly that Noah did that for a couple of reasons, both for Beth and for his own position in the hospital.

“I think because he doesn’t believe that she can take it at this time. You have a girl who’s coming into this situation, doesn’t know all of the rules, doesn’t know who these people are and what they’re capable of. And he knows that he can take the beating and then get back in Dawn’s good graces at some point. She may not be able to. At the end of the day, he’s down to sacrifice that for this girl that seems pretty innocent.”

Williams called Noah “a survivor,” and before Beth even came along, he had plans to escape. His goal is to get home and let his family know what happened. When his and Beth’s escape didn’t go according to plan, he made it out while Beth was arrested. You can check out a behind-the-scenes video of their escape below.

Did Noah leave her there or could he come back for her in a later Walking Dead season 5 episode? According to the actor, the latter is likely.

“I actually had the same thought when I read the script. I was like, uh-oh…he turned. Now that they have a better understanding of each other, Beth knows that if he doesn’t go first, he’s not going to make it. …And that’s just the way it played out and it’s really sad that that’s the way it happened. But Noah has some loyalties to him and I don’t know if this will be the last time they see each other.”

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Noah ends up with Daryl, which does explain why he had whoever was with him stay back when he showed up at the church. However, Williams would not reveal to EW whether or not that is the case, though it does sound like it is.

“Everybody has their speculation. And I can neither confirm nor deny that… I’m not saying no, but I’m definitely also not saying yes.”

The Walking Dead season 5 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

(Image via AMC)

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