Leading up to any mid or season finale on this show, everything just gets amped up and the survival rate of our core group gets slimmer and more nerve-wracking. Last night’s mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, “Coda,” was exciting, progressive, and equally heartbreaking.
I looked it up and one of the definitions of “coda” is the concluding passage of a piece of music. There is probably no better episode title than that to finalize the journey of The Walking Dead’s little songbird-Beth Greene, who unfortunately died last night during her own rescue mission.
Let’s start from the beginning.
The episode’s opening was certainly one of the best in a while. Lamson, the officer who escaped under Sasha’s watch last week is running to safety with Rick close behind, first on foot then in a police car. As poor Lamson tried to outrun the police car, we see that while Rick may be heading down yet another ugly path he still tends to give chances. He tells Lamson to stop, but when he doesn’t Rick just bulldozes into him. Should’ve just listened to Rick…he doesn’t joke around nowadays.
Watching Rick step out of the police car was certainly a call back to his sheriff days in the early seasons. Although, he couldn’t be any more different than he was back then. Of course, Lamson tried to talk his way out of death, rambling on about something. Rick simply says “You can’t go back, Bob,” which if any of you remember is what Gareth told Bob when they were eating his leg. I’m not sure what that says about Rick or where he is going, but it certainly can’t be good.
Rick shoots Lamson in the head, followed by “shut up.” Seeing Rick kill Lamson just proves how far gone he is when he is out on his own, as just last week Daryl talked him out of doing that same thing to another officer.
Father Gabriel (the most useless survivor right now) has found himself and his infected foot at the school where the Termites had taken refuge. I believe that he wanted to go and see that what Rick and Co. had told him was true. He seemed to be iffy until he saw Bob’s leg still on the grill. I believe in this moment he realized that these people were a threat to Rick’s group and their decision to kill them was correct. All the walkers finally broke the glass in the school and started making their way towards him. Although, I have to admit I thought they were going to be younger kids since it was an elementary school? Anyway, it made for a good ol’ fashioned zombie chase scene.
Of course, Gabriel being the dimwit that he is leads this whole herd of zombies back to St. Sarah’s where Michonne, Carl, and Judith are. I loved the play on his backstory in this scene. He revealed to Rick that he locked all of his parishioners outside and left them to the walkers. Here, he finds himself in the same position, begging for Carl and Michonne to let him in. He still can’t find it in him to kill the walkers yet though, which is a little annoying. But I digress Once the doors finally get opened the church promptly becomes overrun.
Carl, Michonne, Gabriel, and Judith escape through the hatch Gabriel created last week and they lock the walkers in the church and wait outside. They can’t leave. What if Rick and the others come back and they are gone? So, they decide to wait it out. Also, Gabriel can’t run since he is the most useless person alive right now…Even Eugene can do productive things.
Once Rick returns to the warehouse and tells Daryl what he did to Lamson they decide to see if their original hostage exchange plan will still work. Both the officers they have want the trade to go as smoothly as Rick does. I think they see the fire/people power Rick has and know their lives are on the line if they don’t go along with it. They all agree to tell Dawn that
walkers killed Lamson.
Over at Grady Memorial, Dawn is in her workout gear on her stationary bike. She is so far out of this world that I actually feel a little sorry for her. She has no idea that the world has essentially ended and no one really cares what she is doing there. We learn a little more background about Dawn. Her mentor was Captain Hansen and was the leader of Grady before her, but she killed him.
Her speeches are so repetitive and expositional. I think the writers are just trying to continuously explain to viewers what Grady Memorial is and what their motivations are. All Dawn does is give long winded speeches to Beth about order and worth.
“Beth, in this job you don’t need their love. You have to have their respect. Otherwise, one day when need backup you don’t have it.”
I think that this just goes to show how different of a leader Rick is than Dawn. He may be a little bit of a loose cannon but he has respect, he has backup, and a group that I believe that he loves and is loved by.
Back at the church, the walkers are breaking through the boards that Carl and Michonne put up. As they try to decide what their next move should be, GREATM pulls up in their repaired fire truck, blocking the walkers from getting out. I really liked how Abraham turned around to check on Eugene before getting out. It was a nice moment to show that he still cared. The group reunites and Maggie is finally able to hear that Beth is alive and everyone has gone to rescue them. We’re all off to Atlanta!
Dawn and Beth have yet another conversation, this time by the elevator shafts! In this conversation, Dawn is telling Beth all of the amazing things she has done to help her. She saved her from the side of the road last season, she gave her the ability to shine and be strong, she gave her medicine for Carol, and she covered for Beth when she killed Officer Gorman in “Slab Town”. Basically, Beth is now even more indebted to Dawn.
Dawn calls Beth a cop killer and lets her know that the other police wouldn’t have stood for Beth killing Gorman. Then another officer, O’Connell, makes himself known, saying that her leadership has really hit the fan and that she needs to start making some changes. Dawn won’t stand for it and a fight breaks out amongst the two, resulting in the death of O’Connell…down the elevator shelf. He suffered the same fate as Dr. Drake Ramoray.
Now in Carol;s hospital room, Dawn gives Beth what feels like her 150th speech. In this moment I see just how strong Beth has become. She tells Dawn that she doesn’t cry anymore, she has accepted what this world is. Beth is no longer afraid to speak up or stand up for herself or call Dawn out on her crappy apocalyptic thought process. She sees now that everyone at Grady just uses people to get what they want and she is going to leave and find Noah.
There’s a brief scene with Tyrese and Sasha where he finally admits what we all knew….that he didn’t kill Martin. This shows so much about Tyrese’s character. This man threatened to kill baby Judith and yet Tyrese let him live and Bob died because of it. I am all for a peaceful way of living but in this world they are in, Tyrese may want to reevaluate his perspective. Sasha tells him that she doesn’t think that she can be the way she was before the world ended.
We finally get to the main point of a majority of this season and that is the rescue mission. I assume one of the hostage officers called Grady as 2 more show up on scene to meet with Rick. Rick makes his proposal for an exchange and they seemed receptive to it. They also knew that he got all of his information from Noah.
I knew something bad was about to happen from web articles and assumptions, but the deal was truly sealed when during the commercial break, Chris Hardwick came on to tell us the guests for Talking Dead. He introduced the two and then said there would be a special guest as well. Essentially, someone was about to die. I felt my anxiety rise for the upcoming ten minutes.
In a cool montage, we see Rick’s group being led up to meet with Dawn’s group. Beth is wheeling Carol out and they all meet in a long hallway, all weapons put away. The trade actually goes a thousand times smoother than I thought it would. Rick hadn’t seen Beth since the season 4 mid-season finale, so that was a sweet reunion. Just as they were turning to leave, Dawn has to make one final speech. She wants Noah back.
Of course, Rick does not want to give Noah up, but Dawn is insisting. Being the noble and lovable guy that we have gotten to know, Noah agrees to stay and hands over his gun, “It’s okay.” Knowing what he is doing, Beth steps up, “It’s not okay.” She hugs him goodbye as Dawn says to him “I knew you’d be back.”
Beth stares at her and steps forward. “I get it now,” she says. She finally gets that Dawn will do whatever she has to to remain in control. Even when she could be nice she has to pull a power move. Beth pulls out a pair of scissors from her cast and stabs Dawn with them! You can’t even cheer with excitement because simultaneously Dawn shoots Beth through the chin, killing her. Queue the tears.
In slow motion everyone processes what happens. Dawn is mouthing out in horror that she didn’t mean to and I actually believe her. I think that it was an accident that she shot Beth. The sadness in Rick’s eyes is reflected even deeper in Daryl’s. Daryl shoots her in the head almost instantly, giving justice to Beth. As everyone raises their weapons, one of the hostages Rick turned over ordered everyone to stop. “It was just about her.” They didn’t want any more bloodshed. They seemed like good people.
She offers them a place to stay at the hospital and of course Rick declines but says that anyone who wants could join them on the road. Only Noah decides to go with them. It was nice to see Rick still opening his group to new people despite how skeptical he has been recently.
This outcome really made me wonder that if they had originally used Rick’s plan to sneak attack, would Beth still be dead? The one positive that I found in Tyrese’s plan is that they are leaving Grady with no enemies coming after them.
GREATM, Michonne, Carol, Judith, and Gabriel arrive at the hospital and make their way to the entrance just as Rick and the gang are walking out. You can see the smile on Maggie’s face, as she knows she is about to see Beth. However, then she sees it. She sees Daryl carrying Beth’s lifeless body in his arms. Maggie falls to the ground screaming in pain and sadness and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. She didn’t even get to say goodbye and the hope she had all season that Beth may still be alive is all gone.
When Daryl cries – I cry. It was so sad to see the innocent life of the show go. I have never been the biggest fan of Beth, but felt that the past two seasons have really done a lot of good things with her. I think that her death will really affect a lot of the characters in a negative way, as she really did have a big impact on a lot of them. Her absence will be noticed. At least she is now with Hershel.
A little bit extra…
- How can Rick plow into a guy with his car and break his spine and when the same thing happens to Carol she is up and walking a day later? Maybe they should stay at Grady, the magic hospital.
- Another Morgan scene! Morgan finds the abandoned church and sees the map that Abraham had left for Rick. I got goose bumps during this scene when I saw him make the connection that it’s the Rick Grimes he met in the pilot episode. I cannot wait for this reunion!
- Anyone else think that Morgan may be Noah’s Uncle that he was looking for when Noah came to Atlanta?
- Richmond/DC here we come!
See you all in February!!