Season 5, Episode 8: “Coda”
Plot: After last night’s mid-season finale, it’s safe to say that “The Walking Dead” just got 68% less adorable. If it wasn’t for Maggie, Daryl and the prospect of that dog Daryl met last season showing back up, well, I shudder to think what the adorable meter would have looked like this morning.
Last night, Fr. Gabe went in a literal and figurative circle: he “escaped” the church which no one was holding him prisoner in, ran to the school, saw Bob’s half-eaten leg, got chased by a herd of walkers back to the church, begged Carl and Michonne to let him in, they let him in and the three of them escaped (or in Gabe’s case re-escaped) from the church using Gabe’s tunnel and then trapped the walkers inside. Abe and company show up and the plan is to go to Atlanta to help Rick rescue Beth and Carol.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Officer Lamson knocked out Sasha at the end of last week’s episode and now he’s on the run! Will he get back to the hospital to warn … oh wait. That ended fast. Nope, all Lamson was able to accomplish with his dastardly escape was hurting Sasha’s feelings and getting slowly chased and then run over by his own squad car – which Rick was driving. When Rick tells you to stop, smart money says to listen.
In the hospital, Beth and Dawn are locked in this crazy dance where they don’t seem to like each other, but keep doing each other high-stakes favors because they sort of have to, or something. Dawn covered up Beth’s killing of Mean Cop because she needed a new helper and then Beth kills New Mean Cop because he overheard their conversation and attempted to kill or overthrow Dawn, which Beth determined would be a step backwards in the leadership department.
Rick and half the team (Abe’s gang is still in transit) arrive at the hospital with their two cop prisoners to trade for Beth and Carol. Everything goes surprisingly well, too well, and then BAM! Dawn demands that Noah (formerly “Everybody Hates Chris”) be returned to her as her ward. Rick says “Na-uh, wasn’t part of the deal,” Dawn retorts with “Nuts to the deal, I need someone to help me murder people around here” (not in those exact words, but that was the gist). Unlikely political football Noah elects to sacrifice himself, but before he can, Beth steps in, announces that she “Gets it now” and stabs Dawn in the chest with some scissors. Dawn responds by shooting Beth in the head. Daryl responds to that by shooting Dawn in the head. New Lady Cop says enough is enough, Rick says any of the wards are free to join him, only Noah does, everybody’s crying, they go outside where they meet up with Abe’s gang who’ve just arrived. For the first time all season, Maggie is bummed out not to have a sister.
- Good: I was genuinely surprised to see Beth get axed last night. Surprised and saddened. Sure, she served no real purpose other than occasional baby-watcher, soundtrack singer-along-wither and full-time cutie pants, but I still didn’t think the show would actually kill her off.
- Bad: I’m not sure exactly why she said “I get it” before stabbing Dawn in the chest? What did she get? That you have to be some level of a dick to survive and even flourish in walker world and that she, Beth, wasn’t interested in doing that?
- Good: While I’m reading in to stuff, I like to pretend that Dawn was talking to both Beth AND Noah when she said “I knew you’d be back.” That means obvious things to an escapee like Noah, but to Beth, that could mean the return of the person Dawn initially thought she was: a cute blonde leech who is incapable of surviving on her own and who only keeps breathing thanks to the hard work of others. Maybe it was Dawn’s final insult to Beth … or maybe she was just talking to Noah. Probably that.
- Good: Daryl flashing that big ol’ hillbilly heart again. All the hugs to that man. All of them.
- Good: Rick runs that dude the f’ over. He said stop, you didn’t stop. Rick’s become quite the man of action over the past few seasons. There was a time where he would have pulled up alongside Lamson and debated the merits of stopping with him for six episodes while Shane made jerk-off motions in the passenger seat. Now? Rick just plows into him and then shoots him in the head for good measure. I’ve said it before, but if only Shane were alive to see this. They would be best friends all over again.
- Good: The Ty and Sasha stuff was kept mercifully brief. Honestly, I would have cut even more out. You can handle Sasha’s bruised ego and forehead next half season. This is a midseason finale for crissakes. Also, Lamson’s escape was totally 100% inconsequential. Although …
- Good: Sasha killed Beth. As I wrote that previous bullet, it hit me: What if Rick had three cops to trade instead of two? He could have traded Lamson for Noah. Maybe Dawn still says something to make Beth go all stabby stabby, like that unicorns make bad stuffed animals or that those pens with the fuzzies on top of them are lame, but probably not. So Sasha is likely indirectly a murderer. Duh!
- Bad: Goddamnit, I’m not looking forward to her figuring that out and the uninteresting emotional fallout that will come with it.
- Bad: Oh no. Rick. Please. Don’t let this take you back to gentleman farmer.
- Bad: What the hell is going on with Dawn and Beth’s relationship? Their storyline seemed to veer dangerously close to WWE frenemies territory.
- Good: Hell of a fight scene though. Dawn punched New Bad Cop right in the frigging throat. Spin kicks and everything. Good thing she rides that stationary bike every day. Gotta keep the cardio up.
- Bad: Oh by the way, here’s more hospital backstory for you. I swear to god, at least one episode of the spinoff is 100% guaranteed to take place in the stupid hospital, the writers love it so much.
- Bad: Fr. Gabe, you are ridiculous. Please sacrifice yourself at your earliest convenience.
- Bad: And yes writing team, we all know that entire sequence was just an excuse so you could do your “Now he’s the one locked out of the church!” gimmick. We got it.
- Good: Anyone else catch Michonne and Glenn doing the forearm handshake? Classic.
- Good: At one point Rick refers to walkers as “the dead.” This is very rare. As far as I can remember, his gang has always called them walkers. Woodbury called them biters. No one’s called them “the dead” before. I guess this is what happens when Rick talks shop with other cops. He just slips into business mode.
- Good: I’m enjoying these Marvel-esque stingers showing up at the end of episodes. Can’t wait for the one where we find out Rick has been telling the entire story of the show to a very bored looking Mark Ruffalo.
- Bad: Oh NOW Maggie cares. Couldn't have mentioned her even once this last ... 3/4 of a season or so.