The Walking Dead: Coda (5×08)
Synopsis: The Ricktatorship is alive and well, Abraham’s group makes a triumphant return, and the group loses one of their own…
We open on the Ricktatorship alive and well, as he’s chasing down still-zip-tied Lamson in a police vehicle. After repeatedly telling him to stop running, Rick runs out of patience and hits him with his car. Fatally wounded, Lamson begs Rick to take him back to the hospital and tries to explain to him how Rick’s group looks to an outsider. Rick shoots him in the head and tells him to shut up. At least in the warehouse, Rick’s group still has two hostages, Shepherd and Licari, and they assure Rick and Daryl that they saw Lamson get taken down by rotters.
Father Gabriel is still wandering around the woods on his own, stopping near a school where he finds the remains of The Hunters’ Bob-B-Q and a whole herd that he leads right back to the church. With no time to get back in the way he escaped, he vaults to the front door and yells for Michonne and Carl to help him and let him in. They’re forced to throw all of their defenses out to save him, ultimately escaping back the way Gabriel first left.
At the hospital, Beth asks Dawn about Hanson. She expresses her remorse for Hanson’s death and claims to miss him, but she also tries to impress upon Beth that she doesn’t need the officers’ love, she needs their respect. She’s still hardline thinking that everything needs to be rigidly controlled or everyone will fail, they’ll lose their way like Hanson.
Standing outside the church, Gabriel admits to Michonne that he went to the school because he had to see everything for himself. As the walkers start to break down the doors of the church, Abraham’s group rolls up in their fire truck and effectively block the walkers in. Glenn tells Michonne that Eugene lied about the cure and Michonne tells Maggie that Beth is still alive. It’s Tara that pipes up that they should get a move on to go save Beth.
From down the hallway, Beth watches another officer, O’Donnell – or Officer Rapey 2.0 – shove Percy, the man who helped her get into the drug locker, onto the ground. He asks her if she’s good with a needle and thread and gives her a look before Dawn walks by and calls Beth to her.
Later, Beth takes a moment to herself at the disposal elevator shaft, but Dawn hunts her down anyway. She tells Beth that Percy will be alright and questions if Beth is going to jump. Dawn continues her weird emotional manipulation by revealing to Beth that she knows what happened to Gorman and Jeffries after seeing the smashed lollipop jar. She explains all the ways she’s been helping and protecting Beth, but they’re interrupted by O’Donnell. He thinks that this situation is quickly becoming Hanson all over again and they end up in a physical fight. Ultimately, Dawn kicks him away from her and Beth shoves him down the elevator shaft.
She tries to find a new hiding spot in Carol’s hospital room, but Dawn hunts her down once more. Dawn tries to sympathize with her by telling her that it’s okay to cry. Beth thinks she finally gets the hospital and how everyone uses everyone else to get what they want, but Dawn tries to tell her that the officers that have been lost weren’t good people, so it was no real loss. Dawn seems to finally understand that Beth was used by Edwards against Trevitt and tries to convince her again that she wasn’t used by Dawn. In the background, Carol is stirring.
Sasha and Tyreese share a siblings moment on the roof over shared mistakes – Sasha and Bob Lamson, Tyreese and Martin from Terminus. Meanwhile, Rick is waiting below in the parking lot for Officers Franco and McKinley to show up. He proposes the even trade of Shepherd and Licari for Beth and Carol, allowing for them to radio to Dawn his offer.
It obviously works out, as Rick’s group is seen entering the hospital with their hostages as Beth is seen getting dressed in the clothes she arrived at the hospital in. At the last minute, she shoves a pair of scissors into her cast. She wheels Carol, with Edwards behind her, and comes to a stop with Dawn and three officers. As Rick’s group comes to the meeting point, everyone puts their weapons away. Shepherd and Licari stick to the story that rotters got Lamson, while Dawn does verbally admit to some remorse for losing him.
The first trade goes smoothly, Daryl trades Licari for Carol, and then Dawn brings Beth forward as Rick brings Shepherd. At the end of the trade-off, she says she’s glad they could work things out, but that she needs Noah before they can leave. Rick objects because he wasn’t part of the deal, but Dawn presses that they lost Lamson on the search for Noah. Gee, I wonder who they could’ve traded for Noah? Maybe Lamson. After a brief argument, Noah voluntarily moves to go back.
Beth hugs him after he makes the self-sacrificing decision and Dawn can’t help but run her mouth, telling them both that she knew Noah would be back. After letting him go, Beth stares her down and claims that she really does finally get it now and, before anyone can stop her, she stabs at Dawn with the concealed scissors. She doesn’t even go for Dawn’s throat – ending up like in the Kevlar of her vest or something – and, on reflex, Dawn shoots her in the head. Her remorse looks almost immediate and she turns to Rick’s group helplessly. Daryl wastes no time in shooting her in the head, but before more bullets can fly Shepherd yells at everyone to hold their fire.
Shepherd takes control of the situation and tells Rick’s group that it was only about Dawn and now it’s over. She offers to allow their group to stay, that they’re surviving at the hospital, but Rick asserts that they’re leaving and they’re taking anyone who wants to go with them. Abraham’s group makes their way across the parking lot as Rick’s group files out, with Noah in tow, and Daryl carrying Beth’s body. Maggie collapses as the group is reunited.
After the credits, we get a shot of Morgan once again in the footsteps of the group. He has made it to Gabriel’s church and slowly inspects his surroundings before stumbling upon the map and note left by Abraham for Rick. Now he has a destination and all I want is more Morgan. So here’s hoping he heads towards DC and that the rest of the group does as well! And that’s it for the midseason finale. The Walking Dead will be back in February 2015.
Overall, it was something of a slow episode until the end when all of the action occurred – something that’s been prevalent with the episodes this season. We lost Beth and I can’t exactly say I’m sad about it, since I haven’t hidden my feelings about her, but I will admit that Rick really dropped the ball tactically this episode – or maybe I just loved Lamson a whole lot. Kirkman promises another new direction for the show when it returns and I’m cautiously optimistic for things to come…