WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS. Read on only if you've already seen "The Walking Dead" Season 5, Episode 8, titled "Coda."
The midseason finale of “The Walking Dead” had me screaming “Why?!” but not for the reasons you might think.
As I predicted last week, our beloved Beth Greene met her end in the final moments of Sunday’s episode. Beth was shot in the head by Dawn after she attempted to stab the officer with a hidden pair of scissors. While this was clearly a sad (and shocking) moment, I have to admit I was far more moved by the characters’ reactions to Beth’s death than to the actual death itself.
Beth only really started to come into her own last season after her father, Hershel, was beheaded by The Governor. Unfortunately, this season did nothing to progress her character and as a result, Beth became stagnant and boring. So when the realization that she was truly dead hit me, I didn’t really care too much.
While this sounds heartless, let me remind you this is a character who was kidnapped and MIA for a good six episodes from Season 4 to Season 5. During that time, the show’s storyline didn’t suffer and we almost forgot about her completely. Thus, her death was not out of line and viewers should be thankful a more pivotal character -- like Daryl or Michonne -- was not killed off instead. I, for one, certainly breathed a sigh of relief.
Though Beth’s death was the main event in the midseason finale, the episode also managed to answer a few of our lingering questions. First, we saw that Officer Lampson didn’t get far in his escape. In fact, Rick chased him down (literally!) with a cop car and unexpectedly shot him in the head. Yikes!
Then we found out where Gabriel was headed when he escaped the church last week. It wasn’t to get to another group or to be on his own, but rather to head to the elementary school and see the devastation of the apocalypse for himself.
And third, the show answered our question whether or not the entire group would be reunited again soon. The answer was yes. Just as Carl and Michonne finished trapping a group of walkers inside Gabriel's church, Abraham and his crew (aka GREATM) coincidentally showed up, revealing their trip to Washington was a total sham. While I half expected it to take all season for the group to be reunited, I was pleasantly surprised when it happened in this episode, despite the tragedy that followed.
The entire crew -- meaning the church group, GREATM, and Rick’s rescue team -- eventually all found each other at Grady Memorial Hospital where they had hoped to rescue Beth and Carol. While this should have been a joyous occasion, Beth’s death really took its toll. The standout scene here was witnessing Maggie’s reaction to seeing Daryl walk out of the hospital carrying a lifeless Beth in his arms.
While this ending scene was the one to make viewers everywhere scream “Why?!” at their TV screens, I was screaming why for very different reasons. Why, for instance, did it take 40 minutes just to get to the confrontation between Rick and Dawn? Why was there so much pointless chatter between Dawn and Beth? And why can’t AMC just give us more action already?
While I give the show props for beginning and ending the midseason finale strong, I must admit the in-between was only subpar. Being the final episode before a two-month hiatus, I was expecting a little more drama to keep me on my toes throughout the hour. Despite this, I did like that the episode set up the second half of the season with Beth’s death.
Going forward it will be interesting to see how the characters deal with a loss this great, as a major character hasn’t been killed off in some time. They all looked absolutely devastated at the fact, especially Daryl, who had formed a special bond with Beth when the group was split up last season, and Maggie, who didn’t even know her younger sister was alive until earlier this episode. In the next half, relationships will be strained for sure, but that's my fear -- those who can't cope won't survive.
- I found it interesting that Rick’s final words to Officer Lampson were the same words uttered by Gareth to Bob at Terminus: “You can’t go back Bob.”
- While I loved seeing Michonne back in action, watching her fight with Judith on the back was actually ridiculous! No way is that safe or possible.
- My favourite kill: When one of the walkers tripped head first into Gabriel’s machete at the church.
- Dawn might seem small, but she’s a hell of a lot tougher than I thought she was. The way she managed to kick Officer O’Donnell’s butt with her bare hands was highly impressive.
- We saw another flash of Morgan!! The episode ended with him finding Gabriel’s church and the map to Washington that Abraham gave to Rick. Let’s hope he catches up with the gang soon. I’m curious to see what his role will be this season.
“The Walking Dead” will return to AMC on Sunday, February 8, 2015.