Monday, December 1, 2014

The Walking Dead: Season 5 Episode 8 - Coda

Hello everyone and welcome to the mid-season finale recap for The Walking Dead!  Well, it's something we thought we saw coming for 4 seasons and when it finally happened, no one saw it coming!  It was a pretty intense capper for the 7 episodes that preceded it.  Everyone split up and converged by the end of the 8 episodes.  I'm still trying to figure out if specific episodes were worth it considering what the end result was.  But, that's The Walking Dead, right?  It certainly was entertaining and that's why we tune in every Sunday!  Let's dive into the discussion.

Discussion Points
Church / Gabriel's quest
  • Gabriel fled the church in last week's episode only to land himself in town with his congregation and Bob's foot.  He found some lady Mary's bible and basically is still reeling from this whole zombie apocalypse which is no good for anyone he's near.  Case-in-pont: driving a herd of walkers back to the church where Michonne, Carl and Judith are!  
  • I thought for a second Gabriel was going to get a taste of his own medicine as he begged for help from outside of the boarded church.  But, Michonne axed down the door, pulled him in, and sliced down a few heads in the process.   Bonus points to the baby backpack she was sporting!
  • They were able to escape the church through Gabriel's hole which led to the crazy new "tipped into a machete" walker kill which was equally nasty and awesome!
  • The church was overrun, and the walkers were trying to claw their way out again.  And who showed up but a fire engine full of our formerly Washington-bound friends!  It almost felt like Hurley running over the OTHER with the DHARMA Van, but that clearly takes the cake for biggest out-of-nowhere cheer in the best season finale of any television show!  That said, it was nice to see the gang getting back together, which is a benefit of splitting people up for episodes at a time in the first place. 
  • Naturally, they asked where everyone else is which led to the most awkward contrived setup of all time.  Oh riiiight, Maggie and Beth are sisters but Maggie has shown no interest in where Beth has been since Hershel died and they split up!  Now, I can't remember if Maggie mourned Beth last season.  It seemed like all she cared about was finding Glenn.  But, you'd think once they got out of Terminus and found Daryl that they'd know Beth was taken and they'd want to go look for her.  But, no, they signed up for the Washington trip for plot convenience.   So, now Michonne tells Maggie, "Beth's alive and they're going to get her!"   Kudos to the actress, because her reaction pretty much covered up for the intentional oversight by the writers. 
Hospital / Prisoner Exchange
  • Well, there are many ways to wrap up last week's cliffhanger where Lamson escaped by manipulating Sasha.  For some reason, I didn't see Rick hunting him down in a cop car, taunting him 1 time to stop with the PA system and then running him over with said car!  That said, once were were in this scenario of Rick chasing him down in a car, I never doubted for a second that Rick would run him down.  That is due to the evolution of his character over 5 years.  We know he's a no nonsense dude whose only focus is keeping his people alive.  Lamson pleaded for his life with his broken back, asking to be taken back to the hospital.  He told Rick his plan was to make the exchange happen, but Rick had heard enough.  He shot Lamson in the head and told him to shut-up as his memorial service. 
  • The other captives were on board with explaining to Dawn that the walkers got to Lamson in order to make the exchange go down as peacefully as possible. 
  • Sasha and Tyreese had a conversation about trusting the living and how they both screwed up.  It's starting to be clear that these interactions probably will lead everyone to start trusting other groups a little less.  
  • Meanwhile, in the hospital we continue to see trust issues within their ranks with Dawn.  Dawn continues to confide in Beth about how she sees potential in her.  Beth realizes after they both take down O'Donnell that Dawn uses people to her advantage and thinks that is what's happening in her case.  Beth thinks Dawn has been using her to get rid of her threats without getting her hands dirty.  It seemed clear that she didn't know that the doc got Beth to kill that one dude with the wrong drugs.  
  • Carol woke up during one of these Beth/Dawn scenes as well.  I just felt that was worth noting. 
  • Rick and co carried out with their prisoner exchange plan.  The best part of the encounter with the 2 cops was when Sasha took out the walker with the silenced sniper and Rick acknowledged his friends "were around".  Bad. Ass. 
  • That setup successfully led to a face-to-face with Dawn and a pretty intense prisoner exchange.       Once Carol was wheeled over to Rick's side for a cop and then Beth was exchanged, we all knew it was too simple for everyone to just walk away.  Dawn had to get the upper hand and show that she was not weak.  She demanded Noah back and Rick wasn't having it.  Earlier, Dawn went into this "they always come back" speech to Beth and she gave a knowing cocky acknowledgement to that when Noah reluctantly decided to rejoin Dawn's crew.  
  • Also earlier, Beth hid a pair of scissors in her cast.  A very tiny pair of scissors.  You know, the kind that maybe your 6 year old takes to art class, but they were probably surgical scissors or something.  Anyway, Beth couldn't just let Dawn win and get Noah back, so she went up to Dawn and talked about how she gets it now and out of nowhere stabs her in the chest with her dinky pair of scissors (point being - it didn't look terminal).  Dawn's gut reaction was to blow Beth's brains out with the pistol she was holding, and so she did.  WHAAAAT!?!?!??!  
  • As we were trying to grasp the shock of the situation, Daryl's gut reaction was to blow Dawn's brains out with his gun, so he did.  And well, that felt good!
  • And then everyone had a second to come to terms with what just happened.  The other hospital folks pled to just drop it now.  Dawn was the issue, and now everyone can go their own ways.  But no, Rick couldn't leave it at that.  He told everyone in the hospital that if anyone wanted to leave they could come with.  Judging by that final scene of mourning, it doesn't look like anyone took him up on it, which made that sad scene a little bit comical! 
  • So, we had a little musical number full of lots of slow motion emoting to cap off the episode.  Our Fire engine full of the church contingent arrived at the hospital in Atlanta.  Maggie's rekindled interest in her sister led to a big smile as she saw their friends coming out of the hospital.  This quickly was followed by the horror of seeing Daryl carry out Beth's lifeless body.  Maggie then did what she does best and screamed in agony.  Granted, I agree that this is how a woman that has lost her whole family over the course of the show would react to this site.  But, due to this season, was it earned?  I'll say she pulled it off by a hair, but her storyline this season didn't do her any favors. 
So, that's that.  Beth is gone.  RIP.  We always dogged on her of being the weakest link of the cast, but she held her own this season and did well enough of a job that most of us were probably shocked when it happened.  I'm sure there's some intentional theme in this, but I guess it's a little unsatisfying that so much time was spent setting up this showdown only for it to fail.  Sure, they got Carol back, but the only reason she went into Atlanta was to save Beth.  We had a whole episode dedicated to Beth in that hospital. We had a whole episode dedicated to Daryl and Carol looking for Beth.   Now, we still learned a lot about the characters in these episodes so they weren't worthless, but like I said just unsatisfying a bit.  But, maybe the lesson learned here will be that if someone is captured, you have to forget about them.  OR, maybe they'll listen to Rick's plan of taking out the other group next time.  They DID recruit Noah out of the whole mess.  And, I guess it's yet to be seen if any of the other hospital crew will be joining them.  Though, that seems a little silly that they wouldn't have indicated someone else joining them in this episode.  

I want to make one clarification based on a Q&A with Robert Kirkman on last night's Talking Dead.  I think we had a discussion in one of the recap's comments sections that I thought I had read that the group never leaves the Atlanta area in the comics.  Apparently, I must've misread something because Kirkman talked to the possibility in the show as it seems to have happened in the comics.  So, just wanted to throw that out there that maybe a change of scenery will be coming eventually. 

Oh right...MORGAN!!! 

In what had to be the longest post credits "CODA" of all time (considering this show is the only show to have ever put scenes after previews for next episode, and it was longer than the last one), we caught up with Morgan yet again.  He is still following markings in the trees and it led him to Bob's Foot Town and the church where our crew was.  He lit a candle in the church and took out some devil's food pastry that I can't believe I'm forgetting right now.  Then, he read the note from Abraham to Rick that apologized for being an ass and requested everyone to meet them in Washington.  Morgan laughed and then the screen went black.   Wait, so has Morgan been trying to catch up with Rick and crew?  And now is he mistakenly going to go to Washington?  And is he a friend or foe these days?   Time will tell! 

Okay, that's all I have for this recap.  I think it was a very entertaining half season, and among my favorites.  The end of it left a little sour taste in my mouth, but The Walking Dead always aims to surprise and there are lessons learned due to the fallout.  We'll see where the show goes next in February!  I look forward to our discussion in the comments.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next year! 


MJ said...

That Dawn was such a psycho ! It all could have gone down as planned if she had not had to look bigger to her people and change the plan in the end and demand Noah back. Bitch ! LOL I think Noah did go with them in the end. The focus was on Daryl carrying Beth but behind him to the left you see someone but you don't see their face - I think it was Noah. The clothing didn't look like one of our people

Some lady Mary? It was Gareth's campsite so I assume it was Crazy Mary - his moms - bible. I also thought that Gabriel would die as he let so many others. Yeah - Maggie never even wondered if Beth was alive or not. Rick at least wondered about Judith and then concluded she was dead. Rick hitting that guy with the car was awesome !!

So where did Dawn get the gun ? Hadn't hers gone down the shaft ? I almost fell off the couch when they blew Beth away ! And for some reason the way the back of her head was shot for a split second I thought someone behind our group had done it. But watching again immediately I realized it was the bullet leaving the back of her head. And Daryl wasted no time in taking out Dawn - though I could read her lips when she said 'I didn't mean it'. RIP Beth and go to hell Dawn !

I had whined last year (and this year) about the Beth episode - and all about how she was looking for her first drink. I did take note that she was offered alcohol in this ep and did not take it.

Agree with what you said about Maggie and the actress. Hershel's probably only been gone a matter of months and Beth and Maggie got seperated within hours of Hershel dying. I guess we are to assume she thought of Beth and talked about her off camera ? Yeah the show meandered a little and took too much time to reach the climas - but overall I'm happy with the half season. Morgan finding the note that they need Rick Grimes - thought the same thing - is Morgan going to head to DC now ?

So are the lessons stop being nice and trying to trust? When people have what you want take it by attack rather then negotiate ? Who knows at this point.

Mike V. said...

Oh I assumed Noah went with them...I just meant anyone else from the hospital. lol (like the doc, or either of those cops that were still alive)

Ahhh, I didn't make the connection with Crazy Mary. I didn't even know it was a Mary until they mentioned it on Talking Dead. lol

Good point on the gun! I just assumed she had a spare somewhere. lol Yeah, you could tell Dawn made a gut reaction and didn't realize what she had done until after she did it. I think she genuinely liked Beth.

Interesting on the alcohol, I just thought she didn't want to be under the influence in that crazy place OR owe Dawn any favors even though she said it was no strings attached. lol

That's the lesson I learned, we'll see if they did! lol

Leslie said...

Very intense ending! It happened so fast at the end that I wasn't sure where the bullet came from either because the image that stuck was the back of Beth's head! I had to go back and watch again! Sad seeing Daryl with tears, but it didn't slow down his reaction time! Bye Dawn!

I also figured Gabriel was gonna die trying to get back in the church. Karma, you know!

As for Maggie, I figured she had wondered about Beth off camera and probably had even assumed she was dead, so her reaction to hearing Beth was alive was full of surprise and relief. So, I completely bought her reaction when she sees Daryl carrying Beth out because she was expecting to see her alive.

Lots of emotion from Emily on TD about leaving the show. Kinda nice to see how invested the actors are with each other. Funny when Kirkman confirmed Daryl was straight! I had not heard any talk before about him possibly being gay, so it surprised me.

Mike V. said...

Yeah, I think they totally pulled off the Maggie stuff, but I still think they had to work around their plotted storylines for the first half of the season. They needed Maggie/Glenn to go with Abraham so they couldn't have Maggie too visibly concerned over Beth until when needed. But yes, worrying about her off camera is certainly a viable explanation. lol (aka EXCUSE!)

Wow, I don't think that Talking Dead could've been more awkward with Emily sitting right next to Kirkman and pretty much trying to keep it together when she was visibly upset over "losing her job" lol. I'm sure she understands it's all part of the game, and surely she had to know she wasn't one of the prominent players, but to be breaking down and crying on live television in front of the creator of The Walking Dead comic and a prominent writer on the had to be awkward for Kirkman who even talked about how it's harder to kill a character when there's an actor involved vs. a drawing on a page....naturally, Chris Hardwicke tried to break the tension with the birthday commentary. lol

I heard about the Daryl/Gay certainly made its way through the media circuit a couple seasons ago, but like he said they didn't go that way! (and apparently neither does Daryl! lol)

Mike V. said...

Interview with Scott Gimple

Mike V. said...

Totally didn't pick up on this, nor would I expect to, but interesting!

I want to go back to the first scene in this episode. Rick says to the cop he’s just run down with his car, “Cant go back, Bob,” which is the exact same line that Gareth said to Bob Stookey at the trough. I can’t imagine that was unintentional.

So Rick was there, and when Rick hears those words come out of his own mouth, they don’t taste very good. He doesn’t like hearing those words come out of his mouth. But they were in a situation right there where those words were true. So what do you do with that when you’re saying the exact same thing that somebody that you held as a monster said? And those words are true in that moment. It’s not a small thing.

Leslie said...

Oh, yeah, I agree that it was awkward with Emily doing that with Kirkman next to her. He looked uncomfortable, but was pretty kind to her talking about her arc on the show and how much she did with it as an actor.

Mike V. said...

This interview with Kinney makes it seem like they totally blew it with giving her and everyone a heads up about killing her off. She seems like an emotional wreck about it all. That's the vibe I got from Talking Dead too. Like, she was trying to be cool for the cameras, but there may have been some behind the scenes drama and that's what poured out in her interviews....the whole "my whole life was here" type stuff she keeps referring to. lol

I agree Kirkman was professional on TD talking about it. But, it's really Gimple that seems to not know how to handle telling people they're getting killed off the show. lol

Rob Uk said...

Oh no, rip Beth - sad times!

Well I look forward to the next half of the season. I've really enjoyed the first half I guess I might need to prepare for another loss in the season finale!?

Really loving the badass Rick these days!

Mike v thanks for your blog and I have got unstuck with season 5 and now on the home run into season 6 - I will never get to watch it for the first time again so savouring each episode now and waiting for times where I can really enjoy the episode and then catch up with lost addicts! I smiled at mention of the fire truck Hurley moment as I remember the moment both in the show and on the blog!

Anyway catch up with you again soon!

Mike V. said...

Rob - Yeah, there's only a few characters that seem safe at all times. Maybe even only 2. lol Rick and Daryl...even moreso Rick. I guess they won't be killing off Carl anytime soon either but you never know. But yeah it wouldn't be surprising to lose more characters by the end of the season. We're down Bob and Beth this season already.

I'd say now that Beth is gone that the next level of expendable characters are:


A little more shocking would be:

Even more shocking would be:

Beyond repair:

I'm sure I missed someone there! lol

I think you're talking about LOST in that last paragraph, right? Definitely savor the remaining episodes. Keep an open mind with that final season! It's very good, but people who went in with a checklist waiting for answers were begging to be disappointed. (granted, I did post a blog post with 23 Questions we need answered prior to season 6 starting! lol I still didn't expect half of them!)

Leslie said...

Facebook fail - I saw where the show posted a RIP Beth photo with Daryl carrying her before all the time zones had aired the show!

Mike V. said...

Facebook - Yep...I forget if I mentioned it here or not but we were late getting to TWD and my wife was reading facebook and said she had been spoiled. Keep in mind I never said that I was!!

Anyway, when Maggie found out Beth was wife said "well don't stay excited for too long!" I said, "ummm are you spoiling me?" And she very quickly said, "no!"

lol...pretty comical in hindsight and I was still caught offguard in the end. I blame the wine and limoncello at my parents' house earlier that night for her slip! :-)

Leslie said...

Too funny!

mj said...

I didn't think it was awkward on aTalk Dead since Kirkman isn't the guy with the final say far as I know. Peopke always say their casts are so close but I rarely believe it. So the fact that she was so emotional months later about saying good bye to fellow actors was touching