The Ninjabot

“Coda” – Worst or Best Episode of The Walking Dead Ever? [SPOILERS]

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 7:00 am by Amanda Andonian

Right up top, this review is filled with major spoilers for the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. I have never been so serious as I am right now when I tell you that if you don’t want to be spoiled, then don’t read any further. Of course, if you follow The Walking Dead official Facebook page (which posted a major spoiler for those waiting for the West coast airing), then you’ve already been spoiled. Moving on!

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SPOILERS AHEAD

Last night’s episode, “Coda,” was probably both the best and the worst episode of The Walking Dead that we’ve seen in a while. We hit the ground running (at least, watching Rick running) with the escape of Sgt. Lamson. In case you forgot from last time, he hit Sasha in the back of the head and then took off. Rick goes after him in his own patrol car, and when Lamson won’t stop running after Rick asks him nicely, Rick runs him over! It was totally unexpected, but at the same time, it made complete sense. Rick couldn’t let him get away, and he definitely wasn’t going to stop the car and run after the guy, so the only solution was to hit him. I feel like a bad person for loving that scene, but the show has trained us to love that stuff.

The actual planning of the exchange wasn’t quite as interesting after such a crazy cold open, but it was still awesome to see the gang in action as they got into place to get Beth back. They have the upper hand the entire time, until it comes down to Dawn, of course. All she had to do was stick by the terms of the deal, but her need to always show everyone that she’s the boss lady ends up screwing everyone over. The show’s attempts to humanize her have not convinced me at all that she’s not an insane, desperate person. Yes, that’s obviously part of her character and why she does the things that she does, but nothing about that makes her likable or relatable in the least. Her speech to Beth about respect didn’t do it, her fight with that other officer almost managed it, but the showdown with Rick just undid all of that effort.

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Although the show gave us plenty of Rick and the gang being super bad-ass, it also culminated in one of the most heart-wrenching deaths since Lori. If you thought that watching Sasha say goodbye to Bob was difficult, or if you were really torn up over the Governor beheading Herschel, then you probably agree with me that Beth’s senseless death is the worst thing to happen to the group for the past two seasons. The majority of this season so far has focused on Beth, her captivity, and the attempt to rescue her; so for it to all fall apart at the last moment was devastating.

Looking back at the last several episodes, it makes some sense that the show went this way. Beth had so much screen time and so many philosophical conversations with Dr. Steve and Dawn, in retrospect it seems like it was all her last words. She constantly pushed against Dawn and her bizarre regime in the hospital that there was no way for it to end well for either of them. Aside from Rick’s, her character arc was probably the deepest and the most moving. She went from being a hopeless girl ready to kill herself to being a strong woman with such a powerful sense of justice and love for what life she had left. Beth came full circle, and if anyone had to go, it was logical for it to be her. At the same time, I found her death to be incredibly pointless in an episode full of pointless behavior.

Robert Kirkman made an appearance on The Talking Dead after the finale, and his justification for Beth dying was that not everyone can survive, and sometimes major characters have to go. I completely disagree with him, and given the way that Beth died, it merely seemed like a cheap and easy way to change the game and plunge the group back into the depths of despair. Members of their group have been dying constantly, and that’s not including characters we only knew for an episode before they kicked it. The prison was less than a year prior in the timeline, and in that past year, the group lost Lori, T-Dog, Herschel, Mika, Lizzie, and Bob. All of those deaths had a huge impact on the group, so to suggest that someone had to die because no one has been dying is ridiculous.

You know who should be dying? Father Gabriel. That guy is the worst thing about The Walking Dead right now. When I referred to pointless behavior earlier, I meant him. His entire storyline the past couple of episodes drove me insane. He locks himself in the rectory because he doesn’t want to be around these murderers (who were just trying to protect themselves, by the way), then he digs himself an escape from his “captors” only to accidentally stab himself in the foot so that he’s too slow to escape from the giant horde of walkers that he leads right back to the church, forcing Michonne and Carl to give up their only place of refuge. Why isn’t he dead, already? Also, it kind of pisses me off that he’s going to preside over Beth’s funeral. What an asshole.

Who knows where the rest of this season will go, but I’m betting it has something to do with Morgan, who we see at the very end, continuing to follow the trail that the Terminus people left behind. Now that he knows how close Rick and the others are, will he go and join them? Probably! Here’s hoping he’s not too crazy anymore. He didn’t seem very crazy, but he also hasn’t been interacting with people for a long time. We’ll see next year!

“Coda” – B

The Walking Dead, Season 5 Episode 8, “Coda,” aired on AMC November 30th, 2014.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

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