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THE WALKING DEAD: Harvey & Adair Reach The CODA

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Season 5, Episode 8 “Coda”

[photos: Gene Page/AMC]

Dustin: So…. Anne-Marie….

Timothy: Yep.

Curtis: She’s gone. Sigh.

Dustin: But… who will sit on the couch and roll her eyes when the show does something really stupid?

Timothy: I do that.

Dustin: But… who will make funny with the tweets?

Curtis: I do that.

Dustin: But… who will feed us on Sunday nights?

Timothy: We all bring the food. It will be okay, Dustin.

Dustin: Yes, but who will bring the fruits and vegetables?

Curtis: hrm…

Timothy: That… might be a problem.

Dustin: We’re all gonna get rickets.

Timothy: Ladies and Gentlemen! Despite our nutritional deficiencies, and being absent our Anne-Marie, this is, in fact, Mr. Adair and my weekly review of AMC’s The Walking Dead. As always, Dustin recaps the episode and I comment and edit his language for something resembling polite company…

Dustin: Hey!

Timothy: … which basically involves the excessive use of the @#$% symbols…

Dustin: Hey!

Timothy: … but you wouldn’t have us any other way. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Mr. Smith is rocking all things Twitter for us this evening…

Curtis: Hi there!

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Timothy: … and so there be SPOILERS here.

Dustin, would you be so kind as to bring the kids at home up to speed?

Previously on The Walking Dead: Gabe proved himself to be a liability.

Sasha’s grief proved itself to be a liability. Mustache proved himself to be a liability.

Eugene continued to be a liability. Rick thought compassion was a liability.

Tyreese thought Rick’s plan was a liability. Beth’s anger was a liability to Carol’s recovery.

And then it was the mid-season finale!!

So… basically, you’re seeing some liabilities here?

RECAP!!

Bob be running. He tries to break the zip ties. Walkers. Running. Zip ties. Walkers. Running. Zip ties. Walkers. Running. Rick. Zip ties. Police car. RICK in police car. Running. Walkers. Rick in police car.

Rick tells Bob to stop running, and when Bob does not, Rick hits him. With the police car. WITH IT!

Uh… wow.

Rick hit that mother @#$%ker with a car.

He did indeed.

Bob, now paraplegic, calls Rick crazy. Ahhhhh…. Yeah. That was pretty crazy. Didn’t Rick hit someone with a car in season 3?

Either way, Rick is not playing around.

Apparently not.

Rick tells Bob that he didn’t have to cause Rick to murder the @#$% out of him. Bob says Rick has been out in the world too long. Rick shoots Bob in the face.

Well, he did tell him to stop running…

Is… is Rick the bad guy now?

I think Rick is the bad guy now.

I was thinking at the beginning of this season that Rick had found a balance between the monster you have to be to survive in the walker’s world and the human he wanted to be… but now I’m not so sure. I think that Rick might not be any better than The Governor at this point.

I’d agree that Rick is in a place not too far from where The Brian was, in trying to figure out his past and future, while staying alive in the present, but the Governor was actually bat@#$% crazy, while Rick… Rick is just broken. Also, I think it’s a factor of his being talked into going with the plan that had the least amount of potential death, and having Officer Bob pretend to help them and then betray them.

I think Rick is angry, and afraid for his friends, and that is not a good combo for him. Or, clearly, Officer Bob.

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Gabe is walking around like an idiot. He goes to the school where he finds a magazine. Oh and all those walkers who were locked in the school oh, and The Medic’s severed leg.

And my, my, what a lovely linger we get on Bob the Medic’s leg. Nice work, effects team.

Just @#$%ing die already, Gabe.

I kinda don’t think we’re going to have to wait that long, if he keeps this sort of thing up. Aside from holing up in the church, his self-preservation skills are questionable at best.

Then the walkers in the school finally break out of the school and Gabe hobbles away. Right back to the Church.

Way to lead the hungry undead right back to where you don’t want them to be. Idiot.

He begs to be let in, just like his parishioners begged him. But he’s locked the @#$% out.

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Irony. It’s a thing.

So then of course Michonne, breaks through the door to save him. BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DOES. Because lets obviously destroy all the battlements we created to keep the children safe to save a moron.

On the other hand, we really can’t think she’d just let him die, now can we? We can hope, just a tiny bit, but not expect it.

Michonne does the best she can to fight off the walkers, but there are too many, so Gabe leads them back to the hole he used to escape and therefore lead the walkers back to the church so that they can escape.

OK, and the walker falling on the machete? Very cool effect, but pretty sure that skulls don’t do that.

They get out of the church and seal in the walkers.

Welp. That’s another sanctuary, pun intended, shot all to hell, isn’t it?

Back at the Warehouse, Rick comes in all: I killed that @#$%er. Everyone is worried that the plan might not work now, Rick still wants to murder the @#$% out of everyone, so they go and ask the other cops about where they should stick to the plan, or murder everyone.

Decisions, decisions.

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The lady cop is okay with the lying and saying that Officer Bob was eaten by walkers, because she wants to not be murdered. She will help with the plan. Rick asks the other cop if he wants to participate in the plan, or if he’d rather have a date with the bumper of a car.

He’s down for the plan, obvies.

Establishing that his self-preservation skills are much higher than Gabriel’s.

At the hospital, Dawn is getting all freaked out because the cops that are off searching for Noah have not responded. So… Beth is filing papers now?

So… in the Post-Zombpocalypse, paperwork is still a thing? Really? Who is going to review it? Is it going to be used for performance reviews?

They talk about how all the not responding drives Dawn crazy. Something that drives Dawn crazy. Huh. It must be a Sunday.

Like I’ve said before, I really don’t understand this group’s logic at all, and Dawn in charge – Dawn, who is clearly-not-even-subtly-no-seriously-crazy – makes no sense at all. Why would anyone follow her?

Dawn tells Beth that she had to kill the former leader for… reasons. Dawn is super sad about it, of course, but it has to have happened.

Why do I get the feeling we’re never going to really know (not that it’s critical information) why, exactly, Dawn had to kill him? Of course, one gets the feeling that he got killed for suggesting something rational and sensible.

Beth is gonna look 100% badass with those new scars.

At the church, Judith is back on the drugs again.

Michonne asks Gabe where he went and he tells her he had to see for himself.

So when the Fine Young Cannibals attacked the church, they made lots of noise, they basically yelled their manifesto throughout the building, and admitted to being, well, Fine Young Cannibals. So why, pray tell, does Gabriel need to go see their camp at the school? What would he even hope to find there, given that the FYC have told him who and what they are?

Die in a fire, Gabe.

The walkers in the church start to break out, and then suddenly!! THERE IS A FIRE ENGINE!!

The DC crew is back!!

Hoo-ray!! I’m even happy to see Eugene. Sort of.

Yes he is. And ohhhh, the look Abraham gives him.

Hugs all around. (Glenn and Michonne do the bracing of forearms thing that warriors do. It’s pretty awesome.)

Glenn tells Michonne about how Eugene was a Big Fat Liar Who Lies. Michonne does not seem too surprised. Michonne tells Maggie that they found Beth and the away team went to save her.

Hugs and smiles. Tara is ready to go save Beth!!

After our little fun time with Tara and her sense of humor, I’m really worries we’re going to lose her. Just saying.

At the hospital: Abuse.

Because every other group of survivors we’ve met is run by terrible people. Every. Single. One.

Dawn is apparently Beth’s new boss all the time now.

I kind of want Dawn and Tara to meet and fall in love.

What the… Curtis? We need a new Dustin. This one is broken.

What?

We like Tara. Dawn is delusional and crazy and has bought into a pseudo-societal structure that make absolutely no sense at all. Why would you want to have this terrible thing?

Beth is sitting on the elevator shaft when Dawn comes up. She tells Beth that the man she saw being abused is going to be fine. Then they have a long conversation about inevitability and stagnation.

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No Dawn, he’s not going to be “fine”. You’ve got a so-called cop beating an old man, because the “cop” is too damn lazy to sew something for himself. Nothing about that is “fine”.

Beth tells her the world is now and how it’s going to be and this is not okay. Dawn is all about the status quo.

Which, again, is just insane. Interesting though… Dawn and her little ruling class are trying to hold on to an authority structure that hasn’t been in existence for what? A couple of years now? And Gabriel has been keeping the church neat and tidy and pretty much in the same condition it was before all of this, trying to hold onto the past, too.

Dawn knows Beth tried to kill her with the walkers a couple of episodes ago. The cop that was abusing the old man arrives. He and Dawn have a bit of a showdown.

Dawn takes out her gun and there is a bit of a standoff.

Just a note for those planning what is essentially a palace coup: Warning your target you’re trying to take over? Not a great idea.

Suddenly!! COP FIGHT!!

Man Cop vs. Woman Cop in a to-the-death showdown!! Beth intervenes!!

They kill the @#$% out of the Man Cop.

I am 100% behind that.

Yeah, Dawn may be crazy and awful, but this guy would be 1000 times worse. No loss to the gene pool here.

In Carol’s room, Beth is sitting on the floor when Dawn comes in. Dawn tells Beth it’s okay to cry, but Beth says she doesn’t cry anymore. Dawn tells her she never lets anyone else see her cry.

They drink.

I really can’t get into these attempts to make Beth even a little sympathetic. Her worldview is so screwed up and her self-justifications are so nonsensical, it all just grates. And considering that I was one of the people hoping for a redemption arc for the Governor… 

Beth says she knows why she covered up who Beth tried to kill her with the walkers, it’s because it would have made Dawn look weak that a ward almost killed her. All the other cops are out to get Dawn, and Beth has basically been taking them out for her.

But the question remains:  What is really stopping the other cops from killing Dawn aside from the writers?

She tells Dawn that she is going to get out of the hospital. Dawn tells her that Noah will be back. Everyone who had left came back because they had nowhere else to go.

I honestly don’t know what is happening here.

The writers are trying to give Dawn depth, and make us understand her better, so we’ll have some sympathy for her. Still not working.

Dawn tells Beth that she knows that she knew Carol from the outside world.

And then Tim says he thinks that Dawn is going to kill Carol in front of Rick and the gang, and I am… I am just so mad. I figure someone is going to die this episode, and I know it’s a good chance that its Beth or Carol because they are the ones that have to be rescued, but I just… I just wish he hadn’t verbalized it.

He… He made it real.

And I wish I hadn’t either. I think I’m just a little scared that it will happen. We’ve had so much time spent getting her back and reminding us why we love her so much, and we know we’re building up to the tragic loss of another member of Team Zombie… and then there’s Dawn’s messed up little society. I can just see it, and I’m scared a bit.

Carol wakes up!!!

Tyreese and Sasha enjoy some pity time on the roof of a car parked by the hospital. Tyreese tells her that he had the chance to kill the cute idiot that she ended up killing back in the cabin before Terminus was destroyed but he didn’t.

It’s like The Circle of Killing, or some @#$%. Shut up, Tyreese.

I’m kind of surprised that Sasha didn’t point out that the horrible fact that Tyreese’s action, or rather, inaction, contributed to Bob getting eaten just a bit. I would think that might make her a touch… angry. But again, it’s actually a nice character moment for both of them.

Maybe it’s one of these characters that’s going to die…

Everyone has sniper positions.

Down in the parking lot, Rick approaches a couple more of Dawn’s cops and proposes the trade. The cops ask about Noah. They ask about where Rick’s people are and, just then, Daryl shoots a walker behind the cops.

Rick says “Close”. Heh.

Yeah, that was pretty slick. Also? Rick’s relaxing into a really casual stance there. A little kill-hungry lately? Yes. Still knows how to control the room.

Everyone goes to the hospital. In her room, Beth takes out a pair of scissors and hides them inside her cast.

Carol is in a wheelchair.

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It’s a lot of feelings I’m having right now, you guys.

Yeah. You and me both.

The standoff is tense.

Into the hospital.

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Beth and Carol. The other cops. The exchange… happens…

I keep waiting for the other shoe…

Dawn is happy.

Dawn wants Noah back.

… to drop. Dammit.

That’s not part of the deal.

What the hell, Dawn? This is exactly what I’m talking about. She does these things that make no sense and then tries to justify them in a twisted logic that is basically designed to make things worse.

There is a lot of back and forth about it.

Noah tells Team Zombie that it’s OK, and he’ll go back. He’s just happy Beth and her friend are free.

Beth goes up to Dawn and says she understands the way things are.

And she stabs Dawn in the neck with her scissors.

Then Dawn shoots her in head.

Then Daryl shoots Dawn in the head.

There is about to be a shoot-out when the lady cop is all like “NO!!” Dawn is dead, it’s time to start over with a new leader, and lady cop is up to the challenge.

Rick tells anyone who wants to come with him can. Noah does.

They head out of the hospital just as the DC crew arrives Maggie is super sad when she sees Beth’s body.

It’s just a heartbreaking scene. Beth’s body looks so small in Daryl’s arms, and he looks so broken. He’s carrying someone who became something like a little sister, and still one of the most innocent — and I mean that in its most positive way — people left on this show.

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Later, Morgan finds the church.

Now empty of walkers, of course, so once again, Team Zombie leaves a viable base of operations for… reasons. Sigh.
Nice to see some more of Morgan, but we can’t know if he’s sane again, or if we’ve got a crazy man following the group. His reaction to seeing Rick’s name again? Interesting…

Okay, one of the things that upsets me about Beth’s death is that she grew a lot while she was separated from the group. Beth learned who she really was while she was a prisoner of the hospital. 

And no one will ever know it. 

Sure, Noah knows a little. He will always be able to say she helped him escape, but the person who knows Beth’s transformation the best, the one who saw who she really was… was Dawn. And now, with both of them dead, who Beth became is also dead. There is no memory of Brave, Strong Beth. 

Maggie will never get to know that her sister didn’t need to be saved. That she was well on her way to saving herself. That she had already been saved. 

It makes me really sad.

Yeah. I agree completely. And I’m kind of torn about Beth’s death in a different way too, because she didn’t have to die. She chose to stab Dawn, as a… what? Revenge? Punishment? Lesson? To make a point? It makes a kind of sense, in an acting-impulsively way, when you consider that Beth was still very, very young, and while acting without thinking things through isn’t limited to youth by any means, it seems to be something we’re… better? Better at, when we’re younger. Curtis thought it might almost be a “death by cop” moment, and there’s something to that, if we think of Beth not thinking about the consequences here.

She didn’t need to do that.

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But I have no regrets that Dawn is dead. I kind of hated the hospital folks, and she was the best example of the whole dumb thing. The structure there just didn’t work, the people were all just banal monsters or victims, and the fact that everyone but Noah willingly stayed inside the place speaks very poorly of the herd mentality people can have. These folks were so desperate for some kind of order, some kind of society, that they set aside logic and humanity for what is really a pretty messed-up illusion of order and society.

And then there’s the message that seems to be coming up again and again, when it comes to any other group that isn’t Team Zombie. First we have the Farm, where denial leads to a barn full of “sick” people, and lots of death. Then we have Woodbury, which at least began without the townspeople knowing the Governor was psychotic, but ended with both of his groups of followers being swept up in his madness, and even more death. Then we have the Jerks Daryl was with briefly, who at least didn’t really try that hard to hide that they were pretty awful men, and Terminus, where essentially a group psychosis was in effect, and something like it — minus the people-eating, of course — at the hospital. Aside from the Jerks, all of these groups were basically lying to themselves in one form or another, with those lies making the terrible situations they were in even worse.

I, of course, need only to turn the news on to see that we are pretty crappy as a species at being sensible a lot of the time, but still. Apparently, everyone else in the world, other than Team Zombie, is lying to themselves about how awful they truly are.

So on that cheerful note.. gentlemen, as always, a pleasure.

Yeah, I love doing these with you guys.

I remember when we were hate-watching this show. It’s so much better now, even with the characters we hate and the “Hi! I’m the Writer!” moments.

It is. And it’s still fun to write about, even these sadder episodes. So! Thanks for reading folks… we’ll see you in January!

[Show site at AMC]    [Previous recap: “Crossed”]

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Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with something of a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror films American Maniacs, Blood of Me, and the pilot for the science fiction series Paradox City. His own short films include the Noir Trilogy, 9 1/2 Years, The Statement of Randolph Carter - adapted for the screen by Jason Hunt - and the music video for IAMEVE’s Temptress. He’s a former President and board member for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City, and has served on the board of Film Society KC.

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