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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

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Episode 8 - Coda

7 December 2014

Synopsis: Rick's crew make the switch of the two officers for Beth and Carol. However Dawn asks for Noah to be returned. He agrees to save more bloodshed. Beth stabs her and she shoots her reflexively. Darryl kills Dawn but the other officers call for a ceasefire.

Apologies for the short review, my holiday interfered with the schedule.

If the writers wanted us to care about Dawn then they needed to do a better job back in "Slabtown." But the dynamics of the police at the hospital were too complicated to deal with in such a short space of time. They probably needed their own Governor-style two part episode so that we could learn to care about Dawn as a woman holding the peace together. Perhaps then we could have gone on the journey of slowly losing faith in her and willing for Beth to put an end to her regime. Instead she began "Slabtown" by guilt-tripping and slapping Beth while looking the other way as her officers raped helpless women. Just like with the Governor it was too damning a rap sheet for her to come back from. The long sequences she shared with Beth here felt like a waste of time. At no point did I buy into their dynamic or consider Dawn anything but an expendable villain.

Again I appreciated Scott Gimple's attempt to add layers of grey but it was too late. I also liked the fact that for once two groups of humans didn't try to slaughter one another but naturally it all felt like an anti-climax. Beth didn't reach any level of character development which could make me care about her passing. Her romance with Darryl received almost no attention since they split and so his tears did nothing for me either.

Father Gabriel losing his church but doing the right thing was meh. I still don't care about Tyreese or Sasha. Did you know they were siblings? I'm so glad they bring that up every time they have a conversation or I might forget.

This half season has been a bizarre tailspin for The Walking Dead. Last season it felt like Scott Gimple had worked a minor miracle in fleshing out the scattered ensemble and bringing them together as a stronger unit. This season with the gang together and an obvious threat at Terminus it seemed like we were set up for a strong plot. Instead the Termites were blown off so quickly that it made last season's map quest seem retrospectively pointless. The canibals were then replaced by bent cops who were far less interesting because of awkward and bland writing. Most strange of all the season spent far more time on Beth, Carol, Gabriel and Abraham than it did on Rick, Carl and Michonne who remain the heart of the show. What a disappointing mess.

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  • Here's the first 2 minutes of the first episode of the second part of Season Five:

    It looks like they talk about going to Woodbury and if that doesn't work out moving onward:

    http://www.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/videos/the-first-2-minutes-of-the-mid-season-premiere-the-walking-dead-season-5

    We all remember the Governor burned it to the ground, so it looks like a bleak episode.

    Posted by Fluids, 03/02/2015 6:07pm (6 years ago)

  • I almost forgot to answer your question William. I am not bothered by the overall following of the TV show to the comicbook major story arc because of the differences in the subplots and characterization. The show does a better job also of character development.

    Posted by Fluids, 19/12/2014 6:57pm (6 years ago)

  • I know these last three reviews were short, but I'm glad to see we're on the same page for all 3 episodes. The Cops story was given too much time with too little development, made even weirder with the Doctor having maybe 2 lines in the last two episodes.

    I posted in Fluids' forums my complaints with Crossed and Coda, so I won't repeat myself, but episodes 3-8 of the half season were a severe disappointment .

    Viewer score: 47 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 06/12/2014 2:42am (6 years ago)

  • What scenes for you all would have added to make this episode better?

    1. Carol wakes up and talks to Beth.
    2. Abraham and Eugene confront each other.
    3. Maggie talks to Glen about Beth.
    4. Abraham's group determines what they will now.
    5. A better Father Gabriel transformation storyline.
    6. A better arrival of Abraham's group.

    What things for you should be removed to make this episode better?

    1. The two remaining security guards talking to Rick's group about Dawn.
    2. Tyreese and Sasha talking about Bob and Tyreese his old girlfriend.
    3. Father Gabriel's flight and the return sequence.
    4. Abraham's church arrival via Firetruck (blocking the door was too convenient).

    Posted by Fluids, 05/12/2014 4:54pm (6 years ago)

  • Hi William!

    I am a fan of the comic book as well as all the novels.
    I think in general they have stayed loyale to the overall direction the main plot in
    the comic book has taken.

    There are several butterfly effects though in the TV series that make following the comic book storyline
    verbatim impossible (mainly due to different characters in both mediums).
    There are also sub storylines that are different between the two.
    I think they really are two different related animals at this point.

    The show runners have been teasing the comic book readers with the show previews
    with clever editing to make you feel like certain things that happened in the comic book will
    happen on the show and often they don't happen.

    I thought they did this to throw off the comic book spoiler types,
    however that has had an adverse affect on the TV show
    episodes a little. Some actions don't make sense or these maneuvers generate character
    action inconsistency which hampers proper character development and more natural plot progression.

    This happened in one of the Terminus episodes in Season Five.

    This also happened in the comic book when Robert Kirkman decided to put one of the
    TV show only characters on the cover of an April issue as an April Fools joke.

    It also wouldn't surprise me if there will be several things that relate the new show coming in 2015 to
    the main TV show and/or the comic book or even the novels.

    Posted by Fluids, 05/12/2014 4:19pm (6 years ago)

  • This episode was everything walking dead finales should be. It started and ended strong, and somewhere in between stuffed with Officer Dawn's interminable speeches and needed character growth. But without being too picky, let's get to it:

    The Good:
    Rick running down officer Bob. He's becoming more like the man Shane wanted him to be, especially with the "shut up" line. Very intense scene with some brutal Rick moments.
    Gabriel becoming a man, finally! I hope. His incompetence was tiring and stereotypical of the religious-types so often portrayed in television. He was either going to develop or die and I'm glad to see he chose to live.
    Michonne and Carl working together at the church is always a nice duo. He takes after his father.
    Exposition on Dawn's history with leadership and tactics for survival in the drama ward.
    Tension all throughout the last scene.
    Beth pushing O'Donnell down the elevator shaft in a well-timed combo move. Dawn fails to persuade her allegiance but that was a brave thing for Beth to do.

    The Bad:
    Eugene pretending to be asleep in the fire truck because it would be an awkward ride back.
    Maggie spontaneously showing interest in her sister being alive (for the time being).
    Beth trying to be a hero at the end? It was stupid but think I understand how she thought it was necessary? Why try to prove anything?


    The Unknown:
    Morgan's expression at the map and Rick's name. He looked bewildered or pensive or maybe just upset. It was a great "coda" to the episode.
    Rick constantly turning his back in the hallway, a sign of trust? I was on edge each time. They should have just kept walking.
    Another time negotiations failed Rick and company. The original plan would have made for a bloodier front, but Rick should know better than to turn back to Dawn and try to reason with her when she demands Noah in front of her crowd of usurpers. They were already at the end of the hall when he turned back!
    Sasha and Tyrese on the roof. She insists they're not fundamentally the same after just copying him last episode with helping Officer Bob, as he offered to help her with boyfriend Bob. I think she just needs time, but I wouldn't expect her to ever be the same.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by David Bello, 03/12/2014 9:43am (6 years ago)

  • What kind of affect is Beth’s death going to have on the rest of the group if one of them gets kidnapped in the future? Will it be take no prisoners (like Rick wanted to do originally to get back Carol and Beth from the Hospital folks?) or will it still be take prisoners and negotiate?

    Posted by Fluids, 01/12/2014 3:56pm (6 years ago)

  • Favorite scene: The prisoner exchange; I wasn’t expecting this would result in Beth’s violent, quick demise. The writing to get there was very well done.

    Good:
    • Wow, Rick has no forgiveness for strangers anymore. He gives you one chance now and that’s it. Bob wouldn’t stop so Rick ran him down and shot him in the head. The weird part was him stopping and trying to explain to Bob that all he had to do was stop and then killing him. Was he trying to teach him a lesson before he killed him? What was that?
    • BETH!! I was very surprised and in shock and not expecting her life to end that way. It was swift, unexpected and devastating; very well done. I cried when Maggie saw Daryl holding Beth.
    • I felt Dawn’s character was put together rather well. She was a psycho. I believe there were five people we were aware of her killing: Hanson (her mentor); three officers (Gordon, Jeffries, and one other); then O’Donnell and then Beth. There is a wonderful psychological disconnect inside of Dawn captured by Beth’s dialog “You keep telling yourself you can do what it takes until it’s all over. This is it. This is who you are.” Dawn’s response to this focuses on the fact that she thinks she saved Beth and she thinks Beth is turning against her. Mentally it appears to me that Dawn is in severe denial of the apocalypse. She feels the need to control others because she thinks that controls their reality. It is to such an extent she thinks the people that have come to terms with their grim reality are the ones that are losing touch with reality instead of herself. When Dawn gets to the point where she feels her secure view of the ‘temporary apocalypse’ is threatened she eliminates the person who has introduced that reality to her to keep her version of reality intact. She was mentally ill and in a position of power and control; with serious abilities in self defense; very dangerous and very well done.
    • Beth as a character is very well centered at this point and she is at peace with the apocalypse and accepts one day soon she will die. I also got the impression that Beth felt Dawn would never let her leave the hospital alive, so she sacrificed herself to save Noah.
    • Dawn sensing Beth and Carol were together was well done (especially when she sat down on the bed between them.)
    • Dawn saying “Noah would be back” only became a reality because she forced a situation to control him to come back. Like O’Donnell said in his final moments Dawn can’t let go of people around her because she equates that with losing control over her leadership and reality. When Noah was forced to come back she turned to Beth and said I told you he would be back, Beth then knew Dawn was mentally ill.
    Bad:
    • I thought the opening scenes where Gabriel led the walkers back to the church were a little predictable. Why he would fixate on pamphlets first and then see Bob Stookey’s cooked leg was a little hard to believe.
    • It would have been a great opportunity when he was calling for help on the church front door to fade in memories of him listening to the cries for help of his parish from the past.
    • They need a better version of the Judith papoose (backpack). It looks smaller than Judith that pulled me out of the moment a bit when Carl, Michonne and Father Gabriel were escaping the church.
    • I felt that Maggie never once appeared to ruminate over where Beth might be or if she was alive; especially after Eugene’s lie was exposed. To go from showing little or no emotions for Beth to all of a sudden realizing Beth was alive left me feeling not as much emotional impact as it could have had.
    Unknown:
    • How did Abraham know to park the bus in front of the church? There were no walkers visible. Perhaps it was enough to show Michonne, Carl and Judith.
    • Rick asked the hospital folks if they would like to come with his group. Did anyone from the hospital go with Rick’s group? No doubt, Noah will go with them.
    • Morgan is still following them. He has to play some significant role this season. When will Morgan reach Rick’s group? What was Morgan laughing about in the church at his shrine at the alter?

    Viewer score: 69 / 100

    Posted by Fluids, 01/12/2014 3:16pm (6 years ago)

  • I'll talk about the whole content of the episode so what it's worth...spoilers: what a limp noodle of a midseason finale. It feels like the show has been trying to build up to this moment and failed utterly. the pacing was just bad and all over the shop, with some slow character moments one second (Sasha and Tyrees's rooftop moment), or rushing through the more important plot points (for instance Carol waking up and discovering her situation) and at times the plot just went bananas (Father Gabriel running from the chruch in the irst place was not given enouh proper build-up or context; I get that it's meant to illustrate how much better Michonne and Carl are but to be effective there had to be more build-up) and in the end the prisoner exhange fell short of getting a proper wrap-up. Now as for Beth's big decision, it felt rushed because of all the rest that had to happen and it didn't help that Maggie hadn't even mentioned her since the season beginning. It felt like the showrunners had watched Game of Thrones but didn't know how to pull off a meaningful death convincigly. This was no Robb Stark, no Eddard, no Oberyn, etc. all of these were well-rounded characters and their demise was properly built up from the moment they got introduced and this just felt like TWD going 'we'd like some of that too please' without actually giving it any reason to happen besides the fact that this is the midseason finale and they needed some kind of emotional bang to hook people for the second half of the season. Talk about exploitative, and random death, this is the show that had the character's death not make sense from a plot or character perspective and it definitely feels like the show is just stalling and filling time instead of properly developing these characters because this meant nothing to me when I watched it and the show didn't manage to make me care enough, I'm sad to say. it just fuels what I've been saying from the beginning: this show has no endgame and that results in the characters wandering around aimlessly until someone gets axed and the story does not progress one bit and the paperthin character don't develop convincingly either because if they did I wouldn't be complaining about the fact that this didn't mean anything because the groundwork for Beth's decision has not been laid in a good enough way to justify that decision coming from HER. After 4 and a half seasons of walking aimlessly, I think it's time for The Walking Dead to stop walking, sit down and take a minute to reflect on the future quality of the show because big ratings alone don't make for a great show. At this point I'd say watch game of thrones instead, it has less episodes, a tighter narrative, a bigger and more interesting world, better cinematography and effects, more interesting characters and the acting to make them believeable, and an endgoal. TWD has...Rick and Daryl and sadly not much else.

    Viewer score: 45 / 100

    Posted by Fantom, 01/12/2014 2:57pm (6 years ago)

  • Who else had little to no reaction at the end?
    I can say I was surprised, but really didn't have any emotion for Beth. Daryl crying was far more emotive for me, but still I just didn't have a overwrought emotional moment. Maybe I've been in the Walking Dead world too long now. That or I just have a cold black heart.

    I did enjoy Rick going full Rick at the beginning of the episode.

    Also I'd be interested to hear from other comic fans. Does the direction to stay on the comics affect your enjoyment of the show? do you like that they are deciding to be faithful or would you rather have different stories? (no comic spoilers please)

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by William, 01/12/2014 2:25pm (6 years ago)

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