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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