The Walking Dead 5×08 Review: Coda

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And finally, the episode we’ve all been waiting for – and that at least some of us have been dreading in one way or another. Basically from the moment it began, “Coda” was an adrenaline-fuelled episode – it took off running (pardon the pun) and barely stopped for a moment all the way through.

There’s been a lot of talk about how dark certain characters have gotten, and so far this season has included several scenes showing a pretty cold and detached Rick – but what he did in the opening scene was pretty shocking, running over Lamson and then just shooting him in the head, not even trying to save him, and even telling him to “Shut up” after he was dead.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 11.26.00 PMAs for everything that happened with the Reverend at the school and the church…well, it was disturbing and frustrating all at once. Gabriel’s reaction to the Bob leftovers and him leading the zombies back to the church – not to mention Michonne fighting zombies with Judith strapped to her back – all seemed less important to me than the clips of the signs carved into the trees and then the walkers’ hands groping through the crack in the door. I’d hoped Morgan would turn up again in this episode, and these seemed like clear signs that we would see him. And at the very end of “Coda” we did get that Morgan appearance – not only did he find the church, but he found Abraham’s map with its conspicuous note telling Rick Grimes to go to Washington, because the new world needs men like him.

Unfortunately, Morgan’s reappearance happened after the messy trade between the group and the hospital crew. It’s pretty impossible to trust any new people on this show, and after what Lamson pulled last week I definitely wasn’t about to believe the other officers… or even Dawn, though as the episode wore on it was clear that they were trying to portray her as a bit softer, almost even forming a friendship with Beth.

Of course, all of that went downhill really fast when Dawn made Noah give himself up as part of the “deal” to trade people. For a moment I seriously expected that Beth would try to stay in his place, and even as I realized she was going to stab Dawn with the scissors she’d secreted away, I didn’t see that leading to her death.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 11.25.25 PMFor an episode so packed with action and emotion – not just in Atlanta, but with Abraham and the rest of the crew arriving back at the church just in time to save Gabriel, Michonne, Carl, and Judith from the zombies they’d tried to trap in the church – there were still a few questionable moments. These mostly took place in the hospital; for instance, why didn’t they make any sort of big deal about Carol waking up?

And I suppose it’s great that they finally brought to light the fact that Maggie assumed Beth was dead, but I still think this was added as an afterthought. The scene when she found out was a bit awkward, and I still don’t get why Maggie wouldn’t have mentioned Beth once in all this time (outside of a brief whispered conversation with Daryl in the season five premiere). However, with Beth’s sudden death – and the fact that Maggie thought her sister was alive, only to miss being reunited with her by such a short time – I foresee a much darker future for Maggie… and, for that matter, Daryl as well.

Although Beth was separated from the group for a while, them thinking they had her back only to immediately lose her, coupled with the fact that they’re about to be on the road again, is likely to make for a very rough start when The Walking Dead resumes in February.

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is a fandom and geek culture expert, public speaker, and character cosplayer who is best known for her Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), and Andrea (The Walking Dead) cosplays. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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