AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 8: “Coda”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Angela Kang
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Crossed” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On” – click here
Sergeant Lamson (Maximiliano Hernandez) has gotten himself out of captivity, leaving Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) unconscious. He hasn’t gotten far enough to escape Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who chases the cop down and runs him over with the car. Rick decides to put a bullet in his brain.
On his own, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) winds up back where Bob had to watch his own limb be cooked and eaten. He finds a few things left there, one of which is the Bible. He opens it up to the Book of Chronicles, from 8:10 and 11:21. He sees the cooked leg on the fire and it’s enough to drive him mad, witnessing the horrors of men.
Zombies escape from the nearby building. He can’t take care of himself, so he rushes back towards his church begging to be let back inside by Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). “Let me live with it,” he screams, not wanting to stay out with the dead even if it means being trapped inside with his guilt. They manage to get him inside before walkers tear him apart. Except the walkers get in, forcing the trio to use the open floorboards to flee.
Perfect time for Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Co. to rush in with the firetruck.
With Lamson dead, Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) think of what to do next. The other cops already mentioned Dawn (Christine Woods) had problems with her sergeant. They agree to pretend their friend got eaten “by rotters.” They want to help so things don’t go further sideways, offering advice when it comes to dealing with Dawn.
At the hospital, Beth (Emily Kinney) talks with Dawn about the guy who ran things previously, Hanson. Dawn says he “lost sight” of things, mentioning the respect it takes to keep control. Easy to see she’s also losing sight. There are many unhappy people living by her rules. She can’t even see what’s happening right under her nose. She knows what Beth did to one of her rapey cops, that’s about it.
The two become closer when Officer O’Donnell (Ricky Wayne) threatens to expose Dawn. She pulls her gun, threatening to kill him. They have a long history, too. He attacks, knocking the gun away. They wrestle, beating each other. O’Connell gets the upper hand, then Dawn gets help from Beth, who knocks him down the elevator shaft to the zombies below. These women are bonded now, for better or worse.
Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) keeps hoping to help Sasha pull through her rough times, paralleling all they’ve gone through and telling her, no matter what happens, they’ve always got one another. Meanwhile, everyone’s ready to deal with the cops from the hospital. Two officers meet Rick. The former sheriff lays down his gun as Daryl and the rest keep rifles aimed from the roofs, and he initiates the trade.
“It’s about holding on to what you have”
Our survivors go to the hospital with their hostages in tow. Beth and Carol are brought out. Everybody meets— Rick’s group versus the armed cops— holstering their weapons. Carol is handed over first. Then Dawn brings Beth and Rick brings the last cop.
It’s not enough for Dawn. She wants Noah (Tyler James Williams). Rick won’t accept this as “part of the deal” and she won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Even Daryl won’t let the young man go back. Noah chooses to return. Beth rushes to hug him before they leave, looking into Dawn’s eyes one last time. She stabs the cop with a pair of scissors, and Dawn immediately pulls her trigger, blasting a hole through her head. This tragedy near sets off a gunfight in the hallway after Daryl shoots Dawn between the eyes. One of the former hostages insists: “It‘s over.” This doesn’t change the group’s loss, both Rick and Daryl left with Beth’s blood on their faces.
Sadly, the group meet the rest of their friends in the firetruck afterwards.
Maggie has to find out that her sister was murdered when Daryl carries Beth’s lifeless corpse from the hospital weeping. Once more, they’re all irreparably changed and damaged— especially Maggie, who’s lost her whole family.
In one final scene mid-credits, Morgan (Lennie James) passes by the church. He stands at its altar to say a small prayer. What else does he find? That map Abraham wrote on. Morgan sees Rick’s name and knows the sheriff is still alive.
“I get it now”
Just a devastating episode with one of the more emotional character deaths of the series, at least in Father Gore’s opinion. Beth was so strong and she went through such hardship, only to get cut down by a coward.
“What Happened and What’s Going On” is next.