by Sherry Lipp
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
As expected The Walking Dead mid-season finale, “Coda,” delivered a shocking death. Unfortunately
the show has become predictable in this respect. The only cast death this season was Bob, so another one was pretty much in the cards for this episode.
Sadly, Beth (Emily Kinney) became the latest victim to be taken in the zombie apocalypse. As a mid-season finale goes, this one was lackluster. I liked all of the scenes between Beth and Dawn (Christine Woods) as well as the final showdown between Rick’s group and the hospital group, but otherwise story development went nowhere.
With the Washington D.C. trip completely derailed, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) have no purpose. I hope they have something up their sleeves for these characters, because I think they are a great addition to the show. Having a new quest, other than survival, opened up so many possibilities and now that is gone. But that doesn’t mean there’s not more in store for these characters, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
So, what was cool and what wasn’t about Coda:
The genuinely emotional reaction to Beth’s death – This was well played by all, with each character reacting in their own unique way. It was hard to not feel a lump in the throat at Rick’s stunned look, Daryl’s sobs, or especially seeing Maggie collapse at the sight of her dead sister.
Beth gets tough, again – Dawn accused Beth of being a cop killer, as if self-defense means nothing, but as soon as Dawn’s in trouble – guess what? She calls on Beth to dispose of another bad seed officer.
The Morgan teaser bookend – Morgan appeared in a tag ending in the first episode of the season and now he’s back. Morgan made it all the way to the church where he appeared to have set up a shrine to his dead wife and son. I can’t wait to see where he will go from here, and if he will catch up with Rick. What a great tie-in to the first season and follow up from his appearance last season.
The not so cool:
Killing off interesting characters too quickly – The dynamic between Beth and Dawn, along with her indentured servitude at the hospital, was one of the most interesting elements on the show in a long time. I liked seeing some new characters that were not just evil freaks. Dawn was complex, at times showing signs of humanity and compassion, only to have it squashed by her desire for absolute control. I would have liked to have known more about her and what she was like before. Also, leave it to The Walking Dead to kill off Beth just when she got interesting.
Getting out of tough situations too easily – Easy might be a strong word, but so far this season Rick and the rest of the group have survived Terminus, the Terminus survivors, and the hospital without having to spend much time. I can’t help but feel the show is overcompensating for season two’s overstay at Hershel’s farm by moving the survivors through each new place without letting them linger. I would have liked to have seen some time with Carol working at the hospital, along with Beth, and how she would’ve dealt with that situation.
Why Beth? – Now that I’ve had some time to really think about the episode, I have to wonder what purpose Beth’s death served. I can’t help but think they were going for shock value here. After everything she had been through, and proven herself capable of, Beth deserved to live. But just like in real life, death is not fair and it can happen unexpectedly. I respect that aspect of it, but in the grand scheme of things I’m not sure Beth’s death best served the show. Let’s hope they do something with some of the characters that have been languishing without much of a story arc – Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Carl.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC in February, so we have a long wait to see if they will develop a solid story for the second half of the season.
Images: Gene Page/AMC