THE WALKING DEAD 5.08 ‘Coda’ Recap

THE WALKING DEAD Season 5 Episode 8

Episode Title: “Coda”

Writer: Angela Kang

Director: Ernest Dickerson

Previously on “The Walking Dead”:

Episode 5.07 “Crossed”


“The Walking Dead” may finally have a contender for the weakest season or mid-season finale with “Coda.” Until now, the CDC spectacle at the end of the first season has generally been recognized as one of the biggest creative missteps of “The Walking Dead.” Even series creator Robert Kirkman has recently expressed his regrets about that storyline.

“Coda” brings to a close the half season long arc of Beth’s(Emily Kinney) captivity in the corrupt hospital. But the payoff isn’t necessarily worth the time that the series has invested in it.

The Rundown

 Walking Dead 508 The Rundown

After knocking Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) out, officer Bob Lamson (Maximiliano Hernández) runs through the walker infested streets of Atlanta as he tries to free his hands. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) pursues Lamson with a cop car… and when Lamson refuses to stop running, Rick hits him with the car.

Lamson pleads for his life, and tells Rick that he’s been seriously injured. But Rick is clearly pissed off that the one officer he started to trust betrayed him. So he shoots Lamson dead in the street. This is similar to a moment in The Walking Dead comic book series in which Rick ran down someone. But the murder seemed justified in the comic, while Rick’s actions here are more questionable.

The other two officers from the hospital are easily convinced to go along with Rick’s story that the walkers killed Lamson because they acknowledge that Dawn (Christine Woods) wouldn’t make a deal for their lives if she knew what really happened.

Church Walkers

Walking Dead 508 Church Walkers 

Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) makes his way to the school where the Terminus survivors made a meal out of Bob’s leg. Although Gabriel is horrified, he ends up leading a pack of walkers back to his church and he begs Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) to let him inside. This is obviously a parallel to the way that Gabriel didn’t open the church doors for his followers when the zombie apocalypse happened.

Fortunately for Gabriel, Michonne and Carl are more generous than he was. They get him inside, but the church is overrun by walkers. Inspired by their actions, Gabriel is the last one out of the church as he briefly holds the walkers at bay. However, their temporary measure of locking the walkers in the church soon fails.

Conveniently enough, that’s the exact moment that Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita (Christian Serratos), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) return to the church with a badly injured Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Michonne tells Maggie that the rest of the group has found Beth in Atlanta and they hop on the fire engine to go help them.

Take The Shaft

Walking Dead 508 Take The Shaft 

Inside the hospital, Dawn confronts Beth about the death of one of her officers. Dawn calls Beth a cop killer and says that she’s been covering for her. Officer O’Donnell (Ricky Wayne) overhears everything and he threatens to expose Dawn. So, Dawn pulls a gun on O’Donnell and a fight ensues.

Although O’Donnell physically outmatches Dawn, Beth proves to be the deciding factor when she distracts him and pushes him down the elevator shaft. Later, Beth accuses Dawn of letting her do the dirty work of killing the threats to her power. In turn, Dawn tells Beth that she knows about her connection to Carol (Melissa McBride), shortly before Carol starts to wake up from her accident.

Deal or No Deal

Walking Dead 508 Deal 

With his people in place as snipers, Rick approaches two of Dawn’s other officers and tells them that he wants to trade his captives for Beth and Carol. Although the officers are initially skeptical, they eventually agree to start putting the deal in motion.

Meanwhile, the show finally gets around to letting Tyreese (Chad Coleman) confess that he didn’t kill Martin (Chris Coy), the Terminus survivor who threatened baby Judith and later ate part of Bob’s leg. But the moment doesn’t carry a lot of dramatic weight, considering that Martin has been dead for five episodes and his survival didn’t have major consequences. Bob still would have died from the walker bite regardless of what Tyreese did.

Hugging With Scissors

 Walking Dead 508 Hugging

The handoff at the hospital goes surprisingly smoothly. Carol and Beth are returned to the group and Rick releases Dawn’s officers. However, Dawn tries to change the deal by forcing them to hand over Noah (Tyler James Williams) as well. Rick refuses, but Noah agrees to it in order to avoid a shootout.

Angered by Dawn’s actions and hoping to spare her friend, Beth stabs Dawn with a pair of surgical scissors and gets a bullet through her head. Daryl angrily executes Dawn moments later, but no one else in the hospital wants a fight. They even offer to let Rick’s group stay, but he refuses and offers to let them come with him. Only Noah seems to agree.

Outside the hospital, the second group of survivors pulls up in the firetruck just in time to see Rick’s group emerge. Maggie breaks down and wails as she sees Daryl carrying her sister’s body.

Catching Up With Mr. Jones

Walking Dead 508 Mr Jones 

In a lengthy post-credits scene, Morgan Jones (Lennie James) makes his second appearance this season as he silently makes his way through the world. Morgan comes across the now abandoned church and he offers a prayer before noticing Abraham’s map to Washington D.C. with a personal message for Rick.

This is a really lengthy setup to bring Morgan and Rick back together for the first time since the third season of “The Walking Dead.” And I welcome the return of James since he’s one of the best actors to appear on the show. But it would be darkly funny if Morgan expired right before catching up with Rick’s group.

A few scattered moments of promise couldn’t save “Coda” from being a sluggish midseason finale without much dramatic impact. Norman Reedus can make as many mopey faces as he wants, It doesn’t change the fact that Beth’s death was a very sloppy sequence that seemed pointless and rushed. The episode’s justification of Beth’s murder attempt was also unconvincing, as Dawn was by far the lesser evil to her raping and thieving officers.

It took three episodes for Rick’s group to eliminate the cannibalistic Terminus survivors…. and five episodes to deal with Beth’s plotline at the hospital. That was the wrong choice.

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