NEVER CHANGE THE DEAL
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
“Coda” took nearly all of the threads from Season 5 and brought them to a head in the midseason finale. Each episode of The Walking Dead this season shifts its focus on exactly who stars in that particular episode. “Coda” bounces around a little but very much centers on Rick.
Picking up where “Crossed” ended, Rick chases down Officer Bob as he runs from walkers. It was awesome to see Rick shift back into his sheriff persona throughout this episode. He has been a beacon of brutality recently, and it was good to shift that a little. Telling Bob to stop running by using the cruiser’s megaphone was a nice touch; it almost looked like Rick was having fun doing what he used to do as a sheriff. Right after that, Rick hits Bob with his car, gets out and shoots him while telling him to “shut up.” Nobody likes to get lectured, especially Rick.
There are two quick sidebar storylines that are just okay. My main problem with this episode is that Carl and Michonne let Father Gabriel back in the church. Michonne slung Judith on her back, grabbed an axe and started hacking away at the barricade that kept the church doors from being opened. That entire scene was ridiculous. Then, of course, the timing of Abraham’s team using the firetruck to kill the remaining walkers was more for story convenience than anything else.
The initial negotiation set up by Rick was an excellent scene. Rick acknowledging that he was a sheriff, speaking both of the officers names and controlling that entire situation was a flashback to the leadership that makes Rick so great in this show. He didn’t allow for many questions; he simply stated a series of facts, knowing how well organized the plan was. Not only was Rick covered by two rifles, but the officers being held captive were also under guard. The simple, but effective organization of that scene was very well done.
Alright, let’s talk about the final moments of the episode. The deal was to exchange two for two, but Dawn had to alter things, setting in motion the biggest shock of the episode. Beth’s death was tough due to the reactions from Daryl, Rick and Maggie. Rick held it together the best, tearfully offering the rest of the people at the hospital a place on his team. Seeing Daryl’s reaction was the hardest because of how long he spent trying to rescue Beth; he was the one that carried her out of the hospital (the same image that The Walking Dead’s Facebook page used to spoil the episode for East Coasters). Seeing Maggie fall apart was just as hard and really anchored the tone of “Coda.”
While “Coda” did have some missteps with the side plots, it hit it home where it counted. The most important moments of the episode helped bring Rick’s leadership qualities back to the forefront, which has been lacking in recent seasons. It will be interesting to see how the loss of Beth impacts each group member next year.
Did you see that coming? Did “The Walking Dead”’s Facebook page spoil that for you too? Sign off in the comments below.
85/100 – ‘Great’
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