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Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 8, ‘Coda’: Can’t Go Back, Bob

Review: 'The Walking Dead' Season 5, Episode 8, 'Coda': Can't Go Back, Bob

Whose Episode Is It?

Since it’s the 2014 finale, the gang’s all here! But it’s
Beth’s episode, in more ways than one.

Achievement In Grossness

Rick’s drive-by evisceration of a particularly nasty zombie
takes the cake this week. Intestines usually do. But we’ve got more important
things to talk about!

How Far is Too Far?

Rick’s deterioration continues, as he runs down Officer Bob
and shoots him in the head, simply because the man wouldn’t stop running. The
rest of Team Rick’s story this episode is mostly pure plot, so, presumably, the
tensions between the Ricketeers about the extremes some members are willing to
go to is a slow-burn storyline that will extend into next year. Works for me!
Fortunately for everyone involved, the two remaining officers propose that
everyone tell Dawn that Officer Bob was eaten by zombies, so the deal can still
go forward. Officer Shepherd, in particular, seems to be on top of things.
That’s the sort of go-getting attitude that gets one randomly promoted! 

Tyreese does admit to Sasha that he was unwilling to kill
Martin, in an effort to convince her that her humanity towards Bob 2 wasn’t
weakness. Sasha in unconvinced, so if there’s a rift opening up within the
Ricketeers, they’ll likely be on opposite sides.

Man is the True Monster

A big chunk of this episode is dedicated to Beth and Dawn,
building to their climactic encounter. These scenes are all pretty excessively
long, in an attempt to give the final scene more heft, but they’re not very
effective. The duo winds up killing O’Donnell, yet another one of Dawn’s
mutinous officers, together, which seems to bond them a bit. But that’s all out
the window when Dawn overplays her hand and demands Noah back, along with her
officers. Beth stabs Dawn in the chest with some hospital scissors, and Dawn
responds by blowing Beth’s head off. It’s shocking, sure, but it’s also
confusing. Beth really thought she was going to kill Dawn by stabbing her in
the chest with those stubby scissors? Or was she deliberately sacrificing
herself to ensure that Dawn got killed and Noah escaped? It’s unclear and
unsatisfying.

Now that it’s over, the entire hospital storyline wound up
being pretty underdeveloped, since new characters seemed to pop out of the
woodwork when the story required them, like Beth’s elderly accomplice last
episode (who at least shows up here to get slapped around by O’Donnell, to show
that O’Donnell is mean). The story’s overall focus was on Dawn, which is fine
as far as that goes. But since Dawn’s story is so wrapped up in her tenuous
leadership, the show seemed to develop a ‘threat of the week,’ where Dawn had
to negotiate a different random officer who challenged her.

Wouldn’t it have been more effective to build a solid,
consistent threat to Dawn and have it play out over several episodes, rather
than the one-by-one set-up we wound up getting? It’s understandable that with
an ensemble this big, the show simply didn’t have time to develop the whole
microcosm of the hospital, but this storyline wound up feeling really
scattershot. Doctor Edwards had some decent development earlier this season,
but save for a couple of random lines, he’s not in this episode at all. Officer
Shepherd seems to assume command at the end, but it feels arbitrary, since she
was a complete non-entity until this episode. (I can’t even recall if she had
any lines before tonight.) Supposedly it doesn’t really matter because we won’t
be seeing the hospital folks again anytime soon, but it’s not particularly
satisfying. “It was just about her,” Shepherd says when it’s over,
indicating Dawn. Sadly, that’s true.

On the upside, Daryl’s grief is moving, since the material
with him and Beth last season was some of the best stuff the show’s done. Those
two had a great dynamic and I’m sorry they didn’t get any time together this
season. But so it goes on “The Walking Dead.”

This Week In Death

Beth is the big one, obviously, as well as Dawn. We also
lose Bob 2 and O’Donnell, but O’Donnell spent both his scenes making sinister
faces and shoved an old man, so presumably no one’s going to miss him.

Never Mind All That, What About Team GREATM?

They arrive just in time to save Carl, Michonne and Father
Gabriel from a horde of zombies, after Gabriel’s great escape backfires.
Gabriel winds up begging to be let back into his own church in a classic Ironic
Punishment, but Michonne and Carl do wind up saving him.

Turns out Gabriel had
to see just how bad the Termites were, and by finding Original Bob’s severed
and cooked leg, he gets his answer. If he still has issues with the Ricketeers,
he doesn’t express them, and he’s still with the group by episode’s end.
Welcome to the cast, Seth Gilliam! I would have welcomed you sooner, but I
figured you would be dead meat by now. Anyway, Team GREATM breaks it to the
others that Eugene was lying. Oh, and Michonne tells Maggie that Beth is alive
just in time for that to not be the case anymore. So, not the happiest reunion.

And Hey, More Morgan

Morgan’s still on the Ricketeers’ trail, in case you forgot.
See you in 2015, Morgan!

GRADE: B-

READ MORE: Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 7, ‘Crossed’: Fishing With GREATM

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