The Walking Dead - Season 5, Episode 8: “Coda" TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee and Daniel Benson
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Written by Angela Kang
2014, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on November 30th, 2014
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese Williams
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa
Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler
Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes
Christine Woods as Officer Dawn Lerner
“There is a God in Heaven, and he has been listening...however, whose heart didn’t hurt a little when Daryl cried. And Maggie can go fuck herself.”
Warning! There are spoilers in this discussion!
Steve: I’ve mentioned in a prior recap that my sister sends me her thoughts via text after she watches The Walking Dead, and that above is the most recent. I couldn’t have said it better. While the majority of this episode, “Coda”, was unmotivated, the last five minutes were pretty powerful, regardless of your feelings for Beth. I know you have no love for her either way, but you can’t deny that her demise was rather jarring.
Dan: Or rather it would have been if the collective dumbfuckery of the internet hadn’t spoiled it for anyone who didn’t watch the very first broadcast of the episode. And I, of course, include AMC itself in that. Seriously, I’ve never felt so cheated since I read the twist to The Sixth Sense in a film magazine before I saw the movie. To have the emotional impact of that scene removed by careless social media, then a wave of outcry that further exposed Beth’s end, made what should have been a death on the level of Herschel’s into a mundane inevitability. And come on, Beth, you bring a small pair of nail scissors to a gunfight and expect it won’t end badly?
Steve: I know, right! Listen, if you can’t wait for at least the west coast airing of a TV show before spoiling it on Facebook or Twitter, you are an asshole. Period. Don’t give me that “well don’t look at social media before you see it” bullshit. You are being a douche to your fellow fans, no two ways about it.
Dan: Even knowing the end was coming and not being a huge fan of Beth, the scene did pack an emotional punch. Not just from Daryl, who was obviously most affected, but the shock on Rick’s face when it happened. I’m almost worried about Rick’s turn to the dark side now, though; his look was one of a man who thought that it was too much. I hope he doesn’t return to Dalai Lama Rick in the next half of the season.
Steve: I’m glad you mention the effect Beth’s death had on Daryl and not Maggie. Honestly, did you even buy here faux grief for one second? I literally laughed out loud when Michonne told her that Beth was alive and the group was trying to save her. At this point, a more realistic reaction from Maggie should have been, “Beth who?”
Steve: And speaking of Rick, damn Dan. If he keeps on his path of mass destruction, I will be on Team Rick by the end of the season. I promise you. I just adore New Rick. And each week he’s getting darker. The character is dancing this fine line between someone who no longer takes shit and someone who has lost their mind, and I am loving it because so far it’s been the former. This is everything I’ve always wanted Rick to be.
Dan: The other aspect that set this showdown back is that there hasn’t been enough time to establish Dawn as a truly detestable foe. We had The Governor for what? Two seasons? His evil actions and personality were ramped up over a long period of time, culminating in possibly one of the most exciting episodes we’ve seen when he took on the prison group. The double whammy of him beheading Herschel and then his own death at the hands of Michonne was such a fantastic note to break that season.
Steve: Plus they played Dawn fast and loose, at times being crazy and heartless while others being quite reasonable. The character was all over the place, and you never really hated her enough to care whether she lived or died. She was just...there.
I will say this, though, as brutal as Beth’s death was, I still don’t get the social media reaction of “No one is safe on The Walking Dead!” Are they watching the same show as I am? I can give you a list of people who are safe. While Beth’s demise was certainly tragic, and as much as I liked her, even I will admit she was never fully developed as a main player. Can we please stop acting as if these show runners will kill off anyone? Because they won’t.
Dan: You’re so right. It’s easy to see who the A and B cast is. If you’re in the A cast, you’re safe, if you’ve got a B on your script then you can be killed off at any moment – or more likely as a mid or end season cliffhanger. It’s so obvious who’s in each group. What I do find interesting about this divide though is that I’m really feeling that Glenn and Maggie might have been shunted into the Bs. Truly, their characters haven’t been worth anything this season, I’m writing this and trying to remember anything memorable that either has done.
Steve: Excellent, excellent observation. Glenn and Maggie have done virtually nothing since when? Prior to the prison break? I honestly can’t remember anything of importance either has done. The two are definitely on team B at this point.
Dan: And what of Father Gabriel this episode? It’s like he’s this huge fuck-up train that just wants to charge through everything that the group works for and leave it in tatters. He escapes from the church, goes out on a wander, leads walkers back to the church through the front door, escapes again with the others via his secret route, then they close up their sanctuary leaving themselves homeless. I just wanted Carl to run to him and say “Nice one, dumbass” when they were stood outside watching the walkers through the door.
Steve: You know, I’ve had a problem with trying to figure out what the point of Father Gabriel’s character was until just now. Here on out – or at least until he has a purpose on the show – I will refer to him as New Carl. Because if we have a New Rick, we’ll need a New Carl. And, as you said, he pretty much fits the bill.
Dan: And then when that firetruck flies in and blocks the door? That scene right there just needed The A-Team theme tune played over it to cap off its ridiculousness.
Steve: If I had video editing skills, I would be all over that. Outside of the first two episodes, that scene with that music would be the highlight of this lackluster season...
Steve: And with that one statement, dear reader, an idea was born. We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed making it.
Dan: I love it when a plan comes together.
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