The Walking Dead, "Coda"

The Walking Dead, "Coda"

This has been an interesting and, for the most part, satisfying first half of the fifth season of The Walking Dead. It’s still kind of bizarre to me, this whole mid-season finale thing. It’s really a finale, is it? It’s the midpoint of the season. At the midpoint of a story, the protagonist usually experiences either a false triumph or a false defeat. In this episode, we saw a bit of both, though I’m leaning toward triumph because once again our zeroes are together and once again they have bitch slapped another mini-society who is just trying to make it in the harsh world of the Zombpocalypse. And then the reversal may be that the hospital cop society rises up against our zeroes again. Or not. Because I feel like we’re never going to see these people again.

I’m seeing a lot of very strong opinions about Dawn, in particular. Because I didn’t recap that first episode where we met her, maybe I wasn’t paying the same attention I normally would to what her deal was, maybe it’s because I kind of thought that episode was a one-off and we wouldn’t see Dawn or Beth again for a while, I never really paid her much heed. I always saw Dawn as The Governor Lite, holding on to the strings of her society, and barely, and minus the charm, creativity, or crazy of that awesome dude with the eyepatch and the zombie aquariums.

I think part of the problem with this season is that there were too many villains. Don’t get me wrong, this has been a very watchable, exciting season of The Walking Dead so far. The pace has been steady. The character work has been good. I’m loving Father Gabriel Carver. I liked the Bob stuff. That first episode where Carol took down Terminus was some of the best work The Walking Dead has ever done.

But maybe it was too much?

Maybe there were too many villains and not enough time spent on or with any of them? Gareth and that dude Tyreese was supposed to kill (Oh, yeah. Martin. Thanks, Tyreese) were very villainous. They were innovative and scary and out for vengeance. The showdown with them should’ve been the mid-season finale. They should’ve hung around for all eight episodes. I wanted more of the cannibals and more of Dawn and friends.

Maybe that’s whiny. Wah, show! You gave me too many good villains this season; I want to complain about it. But that’s the thing. Good villains are hard to come by. They’re a thing of beauty. Remember how excited we all were about The Governor and then the show went and ruined him by putting him in close proximity with that quality syphon, Andrea? The Walking Dead shouldn’t have rushed to dispose of two above average villains in such a short time period. We should’ve spent the bulk of these episodes tussling with the cannibals (while doing some good character work and the whole going to D.C. thing), and then introduced us bit by bit to Dawn and friends. I don’t know what the writers have planned for the second half, because there is nothing to get excited about yet. Sure, Morgan’s out and about and the gang’s all back together, but they were back together in the beginning of the season too. Where’s the big bad? Where’s the impending doom? If all it takes is a glower from Rick and a strategically placed arrow from Carol to take down the villains, were they ever really that good to begin with?

But I feel like all this is moot, complaining about a bad guy (Dawn) who’s now dead and whose death, it appears, will have no lasting effect on the show (other than that whole Beth’s dead thing, but we already figured her for dead – hell, even Maggie did — so let’s not get all broken up about it). I’m not sure if we’ll ever see any of the hospital cops again, though maybe a spinoff with hipster doctor would be nice.

Other stuff:

  1. I was worried before the episode that Rick would get dead. I knew the writers would have to kill off somebody in this episode and, kids, someday it’s going to be Sheriff Rick. But thankfully that day wasn’t today, because Rick has a whole lot more BAMF in him and we’re not ready to say goodbye. His “Shut up” after killing New Bob was a thing of beauty. I like this crazy, rogue cop Rick. More please!
  2. Basically, Fr. Carver, your leaving the church was pointless and stupid and just brought you back to Michonne and Carl anyway and now you’ve forced everyone back on the road you moron.
  3. The whole Dawn and Beth thing, I don’t know. Dawn always seemed so weak to me anyway, and why are we still talking about her? She’s dead, they’re both dead, and nothing matters.
  4. Never put an open elevator shaft int he beginning of a scene unless you plan to use it by the end.
  5. Sad Daryl is sad.

What did you think?

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