So far, season 5 of The Walking Dead has been a little bizarre. The premiere ended the Terminus storyline almost before it began, “Four Walls and a Roof” was disturbing in multiple ways, and the most recent episodes can only be described as having slow character development. Unlike almost every other episode until now, there haven’t been many walkers, but there has been a lot of dialog about personal feelings and emotions. It’s not really what we’ve come to expect when we tune into a show that operates in a zombie apocalypse.
That all changed this week with the mid-season finale when everyone came back together for the memorable conclusion to several different storylines. From beginning to end, “Coda” was filled with tension brought on by personal relationships, undead antics, and really bad decisions by several characters. Of course, the writers also made sure to leave us with plenty of questions to ensure our devotion when the show returns on February 8, 2015.
The previous episode, “Crossed”, ended with Officer Lamson knocking Sasha out and making a run for it. This week’s begins with him trying to remove his restraints while running away and trying not to get eaten. In the first of many bad decisions made during the episode, he refuses to stop when he’s told to and Rick again shows exactly how far he will go to keep his people safe. When Lamson says, “I don’t know you, but I think I’m getting the idea. You’ve been out here too long,” Rick’s response is definitely a confirmation.
While Rick and company are getting their hostages back in line, Beth and Carol are waiting patiently to be rescued. Well, maybe not. Beth has developed a delightfully snarky attitude and seems to take every opportunity to let Dawn know exactly what she thinks of her. With statements like “This is who you are and what this place is until the end,” Beth makes sure that Dawn knows where she stands and that she’s just waiting for an opportunity to get out. It seems like Dawn is trying to win her over (instead of randomly smacking her around), but her past actions her seem like she’s got an agenda.
Last week, Father Gabriel crawled out of the church through his office floor after deciding he didn’t want to live in what the world had become. This week, we find him taking a stroll through town in what appears to be a trip down memory lane. Along the way, he finds Bob’s leg and a school full of walkers, which he is kind enough to lead back to the church. While calling for help, he says, “Don’t leave me out here. Let me live with it,” showing that it may not be what the world has become that scares him, but what he himself is capable of. On a side note, I was interested to see that organ pipes could be used as a defensive weapon when under attack by the undead.
In the end, the hostage exchange finally takes place and Carol and Beth are free to go. Despite some pretty major trust issues, things go smoothly, and Rick’s group is ready move out until Dawn has to prove she’s the boss and the situation goes downhill in a major way. Throughout her time at the hospital, Beth has maintained that people shouldn’t change who they are just because the world has changed. In her final conversation with Dawn, Beth lets go of that conviction and attacks. The end result is two casualties in a situation that could have been resolved without any.
In one scene, Tyreese says, “What happened to both of us? Maybe it’s ’cause we’re still the same… And maybe that’s good.” Sasha replies, “You’re still the same and that is good. I don’t think I can be. Not anymore.” The conversation sums up what the first eight episodes of season 5 have been about, and it’s a question that still hasn’t been answered.
Language – Some cursing (b****, s***, d***, a**, f***)
Violence – There is a lot of violence, including several close-up deaths. The usual undead killing is present and some of it happens inside of a church.
Nudity – No sexual content, but some of the walkers are nude.
The Bottom Line
This was an amazing episode with the perfect mix of action and emotion. Quite possibly the best so far in season 5!