Well, it’s clear that ‘Coda’ wasn’t the episode I was expecting. Bob’s escape ended in failure not a gunfight, and while the Atlanta arc closed up, nothing really took its place. Yet I’m thrilled to be proven wrong, as we got a great episode for it.
The opening scenes as Rick dealt with Bob, showed him in his element – firm, but ultimately fair. He gave Bob a second chance – to stop running – but there was to be no third chance. Somehow, despite the brutality of this world, seeing Rick break Bobs back with the car was nasty. This scene also played with the growing comparisons between Rick and Shane – mirroring to a point Shane’s betrayal of Otis back at the farm. But whereas Shane had simply left Otis to be devoured – not a nice fate – Rick had no interest in causing Bob any pain – he just delivered the sentence.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta arc built up well throughout. It was odd that Dawn seemed to be a constant contradiction, going from empathetic, to resolute, to emotional – yet perhaps this was intended, to show how she was truly losing her grip. Beth also felt slightly erratic, though Emily Kinney did a good job of handling uneven material, as the character jumped between trusting and doubting Dawn. More on this arc at the end though.
The other plotlines were handled strangely this week, even if they featured key and welcome developments. Father Gabriel’s excuse as to his temporary departure made little sense – surely the group trip to the food bank opened his eyes to the reality of the world – and neither did the way that Michonne and Carl seemed to just accept it. The fact that he seems to have acknowledged his place in the world now might make Gabriel a better character herein, so at least there’s that.
As for the sudden reappearance of Abraham and co., it wasn’t the convenience of their arrival that got me so much as the fact that they’re back at all. Last time we saw them they weren’t moving, and it would at least have been nice to catch them on the journey back to the status quo. Again, the fact that the group is back together again is a plus, but the way it was achieved, less so.
So, to that ending. Just from the way the exchange sequence played out, you could tell that something was going to happen. It was just too simple. And then Beth tried to use the scissors… It was certainly sad to see Beth go like that, but all the same, both her and Dawn had it coming. Dawn had no need to demand Noah back post-exchange, and what did Beth think would happen if she tried to stab Dawn? While the effect it had on Maggie was heart breaking, you can’t help but feel that Beth’s death – much like T-Dog’s – meant more than much of her screen time in life.
So where do we go from here? It’s rare that there isn’t some idea of the next journey, but here we are, heading into the mid-season break really up in the air. Each ‘subgroup’ has lost something – from the hope of Washington being extinguished, to having to abandon the church, to the death of Beth. Seeing exactly how everyone is coping should be interesting when we return next year. See you then.