Jul 30, 2017
The Walking Dead RECAP: Don't worry, AMC already spoiled it for everyone (S5:E8)
There’s been a lot of talk online about how the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead was a heartbreaker. People mentioned tears, described their shock, and said goodbye to Beth, a fictional character they shouldn’t have cared about until this very season. I know I didn’t.
I’m a heartless bastard, though. I’m also being a bit unfair to Beth because she’s been semi-important for half of two different seasons and she’s been around for three and a half. That’s more than Shane, Dale, Hershel, and Bob got. I liked Bob and Hershel. I did not like Beth.
It wasn’t Emily Kinney, no way. She did a fine job with the character and really started to sprout in this season; you can get that much from these recaps. I think my problem is that the shock was an intended reaction, something that goes against the very definition of shock.
You knew someone was going to bite it at the hospital. You kinda knew it wasn’t going to be a dog pile on Carol, a character who was exiled from the group and is still seeking resolution. Beth isn’t seeking anything and that sorta telegraphs things.
All of the Beth developments from this season were nice, and she was developing nicely as a character. But now it just feels like a slice of wasted time. Not as much as the first half of season two, but it is close.
That doesn’t mean all of the other stuff that happened was a waste. Just Beth. The Eugene stuff was excellent, the Gabriel stuff was fun, and the Morgan stuff will be splendid once we get that roaring down the road.
I think the biggest thing that’s an improvement this season over others is how we’re moving at a nice pace through our plot points. Slabtown could’ve lasted an entire season, just like the stay on the farm in season two. It would’ve gotten boring.
Instead, we’re blitzing along with murders galore, zombie attacks, and a multitude of character developments. It’s wonderful.
This episode did its job. It wrapped up everything effectively, even if I think the emotional impact for the audience was limited. The characters are going to feel it.
The episode picks up where we left off last week. Surprisingly, Sasha is not dead, she’s just stupid. Luckily, Pappy Rick is there to make things all better by running down Cop Bob with one of the police cruisers, a frontrunner for most badass scene of the season to this point. I love this new Badass Rick Grimes. It’s the guy we were supposed to get at the end of season two and had a small taste of before he started talking on broken telephones after Lori died.
Not only does he run him down, he blows him away as he begs for mercy. I love it.
Rick and his team are now struggling to find out how to get their people back from Slabtown, and it seems like Tyreese’s plan for a trade is back in the lead. It helps that the other two cops they’ve captured are easily persuaded by the gruesome murder of their friend. Also they hate Dawn.
Everybody hates Dawn. She’s a bloody stump to deal with back at Slabtown, and Beth is doing her best to grind her down. It’s a very weird relationship that is one part sympathetic and another part symbiotic. They need each other and use each other to get by in their environment, but also seem dead set on getting the other torn apart. It’s a weird chess match, most likely the kind Bobby Fischer would be a part of if he were still living. Crazy bastard.
The big revelation between these two is that Dawn knows that Beth killed Officer Gorman with the lollipop jar. Dawn covered it up for Beth and now, much like in prison, she owes a debt.
They make a hell of a team for a few moments, disposing of a troublesome cop that overhears their little secret conversation near the elevator shaft. It’s a cool little fight where Dawn shows off a little toughness; plus it really shows how fragile her leadership is at the hospital. She literally has to fight to keep control, like Bartertown. I’m pretty sure I just uncovered this as a quasi-remake of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and now I’m excited.
Gabriel is still on the run at the church. In his words, he just had to see what had happened. This led him to the school, at Gareth’s campground to be exact, where he decides to read some Bible passages and check out the rest of Dead Bob’s charred foot.
His panic at the sight riles up the nearby zombies and they bust their way out of the school, posthumously showing that Gareth was a shitty leader once again. The zombies chase Gabriel back to the church and all hell breaks loose. Michonne and Carl try to keep the monsters out, but it is useless.
Luckily Gabriel’s hole is still there and they all pull the old switcheroo on the zombies, locking them in the church while they stand safely outside. That’s where they stand until later in the episode, I assume because every zombie in Georgia is now locked inside of the church.
Back in Atlanta, Rick is ready to send his proposal to the other side. Daryl, Tyreese, and Sasha take up position on the roof to cover Rick while he meets with Dawn’s forces. They want a fair trade, no bloodshed. No one has to get hurt. It’s the sort of thing that gets said right before all hell breaks loose, meaning it is perfect television.
If things went off without any trouble, this would be a terrible episode.
The plot gets set and we’re all ready for a final meeting for the handoff. It takes place in a hallway that has no zombies in it despite earlier reports that the hospital was overrun and tough to enter and exit. Yet here’s Rick, just waltzing right in like he owns the place.
The trade off happens, but then Dawn throws a monkey in the wrench and demands that Noah return. “He’s my ward,” she says, like she’s fucking Batman. This doesn’t sit well with Rick, but Noah is alright with staying to keep the situation cool. Beth says goodbye, but then realizes that Dawn isn’t all too swell in the end.
She kinda knew that already, seeing as she hid some scissors in her cast on the way out of her room. So it was only a matter of time before someone had them jammed in their neck.
So Beth gets stabby, Dawn gets shooty, and then everyone instantly gains “oh fuck” type looks. It doesn’t look good for the hospital side in my eyes, especially after Daryl opens up on Dawn.
The thing is, they just wanted to be rid of her. That’s that. Rick’s group is sore over Beth, but decide to leave. There’s been enough bloodshed. We get a nice Superman man moment with Daryl as he exits the hospital and greets Maggie with her sister.
Oh, yeah, Maggie’s there now. Abraham managed to drive the fire truck into the door of the church to ensure the walkers stayed trapped inside. He then loaded everyone up and drove them to the hospital to meet up with Rick and tell him the bad news about Eugene’s cure. Easy as that.
We get one last meeting with Morgan as the final episode of 2014 closes out. He’s still on Rick’s trail, and I’m hoping he finds him before the season finale in the spring. It can’t be a cop out. It just can’t.