Warning: Huge Walking Dead spoilers for the mid-season finale "Coda" coming up, proceed at your own risk.
After a long wait, and several very tame (by [The Walking Dead](series:201193) standards) episodes, the mid-season finale has finally aired, and the first half of Season 5 has been wrapped up quite nicely.
The episode started out with three different groups but ended, for the first time in the entirety of Season 5, with everyone finally reunited in the parking lot of the hospital. Unfortunately, the reunion was marred with sadness by the death of Beth Greene, which seems to cement the fact that a member of the Greene family must be sacrificed at each Walking Dead mid-season finale.
There was a lot to digest in this action-packed and emotionally fueled episode (ok, ok, I admit it, I cried), so let's crack into the five things you (possibly) missed in 'Coda.'
1. The episode name ('Coda') was significant
1. Music. a more or less independent passage, at the end of a composition, introduced to bring it to a satisfactory close.
2. Anything that serves as a concluding part.
It's definitely no coincidence that the episode in which Beth (the most musical member of the group) dies is named 'Coda.' It's a pretty nice nod to the fact that her 'song' has reached its end, but it was also a sign of many other things in Season 5 coming to an end: Any chance of Father Gabriel's church being a new sanctuary, the group being a democracy (the Ricktatorship is in full force now), as well as any notion that there could have been a cure.
2. The past was all over Father Gabriel
When we last left Father Gabriel he was limping for his life out in the woods. 'Coda' picked up with him outside the school where we last saw Gareth and the Hunters. Gabriel found some personal items from the now dead Termites, including a bible which once belonged to Gareth's mother, Mary. It was after noticing her bible that he saw the maggoty remains of Bob's charcoaled leg, and something in him seemed to change.
It was at this point that the glass doors and windows at the school finally broke (five episodes after Gareth promised Bob they would), and Gabriel limped back to the church, begging for Michonne and Carl to let him in.
The scene of him begging to be let in was particularly ironic, given that Father Gabriel's big secret was that he had locked his parishioners outside the church when the outbreak first began. After yelling to Carl and Michonne, "I had to see it, I know now, let me live with it," (probably referring to the savagery of the Hunters and Bob's roasted leg), that Michonne was able to break down the door and let him in, before they fled out the back door.
3. Dark Rick is here and things might be hard for him in the ASZ
Rick went full blown dark in this episode. Right from the start he chased down a still plasticuffed Lamson, and hit him with the police car, not unlike what happened to Carol.
With the injured Lamson on the ground, Rick insisted, "It didn't have to be like this, you just had to stop," though this was followed up with Rick meaningfully stating, "you can't go back, Bob." Lamson manages to tell Rick that, "he's been out here too long," before he's shot dead and Rick simply tells his dead body to "shut up."
Lamson's death really signifies that Rick is out to survive, no matter what the cost, and he has no interest in compromise. Despite being told last episode that Lamson was one of the good guys, (something which was repeated again after he died), and seeing the picture of him with his son stuck inside the police car, he was out for blood no matter what.
Rick's loss of humanity will probably be a big story arc in the second half of Season 5. With the likelihood of the gang reaching the Alexandria Safe-Zone (a walled community complete with electricity), Rick will no doubt find it very difficult to adapt to life there now that he seems to have done a complete 180 compared to who he was at the start of the series - a fact noted by the switch of roles since episode 1 when it was Rick, in his sheriffs uniform, being shot by a civilian.
4. Beth's death was foreshadowed
The horribly sad image of Daryl carrying Beth's dead body out of the hospital was foreshadowed by the episode focused around Daryl and Carol, "Consumed." Daryl burned the shrouded body of the child walker at the temporary housing unit, with Daryl carrying Beth in a very similar manner in "Coda."
This was also a nod to episode 13 of Season 4, when Daryl carried an injured Beth, wearing the same clothes that she had on when she died, to a house after she got her foot stuck in an animal trap. Beth's words from episode 12 of Season 4 also came back around, when she told Daryl, "you're gonna miss me so bad when I'm gone, Daryl Dixon."
5. Morgan and the symbols made a return
After not seeing any new mentions of the mysterious tree carvings since "Four Walls and a Roof," they were back with a vengeance in "Coda."
We first saw one, the sideways 'L,' when Father Gabriel limped back through the forest toward the church, though he seemed not to notice the mark at all. It wasn't until we saw Morgan, making his first reappearance since episode 1 of Season 5, that we saw him acknowledge both the symbol of a circle with a cross through it, and the one of a sideways 'L.'
The sideways 'L' mark seemed to lead him directly to the church where he found the map Abraham had left for Rick, bringing him one step closer to the group.
Even though it seemed like some time had passed between the group leaving the church and Morgan finding it, and the map, it's still a good sign that he's on the trail. Surely we'll see him get more screen time in the second half of the season.
Bonus: A tip of the hat to the first episode
The scene when Michonne, Carl, Judith, and Gabriel escape the church was a great nod to Season 1 episode 1, when Rick finds the cafeteria door being held shut and the hands of the walkers reaching out from it. Much like Rick at the time, Gabriel is finally beginning to realize what this new world is like.
What did you think about the mid-season finale?