CAUTION: Commence reading only if you are fully caught up with this TV series. Massive spoilers abound from here, so be wary!
Anyone else still feeling quite emotional over the death of the now much-beloved Beth Greene? I certainly still am a bit. After spending just over a season proving to us just how strong and brave she had become, she is killed off in a matter of seconds by the head of Grady Memorial Hospital (GMH), officer Dawn Lerner. Granted, her death had become quite predictable, and there were signs throughout last Sunday's mid-season finale ("Coda") that hinted at the possibility that Beth's time on the show was coming to an end. However, I felt like her death was rushed a bit too much. What do you think?
To begin with, allow me to set up the showdown (and terrible tragedy) that transpired at the hospital. Afterwards, you will get to watch the scene in question, but I highly suggest that you have a box of tissues ready once you get to the video.
Rick Grimes had one plan in mind which he believed was sure to get Beth and Carol safely out of Grady Memorial - storm the hospital with weapons in full force, kill anyone in sight that is not a part of his group, and then extract Beth and Carol out of there. Daryl and Tyreese, meanwhile, were in favor of a more lenient, less violent method of executing the rescue mission - a trade of hostages: officers Bob Lawson, Shepherd and Licari for Beth and Carol.
Immediately in the episode, a problem surfaced: Rick chased down a fleeing Bob Lawson, hit him in the back with his own police car, and then shot him dead. Now, there was a shortage of hostages on Rick's side, something that would have surely infuriated Dawn Lerner to the point of wanting to kill everyone even remotely associated with Mr. Grimes. However, she never found out what Rick had done; officers Shepherd and Licari agreed to concoct the lie that has become so common in the zombie apocalypse - Bob Lawson was merely overrun by the undead, and could not make it out alive.
With a plan set, Rick meets with two more officers from GMH to propose the trade of hostages. Later in "Coda," we see Rick and his group being escorted to the hallway in which Lerner and her group of officers are waiting. Right away, you can almost sense the tension building between both groups, and it is even more apparent on Lerner's facial expression. This is when you can hypothesize with more conviction that the plan would most probably not work. And it didn't, thanks to a conniving and selfish Lerner.
Here is the entire exchange (remember the box of tissues!):
And just like that, both Beth and Lerner are dead! Two headshots in less than ten seconds, seemingly.
Again, and while Beth's death was very significant and saddening, I think it was a bit rushed. It was as if the episode's writer, Angela Kang, decided to add it at the very last minute, in the hopes of amping up the suspense, perhaps. Also, the episode did not give us much time to mourn along with the characters, as it ended soon afterwards. On the other hand, the shockwaves of Beth's death will almost certainly be felt in a huge way when the show returns for the second half of its fifth season, as its promo implies.
Also, an argument could be made that Beth should not have even attempted to attack Lerner, even though she did it for Noah. In fact, Rick and the entire group could have walked away even when Lerner demanded that they give up Noah. She had no real leverage against them, and Rick and co. were armed and prepped for battle. But, Beth wanted to do away with Lerner, and Lerner most likely wanted to do away with Beth, and that's exactly what happened. It makes you wonder if Angela Kang killed off Beth merely to shock us. But nevertheless, the impact was heavily felt, and the ramifications of it will most likely grow from here. And besides, showrunner Scott Gimple is a master at killing off characters after he gives them huge, character-defining moments, so it is not uncommon.
Moreover, there are two important things to note: (1) this marks the second consecutive mid-season finale in which a member of the Greene family is killed. Hershel was murdered by the Governor in "Too Far Gone." And (2), Maggie is now the only remaining living member of said family. It was devastating to watch her reaction after she witnessed Daryl carrying the body of a lifeless Beth.
The Walking Dead will return February 8th.
Give "Coda" a grade:
Let me know in the comments section below why you all gave "Coda" that particular grade. Did the mid-season finale satisfy? Or, was it just underwhelming? Also, did you feel Beth's death was indeed rushed, and therefore perhaps unnecessary? Or, was it the right time for her to go?