The Walking Dead: Coda

Thoughts on “Coda” & The Walking Dead Midseason Finale

(Here be spoilers. You may also wish to avoid Tumblr for a while.)

The Walking Dead mid-season finale starts on a high note. Officer Bob desperately attempts to free himself from his restraints as a pair of disembodied legs run in what we can assume is his general direction.

Zombies lurch in from the side, because if it’s one thing The Walking Dead excels at it’s reminding us that this is a world full of zombies. Increasingly disgusting zombies, as a (frankly terrible) shot of a CGI emaciated zombie losing his CGI guts illustrates. Can they still survive without internal organs? Is it possible for the zombies in TWD to starve into non-existence? Does eating flesh really sustain them in any capacity? Clearly they’re just rotting away into nothingness. All questions we may never know the answer to.

It’s all very choppy, and very tense, and the whole ordeal ends with Rick ramming into Officer Bob with a police car. This is probably a metaphor somehow, but I try not to think too deeply into The Walking Dead. It’s just not one of those shows.

The Walking Dead: "Coda"

For much of the episode, we endure slow-moving discussion between Rick and crew about their next steps, and some bizarre attempts at giving Dawn and Beth some kind of strained kinship. Oh, and some stuff with zombies and Gabriel and Michonne being glorious and Maggie remembering she has a sister. None of it was particularly captivating.

And then we have the ending, which made me sad. To be honest, at first I didn’t think what had happened happened, it was all so fast. And then I was sad. And then as I thought further about it, I felt cheated. Robbed of a perfectly good character who was shaping up to have interest and purpose. Unfortunately, The Walking Dead seems to believe we can only handle one weakling-turned-strong-woman arc, and that’s going to be badass supreme Carol, who is up and walking at the end of the episode despite having been hit by a car just a scant two episodes prior.

The twist also made the past few episodes feel entirely useless. All that planning, all that work, all for naught. Perhaps Beth’s death felt less weighty than it could have, like less of a conclusion. But then again, this is a midseason finale.

That said, this is a middling episode in a half-season that has been really quite good. Stellar by Dead standards, even, with some truly fantastic episodes (any one that focuses heavily on Carol. Or Daryl. Or both! I call them Dacaryl). It feels as if the show has been focusing on all the aspects of The Walking Dead that made the good episodes good — brilliant characters, naturalistic acting, compelling drama, dead things everywhere you turn.

I love The Walking Dead. It is one of the few television shows I watch every week it’s on — alongside American Horror Story, which is also a flawed show that isn’t always good. The twist at the end of this episode felt senseless, it made the episodes preceding it feel meaningless, but this season thus far has been one of the better ones.

Parting thoughts:
  • That CGI zombie losing his CGI guts really was bad, though.
  • Gabriel was an idiot, as per usual. I legitimately thought he would be written off as hobbling into the distance and we would never see him again. (Not that he’s a bad character. But it’s hard to care about someone that stupid who is obviously going to get killed, or get someone else killed.)
  • Obviously fake baby is obviously fake.