Norman Reedus wasn't selling "The Walking Dead" mid-season finale short when he said he cried while filming the episode. We're a blubbering mess, and we didn't just have to live through that! But in the interest of sharing our emotions as one big internet family, let's all group hug and run down the biggest, most shocking moments on "Coda."
Officer Rick Returns
Let's talk about that opening, shall we? Rick runs after Officer Bob, jumps in a police car, and runs Rick down. "Oh, s**t!" yells Bob, which is our feeling exactly. And then as Bob begs for his life, Rick tells him, "You can't go back, Bob."
Rick then executes him at gunpoint. This is, easily, not the Rick from the beginning of season one, or even the beginning of this season. And to say it's troubling is also to point out this was only the first few minutes of the episode. YIKES.
Bob's Leg Also Returns
The most surprising return of the season, Father Gabriel happens upon the former encampment of Gareth and the Terminus cannibals. And not only does Bob's maggoty leg return for a surprise cameo appearance, but the school window full of zombies that started to crack all those many episodes ago finally breaks open. This is called "Chekhov's window."
And in an "ironic" twist, Father Gabriel is trapped outside his church begging Michonne and Carl to let him in, just like all the parishioners he locked outside long ago. This is what we in the entertainment industry call "very, very subtle dramatic irony."
Of course this leads to Michonne unleashing the katana, which is nice -- and then the church gets totally lost, so Carl, Michonne, Gabriel, and the doll posing as Judith make their way out of Gabriel's escape hole (technical term)... With Father Gabriel finally using that machete from several episodes back. This is what's called "Chekhov's machete."
Where's The Fire?
Just as CMG (Carl/Michonne/Gabriel) are wondering what they're going to do about the walkers about to break out of the church, up pulls GREATM in their firetruck. Abraham pulls off a great parking job, blocking the church door, and then everyone fills everyone else in on their plotlines - including Maggie finding out about where Beth has been.
Maggie is happy, which is bad news for one of them, because nobody gets to be happy on this show for longer than a commercial break.
Also, if this show was just Abraham slamming firetrucks into things, we'd be happy campers.
Confronted by one of her fellow officers, Dawn pulls her gun, saying, "You're wrong. I'm nothing like Hanson." Which is accurate, because Hanson is a pop-band made up of three brothers, but we digress (and yes, we know she's talking about her former mentor). The leader of Grady, who has been on the edge since we met her, officially breaks...
Or maybe she stands up, refusing to take the lies and rape in the interest of "order."
Either way, things get very bad as the two cops have a bloody fight, ending with Beth knocking the offending officer down the elevator shaft of doom. "Thank you," Dawn says. And it's clear she's thanking Beth not just for knocking the officer down and saving her life, but also for giving her the courage to stand up to the misogyny she's been supporting for so long.
It's like she's a post-apocalyptic Emma Watson!
The Rick Stands Alone
Rick is approached by two Grady officers and tells them he'll make an exchange, Licari and Shepherd for Beth and Carol. "Where are your people?" one of the officers asks, just as Sasha sharp-shoots a walker from the distance. "They're close," Rick says.
Like Rick point-blank killing Lambsen in the opening scene, this careful planning and control of the situation is a far cry from the terrified reacting the group has been doing for five years... And frankly? It's a little terrifying.
In a heated exchange in the halls of Grady Memorial, Rick and company enter from one end of a hallway with their hostages in tow, while the Grady officers bring Beth and Carol. Initially, the all holster their weapons, sending over Licari for Carol.
And then Dawn brings over Beth, saying, "I'm glad we could work things out." "Yeah," growls Rick... And then Dawn screws things up by demanding Noah back. Beth gives Noah a goodbye hug, to which Dawn says, "I knew you'd be back."
"I get it now," Beth says, stabbing Dawn in the chest... As Dawn shoots Beth through the head.
Without hesitation, Daryl shoots Dawn in the head right back, and then they all stand down, as Shepherd explains that it was all about Dawn.
Shepherd tells Rick they can stay, and Rick makes the same offer to the Grady group, barely holding it together.
The Greene Death
Maggie's group arrives just as the rest of the group exits, Daryl cradling the dead body of Beth. Maggie collapses, the wreckage of Atlanta in the background. No words.
Morgan Returns (Again)
...And then as a last teaser, Morgan returns, just like he did in the post-credits scene of the season premiere, showing up at Gareth's school, then at the church. He prays, and then laughs. And then he finds Abraham's map, written to Rick Grimes. He's close, now.
What did you think of "Coda?" What do you want to see when the season returns in February?