Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Questions, acceptance, and getting riled up by Episode “Coda” of The Walking Dead.

Questions, acceptance, and getting riled up by Episode “Coda” of The Walking Dead.
by rick olivares

If you have been following The Walking Dead – both the comic book and the television series – then you should be inured to all the death. However, it is impossible to be calloused by the body count. You continuously find yourself anguished or even disturbed as one member of the beloved cast kicks the television bucket.

Let’s recap the first half of Season 5: the intrepid band of survivors led by Rick Grimes took care of the cannibals of the Terminus; linked up with the disturbed and suspicious Father Gabriel; split up with one group headed for Washington only to find out the brutal truth that Eugene lied to them while the other headed to Atlanta to free Beth; after a prisoner exchange that goes wrong, Beth is killed.

I’ve long accepted that there will be always changes in the cast after all they are supposedly living during the zombie apocalypse. Losing Beth isn’t as devastating as when Dale and Hershel perished because those two were like the emotional centers for the cast. It isn’t like it was for Shane, the Governor, or Gareth because they had it coming. It’s more like T-Dog’s death or even Lori’s, you didn’t see it coming. But unlike T-Dog or even the irritating Lori, Beth was someone who went from being a nobody to an extremely likeable character. Her television death seemed so clumsily written and executed that it didn’t make any sense other than to shock the audience.

After the prisoner swap, Dawn demands that Noah be returned the fold. Rick declines and it seems that it will end up in a bloodbath after all. Noah says its okay. Shockingly because he wanted out. Perhaps he knew that Dawn wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Beth embraces Noah then Dawn after which she stabs her with a pair of scissors. Why on earth she didn’t go for the jugular instead of the shoulders where Dawn’s got protective gear is beyond me. She got her brains blown out and Darryl responds with a bullet to Dawn’s head.

It isn’t like Beth didn’t know that Dawn could be nasty. She ventured that he took down her mentor Captain Hanson because “he lost his way.” Ditto for Officer O’Donnell (well, Beth pushed him down the elevator shaft upon the prodding of Dawn but you get the idea).

Now all of a sudden, Carol is conscious and she doesn’t say a word. Not one? Not even when she sees Beth?

While “Coda” answered two questions (such as when will Abraham’s group reunite with Rick’s and the fate of Beth), we are still left with two more: when Fr. Gabriel will get his world together and who puts up those signs on trees that Morgan follows? Does Morgan have to look at every tree? It seems he is on the trail of Rick and company.

To be honest, I was never a fan of zombie flicks until Danny Boyle’s excellent 28 Days Later that gave us the running undead in June of 2002. More than a year later, Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore debuted their black and white comic under Image Comics zombies zoomed back to prominence. The Walking Dead continued Boyle’s work where the true enemy was the living and how best to survive a world gone mad.

At the heart of AMC’s hit television series is how Rick Grimes’ band of survivors tries to retain their humanity when everything else has changed. From survival to the fittest to saving the world to not trusting anyone – it makes for interesting and intriguing watching. Really. What will one do in those situations? That what makes it riveting.

Who’s left?

From the group that Rick joined, there’s Carl, Glenn, Daryl, Carol, and Judith. From the farm, it’s now only Maggie. From the Woodbury/prison storyline, there’s Michonne, Tyreese and Sasha. From the carryovers from the Governor’s last camp – Tara. Pickups on the road to the Terminus – Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene. From the woods, Fr. Gabriel, and the hospital, Noah.

And from the very first episode, it seems obvious that Morgan will catch up with Rick at some point.

I am glad that the sub-plot with the Terminus cannibals didn’t drag out like Woodbury did. Ditto with the hospital because it certainly got boring after a bit. Now Rock Grimes crew looks to be headed out into the open and we’ve got no clue what’s next.

However, the question left for one to ask following the resumption of the second half of the season in February 2015 is, “Who will be the next one to die?”

As I have previously stated, I’ve long accepted that. I eagerly anticipate its resumption because I want to see at what point does the television show intersect again with its comic book sibling and diverge into new woods where we cannot see the forest for the trees.

Maddening? Yep. But that’s why this show keeps you riveted. Even with one deserving death to a senseless one.

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