Beware of MAJOR spoilers. If you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode what are you waiting for? I demand that you go watch now! (Don’t forget to come back!)
As an avid watcher and passionate fan of The Walking Dead, I know that the mid-season finales are usually filled with a hefty amount of action, mixed with heartbreaking devastation. Last year’s (Hershel’s death) was especially hard on me. Sunday’s episode did not stray from this formula that leave fans reeling for days, maybe even weeks.
The episode opens up with Rick chasing Officer Bob Lamson after he escapes from Sasha’s watch. Even with constant warnings Lamson refuses to stop which results in Rick having a Grand Theft Auto moment slamming his vehicle into the fleeing officer. The hit sends him flying a good distance, probably causing a massive amount of injuries. The officer pleads with Rick telling him “you have been out here too long.” Only for Rick to shoot him in the head and say “Shut up.” Leaving me only to wonder how first season Rick would have handled this situation. Honestly, he probably wouldn’t even have chased after him, let alone shoot him in the head.
Meanwhile, Gabriel is still surprisingly alive and walking around the town. He makes it to the school where he finds the leftovers of poor Bob’s foot and has a mini meltdown. A large amount of zombies gets loose from the school and chase him back to the church. Gabriel of course has a hard time getting into the well fortified church, but removes one of the walker skewers THAT WERE THERE FOR A REASON and lets the horde right in. Michonne and Carl fend off the walkers long enough for them to get in the backroom. It is really nice to see Michonne back in action after many episodes where she is just hanging out in the background. All four escape under the floorboards and Gabriel’s dumb luck lets him survive once more.
Dawn is trying to get a hold of the officers the group has held hostage. The remaining two hostages agree to tell Dawn that “rotters” overtook the officer that Rick just shot. He trusts their word against his better judgment, or at least, pretends to. Back at the church Michonne and Carl welcome back Glenn’s group. Michonne breaks the great news to Maggie that her sister is alive and well and is being saved by Rick! (FORESHADOWING!!!) With the church overrun they decide to all make the trip to Atlanta to save Beth and Carol.
At the hospital Dawn and Beth have yet another heart to heart about the past and future in the end of the world. Officer O’Donnell interrupts their conversation to confront Dawn and question her leadership. While fighting Dawn kicks him near the elevator shaft where Beth pushes him down. Teamwork! Later in Carol’s hospital room, Dawn and Beth talk some more while Carol finally wakes up. Rick confronts two officers on patrol and tells them to get a hold of their leader to make a swap.
Beth is back in her room preparing to leave the hospital for good, but hides some scissors in her cast, just in case things go south. In the confines of a hospital hallway both groups prepare to make a peaceful switch, which they actually do. Except Dawn decides she wants Noah back as well. They argue a bit about how that wasn’t the deal, but Noah says that it will be ok and starts to head back to the hospital side of the hallway. Beth hugs him and then walks over to Dawn. “I get it now,” she says, before pulling out the scissors and stabbing Dawn in the chest. Dawn pulls her gun and shoots Beth in the head. Horrified, the group reacts as Daryl quickly puts a bullet in Dawn’s head. The rest of the hospital group pleas with Rick to call it even and leave calmly. The group does just that. Glenn and the others are just reaching the hospital gates to see a defeated Rick coming out of the building shaking his head. Maggie finally sees her sister after so many months, dead, in Daryl’s arms.
My overall thoughts:
Most fans go into mid-season finales preparing for the fact that at least one character is not going to make it. We don’t watch the show for its sunny optimism. The draw for most people is the heartache, the destruction, and the rebuilding the characters go through season after season. Not to mention the endless ingenious ways they kill zombies.
Beth’s death feels like it could have been avoided if she wasn’t so determined to hurt Dawn, but I guess you could also blame her for trying to snake Noah in the deal. Part of me feels kind of bad for Dawn. I believe she thought the system they had at the hospital was good. When she went off on Officer O’Donnell on how much they had changed for the worst, I saw a person who was just trying to make the best of a bad situation. I mean they weren’t resorting to eating people, am I right?
In a world with so much death, it is hard to say how long it will take the group to push through such a devastating loss. Maggie obviously will be the most affected. She didn’t really get much time to mourn her father’s death so it is only natural all the emotions will come tumbling down on her now. I don’t even want to talk about Daryl’s reaction right now. The wound is too fresh. The major reason I hate mid-season finales is the waiting two months for the next episode. I really think the producers should consider a 24-hour show format. Just a suggestion from an overly obsessed fan.