Well, folks, we’ve made it. Four and one-half seasons since we first met Rick Grimes, and we’ve reached another big mid-season finale. Ever since the first season (which wasn’t truly long enough to even HAVE a mid-season episode), we’ve had a lot of emotion flowing through the last thing we see until the show returns in February. The overall finales have been peppered throughout with big threats, but not necessarily climactic moments. The mid-season, on the other hand, has definitely been the place holder for the climactic, potentially shocking moment. Certainly, bigger threats seem to affect the group during the season finales (often leading to needing to flee their presumed safety), as opposed to a more personal stake taken during the mid-season. While this path was somewhat carved out during season 2 with Sophia, it was truly hammered home in season 4 with Hershel. Even season 3, with Daryl’s fate up in the air, fits the pattern.
So how does the mid-season finale of season 5 tuck in? Well, it does somewhat match the mold. Yes, all of the spoilers pointed at the results we witnessed, and there were enough storytelling tricks used to foreshadow what was going to happen, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a powerful moment. And one that honestly leaves story untold. When you look at the character arc for Beth over the last season or so, you see a character starting to truly come into its own, which makes the impact of her demise stronger. True, she wasn’t overly present for much of this season, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that there is a lot of story being left on the board. That said, she got to have a pretty powerful moment ushering her off of this mortal coil, which is more than some might have expected for her.
But enough about that. We’re not here to discuss the seriousness of the episode. We’re here to see who ran out of brainpower when they reached the “Coda”.
5. Officer Lamson
Yes, we kept hearing that he was one of the “good guys”. And yes, his actions last time with regards to Sasha were understandable. After all, he had no idea what this group would actually do, or if he would survive long enough to see their purported “prisoner exchange”. That said, when you’ve made your break for it, are now being chased down by an angry man in a vehicle, and he is telling you to stop, maybe you should stop. Know when you’re beat and all that jazz. Yes, the moment was crafted to underscore Rick’s departure from humanity, but it served more to showcase Lamson’s departure from wisdom.
4. Officer O’Donnell
Speaking of taking a departure from wisdom, you have to look at Officer O’Donnell. Look, you were there when Dawn took charge of the hospital, so you know what kinds of things she’s been willing to do. What on earth makes you think challenging her, especially in light of overhearing everything she’s been saying to Beth, would be a good idea in the slightest? Forget that you’re picking the lobby outside of an open elevator shaft, and just keep in mind that you’re outright telling an unhinged individual with weapons that you’re going to tell everyone how they shouldn’t be in power any longer. Where did you think that was going to get you?
3. Father Gabriel
After last week, it wasn’t clear Father Gabriel could really make worse decisions. He opened a hole in the floor of the church and returned to his wandering ways, leaving the machete behind so that he wouldn’t be burdened with things like the ability to defend himself. Well, it turns out, Gabriel wasn’t done yet, as he proceeded to go to the school the Hunters had camped at, because he just “had to see” the reality of things there. This lead to the Walkers inside the school finally breaking free (apparently, a whole group of cannibals couldn’t frenzy them into destroying the glass door, but one religious person could), and Gabriel led them all on a merry chase back to the church. Yes, his church, with the new floor access, and only three people inside (one of which was a freaking baby, Ass Kicker or no). Somewhere, there is a higher power watching over idiots, and they have clearly chosen Father Gabriel as their emissary on this planet.
2. Dawn Lerner
Oh, Dawn. Things were going so well (they weren’t). Your people weren’t questioning your ability to lead in the slightest (they were). The whole prisoner exchange was actually going to work without bloodshed (it was). And then you had to go and get greedy. Your own cops were backing up Rick’s story about what happened to Bob Lamson, so you had no reason to question it, making the whole 1-for-1 exchange work out perfectly. Rick gets back Carol and Beth, you get back the two cops, and everything returns to how it was before. Well, except you wouldn’t have Noah, but seems like him being gone might actually work out better for you in the long run. Turns out, you don’t see “big picture”, because you demanded Noah’s return, which caused all of the chaos to erupt. Cooler heads ended up prevailing, but not before a couple of heads had gained new vents, and all because Dawn just refused to realize that she’s already lost with regards to Noah.
1. Whoever Was in Charge of the Walking Dead Social Media Strategy
Okay, you’re in charge of crafting the social media story for a hugely popular television program. You want to send out a message/image that in some way ties into the big moment that just happened in your most recently aired episode. And maybe, just maybe, you and the rest of the powers that be have decided that letting spoiler-y information out before people have watched on DVR or OnDemand is just fine. Couldn’t you at least wait until maybe after the West Coast feed had finished? Yes, you could say that anyone checking social media deserved to be spoiled, but you’d be wrong. And they certainly didn’t deserve to be spoiled by the show’s social media, itself. There’s a reason why this post gets written a day afterwards.
Okay, two reasons. I’m also a little bit lazy.
That wraps up the first half of season five. The Walking Dumb is going to go on a little break for now, because, well, there just aren’t any new episodes coming down the pipe. This feature will return in February, when the all-new episodes hit the air, so mark your calendars for the shortest month of the year!