This is a show where characters have to die to keep this world real. If people were just surviving nonstop, it wouldn't really be an apocalyptic situation ~ Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead.
The "mid-season finale" of AMC's The Walking Dead aired last Sunday night (11/30/2014) titled Coda. If you haven't watched it yet and are concerned about spoilers, read no further. Although the title of this post pretty much gives away what happened. The Beth Greene character did something really stupid and got herself killed. Now, Beth was suicidal following her realization that her mother and brother were not sick but dead (her father told her that zombism was an illness that might possibly be cured)... But the mom and brother were definitely dead when shot in the head by Rick Grimes.
After that happened Beth tried to commit suicide by slitting her wrists. Although all indications after that were that Beth had decided she wanted to live, which makes her suicide by cop all the more perplexing. Prior to the airing of the episode I had read on the IMDB message board that most people thought Beth would die - so I was not surprised when she did - but the manner of her death did elicit a huge "WTF" from me.
Prior to the mid-season finale, Beth had been "rescued" by a group of cops who had holed up in a hospital in Atlanta. After treating her wounds her captors told her she was now their slave. Or that she "owed" them and had to work off her debt. That is what the cop leader Dawn Lerner told her. Anyway, through a series of events that I won't go into with this commentary, Rick and friends found out where Beth was, took some cops hostage, and proposed a prisoner exchange.
The exchange was almost complete when Dawn said Noah (a defector from her group that had joined Rick's group) had to stay at the hospital - or there would be no deal. Noah said he would stay, but Beth decided to stab Dawn with a pair of scissors instead. Except, instead of stabbing Dawn in the neck or head and killing her, Beth stabbed her in the shoulder. So Dawn defended herself and blew Beth's head off. Although Dawn was wearing her cop bulletproof vest and was therefore not hurt at all (not sure about this and it never even occurred to me until I read a comment on a messageboard in which someone pointed this out).
Beth said "I get it now" just prior to the scissor stabbing of Dawn - but I don't get it. Beth was preparing to leave with her friends, but decided to provoke Dawn into killing her? In front of her friends? Which could have (but didn't) result in a shootout in which many more people were killed?
Frankly Beth's actions made absolutely no sense. And, for that reason, I believe this episode is one of the dumbest. Later, on the after show "Talking Dead", a poll question asked if the redneck character Daryl should have shot Dawn in the head for killing Beth (which he did). I answered "no", as I saw Dawn's actions as self-defense. But as it turned out 93 percent disagreed. Host Chris Hardwick said "7 percent of the people are dead inside".
"Dead inside"? I was prepared to be sad that Beth was killed (when I was suspecting it was going to be her before the episode aired). But when it actually happened I was not sad. Because she killed herself! Hardwick asked Emily Kinney (the actress who portrayed Beth) "when do you think Beth knew she was going to stab Dawn in the neck?" But Beth DIDN'T stab Dawn in the neck! If she had Dawn would have died and Beth wouldn't have been shot in the head. So it was a suicide.
Although Emily Kinney sees it differently.
|Emily Kinney: Beth has been getting stronger this season. She has been gaining more confidence. It was one of those moments where they got what they needed but then she had this moment of overconfidence. ... that wasn't a good decision.|
Not a good decision to stab Dawn in the neck and miss? I'd agree with that. But she really "missed"! If Beth HAD stabbed Dawn in the neck and killed her then Noah could leave. Turns out Dawn's group of cops wanted her out of her leadership position, and after Daryl shot Dawn everyone decided NOT to start shooting at each other. The "overconfidence" was (apparently) that she could raise her arm to the right level so that the scissors went into Dawn's neck and not shoulder.
To close out the show Hardwick said "I know this was a tough one", referring to Beth's demise... but that wasn't the reason it was "tough" for me. The reason it was "tough" was because of how dumb it was. That one moment when Beth decides that suicide by cop is how she will protest Dawn's decision to insist that Noah remain at the hospital. Or stab Dawn in the neck (and miss). Either way Beth's death was lame.
Other than that moment, I also disliked them making Rick a stone cold killer (running down a cop and then shooting him - just for trying to escape). Executing someone for trying to escape is just wrong. But he did just slaughter those cannibals in the church... so, they deserved what they got while the cop did not. But I can understand why it's easier for Rick to cross that line now. Even if the former situation was self defense and the later is murder.
So I could accept that... but Beth committing suicide in a manner that might have resulted in the deaths of many of her friends (who were there to rescue her)? And, even though nobody on "Talking Dead" viewed it that way, it WAS a suicide (by cop). If Beth had wanted to kill Dawn she would have. By stabbing her in the shoulder I don't know WHY she wouldn't expect Dawn to defend herself.
So, I CAN accept that characters die as Kirkman said... just not in so stupid a manner. Anyway, I will watch the show when it returns in February. But my disappointment with this episode will remain. There will be more character deaths, but hopefully no more dumb ones.
Video: Excerpt from The Walking Dead S5 mid-season finale. Beth Greene and Dawn Lerner die. Video posted to YouTube on 11/30/2014 (0:48).