"Coda" is the eighth episode and mid-season finale of the fifth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the fifty-ninth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 30, 2014. It was written by Angela Kang and directed by Ernest Dickerson.
Rules and morals have been tossed aside by new enemies. Rick will try to find a peaceful agreement, but they might prefer violence.
The episode opens with Rick running, while Bob tries to get free of his cuffs. Rick jumps in the police car, and quickly catches up to him. He gets on the car's PA, and warns Bob to stop. Bob ignores the warnings, so Rick hits him with the car. Bob says his back is broken, and begs to go back to the hospital. Rick refuses, to which Bob responds by telling him the group is doomed, and they'll die trying to take the hospital. Rick shoots him in the head, and tells him to shut up.
At the school where the Terminus residents used to camp, walkers are amassing inside the doors as Father Gabriel inspects the scene. He finds photos, a Bible with Mary's name written on the inside cover (which falls open to Chronicles 8:10 through 11:21 when he picks it up) and finally, the remnants of Bob's leg in the barbecue pit. He angrily throws the pit over, crying. As he does so, the walkers free themselves and chase him. He heads into the woods, where he leans against a tree that's been marked with a cut. He continues on toward the church, and stops briefly in front of the familiar spot where his parishioners tried to get in as walkers surrounded them. Gabriel calls for Carl and Michonne to let him in, as the walkers start pushing against the barriers placed by the survivors. Michonne is forced to chop down the wooden plank that holds the door shut, but manages to open it just in time. A small horde of walkers force their way in, and Carl and Michonne start taking them. However, they are quickly overrun and retreat to the church's office. Gabriel directs Carl (who is carrying Judith) to the hole in floor he used to escape, after which Michonne and Gabriel himself follow. Outside, they take out the walkers stuck to the spikes, then board up the church with the zombies trapped inside.
Rick returns to the old building, and tells the group that he had to kill Bob. The two other officers explain that if Dawn knows how he was killed, she will take it personally. Thus, they agree to tell Dawn that Bob was taken by walkers. This will allow Rick to get in with minimal violence.
Back at the hospital, Dawn continues trying to reach her officers by radio. Beth asks her if something is wrong, and the two chat a bit while Beth cleans Dawn's office. In the office, she finds a photo of Dawn with captain Hanson, the officer who used to be in charge. Dawn says he was her mentor and friend, and that she misses him. Beth asks what happened, and Dawn tells her that he lost sight of the risk/benefit analysis of the run and the officers below him stopped backing him up.
Back at the church, Carl and Michonne are sitting with Gabriel and Judith, waiting. Gabriel admits that he went to the school, to be sure they were telling him the truth. The walkers start to get through the boarded up doors, but before they can, Abraham's group shows up in the fire truck and drives right into the doors. Maggie informs them that Eugene was lying about Washington, and knowing how to end this. Michonne then tells Maggie that Beth is alive, and being held at Grady Memorial. The group collectively decides to go get her.
At the hospital, O'Donnell starts berating Percy for not properly stitching a hole in his sleeve, and for forgetting to do the job. Beth looks on. O'Donnell asks if she knows how to sew, but Dawn calls her away.
Beth sits on the edge of the elevator shaft, looking downward. Dawn comes and they start to talk about the situation. Beth expresses frustration at Dawn's insistence that things won't always be like this, and tells her the world isn't going to magically get better. O'Donnell walks in, catching them in the conversation. He says it's time to make a change, that either Dawn can admit the situation to the rest of the officers or he will. She pulls a gun on him and the two argue. He comes after her, knocking her gun down the elevator shaft and the two fight. He starts to get the better of her and Beth steps in to help. When he's distracted by her, it gives Dawn the opportunity to regain the advantage and between the two of them, they throw him down the shaft.
Dawn comes into Carol's room, where Beth is propped up against the wall. Dawn tells her it's okay to cry, and Beth says she doesn't cry anymore. Dawn is drinking, and Beth tells her that she didn't cover for Beth to protect Beth; she did it to protect herself. Beth tells her that she's going to leave, just like Noah, but Dawn says that Noah will come back -- they always do -- and that she knows Beth knows Carol and that they should both stay. She tells Beth that the two dirty cops she had a hand in killing were bad people and the world didn't lose anything when they died.
On a roof near the hospital, Sasha has a sniper rifle. Tyreese doesn't want her beating herself up about Bob's betrayal and death. He tells Sasha the story of how he pretended to kill Martin, but that he couldn't and then the man turned up at the church (it ultimately was Sasha who killed him). He tells Sasha that maybe they haven't been changed by the world, which is good. She says that it's good Tyreese is the same as before, but she can't be anymore.
Later, Daryl has joined her on the roof. Rick is on the street below, and approaches a police car with his hands up. He greets them by name and introduces himself; he says he's there to make a proposal. They tell him to lay down his weapon, and he does so (but the snipers have rifle scopes trained on the cops' heads).
The officers approach Rick and he proposes the even trade -- two people for two people. When the officers ask where Rick's people are, Sasha takes out a walker with a single shot from her sniper rifle. Rick says "They're close", and that he'll wait while they radio in.
Back at the hospital, Beth is getting dressed in her regular clothes, hiding scissors in her wrist wrap. Carol is now awake and Beth wheels her out to a hallway flanked by all of Dawn's officers and followed by Dr. Edwards. Rick and his group are led into the hallway and everyone collectively holsters their weapons. The two cops lie about Lamson's death as promised; Dawn's voice wavers when she acknowledges the fact. They trade Licari for Carol, and then Shepherd for Beth.
As the group gets ready to leave, Dawn decides to change the deal by demanding Noah stay as well. She says that officers died trying to save him. When Rick starts to object, Noah volunteers to stay. Beth goes to hug him good-bye and when Dawn tells him "I knew you'd be back." Beth, disturbed by the statement, approaches Dawn and says "I get it now," before stabbing her in the shoulder with the scissors; doing so, however, causing Dawn to instinctively shoot Beth in the head, killing her. Daryl, ignoring Dawn's own shock and plea for mercy, shoots Dawn in the head in retaliation, killing her as well.
The officers and Rick's group pull out their guns and point them at one another but Shepherd orders the cops to stand down, ending the standoff.
Rick's group is devastated and tearful as they see Beth's body lying in the ground next to Dawn's, while the hospital group control their grief at Dawn's death without too much trouble. Shepherd, backed up by Edwards, offers Rick and the group the chance to stay at the hospital, but Rick refuses, offering instead to take anyone from the hospital who wants to leave. Noah decides to leave the hospital with Rick's group.
As the group walks out of the hospital, Rick shakes his head at Glenn, trying to indicate what has happened. Daryl is carrying Beth's body out of the building, which Maggie sees and stumbles to the ground screaming with tears and Glenn comforts her with tears too. The entire group stands in silence and in grief.
After the credits, Morgan finds his way out of the woods, standing where Gabriel had stood earlier in front of the school. He stops over a walker that is disabled on the ground, putting it quietly out of its misery, and moves on to the church. There he sets up the altar, places a rabbit's foot, a GooGoo Cluster, and a bullet in front of it, and sits to pray. Afterward, he looks around him at the carnage and laughs before he finds Abraham's note for Rick on the map to Washington, D.C.
- Rico Ball as Franco
- Kyle Clements as McGinley
- Christopher Matthew Cook as Licari
- Marc Gowan as Percy
- Ricky Wayne as O'Donnell
- Teri Wyble as Amanda Shepherd
- Charlotte & Clara Ward as Judith Grimes
- Amber Dawn Fox as Bello
- Jarod Thompson as Tanaka
- Sammy Hadid as Alvarado
- Lennie James as Morgan Jones
- Luke Bryant as Hanson (Photograph)
- First (and last) appearance of McGinley.
- First (and last) appearance of Franco.
- Last appearance of Amanda Shepherd.
- Last appearance of Tanaka.
- Last appearance of Bello.
- Last appearance of Alvarado.
- Last appearance of Steven Edwards.
- Last appearance of Licari.
- Last appearance of Percy.
- Last appearance of Bob Lamson.
- Last appearance of O'Donnell.
- Last appearance of Dawn Lerner.
- Last appearance of Beth Greene. (Alive)
- Last appearance of Hanson. (Photograph)
- The title of the episode, "Coda", comes from the Portuguese word cauda, meaning "tail", and also means "tail" directly from the Italian word coda. Merriam-Webster defines Coda as:
- A concluding musical section that is formally distinct from the main structure. Beth was the only character so far that resorted to anything musical on the show.
- A concluding part of a literary or dramatic work.
- Something that serves to round out, conclude, or summarize and usually has its own interest.
- All of these definitions describe an ending, in other words, the title could possibly refer to the end of Season 5A, as well as Dawn's regime in the hospital, Beth's life, and the group's time in Georgia.
- In the scene where Rick and Daryl aim their guns, there is a sign behind them that says "5th floor". This is a reference to The Boondock Saints, where Norman Reedus' character Murphy MacManus lived in a studio apartment on the 5th floor. Their stance is also similar to the MacManus brothers in scenes from the film.
- This is the first time Morgan has appeared in more than one episode in a season.
- Rick says "Can't go back, Bob" while speaking to officer Lamson shortly before he kills him. This line was also spoken by Gareth to Bob Stookey in "No Sanctuary" as a response to Bob's plea to take a chance on getting Eugene to Washington.
- This episode is the shortest running episode so far, with only 40 minutes and 16 seconds running time excluding the ads.
- Following Beth's death in this episode, an uproar on social media with fans sending hate mail and death threats to Scott Gimple along with boxes of plastic spoons being sent to the AMC studios (a reference to the silver Washington D.C. spoon Beth found) was commenced. A Change.org petition titled "Bring Beth Back" was also created and has collected over 60,000 signatures in only 3 months and was even discussed on Good Morning America.
- Beth's death was spoiled by AMC, who posted a picture of Daryl carrying Beth's corpse on their Facebook page. It was badly received by people who had not watched the episode yet in the West Coast, Europe and South America.
- Originally, according to Greg Nicotero, there were supposedly 800 walkers involved in the aftermath of Beth's demise, specifically for this episode, but it was cut off for unknown reason(s).
- This is the second episode to contain a post-credit scene, after "No Sanctuary".
- Rick chasing Lamson and running him over before killing him is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 36, where Rick runs over Martinez instead.
- When Rick is in pursuit with Bob in the car, a Ford logo can be seen on the front of the car. In the scene after Rick hits Bob, the Ford logo can no longer be seen.
- When Rick was talking to two officers about trading two of their officers for Beth and Carol, Sasha and Tyreese covered Rick from the top of the parking garage behind him. In the shot with Rick after Sasha snipes an approaching walker, Tyreese and Sasha were not visible on top of the parking garage even though that was where they were.
- When Father Gabriel escapes from the church, he inadvertently kills a walker with the machete he left in the floorboard, as it splits the walker's head open near the handle. However, when he leaves the church, the blood is on a the end that was stuck in the floorboard, not where the walker fell.
- When Carl and Michonne kill the walkers stuck on the spikes and seal the remaining walkers inside the church, one of the walkers killed had a long crowbar stuck in its head. Carl and Michonne used no such weapon to defend themselves against the small herd.
- When Dawn and Beth are discussing the photo of Hanson, in some shots, the picture is facing Beth, but in others, it's perpendicular to her.
- In the first shot of the scene where Father Gabriel explains where he went, he is on the left (facing the church), but in the next shot, he's on the right.
- During the after credits scene where Morgan kills the disabled walker, you can clearly see the walker blinking as it was being stabbed.
- When Dawn kills Beth the enhance wound is on the forehead, however she was shot under the chin.
- The rabbit foot Morgan sets down on the altar is blue, however in a later episode it is shown to be a tannish color.