The Walking Dead season 5 mid-season premiere eliminated Beth. Was there a lesson to be learned? Was her sacrifice for naught?
The Walking Dead episode “Coda” is very much an examination of motives overcoming nagging moral doubts. The episode features Rick at his most morally relative, which is easier to understand given all he’s been through. Still, that understanding can be stretched to a breaking point. After escaping from Sasha, Sergeant Bob Lamson gets hit by Rick with a car. Then, rather than take him to the hospital, Rick shoots him dead with his revolver!
On top of that, Rick and crew concoct a story about Lamson being killed by walkers. So that means killing a guy and definitely lying about it. It’s easy to question the nature of Dawn’s leadership (and the whole “cop-hospital” operation). However, seasons 4 and 5 saw Rick become unhinged so many times, one forgets he was relatively normal once!
This is all in contrast to the personality of Father Gabriel. Gabriel so stubbornly refuses to change that he can barely kill a walker because he clings to the moral realm. In a way, some Walking Dead characters are like the half-point between Rick and Gabriel. The obvious examples are Dale and Hershel, who were never absolute pacifists, but could certainly take moral stands even when it put them at odds with their group. Other characters, like Abraham, are more fully capable of being brutal and lashing out yet strive to be more goal-oriented. Rick definitely has those moments, but the undue strain of a leadership role has bent his judgment every which way, the character seems to be irreparably damaged.
Beth’s death and Dawn compared to Rick
In some ways, “Coda” is a disappointing episode of The Walking Dead. Not only does Beth die, but it happens in a way that’s totally silly. She could have simply part ways with Dawn’s B.S. and maybe drafted a future plan to rescue Noah. Nope! Instead, she stabs Dawn in the shoulder and gets shot in the head. What a waste! Now, it had been established that The Walking Dead kills off characters fairly often, but it seems Beth had more potential than this, honestly. Then again, I would argue the same for other characters.
While Beth’s death is technically for a reason, Dawn’s motives for being a control freak are still murky to this day. Why run the hospital like a prison system like that? If some of her cop pals were abusive, why did Dawn never leave, or better control them (it seems she potentially had that ability)? For that matter, what was her ultimate goal in the hospital? Did she simply want to collect a bunch of “wards” to boss around?
There are many questions that are never fully answered. We just know that there are some personality defects at work, perhaps linked to the “fraternal” mentality that can happen with police. Still, it seems odd to hang out in a largely abandoned city like that, expecting order to come out of the chaos obviously surrounding them.
Still, by a certain point, are they even cops anymore? Rick Grimes may be a lot of things by season 5, but it seems he no longer regards himself as a police officer. He has evolved into something else by rolling with the punches. Also, he’s willing to strike first more than before.
What are your thoughts on The Walking Dead and Beth’s season 5 demise? Let us know in the comments!