Didn’t have to be like this. You just had to stop. – Rick
While Rick’s busy weeding the bad apples out of the force, Father Gabe is facing what’s left of his zombie congregation. He’s also reaping what he sowed: pounding on the locked door of his own church as his own parishioners once did, begging to be let in.
The survivors have installed zombie-proof spikes at the church door, and Michonne and Carl use them to secure the church — now overrun with walkers — from the outside. Minutes later, Maggie and Glen arrive with the others in the fire truck, and Michonne gives Maggie the good news: Beth’s alive, and the Away Team has gone to get her. “Let’s blow this joint,” declares Tara, and they’re off.
Deep in ruined Atlanta, Rick, Daryl, Ty, and Sasha discuss their chances of succeeding in a Grady Memorial ambush. Their two other captive security guards weigh in on the subject — not that anyone asked them.
You’re a damned good liar. – Rick, to Officer Shepherd
The entire Grady security force is a corrupt mess, as we learn in a protracted personal discussion Dawn has with her colleague O’Donnell in a hospital corridor. Like so many other internal investigations, this one begins at gunpoint, and ends with a fight and a long fall down an elevator shaft. Nice push, Beth!
As we say in California, Beth is not in a good space right now. She’s become Dawn’s confidant — and with that sucker push, her enforcer. Beth has little else to do while she waits for Carol to wake; she ends up listening to a lot of Dawn’s preachy ruminations.
Beth, in this job you don’t need their love. But you have to have their respect. – Dawn
Meanwhile, Rick and his people are busy:
You have two of my people, I have two of yours. We want to make an exchange. Then we’ll be on our way. – Rick
Rick presents his proposal to two of the security guards, calling them out by name. He doesn’t seem to have the upper hand at first — both the guards are armed, and Rick has dropped his own weapon as instructed — but he quickly gains it. “Where are your people?” asks one of the guards, and sniper Sasha drops a walker advancing on them in response.
“They’re close,” Rick answers, somewhat unnecessarily.
It works. Beth changes back into her civvies, grabs a pair of scissors, grimly wheels a now-conscious Carol along the corridor, and meets the survivor team for the exchange. But Dawn changes the terms, insisting that Noah return to the hospital. Noah agrees — until Beth steps forward, faces Dawn, and dramatically changes things.
I get it now. – Beth
Those are her last words. Beth stabs Dawn with her stolen scissors, triggering both Dawn’s bad-cop reflexes (she shoots Beth in response) and the lieutenant’s own hasty end, as Daryl immediately blows her head off. For a second it looks like all-out war — until Officer Shepherd, remembering her own law enforcement training, shouts for order.
It was just about her. Stand down. – Shepherd
What sucks about this outcome, of course, is the emotional toll it takes on Maggie. She’s just begun to believe again that her sister is alive, and seeing Daryl carrying Beth’s body out of the hospital after the prisoner exchange is more than she can take. I’m sure her grief will carry us well into the second half of season 5, when she show returns next year.
Final episode thoughts:
- As we began, so we end: Morgan returns in a midseason epilogue, just as he did in the season prologue. Is this dude deliberately trailing the survivors, or just a really slow traveler? Discuss.
- AMC spoiled the finale for me, and many others. I received news of Beth’s departure in a Facebook post on my way home from the airport last night (I was across the country with family last week). It’s hard to want to watch a show when you already know what you’re going to see, AMC!
- For some reason, Father Gabe is still with us. Is this like viewer penance?
- Do we know how Eugene is doing? Did anyone see Eugene? WHERE THE HELL IS EUGENE?