We are back to a split-focus this week, following all the different storylines. We are also back to storming the castle, so to speak. I’m getting a little tired of these kinds of stories, but I guess there is only so much that can be done. At least this one has double-crosses.
Let’s start with Daryl. He and Noah have gathered together a team that consists of Rick, Tyreese and Sasha. They move into Atlanta and set up a plan just outside the hospital. Rick wants to storm in – quietly – and use the element of surprise to kill a bunch of the guards until they can get to Dawn. Tyreese suggests they snatch a couple guards and use them to trade for Beth and Carol. Rick doesn’t care for this idea, but Daryl backs him up. It sounds like a safer plan. So that is what they go with.
Noah is bait and Rick’s team capture two guards. A third guard appears and fights Daryl to the ground. This was a FEMA evac spot, but at some point it looks like the area was hit with a bomb. Now there are gooey bits and pieces of zombies melted to the blacktop in a delightfully gruesome tableau. This third guard tries to force Daryl’s face into the chomping maw of a melty walker, but Daryl uses another nearby walker for a much better purpose. In perhaps the best use of a zombie as a weapon, Daryl jamps his fingers in the oozing eye sockets of a nearby zombie, rips his head off his shoulders, and swings it like a bowling ball into the guard. Then Rick is standing over him with a gun and it is all over. Daryl has to talk him out of shooting the guard dead. “Three hostages are better than two.”
One of the insists that they are the wrong guards to use as bargaining chips. Things are starting to fall apart in the hospital, and many of the guards want to dethrone Dawn. Officer Shepherd begs them to let the guards take care of Dawn on their own. The other cop, Sgt. Lamson, insists he has known Dawn for eight years and believes a peaceful resolution can be reached. “She will tell you she won’t make a deal, won’t compromise, but she always does.”
Sasha is left with the hostages, and she takes pity on Sgt. Lamson – because his first name is Bob. He tells her a sob story about a guy named Tyler who took what was supposed to be his evac truck. At the last minute, Dawn requested Sgt. Lamson stay behind, and Tyler’s van was blown up in whatever explosion made the mess in the parking lot. Tyler is still down there, a zombie, melted into the pavement, and he feels guilty: it should have been Lamson down there. Because Lamson’s name is Bob, and that is still an open wound to Sasha, she tells him she will shoot zombie Tyler and put him out of his misery. She won’t take Lamson outside, but does take him to a window so he can point Tyler out. As soon as the chance arises, he knocks Sasha into the window so hard she is knocked unconscious and Lamson scampers away.
Inside the hospital, Beth overhears a guard telling Dawn that he thinks Carol is a lost cause and she should be unplugged from the machines. No one yet knows who Carol is, or that Beth knows her. Beth flips out a little bit and insists that “the woman” deserves a chance, she has only been there a day. Dawn agrees it is time to let “the woman” go. If she wakes up on her own, fine. The guard leaves and Dawn turns her attention to Beth, blaming her for signing Carol’s death warrant. Dawn had to side with the guard, but clearly she thinks Beth is right, and gives her the chance to save the woman. She gives Beth the key to the drug cabinet – something which she doesn’t even entrust to Dr. Edwards. Beth goes straight to the doc and asks what drugs he would give the woman in room two. He immediately figures out that Beth has the drug cabinet key and warns her that if Dawn gave it to her, it will come with a price. Even still, he tells her what to try with Carol. Using one of the other wards as a distraction, Beth steals the drugs then sneaks into Carol’s room to administer.
Abraham’s crew is exactly as we left them: with Eugene unconscious and Abraham kneeling, refusing to move or talk. When Rosita tries to give him some water, he smacks it away and stands, a look of crazed murder in his eyes. Maggie steps in, gun aimed at him, and tells him to sit. He does so. Rosita, Glenn, and Tara go searching for more water, while Maggie keeps an eye on Abraham. Rosita, we learn, was with another group when they crossed paths with Abraham. He liked the way she fought and asked her to come with him and Eugene. Rosita was flattered so she went with them. Back at the fire truck, Abraham remains silent as Maggie creates a makeshift tent to keep the sun off Eugene’s face. Abraham finally speaks when Maggie asks if he wanted her to shoot him. “I thought I did – but then I didn’t,” he says flatly. A groan from Eugene draws their attention. He is awake.
I think my favorite story this week was at the church. It is just Michonne, Carl, Judith, and Gabriel there. They have fortified the church, but destroying much of what Gabriel considered sacred. Carl encourages him to pick a weapon, explaining that he will need to know how to fight. Gabriel doesn’t want to, but finally picks a machete to shut Carl up. He doesn’t shut up though – he wants to teach Gabriel how to use it. It is too much for Gabriel at this moment, so he locks himself in his office to rest. But he isn’t really resting. He is using the machete to pry up floorboards. Eventually he makes a hole just big enough to slip through. This leads to a dirt crawlspace which, in turn, leads him outside, crawling out from under the church. He looks at the etched message, “You will burn in hell for this,” as if to say, “If I’m going to burn in hell, I better make it really worth it.” He takes off into the woods after pulling out a nail from his foot, but is soon overwhelmed by his fear and paranoia. A rustling in the leaves reveals a walker jumping out at him. He pushes it back, panicked, and impales it on a jutting tree branch. He is about to smush its face in with a rock when he catches sight of a gold cross around her neck. He drops the stone and moves on.
You can check out the first clip from the mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” in the player below. Titled “Coda,” the episode is officially described as follows:
“New enemies disregard rules and morals; although Rick wants to find a peaceful agreement, the enemies seem to prefer a more violent resolution.”
“Coda” is set to air November 30. “The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.