We pick up right where last week left off, with Lamson escaping. Rick chases him down in a cop car, and when he ignores Rick’s shouts from the speaker, Rick speeds up and hits him with the car. Lamson is badly injured, but Rick ignores his pleas for help. He shoots him dead. So add another dead Bob to the pile. Rick returns to where his team is holding Shepherd and Licari. They now feel that their best chance is an even trade and both volunteer to tell Dawn that Lamson was killed by “rotters.”
Inside the hospital, Beth is depressed. Dawn knows that she killed Gorman, and claims that she didn’t tell anyone because she was protecting her. O’Donnell overhears this and threatens to tell the others. It turns into a standoff with Dawn pulling her gun. O’Donnell tries to talk her off the ledge (so to speak) and it lowers her defenses long enough to knock the gun from Dawn’s hand. The gun falls down the elevator shaft and the two fight. Beth tries to help by jumping on O’Donnell, but he throws her across the room. It is enough of a distraction for Dawn to gain the upper hand and knock O’Donnell back a bit, but it is Beth who pushes O’Donnell down the elevator shaft. You’d think this would make them even. Dawn finds Beth sitting in Carol’s room later, and offers her a drink, promising there are no strings attached. Beth realizes now that Dawn wasn’t covering for her, she was protecting herself. “You didn’t have to do the dirty work. That’s how things work around here,” Beth says sadly. She vows to get out, like Noah, but Dawn predicts Noah will be back.
Outside, Rick meets up with Franco and McGinley, two other cops who are looking for their buddies. Rick explains the situation, lays down his weapon, and an exchange is agreed upon. Rick’s crew, led by the two cops, take the hostages into the hospital and meet Dawn’s team, with Beth and Carol. The exchange reminds me of a military hostage exchange, with each team creeping towards each other, exchanging hostages one by one. Everyone is very nervous. The exchange is made, no one freaks out or draws a weapon – until Dawn says that she also wants Noah back. Rick points out that Noah isn’t part of the deal, but Dawn claims that Beth took his place. Since she gave back Beth, she thinks she deserves Noah. Clearly, Dawn missed a basic math lesson. I have to assume she is just posturing for her crew, but even still, I am surprised that she would pull such nonsense. Anyway, Dawn says that Noah is hers, that Rick has no “claim” to him; Rick points out that Noah wants to go home, and she has no claim on him. I would like to point out that this isn’t 1850, and no one has a claim on poor Noah. In an effort to keep the peace, Noah volunteers to go. Beth won’t let him go without a big a hug. While she hugs him, Dawn looks her dead in the eye: “I told you he’d come back.”
Beth becomes enraged by this, and stabs Dawn with a small pair of surgical scissors she had hidden in her cast. Dawn responds by shooting Beth in the head. Dead. Daryl wastes no time shooting Dawn dead, and everyone has their guns out. Shepherd calls for a cease fire, and Rick’s group takes a moment to absorb the loss of one of their own. She offers them the opportunity to stay in the hospital, but it almost seems like she offered it because she knew they wouldn’t accept. Rick offers anyone in the hospital group to come with them. No one takes him up on it.
We have more people to check in on. Gabriel has gone to the school, for no real reason, other than to just “check things out.” What he finds is Bob’s charred leg, now maggot food. The walkers locked in the school finally put enough force into their stumbling and grunting and break through the glass door. Gabriel freaks out and races back to the church. He is surrounded by walkers on all sides, and starts screaming for help. Yes, the irony of the situation is lost on Gabriel, but it sure seems like the producers wanted to beat us over the head with it. Luckily, Michonne and Carl are good people. It takes Michonne taking an axe to the board placed across the door, but they finally get the door open and let Gabriel in. Of course, he brings with him a flood of zombies, so they race to the rectory. Gabriel – suddenly a gentleman – tells the woman and children to escape through the hole in the floorboards while he holds the door closed. Once they are outside, Gabriel follows them.
With all the zombies now inside the church, Michonne nails a new plank of wood to the outside of the door (using the butt of the gun as a hammer), sealing them in. She vows that they aren’t going to leave, which is smart. If Rick showed up and found the church overrun with zombies, and his kids nowhere to be found, he would probably kill himself. It’s not long before Abraham and his team roll up in the firetruck. Well, crash up – Abraham nearly drives the firetruck into the church. Michonne is glad to see them, even when Glenn tells her that Eugene lied about the cure. Michonne chooses to focus on the good news: that Beth is alive. At this point in the story, Beth is still alive. Maggie is overjoyed and they all pile in the truck to help rescue Maggie’s sister. As soon as Beth is killed, my first thought is, “Maggie is going to freak out.” It’s one of those horrible so close, “if only I had been a few minutes earlier” situations that is just messed up. When the firetruck arrives at the hospital, Rick’s crew is streaming out. Maggie is hopeful and excited – until she sees Daryl, sobbing as he carries Beth’s limp body. Maggie just melts.
Like the season premiere, the fall finale has a post-script, after the credits. Morgan is still following the marks on the tree, and it leads him to the school. Nothing interesting there, so he moves on to the church. He sets up a makeshift altar with a cross, a rabbit’s foot, a snack cake, and a bullet, and kneels – praying I imagine. But then he laughs as he looks around, like the situation is too surreal or ridiculous to be real. He sees a map on the floor and checks out the marked route. He turns it over and it is revealed that this is the map that Abraham gave to Rick, which says that the new world needs more Rick Grimes. What I find strange is that the look on Morgan’s face becomes clouded, almost angry, but I seem to remember in season three that Rick and Morgan part on good terms – or at least not homicidal terms. Maybe I am misreading the look on Morgan’s face.
That’s the midseason finale folks. As is becoming a pattern, we had a major character death, but other than that, these eight episodes didn’t really propel the series forward. Maybe it is because after nearly two years on the road, our group hasn’t left Atlanta. We all knew there was no cure, so where is Rick’s crew headed to next? Try to find another prison to live in? Head to a different city looking for survivors? Give in to the purgatory that is Atlanta? I guess we will have to wait until February to find out. See ya then!
You can watch a trailer for “The Walking Dead’s” return in February by clicking here.