“The Walking Dead” Season 5 midseason finale started off with a bang -- literally. Last week Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) motley crew took Bob Lamson (Maximiliano Hernández) and a couple of other officers at Grady Hospital hostage. The goal was to exchange the police officers for Beth (Emily Kinney) and Carol (Melissa McBride). However Lamson chose to make an escape instead of play by Rick’s rules. Lamson suffered the consequences in the opening of episode 8, “Coda,” when Rick plowed him down with a car and then shot him in the head.
“Can’t go back, Bob,” Rick told him before pulling the trigger.
Rick’s dark words were similar to those that Terminus leader Gareth (Andrew J. West) spoke before executing innocent men. Fortunately Rick had Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) on hand to convince him to stick to the exchange plan -- otherwise Rick was gearing up for a bloodbath at the hospital. With two other officers still in their care, Rick set up a swap with Dawn’s men.
Meanwhile at Grady Hospital, Dawn (Christine Woods) confronted Beth about killing the police officer when she first tried to make her escape with Noah (Tyler James Williams). Beth was confused as to why Dawn chose to keep quiet, but Dawn had her reasons. The police officer Beth had killed was unruly and a threat to Dawn’s rule.
“You don’t need their love, but you have to have their respect,” Dawn said of keeping control of her police officers.
Beth didn’t agree with Dawn, and neither did Officer O’Donnell (Rick Wayne), who eavesdropped on the conversation. O’Donnell threatened to tell everyone about Dawn’s decision to hide Beth’s involvement in the death of an officer. But Dawn wasn’t willing to let her rule crumble. Pulling a gun on her former friend and fellow officer, Dawn warned him she wasn’t going to let the police take advantage of their wards. A fight broke out between the two, and Beth ended up helping Dawn by pushing O’Donnell down an elevator shaft.
Dawn thanked Beth for her help, but Beth still wasn’t on Dawn’s side. She felt Dawn was using her to do her dirty work, and warned her she was going to escape just like Noah. But Dawn wasn’t buying Beth’s rebellion. She told Beth Noah would be back because they “always come back.”
Of course Beth’s showdown with Dawn wasn’t the only drama on the midseason finale of “The Walking Dead.” Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) ran into trouble outside the church when he visited the school grounds at which the Terminus folks were camping. Emotional after discovering Mary B’s bible, he soon became disgusted when he saw Bob Stookey’s (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) charred and maggot infested foot. In a fit of rage, Father Gabriel tossed Bob’s foot -- and got the walkers inside the school all riled up.
The walkers broke out of the boarded up building and began chasing Father Gabriel. The priest, who hurt his foot when he escaped the church, managed to hobble back to Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) -- but the church doors were locked. In a twist of fate it was Father Gabriel who was forced to bang on the outside and yell for help. “Please let me in,” he begged. “Don’t leave me out here.”
Fortunately for Father Gabriel, Michonne and Carl broke down the boarded up door to let him back in. But they also let in the hoard of walkers chasing him. The group was forced to retreat to the rectory where they climbed out of the same hole in the floor Father Gabriel used to escape the previous week.
Once on the outside, Michonne and Carl locked the walkers in the church. However, the limited wood they had couldn’t hold back the dead. As the walkers slowly began to break down the door, Abraham’s (Michael Cudlitz) group roared up in a fire engine.
As one group reunited, Rick’s crew finally got to see Carol and Beth. Dawn agreed to hand the pair over in exchange for the two officers Rick had. Things appeared to go smoothly until Dawn requested that they also hand over Noah.
“That wasn’t part of the deal,” Rick argued with Dawn.
And surprisingly Dawn’s people agreed with Rick. They begged her not to drag out the exchange, but Dawn refused to let Rick’s group walk without handing over Noah.
In an attempt to keep things civil, Noah agreed to go with Dawn. But Beth wasn’t willing to let Dawn win.
“I get it now,” she told Dawn before stabbing her with a pair of scissors she had hidden in her cast.
“Walking Dead” viewers barely had a chance to process Beth stabbing Dawn because Dawn swiftly shot Beth in the head. Rick immediately turned his gun on Dawn and shot her in the head. But the bloodshed ended there. The other officers put down their weapons and promised no one else had to get hurt.
Grady Hospital was opened to Rick’s group, but he turned it down. Instead the midseason finale ended with Rick telling the others they could leave with them. In the final moments the group walked out of the hospital to Abraham, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun). Maggie was ecstatic to see Beth, but broke down in tears when she saw Daryl holding her body.
The midseason finale didn’t end there. After the credits, fans were once again reunited with Morgan (Lennie James). He followed the marks on the trees to the school grounds where the Terminus people were camped. The doors at the school were knocked down, which means Morgan showed up after Father Gabriel had visited the school. Morgan then followed the trail to the church. He set up a fallen cross to pray, but then began to laugh. When he turned to leave, Morgan spotted a map with Rick Grimes’ name on it.