It perhaps doesn't need to be said for a recap but SPOILER ALERT anyway!
The mid-season finale opens with Rick following Lamson in a cop call, calling for him to stop. Lamson refuses so Rick takes that as cue to literally hit him with the car. Lamson cries that his back is broken & Rick's response is to shoot him in the head and then tell his corpse to shut up. Well. If that’s not an opening to a mid-season finale… Oh yeah, and there’s also a really cool gut-spilling zombie moment courtesy of “Can’t go back, Bob” Gareth Rick Grimes.
Gabriel, while out on his field trip, heads over to the school that the Termites previously occupied. There is a giant horde of walkers watching him from inside the school as he rummages through the Termites’ belongings to make peace? With what Rick & Co. did to them? That peace was short-lived however when he found a guilt-inducing bible quickly followed by Bob’s maggot infested BBQ’d foot. Naturally, he goes into minor shock as the walkers, naturally, break through the glass door. As he hobbles back to the church, he is charmingly moving at about the same pace as a walker would. And so the horde has an easy time following him back to the church. If you remember from last week’s episode, Carl and Michonne boarded up the doors, which they must now undo to let screaming Gabriel back in. And the zombie horde, of course. Thanks Gabriel. They rush out through the same hole in the ground that Gabriel’s machete produced while the zombies shamble around the church. METAPHOR ANYONE? (Sidenote – I’m fairly sure Judith’s stand-in was a doll the entire episode. No babies here.)
Meanwhile, with the Rescue Mission, with Lamson dead, they have to rethink their plan. Cut to Dawn and Beth at the hospital. Dawn’s on her stationary bike again, being pissed that her cops aren’t answering her calls on the walkie. Beth asks about Hanson and Dawn tells her how much she misses him before noting, “Beth, in this job, you don’t need their love but you have to have their respect. Otherwise the day’s gonna come when you need backup and you’re not going to have it.” Oh Dawn, the irony.
With the church overrun with walkers, GREATM rolls on by through the church. They catch Michonne and Carl up to speed on Eugene while Michonne lets Maggie know that Beth is alive. They all set off for the hospital to join the Rescue Mission.
Beth catches a sleezy looking cop, O’Donnell, harassing Percy, the elderly dude that she gave the strawberries to in the last episode. Just as the cop is about to turn onto her, Dawn cuts him off and has Beth follow her. They meet in the elevator shaft and bicker back and forth before Dawn tries to make Beth understand the intricacies of the hospital culture. Unfortunately, O’sleezy also meets up with them without their knowing. He senses the (albeit weak) alliance between them and ends up threatening Dawn. Needless to say, none of this turns out well – but, Beth ends up pushing O’Donnell into the elevator shaft so could be worse? Also Dawn can kick some ass. The two women end up back in Carol’s hospital room where they again bicker back and forth. Beth doesn’t trust her and Dawn always refutes it with a “you don’t know how things work here.” But in better news, CAROL WAKES UP. Sorta. More like CAROL STIRS.
Back at the warehouse space, Tyreese confesses to Sasha about Termite Martin and his failure to kill him back in the cabin. Meanwhile, Rick calls a meeting with two backup cops that Dawn has sent out, while the rest of the Rescue Mission waits on a rooftop, rifles aimed. The cops are initially skeptical but everyone eventually agrees to the tradesies. Now in the hospital, both groups meet in the hallway and the tradeoff begins. Carol is the first to be let over in exchange for one of the cops. Then Beth for the other. Unfortunately, Dawn decides to become Officer Asshole and demand Noah back too. Rick of course is all “Fuck that! And Dawn was like, “Fuck you!” or something like that. Noah is like, “It’s cool, guys.” While Beth runs in to hug Noah goodbye, Dawn taunts Beth. Unfortunately for both women, they have their last bicker fest. Beth suddenly stabs Dawn (not fatally) in the chest and she instinctively kills Beth with a gunshot. Daryl steps in and returns the favor to Dawn, in tears. When Daryl cries, we all cry.
The fire truck pulls up to the hospital just as the Rescue Mission is coming out. Maggie is one of the first to see Daryl carrying Beth’s dead body and it is fucking gut-wrenching to say the least. Sorry Mags. Just when you found out she was still alive. There are not many times that I’ve cried during the show (I am totally lying) but one of the worst scenes for me was when Rick found out that Lori died. Maggie seeing Beth is probably the second worst. Bummertown USA. (Sidenote #2: This was spoiled NO THANKS to the official Walking Dead Facebook page. Smooth move, guys).
On that somber note, we end the mid-season finale with Morgan setting up a small alter in the now cleared out church. He finds the map to DC that Abraham left for Rick. And fin. The show has been teasing us with Morgan’s presence since the first episode of the season, No Sanctuary. I guess we’ll have to wait out these cold months to find out what’s going to go down.
Ok. I have one more thing of major importance to discuss. On Sunday night’s episode of The Talking Dead, Robert Kirkman confirmed that Daryl is not gay, although they do play him as asexual. Sorry, babes – apparently it sadly wasn’t meant to be. Can I say though, how refreshing it is to have a male character that is actively not pursuing women? It’s a small nod to non-heteronormativity and the fluidity of sexualities. While Kirkman did not strictly identify Daryl as asexual, we don’t see very many dominant male characters on television that are asexual either. That representation allows for more flexibility in how Daryl performs his gender. Masculinity in the apocalypse leaves room for asexuality?! In any case! Kirkman also confirmed that we will soon be meeting a gay prominent character on the show. So – comic book readers – any guesses on who this might be?
Until February, friends! Don’t miss me the show too much!