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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 8, “Coda”

Dawn is ultimately only standing up for herself when she shoots Beth, protecting only her sense of respect at Grady Memorial and nothing else.

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The Walking Dead, Coda
Photo: AMC

The electrifying opening of “Coda” doesn’t foreshadow the devastating exit of Beth (Emily Kinney), one of The Walking Dead’s most unpredictable characters, but it comes to suggest something about the rivalry between Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group and the Grady Memorial staff. The episode cuts from Rick’s legs, running at a breathless pace, to a close-up of Sgt. Lamson’s (Maximiliano Hernández) hands furiously trying to saw through the zip tie that’s binding his wrist, following his capture by Rick. Lamson is able to run, and does eventually, but unfortunately, his first thought isn’t survival, but rather securing his freedom and the upper hand. Before Rick puts a bullet in his head, not long after hitting him with a car, Lamson blames his unwillingness to listen to Rick on the world they live in, rather than his own weakness and distrust. After Rick kills him, he simply says, “Shut up,” a sign of both the character and the show’s increasing disdain and impatience with people who blame their behavior on the ruined world rather than themselves.

The same sort of expert veiling of one’s corroded nature can be seen in Dawn (Christine Woods), the leader of the Grady staff, who’s able to even fool Beth right up until their climactic confrontation. It’s an attempt to assuage a sick sort of nostalgia for the world ruled by the living, a world that will not likely ever exist again, which plays into Dawn’s still-strong belief in the power and status her badge and uniform used to carry. The fact that she’s also trying to save the hospital is part of this as well, but as Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Carl (Chandler Riggs), and Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) eviction from the church, by way of zombie horde, reiterated, there’s no shelter left, no place to go back to at the end of the day in this new world.

And yet, there’s a suggestion of a growing ego in Rick that alludes to an ever-blossoming weakness, an enjoyment of power that could lead him to make another one of his occasional grave errors. The episode found an intriguing middle ground, per usual, in Chad L. Coleman’s Tyreese, who’s quickly becoming one of the show’s richest figures to date (The Wire alum has a startling ability to mine the complex sensitivity and quiet insight of the character, often without a word). When Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) laments letting Lamson get the drop on her, endangering the group, Tyreese suggests that her trust of Lamson came from a die-hard humanity, an inability to give up on civilization. Tyreese is the same way, which might suggest he shares Dawn’s outlook, but he takes full responsibility for who he is and what he does, accepting the fact that his choice not to kill one of the Terminus cannibals early on probably led to more death.

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It’s the sort of brave, unyielding self-reliance, and introspection that Kinney’s Beth had come to inhabit, and one of the bigger reasons why her death is so wrenching. Dawn is ultimately only standing up for herself when she shoots Beth, protecting only her sense of respect at Grady Memorial and nothing else. Like most of the show’s main characters, Beth is standing up for a bigger idea, that of a brand new society, completely alien from the one that ended when the zombies started eating America. Kinney’s finely attuned performance, with those big, wide eyes that suggested innocence and wildness in unison, gives the sense of a young woman who won’t stand for power-sick murderers like Dawn. During the climactic trade, the showrunners use a variety of canted angles, a way to heighten the tension and give the scene an added, visual kick of unsteadiness, but Beth’s final act is sure and clear in its intent: Whatever the new world happens to finally form into, it’s no place for the true cowards, those who hurt and destroy to sustain the illusion of safety.

For more recaps of The Walking Dead, click here.

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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