Sunday was the mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” and it ended in quite a shock.

This season focused on rescuing Beth, who was captured by the group in Grady Memorial Hospital, as well as the strengthening of her character as she tries to survive by herself, a feat that only a few of Rick’s group have done.

There was a lot of action in this episode, but the biggest surprise was Beth’s death at the end. As the exchange was happening in the hospital, Dawn, the leader of the hospital group, demands to have Noah, a recent hospital escapee, back since she will be losing Beth.

Right as Beth is saying goodbye to Dawn, she taunts Beth with an idea that she had mentioned earlier in the episode: Everyone that leaves always comes back. Beth is angered with this notion and stabs Dawn, but not fatally. Dawn retaliates by shooting Beth in the head. Although everyone is in disarray at this moment, Daryl still shoots Dawn in a fit of rage.

The big question is, why did Beth do this? She was in the clear and could finally rejoin her group, and then she turns around and stabs the leader, in a nonlethal fashion no less.

It is speculated that, by stabbing Dawn, Beth was doing what no one else in the hospital could do: challenge Dawn’s authority. She also did not want to end up there again; and, if everyone who leaves comes back, then clearly there was only one way to end the cycle. This is just speculation and hopefully the reason for Beth’s apparent suicide comes to light. Many viewers are still shocked that the writers would kill Beth. But on the bright side, at least it wasn’t Daryl.

Another character who had some of the limelight in this finale was Gabriel. He escaped the church in the last episode and headed to the school. He still believes that everything will go back to the way it was, and that the massacre of the cannibals in his church was immoral. Once he gets there, he sees the Bible that once belonged to his friend Mary and the rotted foot of Bob. He falls to his knees, knowing that everything that Rick’s group says is true and there is no going back to the way things were.

Rick is also viewed differently in this episode. Earlier in the season, he murdered the cannibal group led by Gareth as they begged for mercy. He now knows that he has to do immoral things in order to keep his group alive, such as when he confronts Officer Lamson after hitting him with a car.  As Lamson begs to go back to the others, Rick says, “You can’t go back Bob,” a line that Gareth says to Bob Stookey, a former member of Rick’s group that Gareth tortured. Rick is becoming a darker person to keep his people alive. However, this changes when he witnesses Beth’s death. He leaves the hospital peacefully and even offers to take anyone that is willing to go, something that Rick hasn’t done since the prison (with the exception of Gabriel).

Finally, in the finale we learn that Morgan knows that Rick is alive. Morgan has been a step behind Rick and his gang this whole season and this episode finally showed Morgan that Rick is alive and close. When Rick saw her at last, Morgan had gone insane after the death of his son, but this season it seems that Morgan is calmer. Hopefully he doesn’t follow the map, or else Morgan will be headed to Washington. Overall, this was a great cliffhanger to end the mid-season, and it will be exciting to see how it plays out when the series comes back in February.

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