- Rick negotiates a peaceful exchange with Dawn while Gabriel puts the church in danger.
Lamson is on the run after knocking out Sasha, and tries to cut his wire restraints on his hands. Rick, having learned of what happened, comes after him just as a pack of walkers begins chasing Lamson. As he approaches Lamson in one of the Grady cars, he orders him to stop. When Lamson refuses, Rick crashes the car into him, breaking Lamson's back. Rick exits the car and informs the crippled Lamson that it wouldn't have come to this if he had just stopped as ordered. Lamson calls Rick crazy, just as the latter puts down the former.
Rick returns to the group, and confers with Daryl on whether the loss of Lamson would change anything in the proposed trade with Dawn. Daryl thinks so, but Licari and Shepherd disagree, and make up a story that Lamson was eaten by walkers.
Outside Atlanta, Gabriel has come upon the school where the Hunters amputated and ate Bob's leg. After inspecting Bob's rotting, maggot-ridden leg, and a Bible that belonged to Mary, Gabriel is set upon by the walkers in the school. He flees back to the church, limping, and begs for Carl and Michonne to let him in, bringing a herd with him. Carl and Michonne break down the barricade protecting the church's entrance and the three flee into the room where Gabriel created a tunnel. Gabriel holds the walkers back behind the door while the other three escape. Outside the church, the trio board up the church's doors, safe for the moment. Gabriel states that he needed to see what the Hunters had done with his own eyes, but at that moment the walkers begin to break down the barricade. In the nick of time, Abraham's group pulls up in the fire engine and blocks the door, saving the group. Eugene's deception is revealed to Carl, Michonne and Gabriel, but when questioned on the group's whereabouts, Michonne excitedly tells Maggie of Beth's survival and that they went to rescue her from Grady. The combined parties venture off to Atlanta to aid Rick.
At Grady, Dawn is distressed that Licari and Shepherd aren't answering her calls. Beth asks about Hanson, and Dawn tells her that no matter what stories are told, she still misses Hanson, who had lost sight of Grady's mission to efficiently help people and survive. Dawn also reveals she deduced that Beth killed Gorman. Later, O'Donnell beats Percy around, and tries to get a hold of Beth, but Dawn denies his request, stating that she needs her. Later at the elevator shaft, Beth tells Dawn she just wants to be alone, but at that moment, O'Donnell arrives and berates Dawn for protecting Beth. The argument grows heated to the point Dawn pulls her gun on O'Donnell. After getting close enough, O'Donnell attacks her, and briefly overpowers Dawn before being distracted by Beth trying to help Dawn. Dawn takes advantage of the distraction and strikes him, and Beth pushes him down the elevator shaft to be eaten by the walkers below. In Carol's room, Beth tells Dawn that she understands that Grady is a place where people use each other to get what they want, inadvertedly revealing Edwards' deception that killed Gavin. Beth repeats her desire to get out, but Dawn claims she doesn't want to leave, and neither did Noah.
Rick meets with two of Dawn's cops who were on patrol, and after introducing himself, proposes a peaceful exchange of Carol and Beth for Shepherd and Licari. It's worked out, and Rick's group is led into Grady with their prisoners. Both parties meet at opposite ends of a hallway, and they are exchanged one at a time. Licari for the wheelchair-bound Carol, and then Shepherd for Beth. The deal done, Rick's group turns to leave but Dawn asks for Noah, needing a ward having lost Beth. Rick tries to keep Noah, but Dawn threatens violence should he not be turned over. Noah accepts and goes to surrender himself, and gets a last hug from Beth. Dawn taunts Noah, claiming she knew he'd be back. A fuming Beth stabs Dawn with a hidden pair of scissors - but is shot in the head by Dawn. Horrified, Dawn tries to plead for her life, but can do nothing before Daryl shoots her in the head.
As the group grieves, Shepherd takes command of Grady, claiming that the conflict is over with Dawn dead. She offers Rick's group the chance to stay, but Rick refuses, and invites any who are willing to join him to come with him now. There are no takers.
Abraham's group arrives in Atlanta just as Rick's group exits Grady, weeping. Daryl cradles Beth's body as Maggie collapses in grief.
In another stinger, Morgan comes across the school, and puts down a walker. He follows the Hunters' signs carved in the trees to the church. He enters, and kneels and prays for a moment before laughing in tears. He looks around the church, and finds Abraham's map to Washington. His expression changes from that of intrigue to shock as he sees who Abraham's note is addressed to...
- 0% Approval Rating: While it was said before that Dawn was hardly a well-liked leader, here it becomes clear that absolutely no one cares enough about her to stay loyal to the end. One of her officers threatens to mutiny, the ones Rick captures (aside from Lamsen) are cooperative enough to divulge her fears about appearing weak, and another briefly attempts to vocalize a dissenting opinion when Dawn orders that Rick surrender Noah back to her. To cap it all off, the guards do nothing to avenge her after Dawn is killed by Daryl, instead offering Rick's group the chance to stay with them in the hospital.
- Accidental Murder: Dawn seems to have pulled the trigger accidentally in reflex to being stabbed; she seems as shocked and horrified as everyone else that Beth is dead. Rick says in the next episode that he could tell she didn't mean to do it.
- Actor Allusion: The scene where Rick and Daryl aim their guns, there is a sign behind them that says "5th floor". This is a reference to The Boondock Saints, where Norman Reedus' character Connor MacManus lived in a studio apartment on the 5th floor. Their stance is also similar to the MacManus brothers in scenes from the film.
- Big Damn Heroes: Abraham returns to the church in the fire engine, blocking the walkers trying to escape and saving Carl, Michonne, Judith and Gabriel.
- Bittersweet Ending: The group is all back together, and rescues Carol from Grady only Beth died trying to kill Dawn.
- Book-Ends: It's the episode title, in fact. Also, both the season premiere and this mid-season finale end with a Stinger featuring Morgan traveling.
- Boom, Headshot!: Dawn's death, delivered by Daryl, after she did the same to Beth.
- Call-Back: Tyrese tells Sasha about his fight with Martin in the season premiere, and how he couldn't kill him, despite coming close to it.
- Car Fu: How Rick catches the escaping Lamson.
- Character Death: Beth, Lamson, O'Donnell, and Dawn.
- Chekhov's Gun: The surgical scissors Beth had in her hand towards the end of 'Slabtown'.
- Continuity Nod:
- Rick uses Gareth's taunt to Bob Stookey against Bob Lamson.
- Gabriel went to the school and found the fire left behind by the Hunters, as well as Bob's half-eaten, rotting leg. In The Stinger, Morgan finds Abraham's letter to Rick.
- Deadpan Snarker: When the cops ask Rick where his group is, their question is answered by Sasha sniping a nearby walker. Rick goes a step further and answers that they're close.
- Handicapped Badass: Carol was wheelchair-bound, but when she leaves the hospital, she's able to walk with assistance from Tyreese.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Noah tries to pull one so Beth can return to the group. However, Dawn taunts him as he hugs Beth one last time, setting off Beth, who tries to kill her, but is shot.
- This is also a possible interpretation of Beth's last act. Stabbing Dawn, knowing she will kill her in retaliation to get Dawn shot.
- Hope Spot: Michonne tells Maggie that Beth is alive and that the group has gone to rescue her, only for them to find the group minus Beth.
- Ironic Echo: Rick tells Lamson, "You can't go back, Bob," right before killing him.
- Justified Title/Terminology Title: "Coda" has several definitions, all of which perfectly describe Beth;
- "An ending part of a piece of music or a work of literature or drama that is separate from the earlier parts" (Beth is the only one separated from the group since the season starts. She's also last seen with Daryl, who in turn the one who brings her back to the group).
- "Something that ends and completes something else" (Beth's death reunited the group again and gave Noah a new family).
- "A concluding musical section that is formally distinct from the main structure" (Beth died as a very different person than she was the last time she's with the group)
- "A concluding part of a literary or dramatic work" (the episode is the end of the Rescue Arc, Dawn's reign and both Beth and Dawn's life/story in general)
- "Something that serves to round out, conclude, or summarize and usually has its own interest" (Beth died knowing she might, so she technically does went out on her own terms).
- "Coda" (as stated several times above) is generally associated with music, which itself was strongly associated with Beth throughout the series.
- In ballet, "Coda" is also the word for "last big/grand step", as in The Last Dance, which how Beth dies.
- Karmic Death: It looks like Gabriel will end up suffering one of these, being devoured by walkers while pleading entry into his church, but Carl and Michonne save him just in time.
- Kick the Dog: O'Donnell kicks around the elderly Percy. Dawn notes that he, Gorman, and others were fond of this.
- Kill the Cutie: The depressing outcome of this episode.
- Kingpin in His Gym: Dawn is seen using the stationary bicycle at the beginning of the episode.
- Manly Tears: Every male member of Rick's group has them when Beth is killed.
- Moving the Goalposts: Having captured two hospital officers, Rick succeeds in getting Dawn to exchange Carol and Beth for them. Everything runs smoothly, and it seems like the group will be able to leave in peace. Then Dawn, noting that she needs a ward to replace Beth, demands that Rick hand over Noah...
- Mythology Gag: Rick using the Car Fu against Lamson is directly taken on how Rick killed Martinez in the comics.
- Oh, Crap!: Dawn's reaction shortly after killing Beth, once she realizes what happened and sees that Daryl is about to kill her in retaliation.
- Pietà Plagiarism: How Daryl carries Beth's lifeless body out of Grady.
- Sherlock Scan: Dawn was able to figure out that Beth personally knows Carol just by looking at them.
- Ship Sinking: For Beth/Daryl. Though at the very least, it's Daryl who gets revenge on Dawn with a quick bullet to the head. Later, he's seen carrying her body out of the hospital, crying all the way.
- Beth/Carl, which was briefly teased a few times in earlier seasons, will never happen either now.
- Beth/Noah, as well.
- Sole Survivor: Tragically, Maggie is now the last surviving member of the Greene family.
- The Starscream: O'Donnell tries to threaten Dawn, and then tries to kill her, but ends up being killed by both Dawn and Beth.
- The Stinger: Morgan finds the school where the Hunters caught Bob, and the church. After praying briefly, he finds Abraham's note addressed to Rick...
- Wham Episode: The season-long Rescue Arc seems to end well, but Beth made a fatal decision...
- Wham Shot: Three, with the first two happening in succession, the second one literally.