Looks like Killer Carol made it through the midway point of the season, and little Beth bit the bullet.
The opening scene, with Rick chasing down the escaped cop, was well done. At this point, giving the dude a chance to surrender and then running him down was about the best way to handle things.
Rick had the decency of gunning him down, too, instead of leaving him to serve as a live walker snack.
Back at the church, we learn that crazy Gabriel left the church to go to the school...apparently to verify that the cannibals that Team Rick killed were indeed cannibals. Unfortunately, a mini-horde of zombies breaks out from the school and follows him back to the church. Michonne has some good zombie/katana action as they bug out.
Is anyone else getting annoyed that Gabriel ISN'T dead yet? Anyone think they should cut him loose for being crazy? Drop him off in a safe place with some food and say adios?
After some dialog between various characters that didn't matter a whole lot, we find ourselves at the initial encounter between Rick and two of the police officer's, with the rest of the group set up as snipers.
Nice touch to this scene - it looked like Rick had set up a wind flag with an old grocery bag, to help the rest of the group read the wind and make adjustments. It didn't look like they were really far enough to need to make adjustments for wind, but a nice add none-the-less.
Now, due to lazy writer syndrome, Team Rick moves deep into enemy controlled territory (a hallway within the hospital) to make the actual prisoner swap. This is a terrible idea on so many levels, but it was done so that a) the ending could happen and b) they wouldn't have to scout/build another location for the prisoner swap.
We enter into a tense standoff. The close range and lack of cover mean that if anything goes wrong, a whole lotta people are going today.
Swap goes off seemingly well until the group goes to leave and head police woman demands that they leave Noah as well. After some arguing, Noah volunteers to stay. Beth takes exception to this, goes all crazy and stabs head police lady with a little pair of scissors she had stashed in her cast.
Head police lady shoots Beth in the face, and then a heart broken Daryl finishes head police lady. At this point, I was thinking we might have multiple characters dying - with everyone at spitting distance raising their guns, it was gonna get ugly. Luckily, the cops call off the ensuing gunfight and calmer heads prevail.
Now, you'd never let crazy, pissed off Beth get in head police lady's face to begin with. Not a good negotiation tactic. But then you wouldn't have had the ending that the writer's wanted.
Meanwhile, Team Glenn, Maggie & Associates return to the church, pick up Michonne, Cawrl and baby, and then head to the hospital. Maggie gets her hopes up hearing that Beth is still alive, only to have them dashed when they show up at the prison to see Daryl carrying her lifeless corpse out.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed by the episode. Beth's death was fairly pointless, action was a bit of a let down for a mid-season finale and the ending left you with nothing but "Ok....now what are they going to do?"
At least the group is re-united once again (finally).
And hey - whatever happened to Morgan? We got a brief tease of him following the group early in the season and then...nothing!
Edited to add: If you're cable-free and buy the shows, you need to be more patient than I was and wait 'till after the credits for a sitrep on Morgan. We see him wandering, Book of Eli style, following the trail markings left by the cannibals. He makes his way to the church, where he finds the map left by Abraham - "the new world's going to need Rick Grimes" - queue surprised reaction and then the episode really ends.
That's it from me - what did you think of the episode? If you were in Rick's shoes, where would you go next?