the walking dead recap s5e7 crossed

The Walking Dead’s Dawn and Machiavelli’s Prince

(Spoilers for The Walking Dead: Coda)

I majored in political science and history in college.  I sleep with a copy of Machiavelli’s Prince next to my bed.  I’ve learned a lot from that little tome of wisdom from the Renaissance.  And when I heard Dawn telling Beth about how you have to have respect in order to maintain control, I heard Machiavelli in her words.

Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince during the Renaissance as a guidebook for the ruling Medici Family in a time when Florence needed strong leadership.  In the book, he describes different types of leaders and how they are either successful or failures, depending on how they choose to rule their realms.  For example, the nice Prince who lets his people do what they want will be perceived as weak,  but a iron-fisted Prince who establishes rules will be seen as strong, and should he bestow occasional rewards to his people, he will be respected and loved.

Dawn was in a precarious situation from the very first moment we met her.  She had assumed control of Grady Hospital after killing her friend and mentor, Hanson.  He cracked under pressure, and people died.  Dawn created a world within the walls of Grady where she was in control, and her control depended upon the relationship between her police and the wards.  After the midseason finale, we learned that she was well aware of the good cops and the bad cops.  She was paying attention.  But as she told Beth, she had to maintain their respect in order to maintain control.  You can’t allow the inmates to run the asylum, as they say.

Dawn’s fatal flaw was her request to Rick for Noah’s return.  She thought she had to make that request in front of her people.  She thought it would be best to show that she was in control of the situation, but making that request is what began the chain of events that led to Beth’s death, and ultimately her own.

I don’t think Dawn was a villain.  She was never as ruthless as The Governor, nor was she as frenetic and volatile as Gareth.  In her mind, she was doing the right thing in the only way she knew how.

The internet has been buzzing with speculation about whether or not Dawn killed Beth on purpose.  I’m of the opinion that she didn’t mean to pull the trigger.  (Unless, of course, she was looking for a way out)  The shocked look on Dawn’s face was enough to make me think that she had no intention of killing Beth.  Dawn respected Beth.  Beth’s death, and Dawn’s subsequent departure, were unintended consequences of an unintentional action. (Which is to say that Beth stabbed Dawn, Dawn’s finger slipped on the trigger, Beth died, and Daryl shot Dawn)  It would have been interesting to see what life in The Walking Dead world would have been like with Beth and Dawn in it.  At least, for a little while longer.


In sum, I believe that Machiavelli would approve of Dawn’s system at Grady. Dawn ruled with a heavy hand, but as we saw with Beth, she also knew how to  play nice when the time called for it.  Of course, everything Dawn did was incredibly calculated, so even when she was “nice” (as in giving Beth the key to the medicine cabinet) she had ulterior motives.  However, this is something that Machiavelli would see as a favorable trait in a leader.



The Walking Dead Recap S5E7: Crossed

The Walking Dead S5E7: Crossed

Original Airdate: November 23, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


It’s that time of year, fellow Walkers. As we approach the midseason finale, the action is heating up.

Sasha is breaking pews in the church.  Tyreese is dismantling the organ, handing the pipes to Daryl.  Father Gabriel asks Daryl if they’re taking the cross as well.  Only if they need it, he replies.  Rick tells Michonne that Carl wants to go to Atlanta but he can’t.  She says that she’ll go so he can stay, where he belongs.  Rick holds Judith one last time before handing her back to Michonne, and then he hugs Carl.  The group leaves, with Michonne, Judith, Carl and Gabriel in the church.  Judith cries as the door closes.  Once it’s closed, Michonne and Carl board up the doors.  Gabriel stares at the dried blood on the floor from the Gareth Party Massacre.  He scratches at it, then scrubs with his hands. He’s sweaty.  I think he’s having a breakdown.

The truck barrels down the road. Tyreese and Sasha sit in the back talking.  He tells her he understands how she feels about Bob.  When he continues, she tells him to stop.  She doesn’t want to hear it.

In Atlanta, Beth does her chores but she takes a moment to check on Carol.  Dr. Edwards comes in to check on her progress.

We return to the road, where Abraham’s group ponders the sea of Walkers gathered on the farm.  Glen has his gun at the ready.  “Buckle up” the sign behind him advises.  Tara has used the last of the water.  She has dubbed the group “Greatm”, which represents their initials.  Eugene is still out cold. Glen ponders taking him back to the church.  Rosita offers water to Abraham, who refuses it and then slaps it away.  He’s in a daze.  He stands and stares at Rosita, and Maggie aims her gun at him.  She orders him to sit down or be put down.  Eventually he listens.

Rick wants to retain the upper hand in their siege upon the hospital.  Everything has to be quiet and fast.  No guns.  Rick divides the areas up.  He is going to take down Dawn.  Noah assures them that the wards will help them if it means they will be free.  Tyreese wants to know what happens if his plan doesn’t work.  He proposes keeping two of the cops as prisoners.  Daryl agrees that using the cops as leverage will be a good idea.  Everyone goes home.

At the church, Gabriel is still scrubbing. Carl tells him to choose a weapon.  He needs to learn to defend himself.  Gabriel doesn’t think he deserves to be protected. Carl tells him that he’s lucky the church has lasted so long, and they can’t stay in one place anymore.  Gabriel chooses a machete, but he doesn’t hold it properly.  Carl tries to tell him how to do it, but Gabriel doesn’t want to learn. He needs to lie down.

Beth scrubs the floor while Dawn talks to an officer, who is arguing that they’re wasting resources on Carol.  Beth interrupts, telling them that the officer is wasting their electricity charging his DVD player every day.  Dawn tells her to switch off the life support, and the officer leaves, satisfied.  Dawn tells Beth that they have a fragile balance at the hospital, and that she just killed the patient.  However, Dawn gives Beth the key to the drug locker and tells her that she will be able to save her.  She doesn’t trust anyone with the key, not even Edwards.  A call comes in on the radio about a gunshot about a mile from the hospital.  She dispatches some officers.  Beth wants to know why she is doing this.  Dawn says she thought Beth was weak, but Beth proved her wrong.

Glen says they will need more water before moving.  Maggie volunteers to stay behind while Glen, Tara and Rosita go to the creek.  Tara cracks jokes about their situation, but she misses Eugene.  She doesn’t blame him for using his intelligence to save his life.  Back at the truck, Maggie grabs a ladder while Abraham stares in the distance.  She uses it to form a little shade tent for Eugene.  She goes to Abraham and says that he needs to get over himself.  He isn’t the only one who lost something, and things aren’t going to get any better.

Beth knocks on Edwards’ door.  She asks to come inside.  She wants to know what medicine to give Carol.  Edwards says that if Dawn gave her the key then she did it for a reason.  He says he had been trying to save his life before, but he isn’t sure that he was better off staying alive.  He tells Beth to use epinephrine, and that she’ll wake up after a while.  He wishes her luck.

The creek is muddy.  Tara wonders if they should go upstream, but Rosita has a solution.  She built a water filter with a water bottle, and while it’s slow, they can boil it.  Tara asks if Rosita was with Abraham before.  She had been in Dallas, and then Abraham pulled up in his big truck with Eugene.  He saw her skills and asked her to help.  But now she wonders if he was lying too.

The cops drive into a cluster of buildings.  They find Noah limping away, and they catch him.  He goes quietly, which eventually leads one of the officers to wonder what he was shooting at.  Behind them, Rick and his gang are there waiting for them.  Rick takes over, telling them to put their guns down.  Rick says they need to talk.  He offers them water and food.  Officer Lanson wonders if Rick is a cop too.  Noah says he was one of the only good cops.  But before they can talk, the blue car returns and rescues the officers, but not before Sasha shoots out the tire.  The officers scatter in a burned out courtyard filled with badly burned Walkers.  Rick gives chase.  One of the officers tackles Daryl, and Daryl uses the head of one of the Walkers to get the officer off of him.  Rick shows up and aims the gun at the officer’s head, but Daryl reminds him that three hostages are better than one.

The group leads their hostages into the warehouse.  The female officer says that they can help them make the plan work.  They have wanted to get rid of Dawn for a while now and if they are released they can take care of her and free their friends.  Lanson tells her to be quiet, realizing that Sasha, Daryl and Tyreese are listening to them, as in actually listening to them.  And Lanson isn’t interested in anything other than peaceful resolution.  He wants to help them.