The Walking Dead S:05 E:09

The Walking Dead

Episode Title: What Happened and What’s Going On
Original Airdate: 2-8-15

After the heartbreaking mid-season finale where we had to say an abrupt, though not surprising, goodbye to Beth, The Walking Dead returned to break our hearts once more, but in a far more shocking way. In the opening moments, Noah tells Rick his plan to go home to Richmond, VA where his community of survivors have walls to keep out the dead. Rick decides to go, though few of the group have any hope the place will still be standing. After all, in his premiere episode, Noah did say he hadn’t been there in over a year. With the Rick, Glenn, Michonne, and Tyreese accompanying Noah in one truck, the remainder of the group take a van and stay a good distance back. Of course, as assumed the once gated haven has been overrun for some time. As Rick, Glenn and Michonne do a quick sweep for supplies, a distraught Noah runs to find his mother and younger twin brothers. As Noah cries over his mother’s corpse in one room, Tyreese sweeps the remainder of the house and hears one of the turned twin boys clawing at a door. He decides to leave him be and finds the other dead in his bed. What the big man wasn’t expecting was that the twins had adjoining rooms and Tyreese turns around just in time for the undead brother to deliver a terrible bite to his forearm.

As all this happens relatively early in the episode (first 15-20 minutes) what follows is a very atypical style for the show. As Tyreese waits for Noah to alert the others, he begins to hallucinate previous dead characters of the show: Martin (from Terminus), Bob, Lizzie, Mika, Beth and even the Governor. The girls and Bob are telling him it’s how it was supposed to be and everything is better on the other side. The Governor and Martin are pointing out that his weaknesses got him there and it’s his fault he was bitten. In the end, after having his arm cut off to stop the infection, Tyreese decides to let go and be at peace, with the others burying him before heading to Washington.

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This death particularly hurt. Tyreese was always a man with strong moral character, who normally abhorred violence (except after his girlfriend’s murder), even when it came to killing the Walkers. But he was there for the group when needed, and he was never needed more than when he rescued Lizzie, Mika and infant Judith from the prison raid. That’s when I fell in love with Tyreese. I could see him growing stronger as a character during the first half of Season 4 and I wasn’t quite behind him yet, but when he turned around in the mid-season premiere of S4, revealing Judith was in fact alive and he was the one who saved her, I was a goner. For an adult to save two little girls and a baby, alone, with no supplies, no plan and no help, that speaks volumes of who they are and Tyreese was an amazing man.

Though I’m incredibly sad to see Tyreese leave, I’m glad this episode was his send-off. It was what the man deserved, showing his amazing strength, physically and emotionally, as well as his vulnerability. The artsy direction was unlike anything seen on TWD before, with the random shots throughout that all came together in the end coupled with the dreamlike quality of Tyreese’s final hour. He will be greatly missed.

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