Now that ‘The Walking Dead’ mid-season break is over and the hospital storyline that dominated much of the beginning of Season 5 has wrapped up, we return to the zombie apocalypse with an episode entitled ‘What Happened and What’s Going On’. If you thought it would take a few episodes for this series to shock viewers again, you lost that bet.
The pre-credits scene consists of a montage of images, including Gabriel speaking at a burial, which viewers assume is for Beth. There are also confusing shots of the prison and Woodbury, Lizzie and her younger sister (both now deceased, of course), photographs of twins, and a framed drawing of a house with blood dripping down onto it. What does it all mean? We’re about to find out.
Noah tells Rick that had Beth been able to make it out of the hospital with him, their plan was to head to Richmond, Virginia, where Noah’s mother and younger twin brothers live in a gated community. Rick decides to drive Noah there, along with Michonne, Tyreese and Glenn to check the place out. We’ll learn later in the episode that Rick didn’t really expect to find much there, but he did it out of respect for Beth, since this was one of her last goals before she died.
The group arrives at the community and jumps over the fence, only to find that the place has been overrun by Walkers and many of the houses have been burnt to the ground. While Rick, Michonne and Glenn give the area a good once-over for supplies, Tyreese tries to comfort Noah. Noah runs to go check out his own house, and Tyreese follows him. Inside the home, Noah first finds the rotting Walker corpse of his mother, which someone has already killed via a blow to the head. While Noah is saying goodbye to her, Tyreese checks out the rest of the house. He makes his way into a bedroom where the corpse of one of Noah’s brothers lies. Tyreese notices the photographs of twins on the wall and suddenly realizes there’s another brother. However, it’s too late, as a Walker (you know, the special kind that don’t make any noise at all until they’re right up on you) bites him on the left arm. The screams you hear aren’t Tyreese’s; they’re the sounds of millions of angry fans of the series across the world.
While Noah runs to find the others for help, the episode dives into the surreal. Tyreese is visited by the ghosts of former castmates, starting with the Terminus guy from the cabin that he claimed to kill earlier in Season 5. Other visitors include Bob, Beth, Lizzie and her sister, and – of all people – the Governor, who keeps telling Tyreese that it’s time to pay the bill. In fact, all the characters tell Tyreese that he’s done all he’s supposed to do and it’s okay to let go – but Tyreese is having none of it and tells himself that he’s not ready for it to end.
Meanwhile, Michonne tries to make a case that the group should use the community as its new home. Rick points out that the area is surrounded by woods and that Walkers could sneak up on them without notice. Michonne suggests clearing out the woods by cutting down trees, then using that wood to shore up the fences. However, when they see the corpses of dismembered Walkers and the crumbling fences in the back part of the neighborhood, Michonne realizes that her idea will never work. Instead, she pitches the idea of going to Washington, D.C., since they’re now only about 100 miles away. She realizes that Eugene lied about knowing a cure, but suggests that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be others in D.C. who might provide both safety and some answers. Rick actually likes this idea, and agrees they should make the trip.
At this point, they hear screams, and the three of them run to save Noah, who’s being attacked by Walkers on the porch of one of the houses. After saving him, Noah tells the others about Tyreese. After a few more surreal moments with Tyreese talking to those long gone, Rick and Glenn hold onto his bitten arm while Michonne swings her katana blade to cut it off – basically the same thing that was done to Hershel’s leg that allowed him to survive a lot longer than he would have. Hey, Tyreese is going to live after all!
Umm… maybe not. After getting his body back to their vehicle, Tyreese looks up to see Beth driving, Bob in the front passenger seat, and the young girls next to him – all telling him that it’s okay to let go. We then see the vehicle come to a stop. Rick and the others pull Tyreese’s lifeless body out of it. The episode ends with the funeral we saw at the beginning… It was never Beth’s goodbye; it was Tyreese’s.
The ending is sort of unclear whether Rick and the others drove Tyreese’s body all the way back to Atlanta for the funeral or if the others drove to meet them in Richmond, but I assume it’s the latter. It really wouldn’t make any sense to pull Tyreese’s dead body out of the vehicle if they were only going to put him back in. Nor would it make sense not to bury him in Richmond. So, does that mean the group will head to D.C. after all? Let’s hope so, as the Atlanta locale has really outstayed its welcome (and, let’s be honest, the Richmond scenes were obviously shot in Georgia as well).
As for Tyreese, it just doesn’t pay to be the “moral compass” for the characters on this show. First it was Dale, then it was Hershel, and now Tyreese. Pay close attention to which character next takes up the voice of morality, as his/her days are most certainly numbered!
Despite losing one of the more popular characters on the series, I think that this was the best send-off any of the actors has gotten to date on ‘The Walking Dead’. There’s a lingering sense, however, that much more could have been done with the character, so it’s kind of a shame to see him leave at this point. Still, I thought this was a very strong episode
What did everyone else think?