Tweetable Takeaway: A spectacular episode, which explores the cost of living through one of the show’s most extraordinary souls.Tweet
Airtime: Sunday at 9pm on AMC
By: Eric Rodriguez, Contributor
THE WALKING DEAD returned with a harbinger episode. “What Happened and What’s Going on” hits hard and, at times, a little bit artsy. Rick and the team are still reeling from the tragic loss of Beth. Noah wants to go home to Richmond to find his family so Rick, Glenn, Tyreese, and Michonne go with him. Sadly, they do not all return.
The away team pulls up to Shirewilt Estates, the gated community where Noah believes his family is living. However, they quickly discover the community destroyed, burned out in places. Noah quickly breaks down over the loss of his family. This is an important audience moment for those binge watchers out there. There hasn’t been a decent mourning period for the loss of Beth, Noah gives us a little time for Kleenex therapy. Then again…
Rub some dirt on it.
Tyreese says it in the gentlest, most loving way possible, but he makes the case to Noah that he must pick himself up and move on. By extension, most of the men on this show need to kick it up a notch. Glenn and Rick are off discussing what they would have done to Dawn for killing Beth and the state of their moral decay while Michonne is off terminating walkers and collecting supplies. Carol, Michonne, and Beth have been getting the job done. Dudes, rub some dirt on it already.
Noah leads Tyreese to his house and the next major plot-mine. As they approach, Noah speeds up for the door, but Tyreese hold’s him back and says, “Me first.” If you have one of those little 10-second back-step arrows on your remote, now’s a good time to hit it. As Tyreese stands in the doorway, only Noah’s reflection appears in the glass. A talented group makes this show happen.
They enter the house and find Noah’s mother dead in the living room. She has a huge chunk missing from her head, but the Detective Goren in me says murder, not walkers. This goes unaddressed for the rest of the episode. Tyreese heads down the hall, clearing the rooms, looking for Noah’s twin brothers. Straight ahead at the end of the hall, Tyreese can see the shadowy movement of a walker behind the door and that is when he gets a call from Pete Carroll. Too soon? Instead of just finishing that last yard, Tyreese heads into a bedroom with a young boy in what looks like another staged, murder position, posed on the bed.
It’s a really cool room, model planes hang from the ceiling, a model zombie is set on the nightstand, and the wall is full of pictures of twin boys. Tyreese gets caught up in the moment looking at the pix and that’s when the other twin-walker attacks him. This happens just under the half-way point of the episode and the rest of the time is spent with Tyreese fighting for his life.
What do you know about life and death?
This Walking Dead is all about the big questions. This episode takes its time exploring the demands of life in this world. Beth died quick from a gunshot wound to the head. Tyreese gets bit, starts to hallucinate, and then gets attacked again. In the second attack, he’s already weak from blood loss and has a difficult time fighting off the biter. Just to have a few more seconds of life, Tyreese wedges his arm in front of the biter so he can grab a rock to crush the dead’s head in. He gets bit a second time before stopping the attack.
Tyreese has been in a chess match with death ever since he walked into the show back at the prison. He’s been depressed before, but he’s always fought for life. This is no different, he knows the bite is gonna get him, but he isn’t ready to be eaten, he isn’t ready to die. He’s always been a decent guy, like Dale and Andrea; he likes to break as few eggs as possible. Like Dale and Andrea, that isn’t good enough to survive in this world. While he’s dying, hallucinations of the Governor, Beth, Bob, and others torment and question him.
Meanwhile, Michonne makes the case to Rick to repair the gates of Shirewilt Estates so the team can slow down and catch their breath for a while. They check the perimeter and find a second breach in the gate close to field of legs and arms, no torsos in sight. Again, this is not the work of walkers, nor is it the work of people simply defending themselves. Something dangerous is out there and maybe we’ll get a glimpse of it, next week.
Back to Tyreese and the last moments of his life where the Governor keeps on him about a bill he owes, he hasn’t paid the price yet. Remember, Tyreese forgave Carol for setting fire to Karen. That takes some incredible EQ as Tyreese proves again, he is a man that chooses life and the living.
During one of these hallucinations, Rick, Michonne, and Glenn return and amputate Tyreese’s infected arm. They drag him out of Shirewilt. At the gate, the show gives us the coolest action scene of the episode. Tyreese, drifting in and out of consciousness, fighting the undeath in his veins, sees Rick and the others blasting their way through a group of walkers – one as it gets right to Tyreese’s face. Again, they aren’t just fighting for life, they are fighting for mere seconds of life at this point.
They make it back to their vehicle, but on their way out of the woods, they bump into a pickup with a topper and guess what comes rolling out like a grim slot machine? Torsos. No arms or legs, but still biting, most likely separated from those at the Shirewilt rear gate.
Rick calls to Carol on the radio and tells them they are coming in and need to cauterize a wound. He wants them to be ready, but does not want Carl around to see it. They don’t even make it over the top of the hill before they stop and remove Tyreese from the truck. This is an incredibly artsy episode and when he dies, it’s from the top of the hill. A moment later they show Tyreese being buried.
Let’s get some rest because tomorrow we…
Michonne pushes hard for their next goal in this episode. Terminus was terrible, the church was a dead end, the hospital didn’t go well, and the trip to Washington was based on a lie. Still, in this world you have to have a reason to get up tomorrow and do it again. Michonne proposes they keep heading for Washington. Eugene lied about the cure, but maybe there is something happening in the capital. Here’s looking to murder on the road to Washington.
Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.