The Walking Dead Review: “What Happened And What’s Going On” (Season 5, Episode 9)


Killing Tyreese is a bold statement for a show that often straddles the fine line of nihilism. As Tyrees suffers from his zombie bite, he suffers from hallucinations of, among other people, Martin, the crazy cannibal that threatened to kill Judith and left Tyreese unarmed to be eaten by the walkers. In the face of the reactionary, most violent tendencies of the group, Tyreese has been the voice the reason, even when all appearances of the given situation suggest that the more violent course is the one that should be taken. He was a man of peace, a man of great conscience, and in what might be the group’s darkest hour, he had to go.

So who might pick up Tyreese’s baton, the one that leads him to always put his best face forward? Michonne seemed rather quite desperate to find anything positive out of all this, either by convincing the group to make a stand in Richmond, or by following through with Eugene’s plan to check out Washington as a potential safe haven. I suspect this is going to the first crack in the armor of the survivors’ resolve, which is interesting because Michonne is one of its steeliest members.

As much The Walking Dead’s been blessed with forward momentum lately, five years on, with every safe haven destroyed, every potential friend turning out psycho, it begs the question if there’s anything good out there. Are there any descent people trying to make a life and succeeding, or are all the good people just victims of opportunists like The Governor, or Gareth, or Dawn? I suspect the show will deal with this very issue in the coming weeks because what’s need now is direction, or a direction. There was once an endgame, the possibility of salvation, but now there’s only the long and endless rode of desperate daily survival. How long can one hold on without a goal as simplistic as staying alive?

In his final moments, Tyreese is tested by Martin and by The Governor, as they taunt him for his supposed weakness and his lack of commitment. But the ghosts of Beth, Bob, Lizzie and Mika all come to comfort him. It seems strange that Tyreese might just give up, but then again, what choice did he have? Perhaps the difference is that Tyreese went to his death in peace, the peace that comes from a clean conscious of being the best possible citizen of the world he could be. Even in hell on Earth.

In other matters, the remains the group found in Richmond were kind of curious. Note how outside the hole in the wall were half bodies, all bottoms, cut cleanly at the waist, while several torsos came crashing out of the back of the truck the car hit. There’s something more to what happened in Noah’s hometown other than a walker attack, and if survivors do intend to check out Washington as per Michonne’s suggestion, then this is a mystery that I hope is addressed. There was something weird about Richmond, and it was kind of buried under all the stuff with Tyreese.

But in that was a sign that things are changing on The Walking Dead. Poor Beth didn’t get a funeral, and so far as I remember they jumped from Bob’s touching final scene right to Rick and Tyreese digging a grave, so the fact that show stopped and allowed Gabriel to say some words at Tyreese’s grave, along with that lingering image of his cap sitting atop the cross, and the sound of Rick shovelling being heard over the end credits suggests that the time for accepting a constant state of death is over. Perhaps, it is time to start building something better.

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