Episode Title: What Happened and What’s Going On
Director: Greg Nicotero
The return of The Walking Dead to our television screens is something fans of the show have been excited about since the mid-season hiatus began months ago. So, it returns after a mid-season finale that ended in a big and emotional way, causing viewers to shout about what went down. The last episode ended with Rick, Daryl, Tyreese and Noah and Sasha going to the hospital to rescue Beth and Carol. The resulting argument and stand-off ended with Beth being killed, and an emotional final scene of Daryl carrying her lifeless body outside where Maggie and the rest of the group react to what had just happened.
We return to the show with visuals that insinuate things but don’t confirm anything. Pictures of houses, of twins, or blood, or a shovel and some dirt. When we meet back up with the group, they are traveling separately. We meet up, in a car, with Noah, Glenn, Tyreese, Rick and Michonne, as they head to Shirewilt Estates with hopes of finding hope and help. This is where Beth had intended to go, with Noah, because his family home is there. They find the place after driving for a while, and walking the rest of the way as they got close. They find the gates community and make their way inside to find that it is emptied, for the most-part. Most of the houses are destroyed, many by fire. There are dead strewn around, and no one answers to their calls. Noah breaks down, the realization that his family are likely gone hitting him hard. Glenn, Rick and Michonne decide to look for supplies before moving on, while Tyreese stays with Noah, who is crying on the ground.
Rick, Glenn and Michonne wander off to scavange for materials while also discussing where they will go next, now that the Shirewilt Estates wasn’t a plausible place to stay. Glenn appeared numbed by the situation, saying he expected the place to be destroyed. Rick told him that this is what Beth had wanted, so they were doing it for her. Michonne spoke about how they should head to Washington, because even though Eugene had revealed, earlier in the season, that he had made his Washington story up, he obviously had reasons that he wanted to go there, and that there still might be some sort of sanctuary to find. Meanwhile, Tyreese is trying to help Noah come around from his sadness. Noah eventually gets up and runs, with Tyreese following, to his old family home. They go inside to discover what is hinted at being Noah’s mother, dead on the ground. Noah covers her with a sheet. Tyreese hears noises in another room and sees what sounds like a child walker in one of the rooms. He also finds a dead boy on the bed of another room, which appears to be one of two of Noah’s twin brothers. Tyreese it then attacked and bitten, with Noah killing the attacking zombie, which appeared to be the other twin brother of Noah’s. Noah runs for help, and leaves Tyreese bleeding on the ground.
We begin a section of the episode in which Tyreese hallucinated, likely due to the walker bite. He sees Beth, The Governor, Bob, Lizzie and Mika, and they all talk to Tyreese about death, about his situation. The Governor is threatening and harsh, while Beth, Mika and Lizzie tell him that death is better. Bob talks to him about how this was always going to happen. Tyreese is attacked a second time, but managed to fight the walker off. The section of hallucinations end when Rick, Glenn and Michonne find him, along with Noah, and cut his arm off in order to attempt to save him. The episode came to a close with the group back at the car. We hear more dialogue from the ghosts that are speaking to Tyreese, and he passes away. We end the episode with the whole group burying Tyreese, with Father Gabriel saying a few words, like a funeral.
This was an interesting beginning to the second half of Season 5. The furious and intense pace of the previous episodes calmed down for this one, and we took a stroll down memory lane with the return of characters who have passes away since Tyreese has been part of our Walking Dead story. Some have called the episode slow, and it was slow, but it built up to the death of a main character and I liked the scenes of hallucination, as well as the discussions of where the group go next. I like the character building and long dialogue of the show, so have no complaints in that regard. I do, however, question the characters decisions at times, which feel like they make no sense and are dangerous and thoughtless, something that surely characters like Rick and Glenn, and especially Michonne, would be aware of. Leaving Tyreese and Noah alone while they go scavenging for supplies was a bad idea, and I’d like to think that our characters would know it was a bad idea. The one complaint I have is that these silly decisions take me out of the story a bit and question why more thought wasn’t put into the group splitting in two for a few moments. It felt a tad lazy.
I did have a blast though, and I am very happy that the show has returned to our screens. I like the writing, and really enjoy the way the tension and concern builds as the show goes on, with new characters, new enemies and threats, and internal struggles in the group, adding to the constant thread of flesh eaters that surround their every waking moment. The group deciding to head to Washington is an intriguing idea, and I like the idea of them traveling together and trying to find sanctuary somewhere again. It opens possibilities of new dangers, new locations and new characters, which is always exciting. A well-done episode that was needed to bridge the gap between the previous episode, and the fresh journey our characters are about to embark upon. Roll on next week, I look forward to seeing how the remainder of Season 5 plays out.