The Walking Dead Recap- Caution: Spoilers Ahead…

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Every time I feel as though I have this show figured out, that belief is flipped on its side – and this week’s episode, the mid-season return, is no different in that regard.

To quickly recall where we left off – Beth Greene had been brutally killed, and our band of survivors were forced yet again to hit the road in search of sanctuary.

Needless to say, things are not looking up.

dailymail.co.uk
dailymail.co.uk

“Okay, well at least he’s finally awake…” 

In last night’s mid-season return, which I might even consider somewhat of a bottle episode – we’re met with a fantastically composed, though cryptic, introductory montage consisting of seemingly random images; an anonymous grave being dug, trees passing by through a passenger side window, a painting of a house on which blood is being spilled.

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Jump to : Team Grimes is on the road acting on a tip from Noah, who, before corpses started walking around and biting people’s faces off, once lived in a gated community he claims should still be holding its own as a stronghold. That gated community – the Shire Wilt estates, is the destination to which he and Beth had planned to escape once they freed themselves from Dawn’s clutches.

Lifted from the comic, in which the community was known as the Wiltshire Estates, the characters are met with unspeakable horror within the walls of that supposedly ‘safe’ haven. The show flipped the script, however, and named this community ‘the Shire Wilt estates’ (see what they did there?). Upon seeing that sign, I won’t lie – I got a little cocky. “I know exactly what’s going to happen” was my first thought. Again, this show managed to take my expectations and throw them out the nearest window.

moviefancentral.com
moviefancentral.com

Over the course of last night’s hour of television, a predominant throughline is explored – the desire for ‘chance’.  For example, Noah’s belief that there was even a shadow of chance that his former community is still holding itself together, despite everyone knowing full well that the case is far more likely the opposite.  Another example is Michonne’s moving speech on how the crew should head for Washington, despite Eugene’s lies of a cure, and how even the increment of a chance that D.C. might still maintain some form of sanctuary is worth the risk of traveling all 100 miles to get there. “Don’t you want one more day with a chance” she says to Rick, who relents. It’s tough to argue with that… after all, we’re dealing with survivors here.

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The odd thing about What Happened and What’s Going On is that, within that same hour of television, we’re presented an intensely illustrated counter-argument to the ideology of our heroes thriving on chance. That counter-argument shines through Tyreese’s perspective – a view point we’re rarely treated to no matter how important his character is to both the series and the comic.

Tyreese’s benchmark characteristic, despite the barbarism of the zombie apocalypse, is his nobility. Tyreese generally refuses to kill. Hell, even when a character – who I will refer to as ‘The Douchebag’ – threatened to snap Judith’s neck in front of him – Tyrese refused to end his life. He simply beat the tar out of him with his cinderblock sized hands.

yimg.com
yimg.com

 “God, I hate that guy…” 

Tyreese is then suddenly bit by a Walker, the zombified version of Noah’s twin brother – which I did not see coming at ALL. For a brief moment, as per Michonne chopping off his arm, I thought possibly that Tyreese would end up our “one-handed-hero” as oppose to Rick Grimes (who has yet to bare his signature stump from the comic). Again, I was wrong.

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As he bleeds out waiting for help, Tyreese envisions several ghosts of his past; people he was connected closely to throughout his run in the series. We see The Douchebag, Bob, Beth and even the Governor. For the most part their message is that it’s okay to let go, as dying would be much easier than surviving. However – Tyreese decides that he wants to fight and continue to be a part of this new world (despite how terrifying and brutal it may be). To me, this connects back to his earlier speech on how ‘keeping up with the news’ is simply the cost of being part of the World. It’s just the price one has to pay to be a part of it all.

Tragically, Tyreese bleeds out and passes away – again, something I didn’t see coming. Here in lies the scariest message of this episode; that despite the through-line of thriving on chance and hope – it’s actually quite difficult to argue with the counter point that giving up is much easier than continuing to survive in such a savage reality.

This episode was, in essence, about a great man choosing death. And with the double whammy of losing both Beth and Tyreese in episodes back-to-back – it certainly was a tough pill to swallow.

wikia.nocookie.net
wikia.nocookie.net

“R.I.P. Tyreese…”

Final Thoughts :

– The “artsyness” of this episode was cranked to 11, but I thought it was handled effectively as we were lead to believe the anonymous grave being dug was Beth’s, but in actuality – it was for Tyreese.

– I felt the writer’s went a tad heavy on pounding Tyreese’s guilt for not being able to kill into our brains. We’ve been seeing that over the course of many episodes, I didn’t really feel it was necessary to drive it home so hard this time around, even with his character’s demise.

– Even ‘the Douchebag’s’ ghost had my blood boiling. He panned the fact that Tyreese is the type of guy who saves babies. Really, man!? Really!?

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