After what seemed like spending a half-a-year in hiatus limbo, The Walking Dead has finally returned on AMC, Sunday nights. Another The Walking Dead spin-off Television series will most likely be set sometime this year. As far as I know, Fear the Walking Dead is taking place in Los Angeles, CA and is starring Cliff Curtis. But let’s get back to our original Walking Dead Grimes family of survivors.
For the past months I took a hiatus from writing content to this blog because I was trying to publish my first novel, which I managed to do so and posted it on Amazon. Those of you who have not witnessed the blabbering promotions of my book on social media sites, well here is a direct link to the page where the e-book titled, ‘Stay Awhile’ is being sold for at 2.99, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SOSWZXK.
And when I wasn’t doing this I was applying for jobs, or spending a lot of time and effort on one specific job and watched the entire first season of Z Nation from Syfy on Netflix. It sounds like a lot, but the length was a span of a few months. After watching Z Nation which takes the zombie apocalyptic genre in the opposite direction of The Walking Dead, I was slightly non-adjusted. It was challenging for me to switch gears and refocus my interests on The Walking Dead. After a few minutes of watching the start of Season 5’s second half though, I was reminded why this is the better zombie show and why it is still one of the best shows on television. Z Nation was fun and funny, but the show lacks the concrete realism of the characters, the story and their struggle. The connection that The Walking Dead has on their viewers and fans is what makes this show so appealing.
So to get us back on track, we were left off in Atlanta, GA after officer Dawn mistakenly fired a bullet from her gun, instantaneously killing Beth in the process. This created a chain reaction of sadness and revenge. Daryl gunned down Dawn and Noah joined Rick’s group. The other half of Rick’s group led by Abraham and Glenn caught up and saw the devastating damage. Now I won’t discuss what happened in the first 5 minutes of the new episode, because I missed it. There were apparently hints of foreshadowing.
Present day, Rick is driving a blue van along with his passengers: Noah, Michonne, Glenn, and Tyreese. Rick is communicating to Carol via walkie-talkie. So this means that the other half of the group is possibly a few miles away, not too far. We soon realize that Rick was taking Noah to his neighborhood. Being extra cautious, due to traumatic experiences they had on former settlements (Terminus, Woodbury, CDC, the list goes on…) Rick parks the vehicle next to a group of abandoned cars as camouflage, whilst a walker (sorry can’t say zombie) squawks in her seat.
The party of five (that was actually the title of an old soap opera) jump over the gates to Wiltshire. No way! Is that the Wiltshire Estates from the comic book? You beat it is, since the place is abandoned with areas of high tree growth and burnt up sections of suburban homes. Apparently, in Season 2, Shane and Andrea go on a supply run and make their way to Wiltshire Estates. Except the Wiltshire in this current episode is way closer to the look from the comic book. The gated entrance says it all.
Within the center of the Estates, Noah breaks down and cries, Rick, Glenn and Michonne go off in search of supplies while Tyreese stays and looks after Noah. Noah quickly gets up and limbs away from Tyreese, Tyreese runs from behind to catch up.
Rick, Glenn, and Michonne walk down the streets and find a house. Rick brings up the entire Beth incident to Glenn and Michonne. Rick states that he would have shot Dawn even though he knows she made a mistake. She didn’t mean to shoot Beth. It seems like Rick feels guilty for not putting Dawn down and ultimately for not saving Beth. Glenn and Michonne have a look of hopelessness framed across their faces. Rick explains that he wants to find a settlement in Wiltshire because Beth wanted Noah to make it here. Rick feels they owe Beth that much to her.
The three observe scattered pieces of walkers on the grass. Rick tells Glenn and Michonne that they can’t stay because the gates are down and they’re surrounded by open woods. Michonne disagrees and says they will cut down the trees and build a wall. Glenn is indifferent. What he does say instead is that it did not matter who killed Dawn. Michonne then blurts out that they’re better off trying to go to Washington D.C., which is about one hundred miles North. Rick agrees with Michonne because even though Eugene was lying about a cure, there must be some reason why he chose to label D.C. as the imminent destination.
Off in the distance, Noah and Tyreese approach Noah’s dwelling. Tyreese attempts to stop him from entering his old house, alarming Noah that he does not want to see his family in ruin. Noah goes inside regardless. In the middle of the living room the corpse of a female walker lays dead on the carpet with a chunk of her skull missing. It almost looks like someone shot a bullet through that area of her head. This is most likely Noah’s mother. Noah disappears, Tyreese walks off into one of the bedrooms where he sees the corpse of a young boy lying on his bed with his chest blown through. Tyreese quickly notices that the boy was Noah’s younger brother and one of a twin, Polaroid photos are displayed on the wall. When Tyreese notices that the twin is missing, he turns around to see a walker version of it as it bites into his forearm. Oh no! Tyreese just got bit!
Soon after, Noah runs into the room and stabs his zombified brother with the pointed edge of a toy model jet through its eye socket. Noah finds Tyreese with a gash mark of the bite. Noah tells Tyreese that he will run and get the others. Tyreese goes into a daze as he puts pressure on his wound out of fear. I think it would have been more wise if Tyreese went with Noah, but that’s just my opinion. I mean at least check to see if the rest of the house is clear of walkers before leaving your friend for walker meat.
After minutes of waiting, Tyreese begins hallucinating visions of former survivors who have passed. Starting with Martin who chastises Tyreese for not killing him in the cabin. A punctured bloody wound lays across his neck. Martin lectures Tyreese and says that he failed to survive because he did not kill him, instead he got his little sister to do it (Sasha). Earlier in the Season, Sasha was the one who murdered Martin during the Church massacre. But then a more peaceful voice enters the conversation, when the ghost of Bob Stookey has a more positive approach on how things turned out. There is a back and forth lecture between Martin and Bob until Tyreese imagines Mika and Lizzie Samuels talking directly to Tyreese; telling him it’s okay now. Tyreese then notices in front of him, a vision of the Governor, or Phillip giving him a scolding. It is obvious from the Governor’s gun shot wound through his forehead that it’s his ghostly apparition. Phillip recalls a moment back in Season 3 when Tyreese told the Governor that he had everything under control in Woodbury, right before Phillip left the town to attack the prison. These hallucinations are manifestations of Tyreese’s subconscious as well as the blurred lines between reality and the afterlife.
The Governor suddenly appears to Tyreese as a walker. This alarm shakes Tyreese out of his mental state when he struggles to fend himself off. With no one around to help, Tyreese uses his already bit arm as a distraction so he could grab something sharp around the room. He quickly manages to push the walker onto a desk chair as he nails a sharp edge through the back of it’s head. Tyreese hides himself under a table as he puts pressure on his wounds while also losing more blood. A painted picture of a framed farm house becomes drenched with blood on the floor. Is the farm house a recalling to the Grove, from last season? The same place where Lizzie and Mika passed away? Possibly.
Back outside, Rick, Michonne, and Glenn get distracted by the noises of screams. They run towards the sound as they see Noah struggling to separate himself from a few walkers with a porch chair. Rick, Michonne, and Glenn neutralize the walkers swiftly. Once Noah is free he tells them that Tyreese has been bit. All four of them begin sprinting towards Noah’s house.
Back in the bedroom, Tyreese continues to lose more blood as his skin begins changing blue. Sweat pours from his forehead as his eye pupils dilate. The hallucinations become more vivid and rapid. Tyreese witnesses Lizzie and Mika telling him that it is okay to let go. Beth comes into the picture while singing and playing on an acoustic guitar. Her lullaby is soothing but we know that Tyreese is close to death. Bob, Martin share more debates on Tyreese’s former actions. Lastly, the ghostly Governor tries intimidating Tyreese by showing him photo slides of his failures for revenge. The Governor yells at Tyreese for being weak in forgiving Carol after what she did. Carol in Season 4 murdered and then burned the body of Tyreese’s girlfriend in order to stop the spread of the infection at the prison. Later on that Season, Carol admits to Tyreese that she killed Karen after euthanizing Lizzie by the flowers. Tyreese faces his obstacle by admitting that he does not regret the decisions he made. He even saved Judith a few times. As a kid he would listen to the news on the radio to make sure him and his sister were out of harms way. He was always trying to do the right thing as the natural protector.
Tyreese quickly puts the Governor in his place when he explains that he did not know what kind of man he truly was until after Woodbury. Tyreese goes on to state that Phillip was always dead inside and that all Tyreese wanted was for no one else to die. This ghostly apparition fades away as Lizzie grabs Tyreese’s arm.
Rick with Tyreese’s outstretched arm amputates just above the area of the bit. The four of them carry Tyreese out as they quickly run out of the house. Rick and Glenn tie a towel around the bleeding arm as they make their way back to the van by getting through the locked front gate. Rick immediately communicates to Carol via with walkie-talkie that they must cauterize the area of amputation or else Tyreese will die from blood loss. While putting the van in reverse, a vehicle’s trunk in front of the their’s opens to a pile of chopped up walkers as they bounce onto the hood of the van. After a few attempts, Rick drives out of the muddy trap and heads back onto the road to reunite with the others and to save Tyreese’s life.
During the van ride, Tyreese has a set of flashbacks of him with Sasha, him with Karen, moments at the prison, etc. Then Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and Noah are replaced in his mind with Beth, Bob, Lizzie, and Mika. The four ghosts tell him that it is okay to let go, things are good now, as they repeat. Tyreese’s eyes go dull. From the outside, the van stops, the four get out as Rick strolls along the road in frustration. They place the body of Tyreese on the ground.
After Rick returns to the others, they bury Tyreese in the ground and perform a funeral. Father Gabriel gives Tyreese a eulogy, the rest pay their respects (especially a memorable one from Daryl). Rest in peace Tyreese, you turned out to be a good person. His moral compass has surely rose up the ranks of Hershel status. It is a shame, however, that the voices of reason do not seem to last very long in this apocalypse.
This episode took a bold move in giving a spiritual tone. Most season/mid-season premieres or returns tend to be action packed. This felt like a movie that could have been made by Focus Features. However, this episode did seem to drag on longer than it should have. Although, I enjoyed the depth of Tyreese’s demise and appreciated seeing some former characters that have left the show (Beth and Bob), this episode could have been wrapped up in fifteen minutes. I was surprised to see Tyreese go like this, since in the comic book, his death is very similar to how Hershel died on the show, which was extremely epic. The only difference is that he died from a zombie bite. I have not seen a main character killed off from a zombie bite in a long time. I think the last one to go from a walker bite was T-Dog and that was back in Season 3.
It looks like the group is going to be picked off one by one. Who will survive? Will they eventually make it to Washington D.C.? And if they do, what other shenanigans will they run into next? Stay tuned for next weeks episode on Sunday February 15, 2015.