The Walking Dead: What Happened and What's Going On

Tyreese: “It went the way it had to. The way it was always going to.”

The Walking Dead is back with gore for the gore lovers and heavy philosophical questions for the rest of us. Can humanity, not just our physical selves but that which makes us decent, kind and good survive in a world of brutality? The 'innocents' of our group, Beth and Tyreese, the ones who refused to give in to the brutality around them, are gone. Glenn, who has always been a voice of reason and hope is in despair and Michonne is desperate to find some rest for the group. I wondered how our group was going to manage the death of Beth and the loss of a Washington cure but I now despair for them facing these further blows. Hope is what keeps this group going and I'm not sure where that is going to come from now.

This episode was brilliantly done. Shot mostly from the perspective of Tyreese, it was fractured, beautiful and heartbreaking. The fragments from the opening come together as you move through the story recognizing and putting the pieces together. You think Maggie is crying because of Beth and the funeral must be for her but realize at the end that it is for Tyreese. You see blood dripping on the picture of Noah's home and hope that maybe it is from Noah's cut on his head only to watch Tyreese's blood pool on it. The lovely pictures of Beth, Bob, Lizzie and Mika seem to show that death is better than living on in the nightmare. This montage approach allowed the writers to effectively manipulate the emotions of the viewer to reflect what is happening with the characters (again). By the end of this episode I wondered if it was even possible for our group to keep going and if they did I was afraid of what they might turn into.

The dying of Tyreese is a microcosm of this struggle. He argues that his eyes were wide open and he was doing everything to help. He tells Noah that he has to continue because you don't know what difference you might make. He chose to live and he saved Judith and brought her back to her father. He tells the ghost of the Governor that people like him can live in this world and that the Governor's evil has died with him but then Tyreese does give up. He tells them to turn off the radio and he essentially loses the struggle. That seems to indicate that as Glenn says, it doesn't matter. They will all just end up dead anyway. But that is true now, that is true today. We all just end up dead one way or another.

The link with today's world was made through Tyreese's hallucinations of the radio playing. The announcer on the radio was reporting things that are happening now in the world. Nightmares that we, in Western North America, can turn off if we want to. As with most zombie movies/shows, The Walking Dead is a commentary on ourselves and our present world. The writers seem to be saying that if we can turn off the news of horrors around the world or around the block, if we choose to do nothing to address the brutality in our world, then we are the walking dead. We have lost the struggle to hang on to our humanity. Pretty intelligent, heavy stuff for a TV show, wouldn't you say?

Bits and Pieces

The haunting baby cries were particularly effective.

It was somewhat tragically poetic that Tyreese, who could fight his way through a horde of zombies, was taken down by a child.

Rick said the trip was for Beth. It seems that kind of sentimentality gets people killed.

The focus on the twin's eyes just before Tyreese was bitten was very effective.

Why the half bodies with Xs carved in the heads? I'm sure we'll find out why and I'm not looking forward to it.

Beth's song about the struggling man was a lovely overlay expressing Tyreese's struggle with the choice of life or death.

The sound of Rick shoveling dirt over Tyreese's grave went on over the credits. It felt like more than Tyreese had died.

Quotes

Mika: “It’s better now.”

Carol: “We’ve made it 500 miles, maybe this can be the easy part.”
Rick: “Got to think we’re due.”

Tyreese: “Something happens a thousand miles away or down a block, some horror I couldn’t even wrap my head around but he didn’t change the channel. He didn’t turn it off. He just kept listening, to face it, keeping your eyes open. My dad always called that paying the high cost of living.”

Glenn: “If it were now, I wouldn’t make us stop. We’d run right by. And I would have shot that woman dead, right or wrong.”

Michonne: “We need to stop. You can be out here too long.”

Glenn: “It doesn’t matter.
Rick: “What?”
Glenn: “You said you wondered if it even mattered if you killed her or not. It doesn’t matter if you had done it or if I had or that Daryl did. It doesn’t matter.”

Michonne: “Don’t you want one more day with a chance?”

Martin: “You didn’t want to be a part of it but being part of it is being now.”

Tyreese: “People like me, people like me, they can live.”

Tyreese: “Turn it off.”

7 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Lovely review, Doc. I’m not sure this episode entirely worked for me, but I found it strangely lyrical in a lot of respects. The extended focus on a character dying as a more internal process was a really interesting change of pace, and I was quite moved by Tyreese’s final moments in the car. Him making that decision that he’s done and seeing Beth, the girls, and Bob --- now sans grievous wounds ---- welcoming him to what comes next was deeply touching. And profoundly sad. I’ll miss him.

And I’m with you, Doc, that it’s very troubling that all the optimistic voices are the ones being taken out of late. Hershel, Mika, Bob, Beth, and now Tyreese. The ones seeming to try the hardest to hold on to their humanity. To not let this world “end you” as Bob once put it to Rick. There are so few voices of hope or optimism left. As you note, even Glenn has entered the dark “what the hell does it matter, it’s all shit anyway” place. Tara, perhaps, might remain a somewhat positive voice. (Hard to tell without seeing her.) And, in this episode, Michonne is trying to step up into that role. So we haven't completely lost those voices yet, but I'm concerned. Here’s hoping this is a case of the night always seeming darkest before the dawn, and that we get some other reasons to feel hopeful soon.

Audio tidbits: Thanks for sharing that the shoveling sound went on over the credits. When you watch the broadcast version, they pop up the previews, so you don’t get that audio. And here’s one for you: on The Talking Dead, they shared that it was Andrew Lincoln voicing the radio broadcaster, using his native accent.

drnanamom said...

Thanks for that tidbit Jesse. Knowing that it was Andrew Lincoln's voice makes it somehow more disturbing. I think there are some hopeful voices in the group left behind. As you said, Tara and Carl but they have both gone down a dark path at some point while Beth and Tyreese never did. I guess in some ways, their hope is even more powerful because of that. I think the writers intended for us to feel the hopelessness of the group - they seem to do that quite well - make us feel what the characters feel but I'm not sure that is a good thing if we don't move forward from it somehow. On another note, I don't think that listening to the horrors ie. not turning it off is good enough. It is essentially meaningless if we don't also act.

Billie Doux said...

Ladies and gentlemen, Chad Coleman. He was amazing in this episode, and I am going to miss Tyreese. Four out of four stars.

Henrik Bennetter said...

But, but...I don't get it! How can yet another person be bitten by a zombie that SNEAKS UP ON THEM!?
It's a tired way of doing it.

drnanamom said...

Henrik, I get what you are saying but the sub-text seemed to indicate that he subconsciously wanted to be bitten even though he then raged against it.

Heather said...

Apart from Chad Coleman exiting stage right cuz I love him, I was on board with TWD this week. It's so heartbreaking to watch the group try and salvage an impossible situation, a member of their group in the grips of death or hell, waking up the next day. I agree with your word, Jess, 'lyrical' is a wonderful way to describe much of the visuals plus this interesting vantage point, gentle Tyreese's mind, from which to tell this ep's story. Great great review, Doc! Love the thought you ended us on.
And finally, I'm glad we're back!

Elfie said...

I feel like this is just me but I swear to god this episode gripped me hard, so much so that I began bawling towards the end. It's just so sad to see yet another optimistic voice bite the dust, Tyresse protested against the hallucinations, roaring that he would never give up, and then he did. The direction in this one was especially exquisite. I loved the flashes and the Beth funeral fake-out, I think it all managed to somehow ram home just how bleak and hopeless their situation is. I am so so tired of losing characters I grow to love, I don't even know if I can take all the grim anymore, guys. The silver linings are far too thin, far too short-lived. These people deserve better, and I can't take any more of this, watching beloved characters get cut loose one by one. Gah! Such a complex, frustrating, brilliant show!

Why do we love torturing ourselves with this stuff !??