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.
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.
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.”