As we continue to hold back tears for the sudden death of one of the show’s most likeable characters, Beth, we look onward to the uncertain future of the remaining group of survivors.
The death of Beth has taken a major toll on the morality of Rick’s group, and the opening scenes of the midseason premiere serve to remind us how the struggles of moving on, which range from burying the fallen to scavenging for scarcer and scarcer supplies, are intertwined in the harsh, apocalyptic environment that never grows easier for one to adapt to.
The audience is introduces to several minutes of shifting images, that include the aforementioned scenes, all the while Gabriel, the priest, says a prayer in condolences of the deceased.
Afterwards, we learn of Beth’s promise to Noah (the newest member of Rick’s group) and how she would have wanted him to get back home. Rick decides to honor Beth’s last wish and escort Noah to the secured town he used to be a part of with his family. This opportunity also brings up the possibility of discovering a stable base for Rick and the group.
Rick, Michonne, Glenn and Tyreese make up the group that accompanies Noah on the road in search of his town.
When they near the town where Noah used to live in, they find it to be deserted and destroyed.
Noah breaks down at the sight of bodies littered in the streets and the once beautiful homes of his neighborhood burned and broken into. The faces of Rick, Michonne, Glenn and Tyreese further display the feelings of disappointment and misery with finding the town in shambles.
However, since this is the apocalypse, scavenging for supplies is still number one on the list of priorities. While Rick, Michonne and Glenn go on to clear the streets of zombies and scavenge, Tyreese decides to look after Noah.
Here we are treated to a profound interaction between two individuals who have lost the ones they love during the apocalypse.
Earlier in the episode, Tyreese mentioned to Noah how his father used to play the news on the radio. Tyreese described no matter how hard the atrocities going on around the world were, his father would say that he and everyone else had to face the realities of life, and that is why he would not turn off the radio when the ugliness of the news was on public display.
Tyreese tells Noah that it is not the end, and he picks him up and tells him that he will come back from this because he has to. However, out of sudden anger Noah runs off into the neighborhood and Tyreese bolts after him.
They both stop at the front yard of the home that appears to be Noah’s. When they enter the house they are greeted to a grisly scene of what appears to be Noah’s dead mother lying on the bloodied carpet of the living room floor.
Noah remains composed, surprisingly, but you can tell that he is holding back his storm of emotions.
As Noah covers his mother’s body, Tyreese investigates the remaining rooms of the house, discovering the room of Noah’s twin brothers. Tyreese cringes at the sight of one of the twins bodies on the bed, and as he looks at the photos that are scattered on the wall next to the bed, he is bitten by a zombie.
Why did “The Walking Dead” have to disregard our emotions and sense of attachment to these characters?
Beth was an extremely harsh blow for a midseason finale, but now you mean to tell me that you’re going to make Tyrese, protector of Judith, zombie-horde brawler, and motivational teddy bear be bitten by a zombified twin zombie? And this is on the episode right after Beth’s death?
Come on man.
Anyways, as Tyreese’s arm is bitten, Noah bursts into the room and kills his zombified little brother. As soon as he sees the bite, he runs out to get Rick and the others.
At this time in the show, we enter the mind of Tyreese who begins to hallucinate and see some familiar faces, which range from the guy who tried to kill Judith, to none other than the Governor.
On one hand, you have the Governor and the cannibal telling Tyreese that this moment might have been avoided if things had gone differently, if he hadn’t screwed up. The Governor repeats the phrase “You said you’d earn your keep” over and over.
On the other hand, you have Bob, Beth and the two sisters that Carol and Tyreese looked after telling him that all of this was just how it was supposed to be. Beth telling Tyreese that it’s okay to move on.
Both of these sides begin to annoy me because I’m sitting here thinking that there is no way Tyreese is going to listen to any of them. There’s no way he could “move on.”
But as the Governor’s voice begins to grow louder, Tyreese stands up.
Fighting back tears he shuts down the poison that the Governor spits before him, saying that he’s dead and everything he stood for is dead. Tyreese continues to say that the reason he’s still alive is because of what he did for others and that he chose to forgive those who had hurt him because he chose to move on. Moving on is what has kept him alive for so long.
But the Governor pushes Tyreese against the wall and as he falls down, we are given a quick glimpse outside of his hallucination and into the very real reality of Tyreese getting his bitten arm amputated by Rick, Michonne, Glenn and Noah.
As they escape the fallen town, which begins to fill up with zombies yet again, the group stumbles through the forest and back to the car in which they came in.
As the episode ends and the sun shines brightly on the speeding car of the desperate group. Tyreese’s hallucinations begin one last time and we see Beth again, who tells him “it’s okay now.”
Tyreese finally stops tuning into the radio just as his father used to and rests his eyes on the sun’s gaze, which seems to be directly on top of the car.
The show, yet again, proves to us that none of our favorite characters are safe and that anyone in the group may be next to go. Even though I despise the death decisions on the show, especially as of late, I think it is one of the aspects of the show that emphasizes one of the main themes of the show. The theme is of fragility and it highlights the speed at which a character may leave or join the show.
Tyreese will be missed. I am still in shock at the death of such a strong character. But again, this shows that those watching cannot get to comfortable with any one character because “The Walking Dead” has become “Game of Thrones.”