TV Recap: The Walking Dead: What Happened and What’s Going On

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@lcfremont mulls over the mid-season return of The Walking Dead – Discussion points – Beth’s awful singing and sledge hammer subtle imagery…

SPOILER ALERT. In my recap of the episode, I will be speaking freely of all events that occurred and on this note I would like to revisit the always polarizing topic of internet spoilers. For some unknown and god awful reason, my cable no longer allows me to view the east coast feed of The Walking Dead which means I have to wait until 9 p.m. PST. Do you know what else that means? It means I need to stay off of Twitter and any other kind of media that may be talking about the current episode. It was my fault that I saw a spoiler for this episode. Mine and mine alone. In no logical world is it the responsibility of the person who lives in a time zone three hours ahead of mine who also likes to engage with fellow fans via Twitter about the show.

After the emotional carnage that was the mid season finale, this seems a pretty good title for the return episode. As we open up on a montage of photos that tell a story while we hear Father Gabriel presiding over a funeral service, our survivors discuss what’s next for them. Any hope of a “happy” episode is quickly decimated with the sight of Lizzy and Mika telling someone that where they are now is better. If you realize the quaint painting looks like the house that Tyreese, Carol, Lizzy and Mika stayed at for a few days, then you will quickly realize that it is Tyreese the girls are talking to. In a unique turn of storytelling, the imminent death of a character is spelled out before you see it occur. The house with the yellow flowers, the blood pooling onto the photo, the girls and the fact that Tyreese kind of gave up on life a few episodes ago all paint a big, neon arrow to him. While all of this symbolism wasn’t on an American Horror Story level of obviousness, it wasn’t exactly subtle either.

Our group is split and the people who aren’t mourning a very recent death are living out Beth’s wishes to get Noah back to his family. While driving, Tyreese explains that his dad always made him and Sasha listen to the news on the radio. They had to pay the price of being a citizen of the world, or rather, facing the ugly realities of the world is the high cost of living. Unfortunately in Noah’s world, the ugliness broke through the literal walls and left death and destruction in it’s path. They even threw a grandfather clock into the middle of the road because that’s what you do when you’re looting houses. You leave really obvious symbols about the current state of affairs. In the middle of the road. Just in case no one got it.

The Walking Dead imageWhile I enjoyed this commentary on the false sense of security that people enjoy when living in a gated community, it was gut wrenching to see Noah’s reaction. The kid went through hell to get home only to find it didn’t exist anymore. Always the pragmatic one, Rick suggests that they gather some supplies which allows for a heart to heart between him and Glen. Although he knew it was never Dawn’s intention to kill Beth, he wanted to kill her anyway. Glen then confides that he’s keenly aware that he is no longer the man that he used to be and judging by the way he looks at himself in that CD, he is very disappointed in this new version. Similarly, Michonne is exasperated by the continual moving. They just keep moving from place to place and she’s had it. She is ready to find a place to settle and try to do more than just get by and I am 100% with her on this. My only concern is that it looks as though she has become the new moral compass of the show and we all know what that means. Dale, Hershel, Andrea, Beth, Tyreese……you best set another plate at the dinner table because a moral compass is never long for this world.

“I wanted to die for who I lost…….. Later, I was there for Judith when she needed me. I saved her. I brought her back to her dad and that wouldn’t have happened if I had just given up. If I hadn’t chosen to live. This isn’t the end.” Like the clock, this was lovely and irritating.

Being the big, strong and caring guy that he is, Tyreese goes into Noah’s house first and pays the ultimate price. As he quickly loses blood after being bitten by a tiny walker, he hears a radio transmission (yes, that is Andrew Lincoln’s voice) describing the atrocities of the world and he also begins to see people who have already passed. Some are good, like Bob, who tell him that things go the way they have to and this was all inevitable, but some tell him everything that has happened is his fault. Sure, Lizzy and Mika tell him that things are better, but the Governor vehemently disagrees and so does the baby killer. Yes, good and bad, heaven and hell are simultaneously pulling at Tyreese as he tries to make peace with himself in his last moments. So, who’s it going to be?

This entire sequence was equal parts beautiful and cloying. Tyreese had a good arc and his character deserved a thoughtful, emotional death, but when the projector started flashing a chalk drawing of a smiling sun on the Governor it all started feeling a bit too Lynchian; and not in a good way. And what is with all of these bills Tyreese needs to pay? For someone who forgave Carol, saved Judith and took care of Sasha, he sure does seem to owe an inordinate amount of karmic debt. At least Beth is there to serenade him into the afterlife. If you don’t care for Beth, the fact that she was there singing was really, truly terrible. If you love Beth, I’m really happy that you got to see her sing again. In fact, I’m sure this isn’t the last time we’ll see Beth. There’s no way the writers are going to skip her funeral because that would mean giving up an opportunity to make us cry. It took a while to get closure over Hershel’s death and it looks as though they may pull the same trick with Beth. I just hope she isn’t singing at her own funeral.

I know that most of us were yelling at the t.v. that someone needed to cut Tyreese’s arm off and he would be fine, but the others took their sweet time finding him and he was so close to death, he was talking to hallucinations. There was not going to be any saving of Tyreese at this point, but that doesn’t mean amputation doesn’t work. Perhaps you have to amputate before the virus has a chance to spread and, obviously, losing a lot of blood never bodes well for survival. Essentially, if you’re ok with losing a limb, you better hope that you’re with people who won’t hesitate to do the deed and then stop the bleeding. No big deal.

Tyreese never gave up and he turned off the radio transmission in his head. He died knowing he did all that he could and he died at peace and that is a hell of a lot more than most people get on this show.

-As someone who does not read the books, I’m assuming that the radio transmission was describing an actual group of people. Probably the same group of people who ruined the gated community?

-Again, I know not what I’m talking about, but I know that the comic readers lost their minds when Glen picked up that baseball bat. I do believe this is Lucille?

-There was a warning about wolves painted on one of the walls and the previews definitely indicate our group being confronted with a pack of animals. As much as I can’t even wrap my brain around my precious Rick and Daryl potentially causing harm to dogs or wolves, it has bothered me that the animal danger hasn’t really been an issue yet. Clearly, this will be rectified.

-There were a bunch of legs and arms strewn about, but where were the torsos? Oh hey, here they are in the back of a truck and they have W’s carved on their foreheads! That’s not weird or creepy at all.

-What will become of Sasha now that she has lost everyone?

-Glen is a shadow of himself so, how will he help Maggie through her grief?

-People give Judith a hard time, but she’s one of the quietest babies I’ve ever met.

Lisa Fremont

Twitter: @lcfremont

Article first published at Lisa writes as the TV Honey.

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