The mid-season premier of Season 5 aired last night and it was perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful episode yet.The visual layers and foreshadowing and jumping around in time and space were so well done that it didn't even matter that not a lot (but what did was major) happened in this episode. If you haven't watched it yet, be forewarned that there are ***major spoilers below***.
Rick, Michonne, Tyreese, Glen and Noah are traveling to a whole new state! And it's not DC! The group is making the trek to Virginia to get Noah home. And by home, we mean this little gated community where he last saw his mother and his two twin brothers. Needless to say, they arrive and it's not the idealized safe haven that Noah had hoped it still was. The community is overun with walkers with no living survivors - arguably because it seems like they didn't know how to properly kill the walkers. Bodies chopped in half and limbs are strewn all over the place. Go for the head, not the torso, folks.
Noah and Tyreese split up to go find Noah's home while Rick and Glen discuss killing Dawn. Was it necessary? Does it matter who did it? When Rick inititally asks, it almost seems like he is mildly remoreseful, or at the very least, aware of the value of humanity in that moment. For Glen to eventually admit that it would have been any of the group to kill her is chilling - especially if we believe that her killing Beth was more out of instinct (which I agree it was - given the look on her face after she did it). And while Rick and Glen are in the past, let's go there too and take a minute to note that we lost two strong female characters in the span of a few seconds. Is Glen is trying to appease Rick or at least align himself with him in an effort to not allow Rick to stray too far off the deep end? Or maybe Glen is just willfully going with him. Their candor, ability to glorify Beth (let's be real - she did stab Dawn just for being an asshole) and then justify killing Dawn is creepy and problematic. Because you know, two dudes discussing the death of two women, one of which one of the dudes murdered. Ah, life in the post-apocalyptic Walking Dead universe.
MEANWHILE WITH MICHONNE...She overhears some this conversation. And rightly, she's like, uh....you dudes are losin' it. She heatedly suggests that they stay and bring the rest of the group over. Obviously, this is unrealistic, which she soon realizes too. But her want for stability and to be settled does not go unnoted with Rick and Glen. It's a very attractive plea - especially given that the church is now demolished and they essentially (as far as we know so far anyway) have no where else to go. Rick agrees to make the trek to Washington, in hopes that there will be other humans or at least some safety and stability. And in a sweep of the eye, and perhaps because there is no one else present in this episode to be that person, Michonne's character gets a nod at the new moral compass of the show. Which is weird? I *love* Michonne, I love the way her character has developed and the complexity that she has but we'll see how this goes.
Ok. so I'm going to talk about that big sad thing that happened now and you know, the reason why the show needs a new moral compass to begin with. As I was watching the episode, I kept thinking, well, this is a chill episode - not much is going on. And then Tyreese finds himself upstairs in Noah's old house, staring at a photograph of Noah's younger twin brothers while Noah is downstairs grieving over his mother's corpse. What does Tyreese see in this photo? Himself? His grief over his own brother? Loss? Probably all of the above, which is enough to have anyone sufficiently distracted. And by divine circumstance, Tyreese then gets to meet one of those twin brothers in person, well, walker. And that gosh darn brother is just so happy to see him that he bites him in the arm. Cue the collective "NO!"s and "OMG!"s please.
Tyreese is bitten and what transpires for most of the remainder of the show is this fever dream-induced exploration and coming to terms with his choices and who he is. He is in this bedroom and he begins to see Lizzie and Mika, Beth, and Bob. He also sees Martin and the governor. It's a classic angel and devil on my shoulder move but the way it's filmed and carried out is breathtaking. Beth is singing, the girls are absolving him, and Bob is like, "it's all gonna be alright, man." Martin is giving his same ol' deal about accepting the horrors as an excuse for horrible behavior and the governor, well, he is all about guilting Tyreese for letting him down, for not heeding all of the "wisdom" that he bestowed on Tyreese. In the end, Tyreese puts both of the ghosts in their place and claims his honorable self.
At this point, the rest of the group rush into the room and amputate Tyreese's arm. He has already been bit twice though and seems to be completely at peace with dying. They manage to get him back into the car with hopes of cauterizing his wound and getting him settled into the healing process back at the camp. That doesn't happen. On the way, still fever dreaming, Tyreese is now in the car with Beth, Bob, Lizzy, and Mika. Their soothing spirits ease his own into the other side. And so we say goodbye to Tyreese. RIP dude. You were special.
Until next week, babes.