AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 9: “What Happened and What’s Going On”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple
* For a recap & review of the mid-season finale, “Coda” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Them” – click here
The group is dealing with the aftermath of Beth (Emily Kinney) being killed. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is hit hardest, obviously. Noah (Tyler James Williams) takes it hard, too. We see him talk with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) about going home and how Beth was going to go with him. He used to live right outside Virginia in a gated community. This leaves the group with the potential “last long trip” they’ll make, at least for quite some time. Could be a place they’ll stay permanently.
Not without more tragedy first.
On the road again, Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) drives himself, Noah, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Rick, and Glenn (Steven Yeun). He talks about his father, who told him and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) to keep up with the news. This gave him a perspective on the horrors of the world, “to face it.” It’s what his father called “the high cost of living.” He listened to the radio lots after the fall of society, seeking ways to help. Noah holds out hope his own family is still alive back home.
They park the vehicle in the woods heading to the community on foot. An interesting image: a grandfather clock in the road, a quite literal metaphor of time stopped, standing still in the post-zombie apocalypse landscape. Inside the gates, Noah finds only devastation. He falls to pieces. Everybody else had little hope. It was mostly just Rick who convinced himself the place might still be there, “for her“— for Beth, who’d tried to help Noah get back there.
Rick and Glenn debate over the morality of where they are currently, in relation to Dawn. The former sheriff believes she never actually meant to kill Beth, despite wanting to kill her for it after. Glenn doesn’t care: “right or wrong” he would’ve killed Dawn regardless. Elsewhere, Noah rushes off to his house with Tyreese following close to keep an eye on him. The young man has to see his mother dead on the floor, withered away. He lays a blanket over her. Tyreese takes a look around the place and finds a boy dead. He sees the pictures of Noah and his two younger twin brothers. The second twin comes out, zombified, and chomps right into Tyreese’s arm. Noah has to kill his own brother, then goes to find the others.
Poor Tyreese has visions as he feels the infection begin to course in his blood. He sees the guy he couldn’t kill a while back, Martin (Chris Coy). He sees the little dead girls, Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy), as well as Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.). All those dead people crowd his mind. He hears a radio broadcast of “hacking innocents with machetes” and people being burned alive, like he heard when the apocalypse originally began. The Governor (David Morrissey) appears, later becoming another walker trying to chew on him. Tyreese fast returns to reality and manages to fight the thing off by letting it bite his already gaping arm wound, smashing it on the head with something from the shelf.
“It’s not better now”
Rick, Michonne, and Glenn discuss possibly going to Washington after all. They’re interrupted by Noah yelling for help. He tells them about Tyreese, taking them back to the house. Tyreese sees more of the dead, hearing Beth play guitar and sing. He sees visions of days that came before, along the railway, where he and Carol spent time at that house with the girls. Tyreese doesn’t want to believe it’s over. That’s why he forgave Carol for what she did, and it’s why he keeps doing what’s necessary to survive. He refuses to give up, no matter if there’s a chunk bitten out of his arm.
Tyreese comes to, thinking the girls are tugging his arm to take him to the other side of death, when it’s actually Rick holding his arm and Glenn holding him down so Michonne can amputate. They get him out and break through the gates, heading for the woods to their vehicle. Tyreese continues to see those who’ve died, hearing their voices, haunted by their words.
Ultimately, it’s futile. Tyreese dies before they can get back to the others.
Once they arrive, everyone gathers to bury their friend and pay respects. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) reads from the Bible. They all put dirt over the grave, leaving the last of it to Sasha, who must navigate this cruel world without her brother now. Rick fills in the hole, like he and Tyreese had done for others back at the prison together.
“Everything that you were
Tyreese was a great character. If he had to go, this was a fitting end. He was honourable, and always tried to better himself, which is more than can be said for many other characters on The Walking Dead. His time on the series was special, so it’s only right he was given a whole episode like this to explore some of the corners of his character that were previously unexplored, at least fully.
Goodnight, sweet prince.
“Them” is next.