The Walking Dead: What Happened and What’s Going On Review

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)



Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.

That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.


“Then we keep going.”

The gang hits the road yet again and this time their optimism is taking them to Richmond, VA. It’s another unicorn in their ongoing quest for survival and it remains to be seen whether or not it’s actually a viable solution for them. It’s a plan born from the mind of Noah, a new recruit brought from the fiasco at the hospital. Beth planned to get Noah to Richmond along with presumably the rest of her crew if she managed to escape, so it at least temporarily give the group a sense of purpose.

Rick and Glenn are two of the oldest members of Team Rick and there’s a certain elegance to their reminiscing. The two of them have killed their fair share of opponents and it takes a toll on even the most steeled individuals. The candor was somewhat refreshing, as it was a rare moment for the two characters to reflect on much of the events prior to this point. Survivors in this world are numb to the spectre of zombies, viewing them as one would a pigeon in the city—not giving them a second thought. The two survive any way they know how, despite the exacting toll it takes on all the survivors.

Michonne is one of those it’s taking a toll on, lobbying hard with Rick and Glenn to make the presumably too dangerous neighborhood work for them. All around them are constant reminders that no matter how tight-knit the group is it only takes a minor incident to bring them down. And when you’re constantly on the run the likelihood for that minor incident increases greatly. It’s a brief moment where Michonne brings up Washington, DC, again, but it’s encouraging enough that Rick feels as if they can make a go of it in the nation’s capital. Unfortunately, Tyreese probably won’t be around to see the new world the survivors are making for themselves.

Tyreese found a moment to bond with Noah, primarily over the reality that comes with coming to terms with the new world. Their little jaunt to Noah’s home was a little dangerous, but did provide for the branching storyline to serve as a foil to Rick and Glenn discussing their actions. Tyreese has defined himself as a character willing to do the right thing no matter the cost. It’s that mentality that leads to his amputation and eventual death, with his emotion at the world getting the best of him and causing him to put his guard down. That prompted him to get bit and sent him down a sort of “this is your life” parade of former players trying to both persuade and dissuade him from fighting to survive even more.

Bringing back characters such as Bob, Beth and the Governor felt a little strange, considering they were all brought back for Tyreese. His hallucinations all seem to question his character as it pertains to the world he exists in, but beyond him getting to tell the Governor off, they feel a little contrived. Tyreese’s conflict of conscience has been a recurring theme for him as a character, so in that regard seeing everyone pull at him made sense. Using him as a prism for the series to funnel such questions through feels more ambitious than anything else. Tyreese was clearly a key character to the group dynamic, but his death felt more like it was only because of the mid-season premiere aspect of the episode.

Similarly, while a montage is typically a great way to get viewers up to speed (with an appropriate musical accompaniment), used as part of the open to the back-end of the fifth season felt a little forced. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the show is broken up like it is, pressuring the second half to open up as if it’s a season premiere (as opposed to just a continuation of a season). The montage made sense by the end of the episode, as it dovetailed into Tyreese’s death as a broader sense of reflection on the part of the series. That reflection delves into the morality of the survivors, something The Walking Dead certainly hasn’t shied away from in the past. Tyreese was probably the moral compass of the group and without that direction, it remains to be seen where they go moving forward.

Physically, the survivors are planning to make a run at Washington, DC. Being so close to Richmond, they’re closer than one would think, but in their world those last miles aren’t easy to traverse at all. It seems that the latter half of the season will be another journey to an unknown destination; only this one won’t feature Tyreese. The majority of the episode focused on Tyreese reflecting on the life he lived, refusing to accept prolonging his life simply because he was tired of it all. It’s a little refreshing to see a character sort of “willingly” go out on their own terms somewhat, reminding the viewer that sometimes players in The Walking Dead do have a choice in their fate. What they don’t have a choice in is the fact that every day is another fight to survive, something which the series clearly doesn’t intend to avoid for the rest of the season.

Rating: 4 out of 5


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