The Walking Dead returns with its mid-season premiere hoping to have tongues wagging this morning with a surprising character death. So, who bit the bullet?
Let’s bitch it out…
Well THAT happened. And as much as I’ve been a proponent for The Walking Dead’s fifth season, I can’t say I’m impressed with the way things went down. We bid adieu to our gentle giant- the woefully under-developed Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman). Sigh. I feel like I have to put in the obligatory “Well there were clearly too many characters, (*cough black characters cough*) so it was obviously time to clean house.” Ultimately it boils down to the fact that it never really felt like Tyreese came forward as a complex and interesting character before we lost him – which is frustrating to say the least.
Instead his loss feels like a ploy to get viewers to lament about the ‘shock’ factor, especially right after the death of Beth (Emily Kinney) in the mid-season finale. After that death, it felt unlikely that we would lose another series regular so soon. TWD tries to get clever by giving us the old bait-and-switch by opening with a funeral, which we’re all presuming is for Beth. Instead, the cold open functions as a flash-forward as we’re subjected to an array of pseudo-artsy vignettes whose relevance will be revealed as the episode unfolds. Aside from the eerie silence we get as Tyreese’s blood pools over the picture of the shack where Mika (Kyla Kenedy) and Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) met their ends, the cold open felt unnecessarily artsy to me.
Ultimately I get it: it’s a nice way to connect us to Tyreese in his final moments, but at the end of the day it all felt like style over substance. I don’t want to see flickering of images of abandoned playgrounds – I want Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Noah (Tyler James Williams) to hurry the EFF up and get to Tyreese to save his life.
Although it was great to see a surprise cameos from The Governor (David Morrissey), as well as recently departed Beth, Bob (Lawrence Gillard Jr.), Mike and Lizzie and even Termite Martin (Chris Coy) AND it’s a great way to provide further insight into why Tyreese has been so reticent to adopt a kill-or-be-killed mentality. But it ultimately falls short. Why couldn’t we get the same information without killing him off? I appreciated how ‘What Happened and What’s Going On’ took the time to delve deeper into Tyreese’s psyche, but it was artificial sentiment and dripping with emotional manipulation. I felt we only got a taste of what Tyreese could be, and this episode merely felt like a tease before all that potential was taken from us with his somewhat random death. Yeah TWD, we get it – no one is safe. Let’s do something different to shock the audience rather that kill off yet another character that was never given the time to fully cook, shall we?
- Michonne surprisingly emerges as one of the episode’s bright spots. Even amidst her scowly disgust for the hopelessness of ‘just surviving’, she makes a strong case to Rick for the group to head for Washington despite not knowing what awaits them there. Here’s hoping that the journey gives the show more purpose as the rest of the season unfolds.
- I sure as hell hope the show eventually explains why there were bits and pieces of bodies splayed all around Noah’s former housing complex. The rando legs, arms and the truck full of torsos ‘better be resolved’ as one of my friends commented.
- I’m just gonna say it – Rick needs a shave and BADLY.
- Perhaps my anger about Tyreese’s death stems from the fact that I feel like he’s been replaced by the completely uninteresting characters like of Father Gabriel (Seth Gillam) and Rosita (Christian Serratos). In better news, the door seems fully open for Morgan (Lennie James) to re-enter and blow all of these lame-ass characters out of the water.
What did you think viewers? Did you find Tyreese’s death shocking in a good way? Did you think it was his time to go? Did you appreciate the cinematography or did you think it was momentum-stalling fluff like I did? Is Washington the best thing for the group or are their efforts better spent on trying to find a stable and secure habitat? What/who do you think is responsible for the destruction of Noah’s home? Sound off in the comments section below.
A gentle reminder that we adhere to a SPOILER FREE zone. Please keep any plot points from the graphic novel that may potential spoil the direction of the show to yourself.
The Walking Dead airs at 9pm EST, Sundays on AMC.