Season Five, Episode Nine
I think it’s safe to say that last night’s episode was probably the most artistic episode of the series. Opening with what seemed like random images of photographs, dirt being shoveled, and a pool of blood collecting on a painting of a house, all of these things become clearer as the episode goes on. We pick up still mourning the loss of Beth as our group heads towards where Noah lived, a community in Richmond that he and Beth planned to travel to when they both got out. To no one’s surprise, there was no community left.
As Rick, Michonne, and Glen go to sweep the houses in the community, they express their recent sorrow for Beth’s death, debating whether it was right or wrong to kill in revenge. Rick did it, but Glen points out that anyone would’ve done it if Rick didn’t pull the trigger. Basically, the trio express their hopelessness following the recent events of Beth’s death and how the cure at Washington D.C. was a lie. So once again, The Walking Dead addresses the dilemma of these characters fighting to survive. Why, in such a bleak and hopeless world, are these characters continuing? In this world, isn’t being dead a heck of a lot better? Unless this is going to be spun as some kind of Lost twist where this is everyone’s hell.
The bulk of the episode deals with what happens to Tyreese. Poor Tyreese. Just as he’s getting sentimental looking at old photographs of Noah and his brother, a zombie bites his arm! And then there’s another zombie that bites the same arm! But what Tyreese goes through as he’s bleeding out is what gives this episode so much power. He has an inner dialogue with people he’s confronted in the past who are now all dead. We see Bob, Beth, and the two girls he looked after telling him that things are better and to not be afraid to let go. But then you have the Governor and one of the cannibals reminding him he’s got a debt to pay, and how he’s the reason why Bob and Beth are dead.
The death scenes on The Walking Dead are fairly straight-forward, and usually done pretty quickly, but it was really engaging seeing Tyreese struggle with fighting to stay alive or to let go. I thought the direction of the episode was great and really liked the scenes where the figures in his mind were replaced with the reality of the moment, such as when the girls were holding his hand, but in reality Rick and Glen were chopping off his arm. In the end, even though Tyreese bites the dust it was good seeing the group fight so hard for their friend.
Because of the mid-season hiatus, the episode worked pretty well, but for those who binge-watch this season they’re going to be awfully disgusted by the fact that Beth and Tyreese die in back-to-back episodes. Sure, The Walking Dead needs to have a constant flow of characters dying to keep you on your toes, but even that aspect of the show is becoming monotonous. I understand that in a post-apocalyptic world, it’s supposed to be bleak, but that doesn’t always make for the best television hours. Everyone should ask themselves the question, “Why am I watching this?” for every show they watch. For me, the reasons why I’m watching The Walking Dead are becoming thin. Do I ever care what happens to these characters anymore? Or can I just skip to the last handful of episodes and enjoy it just as much as anyone else?