The Walking Dead recap: Tyreese struggles with ‘What Happened And What’s Going On’

walking dead recap tyreese struggles happened whats going s05e09  3
“Nobody’s gotta die today.”

Even through the blood and muck of the zombie apocalypse, hammer-wielding hero Tyreese always sees light at the end of the tunnel. Like the late, great Bob Stookey, Tyreese is the type who feels there’s no stopping tomorrow; that he and his companions are better men and women than the monsters they became in the face of Gareth and the Terminus cannibals; that he does not have to live by the kill-or-be-killed rules that govern so many others.

But he’s wrong. If The Walking Dead accomplished nothing else in its midseason premiere, “What Happened and What’s Going On,” it plainly established that after the world has ended, there’s no happy endings for the optimists.

In the episode, Tyreese joins Rick, Glenn, and Michonne on a mission to scope out a possible new safe haven: Noah’s hometown. The liberated Grady Hospital ward told tales of the walled-in neighborhood protecting his family before he became trapped in Atlanta. But that was a long time ago. Now, Noah’s home is in ruins, every house ransacked, scattered arms and legs left loose in the streets, walkers wandering without any fresh meat to speak of.

Walking Dead S05E09 - 1

As Rick, Michonne, and Glenn take the opportunity to find supplies, Tyreese elects to stay behind with the inconsolable Noah. But Noah has other plans. He breaks away from Tyreese in search of his own house, to see what’s happened to his family. And the sight is as expected: Noah’s mother rots on the ground, his brother rots in a nearby bedroom, and a reanimated corpse pounds and howls from behind some closed, locked door.

Tyreese wanders into Noah’s brother’s bedroom and takes stock of what’s left behind: a toy rocket here, some family photos there. As he stares at photos of Noah’s twin brothers, Tyreese loses himself in the moment, pondering the tragedy of what Noah lost, of what the world has lost… so lost is Tyreese that he doesn’t even hear the snarling sounds of death creeping up behind him.

Walking Dead S05E09 - 4When Tyreese finally senses an oncoming walker, it’s too late. The dead, hungry thing sinks its teeth into Tyreese’s forearm, ripping away a hunk of flesh. Noah kills the creature that was once his brother and runs off to find Rick, but the damage is done, and the look on Tyreese’s face says it all.

As he sits in the corner bleeding out, fever rushing to his brain, Tyreese sees reminders of who he is and what he’s become in the form of ghosts from the past: Martin of Terminus, the cabin-dwelling, gum-snapping goon Tyreese refused to kill not long ago; Bob Stookey and his severed leg, sitting comfortably on the nearby bed; Lizzie and Mika, innocent and at peace, unlike the last time Tyreese saw them in the grove; and Beth Greene, bullet-hole still fresh in her forehead, as she plays Tyreese one final song.

“Struggling man has got to move,” she sings. “Struggling man, no time to lose.”

The words wash over Tyreese, conflicting with the imagined sounds of a nearby radio, warning of a “campaign of random violence moving across the countryside unfettered.” Does the radio speak of the walkers? Does it speak of the men and women Tyreese calls his friends?

All of the ghosts have something to say. Martin reminds Tyreese that he warned him; the guy who saves babies does not survive in this world. Bob reassures that everything “went the way it had to; the way it was always going to.” Lizzie and Mika promise that “it’s better now” that they’re gone.

Another voice booms through the room: “The bill has to be paid.”

Walking Dead S05E09 - 2

Tyreese, pale and half-gone, looks up to see the gaunt ghost of the Governor, stalking and shambling forward. In a flash, fantasy fades away, reality snaps back in, and the ghost becomes an all-too-real walker lunging at Tyreese’s face. In his weakened state, Tyreese can barely pick himself up off the ground, let alone fight back at the monster. But he’s not ready to go, at least not yet; he raises his bitten forearm, stuffs it into the walker’s mouth, turning himself into bait while he reaches out for a geode on a nearby shelf. Tyreese bashes the walker’s brains in, a second bite on his arm, but another few minutes of life under his belt.

In the aftermath of the attack, the Governor’s ghost returns to haunt and taunt Tyreese once more. “You told me you’d earn your keep,” he hisses, referring to Tyreese’s promises back in the Woodbury days. “Your eyes were open, but you didn’t wanna see, even though I made you see it.”

“You have to pay the bill,” he reminds him again.

“Nobody’s gotta die today.”

Dazed and dying, Tyreese stands, eyes wet, skin dripping with sweat. “I didn’t know who I was talking to,” he whispers. “I said I’d do what I had to to earn my keep, but I didn’t know you.”

“I know who I am,” he continues. “I know what happened and what’s going on. I know. You didn’t show me s–t. You… you’re dead. Everything you were is dead. And it’s not over. … I’m not giving up. People like me can live. Nobody’s gotta die today.”

But he’s wrong, at least about the today part. Tyreese sinks back to the ground, and holds his hand out to find Lizzie and Mika. In reality, Rick has found Tyreese. He stretches Tyreese’s arm as far as it goes, and Michonne swings her sword down upon the limb in one smooth swoop.

Rick, Michonne, Glenn and Noah manage to bring the towering Tyreese all the way through the ravaged town and back to their vehicle, but as they drive off, Tyreese fades. He stares out at the window at the hot heat of the sun, once again hearing the faint hum of the radio in the background.

“Turn it off,” he whispers.

Ghost Bob, sitting in the passenger seat of Tyreese’s world, asks, “You sure?” In the driver’s seat, Beth turns around, looking kindly at Tyreese with her two good eyes and without the hole in her head. “It’s okay, Tyreese,” she assures him. “You gotta know that by now.”

The Walking Dead S05E09 - 5

“It isn’t just okay,” Lizzie and Mika say, sitting in the back with Tyreese. “It’s better now.”

With that, Tyreese slips away. Rick, Michonne, and the others reunite with the rest of the group and bury their fallen comrade. Tyreese’s shell-shocked sister Sasha shovels dirt on her brother’s fresh grave, but can hardly finish the job. Rick finishes for her. He shovels and shovels and shovels, Tyreese’s signature ski-cap resting on his makeshift headstone, his bill finally paid, his struggle at an end.

But what of the struggling men and women Tyreese leaves behind? What of Sasha, who now has lost her brother on top of losing her boyfriend some weeks earlier? What of Carol, who now loses the only person who was with her the day Lizzie and Mika died? What struggles lie ahead for this group?

The answer, it appears, lies in Washington, D.C., as Rick has finally determined that the fallen capital is the group’s best bet at survival. Until they arrive safely and soundly, the struggle continues.

Emerging Tech

VR experience shows caregivers what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease

Los Angeles-based VR startup Embodied Labs has developed a virtual experience that puts users in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia in the U.S.
Home Theater

What’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in September 2018

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for September 2018, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming…
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (September 2018)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in August and September 2018, from new comedies to terrifying horror…
Home Theater

HDMI 2.0b is a whole lot more than just a connection to your TV

HDMI 2.0b is the backbone for many of the latest updates in 4K UHD technology. And while a new cable standard can often involve a bunch of changes for consumers, that is not the case this time around.
Movies & TV

How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

The NFL's 2018 season is here, and we know you don't want to miss a moment of the action. Our comprehensive streaming guide will show you all the best options to watch the games online so you can make the right choice for you.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

'Star Wars: Resistance' TV series gets a trailer and premiere date

Disney has sky-high expectations for its Star Wars universe, with plenty of plans for the franchise on the big screen and television over the next few years. Here are all the upcoming movies and TV shows, both rumored and confirmed.
Podcasts

The MoviePass dumpster fire, Star Trek's new Spock, robot actor

This week, we'll talk about the epic dumpster fire that is MoviePass, Crazy Rich Asians hits theaters, two Captain Kirks take a hike, and the American History X director hopes to cast a robot in his next film. All this and more, so tune in!
Movies & TV

Out of TV shows to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

You can ditch cable but still get your 'SportsCenter' fix with ESPN+

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN+, is finally here. Despite appearances, ESPN+ isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels, and differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (August 2018)

Prime Video gives subscribers access to a host of great movies, but sifting through the massive library isn't easy. Lucky for you, we've sorted the wheat from the chaff. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime brings more perks than just free two-day shipping. Subscribers get access to a huge library of TV shows to stream at no extra cost. Here are our favorite TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in August 2018, from ‘Her’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.