The Walking Dead: What Happened and What’s Going On
February 8, 2015 7:27 PM - Season 5, Episode 9 - Subscribe

After all the recent trials that the group has faced, a slight detour might be the solution they've been looking for. Or it might be a long contrived slog to another disastrous confrontation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (85 comments total)
 
I'll take contrived slogs for $500.

That was one of the worst episodes of this show. Like worse than the all-Beth episodes. All the cutesy high school art project cinematography was just really poor. I just kept asking what are they doing? Killing off Tyrese was bad enough, but all the past-killed folks popping up over and over and over was just annoying.

I mean I know they must have recalled what they did with Rick previously with the phone in the prison and it worked so well they went to do a follow up. But that was the worst sequel I could have imagined. I got a little sad at the switch where you thought it was a lead-in to Beth's funeral and it was actually Ty's, but then they had that crappy beanie he wore through 95 degree heat in the south propped up on a makeshift cross and any melancholy I had disappeared. Even Michonne was annoying in this one, and she's usually someone I like. "Disastrous" is right. I give them points for healing the wounds on the already-dead and that's how you know Tyrese had joined them, but it was just such a mess of an episode.
posted by cashman at 7:39 PM on February 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


I guess the show had too many black men on it, so time to cut'em down. And to discourage another black actors to try out for the show they did a completely crappy episode.

It was confusing to figure out what the team was doing at first. We've spent entire seasons wandering around Georgia, now all of sudden they travel 500 mies to Virginia, completely off screen? Ok then.

Where did all that gas come from? What's going on with Maggie? Did the actor who plays Tyrese sleep with the director's wife or something, so they shat out a this episode to quickly get rid of him?

Getting bitten like that is so casual. Which was probably the point, Tyrese wasn't as hardcore as the others, so he wound up fucking up again and this time it cost him his life, rather than causing someone else to die.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:02 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm incredibly irritated with Black Male Character Whack-a-Mole striking again. Gain Gabriel/Lose Bob. Gain Noah/Lose Tyreese. I should have guessed this was going to happen but I gave the writers way too much credit.

I thought watching someone as decent as Tyreese struggle with how to live in this world was compelling, since Gabriel is a cartoon character and everyone else by now is really desensitized. Tyreese was a believable in-between. Killing him off this way, where he is very explicitly giving up on the world, is just really heartbreaking. This death felt even more pointless than Beth's, unless the writers simply wanted to telegraph very clearly that MORALITY IS POINTLESS. Ok, we get it, thanks. An already bleak show has now teetered into complete nihilism. Maybe that's where they need to be before they find whatever is waiting for them in DC, but it seems to me that Beth's death last episode was sufficient to get them there.

And speaking of Beth, pointlessly killing Tyreese the episode after pointlessly killing Beth is basically a giant "fuck you" to the viewers. I have zero doubt at this point that Judith will be eaten onscreen before the series is over because really, what is left by now that can shock us?
posted by gatorae at 8:09 PM on February 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


The episode was effective in making me feel sad, and I admit that the little beanie on the cross made me go "aww." (Although instead of a cross, they should have just had Tyreese's hammer sticking out of the ground.)

It's nice that they have a theme and are so consistently sticking to it, at least. ("Kindness is the worst thing ever, you guys!")
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 8:18 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I admit that the little beanie on the cross made me go "aww."

That cross will be mighty thankful come winter.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:20 PM on February 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


FWIW, while I hated pretty much everything else about the episode (apparently, if you want to keep your baseball memorabilia in mint condition, best leave it out on the driveway for god knows how long), I actually liked the hallucination device a whole lot.

...though I did feel compelled shout "BELINDA CARLISLE WAS RIGHT!"
posted by Sys Rq at 8:27 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The hallucinations felt like a way of cramming in a lot of catch-up exposition (hey guys, remember everyone ELSE we've killed off?) without actually resorting to lame dialogue. And I was sad that they killed Tyrese, which was obviously the goal.

Other than "we have too many black men, somebody has to go" I really don't understand why, and even then, why Tyrese, specifically? Completely agree with gatorae that Tyrese had a believable and interesting emotional struggle going on. Obviously not an emotional struggle the writers are interesting in trying to find an answer to. And then, I guess we haven't had time to get emotionally attached to the other black men in the cast yet, so they need to stick around so the writers can fatten them up for their inevitable slaughter.

And everything else about the episode was just irritating. TWD's done some quiet, contemplative episodes that I (and apparently pretty much only I) have really liked, but this felt like they were trying way, way too hard to prove that the show is Art. I'd call it "film school BS" but I minored in film in college and even I learned better than that.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:56 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, and seeing as he got a boo-boo from that wire fence that has probably had a zillion zombies grinding on it, then immediately came down with a case of zombie-face, it's a good bet Noah's infected, right?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 PM on February 8, 2015


There was a whole lot of stupid required in this show's script, from Noah constantly wanting to run off on his own in a burnt-out, zombie-infested gated community, to the others just letting him, to Tyreese just standing around and staring at the wall in a house where he just saw a zombie banging against a door.

The truck full of torsos certainly closed the loop on the mystery of the glade of severed limbs though.
posted by cardboard at 9:12 PM on February 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


This was the worst episode ever, for reasons everyone has stated. I guess the writers of TWD don't know how to move the plot except by making characters who have survived the zombie apocalypse for years do inexplicably stupid things. I stuck with BSG up to Gaeta mutinying before calling it quits. I might be done with TWD; it's just gotten so pointlessly grim and manipulative.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:34 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Chad Coleman/Tyrese is going to be in The Expanse. So they needed to write him off, unfortunately.

The truck full of torsos certainly closed the loop on the mystery of the glade of severed limbs though.

Really? I kind of hope we get to see who was so interested in zombie torsos that they needed a whole truck's worth.

Also, I wonder if we'll see the "Wolves" of the graffiti that we saw on the barn and the wall at the gated community. We saw it twice, so hopefully they're going somewhere with that.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:37 PM on February 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


I mean it's hard not to read the entire ordeal of trying to save Tyrese at the end as sort of mocking his humanistic optimism as just sentimental dead weight. That's almost insulting to anybody who got invested in the character, and it feels like the only motivation at this point for getting the audience invested in characters is so they can be satisfactorily slaughtered.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:52 PM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I get nervous whenever they have too many black characters in an away team.
posted by yonega at 10:35 PM on February 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


OH, TYRESE!

I'm sobbing so hard right now that my husband says maybe I shouldn't be allowed to watch this show anymore.

He was one of my favorites. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 10:44 PM on February 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I get nervous whenever they have too many black characters in an away team.

I know, it's terrible, my husband and I saw that and said "wow -- there's a lot of black people in that car -- someone's gonna die tonight."

It sucks to be right. I spent the last half of the episode wringing my hands and hoping that they'd decided to upend expectations and subvert their "only one black guy at a time" trope but nope.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:51 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'll take contrived slogs for $500.

Well, it was a contrived slog that made me cry my heart out! So what they were apparently trying for worked on at least some portion of the audience.

Oh, Tyrese, my beloved Tyrese, I miss you so much already. You stayed good in an evil world and I admired you so much for that.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:53 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Chad Coleman/Tyrese is going to be in The Expanse. So they needed to write him off, unfortunately.

Is that show any good? That actor was so good at making Tyrese a compelling character that I'm tempted to start watching any show with him in it as long as it doesn't suck.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:01 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like, Tyrese didn't have much in the way of witty dialogue or exciting action scenes, but the actor's facial expressions made you feel things so much that he became a favorite character anyway. That's good acting.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:08 PM on February 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I thought this was the worst episode of the show so far, too.

For all that character development they did with Tyreese, why oh why didn't they have that gal he was in love with -- the one he was maybe going to kill Carol for killing -- come back to him?

This one episode was worse than all of season two. This is the shark jump.
posted by Catblack at 11:20 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really do hate the show's apparent cap on the number of black men characters, though. Given that most of the characters are supposed to be from Atlanta or the surrounding area, demographically half the characters should be black, right? Instead it's only ~25%. :(

At least they're doing well with Glenn, though -- I don't think he fits ANY stereotypes of Asian American men. He's not a nerd (he was a pizza delivery driver before the apocalypse) and while he's a fighter it's in the same way as everyone else (he's not a martial arts expert). Instead, he's a lover, a tactician, and an up-and-coming leader.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:23 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


...why oh why didn't they have that gal he was in love with -- the one he was maybe going to kill Carol for killing -- come back to him?

I'm guessing that the actress wasn't available but they found that out AFTER they'd already fallen in love with the idea of having him hallucinate dead people for half the episode.

Like how on Buffy, the First Evil really should have come to Willow as Tara, but the actress refused to come back for that so they had to go with someone else.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:27 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


LONGEST. DEATH SCENE. EVER.

The extended "seeing dead people" riff really didn't work well for me; a good excuse for "hey look it's X" cameos though. I guess David Morrissey had a day of availability.

They did bait-and-switch quite strongly with Noah: the oddly-called-attention-to nick from the fence, and his limping gait was awfully zombie-like.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:26 AM on February 9, 2015


Tyrese, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Also, Michonne's katana, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:22 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Actually scratch that - I thought she broke it on that zombie when they were saving Noah, but I was wrong.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:29 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


As soon as Morgan shows up, Noah better axe Gabriel
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:12 AM on February 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


To be fair, it sounds like Tyrese would have stuck around longer if the actor hadn't gotten a better gig.

But killing off revolving door of black male characters does kinda fit for a show set in the American south.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:43 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Be even fairer, it seems like the trend is towards characters played by black male actors who worked on the The Wire. Run Gabriel, run!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:45 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Curate's Egg episode. Did like the one sequence, when they are trying to get out of the town, Tyrese is on the ground, the gates have been opened and you're seeing what would be seen from his perspective, in slow-mo e.g. the gun flare.

But didn't like the repeated use of stuff, such as the shot of the prison watchtower (how many times in that episode?). The ramping up of shock-inventive ways people have been mutilated. The obligatory Daryl-include right at the end, probably to keep that demographic of fans happy (and, no Carol-include?). Another bad song from Beth.

And the death of Tyrese was bad. One, because it made him out to be completely incompetent in how it happened (and getting bitten not once but twice). Two, because of the "one black male character in, another black male character out" thing which has happened several times now - so, it is a thing. I keep watching The Walking Dead, perhaps out of habit, but there's a growing uncomfortable feeling that I shouldn't watch it because of that reason.
posted by Wordshore at 4:52 AM on February 9, 2015


That was one of the worst episodes of this show.

Come on people. Are you forgetting like almost all of Season 2?
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:44 AM on February 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Which episodes in season 2 do you feel were worse than this? If it wasn't worse, it's at least as bad. And actually looking back at season 2, there were some good episodes. Ones I'd rather watch again than having to sit through this one again. They sure titled it right, I'll say that.
posted by cashman at 5:54 AM on February 9, 2015


From the Forbes review:

"The two little blond girls show up, telling Tyreese that everything will be okay. Recently deceased Bob is also there. So is Beth. Which reminds me: in The Walking Dead, black men and blond women are never safe. (Seriously, black women tend to survive, as do women with brown hair and the core white dudes in the cast, but blond chicks and black guys are dropping right and left. Just an observation.)"
posted by Wordshore at 6:00 AM on February 9, 2015


Yeah but killing off blondes is understandable!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:31 AM on February 9, 2015


On Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero said he was going for a Terence Malik dreamlike feeling with the visuals reflecting back on Tyrese's journey. He admits it was a very manipulative episode, full of misdirection. But you know what? I'm glad they manipulated me! Misdirect away, director! That's one of the many great elements of this show that keeps me coming back because, well, it's a damn zombie apocalypse. Of course our favorite characters are going to die. It would be unbelievable and frankly weird if they didn't. I hate predictability. Didn't see that one coming at all. I thought hacking off his arm would save him. He was conscious and walking! But no. R.I.P. Tyrese.
posted by hush at 6:37 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


There were W's carved on the heads of those severed torsos that fell out of the back of that truck as the gang was leaving. Beware of wolves!
posted by hush at 6:59 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hated the episode too. I didn't have quite the same thought they'd kill off one of the black characters, rather that "wow, a lot of black actors in this episode, maybe they're finally taking the complaints to heart about the seemingly magical limit of black characters. What a refreshing change." Foolish me.

I wonder if he took the role in the other show because he knew he'd be killed off, rather than the other way around. Because let's face it; Syfy. I can't remember the last good show, and even the good ones aren't going to be nearly as well watched as the Walking Dead.

I really did not like that they got the jump on Tyrese either. It seemed rather forced to have him distracted by pictures and NOT have him hear a shuffling zombie. I really dislike when TV decides to completely throw out everything we know about a situation or character because it makes a plot easier. Lazy lazy writing.

And wtf, we finally get out of that fucking state and they don't show us any of it?! And we're expected to believe they're still talking about shooting Dawn and not the wild hijynx they've gotten up to the past [random passage of time]?

I did kind of expect them to have him cut his own arm off though in some awful Saw-eque scenario. And rather glad they did not.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:00 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, that's why I disliked the episode so much, the obvious and relentless mis-direction about Tyrese being bitten and then dying. Huh, Tyrese is only seeing dead people, I wonder what that means?

Having him be bit early on in the episode and then having everyone deal with that might have been more interesting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:01 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


How about Season 2's "Secrets" is probably the worst for me. Its got the stupid Lori pregnancy drama, the stupid Andrea/Shane drama, the stupid Dale/Shane drama.

This episode wasn't great, mostly for the artsy-fartsy stuff and for Tyrese dying. He didn't have to go out like he did. Death hallucinations can be done well and these totally weren't.

My husband and I were making all kinds of jokes about how Tyrese is going to die because Noah has arrived but we didn't think they would actually do it!

(also, I wasn't specifically calling you out, there are more than a few people that agree with you on this quality of this episode, I just didn't feel it was prudent to quote each one of them and picked yours because it was first).
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:05 AM on February 9, 2015


Now I want a series starring all the dead characters of the show, just driving around and shooting the breeze.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:31 AM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh I didn't take it as a personal affront, I just couldn't stop thinking about how poor this episode was, so I wanted specifics to distract me back to another season.

Now I want a series starring all the dead characters of the show, just driving around and shooting the breeze.

To quote Kate McKinnon in that Casablanca sketch from SNL, noo! I hated seeing the governor. And that guy Tyrese was supposed to kill in that house - he's such an ass.

One thing I was thinking would have been awesomely creepy is if he somehow saw his sister, or carol, or someone else who wasn't supposed to be dead (and who wasn't in the Rick part of the caravan), and then the audience gets to freak out wondering what happened and what is going on. But I also didn't want his sister to die, so.
posted by cashman at 7:37 AM on February 9, 2015


I hated seeing the governor. And that guy Tyrese was supposed to kill in that house - he's such an ass.

Well no, don't include them, just have people from the "family". Or just bring the others on as people to roll over. Since they're dead, you can do repeatedly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:41 AM on February 9, 2015


I do want to see T-Dog chop it up with Hershel and Tyrese. Get it, chop it up? I'll see myself out.
posted by cashman at 7:43 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, this is The Walking Dead -- they kill everybody. This is the show that focuses on the cannon fodder. You get attached to any character, you are asking for heartbreak. It is like having parents who run a seafood restaurant and you make pets out of the lobsters in the tank...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:57 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love me some grim, but this ain't that. It's kinda pushed past dark'n'interesting into only being relentlessly joyless. They've killed off anyone with a little hope, and killed the hope in the few that were on the fence. They are at least having the characters react to it, but they need to be damned careful in finding the balance between waiting "realistically" and grittily long enough in the misery and pointlessness and losing their audience.

And yeah, this one-in-one-out door policy is embarassing. On the one hand I love that an away party (great call!) or scene can comprise of a buncha people with just one white dude, on the other hand ...
posted by Iteki at 8:07 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be fair, it sounds like Tyrese would have stuck around longer if the actor hadn't gotten a better gig.

Sure, but there's other ways off get rid of a character than killing them. Would even make sense for Tyrese's personal journey for him to decide to split. Even if the feeling is that it's a departure that will give us an inevitable death it can be more interesting than "distracted by pictures."

The dreamyness of it wasn't a bad concept, I think, but either they weren't willing to commit to it - any given dreamy sequence thing should occupy the entire act from commercial to commercial - or the director didn't have the skill to pull it off. Instead it just sort of wandered in and out as we cut between other perspectives and the third person view.

How exactly is Morgan going to follow ambiguous tree makings up I-95?
posted by phearlez at 8:08 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seemed rather forced to have him distracted by pictures and NOT have him hear a shuffling zombie.

To be fair, that was a pretty spry little TweenZombie.
posted by gatorae at 8:20 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the idea was that he saw the little kid behind the door, and only when he saw the twin-photos realised there could be another one, oops! Except Noah told him, like fifteen minutes ago that he had a mom and twin brothers, it's the kinda thing you remember, it's not like they have a lot of new info rolling up on them all the time. Who was that in the bed though? If it was the mom on the floor, twin 1 behind the door, twin 2 chewing on your arm, mystery-meal on the bed is who now?
posted by Iteki at 8:52 AM on February 9, 2015


>On Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero said he was going for a Terence Malik dreamlike feeling with the visuals reflecting back on Tyrese's journey.

The problem is, that the only person who can do Terrence Malick is fucking Terrence Malick. I've seen this again and again in movies, people trying, but very rarely in a tv show. I personally have tired of his style, but it's his style. The problem with this episode of Walking Dead was that it felt like montage by committee.
posted by Catblack at 8:56 AM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought twin 1 was on the bed and twin 2 came out from behind the door? He seemed pretty fresh; maybe he could still open the door?
posted by Room 641-A at 9:01 AM on February 9, 2015


On Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero said he was going for a Terence Malik dreamlike feeling with the visuals reflecting back on Tyrese's journey.

That's makes total sense and sounds great, but what I saw was long slog trying to hide the fact that Tyreese was bitten, dying and then dead. That was the compelling information, why hide it in such a ham fisted manner?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:32 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The problem is, that the only person who can do Terrence Malick is fucking Terrence Malick. I've seen this again and again in movies, people trying, but very rarely in a tv show.

Yes, this type of direct homage is absolutely rare in television, but it shouldn't be. Fail better. More TV directors should be pushing the proverbial envelope stylistically. I'll take a Malick or a Jarmusch or a Lynch wannabe anyday over someone with no particular style at fucking all.

Or as Diana Vreeland so aptly put it: "We all need a splash of bad taste; no taste is what I am against."

FAIL BETTER.
posted by hush at 10:35 AM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is that show any good? That actor was so good at making Tyrese a compelling character that I'm tempted to start watching any show with him in it as long as it doesn't suck.

It hasn't yet aired! But, Coleman's hiring is a good sign, I think; he's a great actor. The solar system (heh) of the books is a very diverse place (race/ethnicity/gender-wise: e.g., the de facto head of the Terran government (well, the UN) is an Indian woman and people who were born off planet (Belters) had parents who came from all over Earth, so there are a lot of non-white people up there). I thought the character that Coleman is playing, Fred Johnson, was a white guy when I read the books, so I'm very happy to see that he will be a black guy in his TV incarnation.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:41 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


(In my reading, Fred Johnson was pretty clearly of African ethnicity although I imagined him much slimmer/more patriarchal but yeah, I can see Coleman doing a good job being the reluctant pragmatist, "countenanced more in sorrow than in anger" role.)

Well, the next episode can only trend back into "good" territory. Right?
posted by porpoise at 10:53 AM on February 9, 2015


This isn't directed towards any particular comment, but I just wanted to address TWD's "disposable black man" probem.

I totally empathize with and acknowledge the historic and cultural problem of how (and even if) POC are represented in the media in general and TWD in particular, at least as much as an oldish, white lady can.

At this point in the show, though, everyone is going to die except maybe three or four people. This isn't a show with an extended cast of semi-regulars down at the coffee shop that we can count on to show up every few episodes. Characters die every week and they will be replaced. So my genuine question to those who know better than I do is, is it better that they are hiring more black actors (that will eventually die) or would it be better if they hired more white actors (that will eventually die)? Because some/many of those roles can be written or re-written into any race, but the thing is, casting a black man in a role originally written as a white man is only going to increase his chances of dying.

I'm not claiming that the anger and frustration over the overall problem is wrong or misplaced or anything else, just that I'm not seeing a way out of this short of TWD committing not to kill certain characters that are played by black men or deciding not to hire as many black men for roles they know will die in the short term, and I don't think either of those are better than the current situation. In fact, we have POC in two of what I consider the four most stable roles in the show. And I love that Morgan is back! He probably has a whopper of a story line coming up, but he may also end up dead.

One other thing about Tyrese and Bob in particular: both of these characters were seen as good people -- hopeful, peaceful, optimistic. These positive qualities ultimately cost them their lives. Unfortunately, black actors are not always hired to play these kinds of positive characters, so that’s another Catch-22 for the show.

FWIW, I’m in no way invested in this theory, so I’m happy to hear why I am completely wrong, but I do hope that at least people realize that I’m not coming from a place of animosity or anything.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:52 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I guess I didn't think the episode was a bad as everyone else. I did not want to lose Tyrese (and I didn't realize Chad Coleman was already out) and like Jacqueline I also cried. The funny thing is I was more sad when I thought that he wouldn't die, because I just wanted him to be at peace. I was also totally surprised by the funeral twist, at least in the beginning, and I was also genuinely surprised that Tyrese got bit at all.

Would even make sense for Tyrese's personal journey for him to decide to split. Even if the feeling is that it's a departure that will give us an inevitable death it can be more interesting than "distracted by pictures."

This I do disagree with. The show seems to be going into a much darker direction and they've been killing off the "good ones" in quick succession. Letting Tyrese go off on his own would allow the audience a glimmer of hope and I don't think they want us to have even that little bit of peace.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:02 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


(In my reading, Fred Johnson was pretty clearly of African ethnicity although I imagined him much slimmer/more patriarchal but yeah, I can see Coleman doing a good job being the reluctant pragmatist, "countenanced more in sorrow than in anger" role.)


I'm sure I probably was just reading those novels too quickly - I grew up on golden age sci fi and TV and unfortunately the default in my mind for "space explorer/resident" is now "white guy with a crew cut". I'm very happy to be wrong about Fred Johnson and I'm excited to see Coleman's portrayal on screen.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:32 PM on February 9, 2015


I think the wolves graffiti is foreshadowing to some gang that go up against in the comic book. It would be nice if the group came across another group that wasn't in some way batshit insane. It's feeling a little Watership Down with Fiver and Hazel leading them warren to warren to see how exactly this new one sucks.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 1:53 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


It would be nice if the group came across another group that wasn't in some way batshit insane.

Yeah at this point it really doesn't make any sense to not shoot first and ask questions later. Everybody still left alive is psychotic, including most of the protagonists. Except for like, Beth and Tyrese. Tara seems pretty moral. She probably doesn't have long.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:10 PM on February 9, 2015


It's feeling a little Watership Down with Fiver and Hazel leading them warren to warren to see how exactly this new one sucks.

Except Hazel and Fiver got all the bunnied across safely...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:07 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


was just reading those novels too quickly
Maybe it was more explicit in the short-story "Butcher of Anderson Station." Yeah, in most space-fi, authorial intent feels like a NoCal suburb, ethnically.


I'm assuming that this is a no-spoiler thread but maybe, just maybe, Tyrese's death will be the substitute for someone else who in an alternate universe bites it shortly?

iirc, early this season (1st ep?) there was a teaser for this season's second half's "Big Bad." Any guess as to whether they're going to be revealed before the next season?
posted by porpoise at 3:37 PM on February 9, 2015


Tyreese was my favorite character. Like, easily. Everyone always wonders who they'd be in a ridiculous post-apocalyptic scenario, but the only time I ever recognized myself 100% in a character on The Walking Dead was when he was saddled with those two little girls, one of them crazier than a shithouse rat, and just did not know what the fuck he could do. I realized in that moment that I too would be the well-intentioned and totally hapless guy who just wanted everybody to be okay and who didn't want to have to hurt anybody. So I am heartbroken, but I also know that for a show like this to work, people you love have to die. If there are no stakes, there stops being a point to watching.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:02 PM on February 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


I didn't think this episode was that bad. Certainly not one of the worst. But you could tell in the first few minutes that Tyrese was going to kick the bucket, because he spoke at length about his past, which in Walking Dead land telegraphs impending doom. Frankly, I was surprised he even made it out of the car. Survival rule #1 when you find yourself wandering around on a zombie-infested television drama is never speak at length about your past.
posted by oulipian at 5:31 PM on February 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Why do we still watch this show? Seriously. I guess I'll watch again next week out of habit but why? As someone else said, it's relentlessly joyless.

This episode in particular left me with nothing to look forward to, no hook to keep me going, no hint of coming excitement. The only goal is, idk, swing by DC since we are so close.
posted by bobobox at 5:53 PM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I did love Tyrese. I liked the dynamic that the personality of the character brought to the group. But I did kind of wonder where he got the idea that people can't be sad about someone dying for more than 5 minutes. He was telling Sasha how to feel when Bob had died like that morning (it was that morning that they went for Beth correct?). Then Noah finds out that all his family is dead and his community is gone and while he is still on the ground crying, there's Tyrese telling him how to feel. He's not the only one that does this but with him doing two in one episode and both being so soon after the death felt a little heavy handed for me.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:56 PM on February 9, 2015


Agreed, I was annoyed on Noah's behalf. He's allowed to bawl uncontrollably after finding out his entire family was bisected, and certainly Tyrese should watch him to stop him from doing something rash, but cripes, let him mourn.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:15 PM on February 9, 2015


Why do we still watch this show? Seriously.

I watched it when it first came out, then decided the characters were ridiculously silly, so I stopped. Then I heard season 4 was good, so I watched that, then caught up with all the previous episodes. The second half of season 4 was ridiculously good, character driven with pretty good plot. Loved it.

Season 5 has been ok to good, then started going downhill. Beth's storyline wore me out emotionally. Seeing the top of her head blown off was some sort of final straw, particularly as her death seemed ridiculously needless.

Tyreese's death was gross manipulation and the fact that Gabriel and Noah are still alive just feels all sorts of wrong. I'm probably done with the show for now. It's too relentlessly bleak, has been for this entire season and in fashion that repeatedly feels calculated to freak the audience out. There's something better I could be doing with this hour of my life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:57 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ray Walston, Luck Dragon: characters who have survived the zombie apocalypse for years do inexplicably stupid things

I think Michonne spoke of what everyone else has been feeling for a while: it's too damned much, and it's time to find some place to rest, if only for a while. There is no perfect compound waiting for them, so they have to make one, somewhere, and stop running. Because everyone is mentally worn the fuck out, from coming across living people they can't trust to constantly being aware of any sound that might indicate zombies got through whatever defense you had set up. And when you're that worn out, you can break, like Tyrese did when he didn't guard his back in a house that he knew had zombies in it.

Catblack: For all that character development they did with Tyreese, why oh why didn't they have that gal he was in love with -- the one he was maybe going to kill Carol for killing -- come back to him?

Oh, yeah - her! Yes, it was a strange selection of characters to bring back, unless you're only considering people recently dead (Ty's love died before the Governor, who was the "oldest" dead person in the prolonged death sequence).

Speaking of which, I'm siding with hush here: I'll take an attempt at something interesting over complacency with bog-standard shooting styles. This brought to mind Edgar Wright - How to Do Visual Comedy, in that film is a medium with such potential, but so many film makers shy away from interesting approaches, for a number of reasons. The flashbacks wore on a bit long, but I enjoyed them on the whole.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:14 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing that they went with whichever actors they could get for that shooting schedule (another one missing was Herschel), and worked around that list (except for the Governor, a lot of the Ghosties dialog was pretty generic feel-good stuff, which could have been given to any dead person that Tyreese felt a connection to).
posted by Mogur at 12:32 PM on February 10, 2015


I really liked this episode. I enjoyed the attempt at Malick-ness, and I engaged with the Michonne/Glen/Rick debate throughout the episode.

That said, I am getting tired of the fact that everyone who attempts to be a moral center for the group finds themselves dead and buried before too long. I hope that the group meets someone in DC who does a good job of blending kindness with pragmatism.

One interesting thing I noticed in the background of this episode: when Tyrone starts hallucinating gum-chewing cannibal jerkass guy, there appears to be a toy zombie on the nightstand behind him, next to the Rock Band guitar. I guess it could be a skeleton, but it looks like it's wearing clothes and shambling. I thought zombies and other types of reanimated corpses didn't exist even as fictional creatures in the WD-verse prior to the outbreak. (Though Glen did mention Portal once, which means that Half-Life probably exists, which means headcrab zombies should exist. Maybe they called them something different in that verse.)
posted by lord_wolf at 1:20 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well I cried over a zombie show, so they did something right.
posted by angrycat at 1:38 PM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


> That said, I am getting tired of the fact that everyone who attempts to be a moral center for the group finds themselves dead and buried before too long.

I enjoyed this Malick-tastic episode, too, and I so totally hear you. On Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero responded to a comment on the same wavelength as yours by insisting that it's actually Michonne who is the true moral compass of the group. Which perhaps ought to make us very worried about the fate of Michonne... Damn, I can't think about that. I love her so much more than is reasonable to love a fictional TV character.

> But I did kind of wonder where [Tyrese] got the idea that people can't be sad about someone dying for more than 5 minutes. He was telling Sasha how to feel when Bob had died like that morning... Then Noah finds out that all his family is dead and his community is gone and while he is still on the ground crying, there's Tyrese telling him how to feel.

Five minutes seems the right amount of time in a show that is 1 hour long including commercials. Tyrese got that idea from like all of US society. We are so uncomfortable with death and dying in our culture. "Get over it, now get back to work!" is what we basically tell anyone who has experienced a loss. We give them about 5 minutes though. Who besides a trained therapist even says the exact right thing in cases like that, seriously? I give him props for saying anything, and reaching out to his fellow human beings in a time of loss. In the zombie apocalypse, probably nobody has the luxury of like mindfully going through each of the Five Stages of Grief, I suppose. Tyrese just wanted his crew to survive. He meant well. I dunno. Tyrese is welcome to tell me how to feel any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
posted by hush at 2:13 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


See, I would expect "Get over it, get back to work" from Carol. Having ruminated on it some more, I'd be willing to concede that it lines up with Tyrese being too sensitive for this world any more. His nerves are so raw, he can't stand any more suffering of any kind; even watching somebody else wracked with grief is more than he can take, so he immediately begins trying to make it stop.
posted by Rat Spatula at 3:05 PM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


but poor Sasha, eh?
posted by angrycat at 3:28 PM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Was there any significance to what what being said (hallucinated) on the radio? One of my never realized hopes for the show was they would address what was going on in the world at large. And probably why I still want to see what's in DC next week.

Tyrese was the character I most wanted to hug on the show.
posted by bobobox at 4:01 PM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now that Ty is gone and Sasha's without her brother, I want to see Michonne take her in as an understudy, and teach her the way of the Katana. I want training sessions, I want revenge-mode sasha, I want dual-action zombie slaughtership by those two. I want all of that.
posted by cashman at 4:11 PM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


How exactly is Morgan going to follow ambiguous tree makings up I-95?

Morgan was shown (at the end of the last ep, or the opening of this one?) praying at Gabriel's church, and then discovering the map that Team Abraham left for Team Rick, with an inscription saying "Rick Grimes you should come to DC with us."
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:10 PM on February 10, 2015


And probably why I still want to see what's in DC next week.

In the last discussion here about the show's locations I was Team Explore so I'm definitely glad they're moving around.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:24 PM on February 10, 2015


Was there any significance to what what being said (hallucinated) on the radio?

On the surface, that was the terrible things happening 1,000 miles away that Ty's dad made him listen to, to be a reminder of “high cost of living.” And as The Daily Beast noted, "A posh English voice relays a grisly report about cannibals with machetes running through the countryside hacking people’s limbs off and setting them on fire."

Which tied back to this episode, with the burned houses and the hacked bodies. Which brings us to the wolves, both human and not. From that link: "Andrew Lincoln has suggested [the next episode] will somehow continue to take the characters into even darker places."

First reaction: Ffffuuuuu.... Second: it's just a show, I can always do something else.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:22 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


"A posh English voice relays a grisly report about cannibals with machetes running through the countryside hacking people’s limbs off and setting them on fire."

Fun fact: Andrew Lincoln voiced the part of the English radio announcer. I always find it oddly jarring whenever I hear Andrew Lincoln speak in anything approaching his native English accent; he owns the role of Rick Grimes so completely. Several of the show's crew apparently feel that way towards him, too, and have a laugh with him about it.

"Andrew Lincoln has suggested [the next episode] will somehow continue to take the characters into even darker places."

It would be sort of awesomely misdirecting (and I'd probably love it) if the gang took note of the graffiti, the hacked up bodies, and the forehead carvings and was like, "Fuck this, we're out!" And we never find out what that was all about.
posted by hush at 5:24 AM on February 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I always find it oddly jarring whenever I hear Andrew Lincoln speak in anything approaching his native English accent

Well, a lot of it has to do with the simple fact that on the show, he only ever yells. Even when he's whispering, he's yelling.

To hear him talking with a regular inside voice is jarring enough. The posh RP accent is just icing.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:27 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


... he only ever yells. Even when he's whispering, he's yelling

So you're saying he would get along with Nick Cage?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


it's sort of striking what the characters aren't saying this season. that episode where Carol 'n Daryl kick ass and fall in the van was well-written in what the characters didn't say -- e.g. this exchange
Carol: (something like you never asked me about the girls.
Daryl: I know they ain't here.
Carol: It was worse than that.

I mean, well done. It shoehorned the horror of the Lizzie Look at the Flowers episode into the ongoing episode so efficiently and realistically.

I think the Beth episode suffered from a lack of telling something that really needed to be said. I think that I with a few changes, it could have been really effective. I was rooting for Beth, but felt nothing because her ending had been awkwardly executed.

In this episode, I think that there's a conversation going on about the nihilism in the world they inhabit, whether they can change anything, whether the dark upon dark upon dark (I mean what the hell wolves -- they deliberate zombify people and stuff the zombie heads in a van -- what?)
is inevitable, and also the peace of the death that all of them are desperately trying to avoid. It's not nihilistic to say there is more suffering in life than there is in death.

My takeaway with all the hallucination stuff was that Tyreese was fighting the guilt the guy feels because like 40% of his emotional make-up his guilt -- he didn't stop the governor (when he arguably could have) and he didn't stop the cannibals (when he arguably could have).

The guilt is beaten back by beaming ol' Bob, the girls magically okay, and Beth, who was always this sort of angelic (perhaps annoyingly so) thing. They are saying that he can let go of his guilt, not endure whatever horrific life he'd have as an amputee in the apocalypse, and be at peace.

Oh I've wasted too much time on this damn stupid show
posted by angrycat at 10:08 AM on February 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I mean what the hell wolves -- they deliberate zombify people and stuff the zombie heads in a van -- what?

Since everyone zombies after death unless you destroy the brain they don't have to do it ahead of time. They could just hack someone in half ("just") and they'll re-animate. I think the bigger WTF is why they crammed them all into that car. Were they intending to take it somewhere and got stuck in the mud? Why carry them all that way, or why drive to that location?
posted by phearlez at 12:06 PM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


maybe the zombie heads were meant for a zombie cannon that shoots zombie parts
posted by angrycat at 2:38 PM on February 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


away team

Brilliant. I would kill to watch a mashup of TWD and TNG. Shit; I might have to try my hand at fanfiction for the first time.

I was pretty disappointed with this episode, too. It's one thing to kill off a good character—knowing that anyone can die at any time is part of what makes TWD compelling. But Tyreese's death was so pointless. No dramatic buildup, no tie-in to larger plot points, no anything—just, whoops, Tyreese got bit on an otherwise mundane run, and now he's dead. I guess they had to get rid of Tyreese quickly, since Chad Coleman is leaving the show—but it doesn't make for good television. After the shaky hospital plotline in the first half of the season, I'm starting to wonder if this show (which I once adored) has jumped the shark.

The "black male quota" thing really has become egregious and undeniable. And it really does seem to be specific to black men. So far, we've lost T-Dog, Bob, and Tyreese shortly after other black men joined the regular cast (any others?). I knew as soon as Noah showed up that Tyreese's days were numbered.

Meanwhile, Michonne and Sasha have been around since S02E13 and S03E08, respectively—eons for a show with this churn rate. (We had Jacqui in Season 1, and she didn't last long—but at least she wasn't killed off to make room for another black woman.) And...those are the only major black female characters we've seen, aren't they?

NOT EVEN DEATH will stop Beth from singing folk songs.

This episode in particular left me with nothing to look forward to, no hook to keep me going, no hint of coming excitement. The only goal is, idk, swing by DC since we are so close.

This. There is no arc any more. They're just meandering, more-or-less aimlessly, around the countryside, occasionally coming into (transparently contrived) conflict with yet another Group With a Sociopathic Leader and a Dark Secret.

I hope the spinoff series gets some different (and smarter) people at the helm. The main show is flagging badly.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:49 PM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


So far, we've lost T-Dog, Bob, and Tyreese shortly after other black men joined the regular cast (any others?)

There was Oscar in between T-Dog and Tyreese, and people were calling it out back then. Bob and Tyreese coexisting for several episodes was actually an improvement over the early days.
posted by cardboard at 3:27 AM on February 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


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