Tyreese, Rick, Noah, Glenn and Michonne drive away from the main group to scout out Noah’s old home as a new place for them to potentially settle down. They will scout it for supplies since it appears they are not doing so well. They are about 100 miles from DC and the whole group has traveled about 500 miles north from Terminus. The rest of the group (Carol, Sasha, Carl, Judith, Daryl, Rosita, Eugene, Abraham, Gabriel and Maggie) are about 10 miles away from Noah's family compound near Richmond, VA.
The group arrives there only to find that the safe haven has been severely compromised by another human group. There are houses that are fire ridden with huge holes in them and a big section of the wall that surrounded the settlement has been blown inward; hinting at an invasion. There are vehicles full of zombie torsos; looking like a lot of the folks there were either trying to escape and were herded up in an area then their legs and arms were lopped off and then the torsos were into vehicles and the drivers of those ended up dying somehow.
Noah’s family has been killed and Tyreese ends up getting bitten by one of Noah’s zombified brothers and dies on the scouting group's way back to the base camp on the road. The funeral at the front and back end of the episode is Tyreese’s (not Beth’s).
I am paraphrasing quite a bit here because most of the episode was very visual between images and actions.
What we are witnessing throughout is something we have never seen on the Walking Dead before; an entire episode almost entirely focused on one character from his perspective using his thought processes.
I think of this group as a family. In order for humanity to return to normal I think they all need to feel more for humanity. Then the moral center won't need to be present in a symbolic individual like Tyreese, or Hershel or Dale. Instead humanity will flow outwardly from all of them. In order to do this effectively our characters need to start be a bit more emotionally expressive.
We appear to be finally starting to focus more on the inner thoughts of all the supporting characters:
*Michonne*: is tired of running around and wants to settle down somewhere. This harkens back to a Season Four episode Four ('Indifference') where Daryl and Michonne are out in Scouting Party with Tyreese and Bob and Daryl finds a piece of Jasper and Michonne flirts with Daryl and says it matches the color of his eyes. Then she states she never would have known that was Jasper if he hadn't said anything. Daryl makes an off handed comment to her and says ‘It’s amazing what you learn when you stay in one place for a while’. We are left with a very contrite and thoughtful look from her which has resurfaced in words here in this episode. She tries to convince Glen and Rick that they could make Noah’s base of operations work, however it’s quickly determined that it is not very practical. However, she continues to push her point (of digging in and building a future regardless of threats) and convinces Rick to take the group up to the DC area since it is only about 100 miles away from their current position at Noah’s.
*Rick*: is practical and careful and measures other people’s thought’s presently, however he does look gaunt and run down and perhaps he’s desperate (or they all are.)
*Glenn*: has a broken feeling to him like there will never be any hope for humanity. He snaps a CD in his hands as they drive to Noah’s old place. Later on he points out to Michonne that death is all around them and always has been and that won’t ever change; very upbeat huh?
*Noah*: is grieving finally for his family and for Beth.
*Tyreese*: has always had an inner turmoil of dealing with the world that he has been struggling to survive in and letting go of the world the way it was.
In Season 4 Episode 1 he confided to Karen he didn't know how he could be of use to the other survivors: neither as someone defending the prison from zombies at the fences or scavenging for supplies. Either way it gave him anxiety and paralyzed him with fear.
You could tell part of him (if he wasn’t so troubled) wants to fight to hold onto his humanity for his sanity and for the betterment of all mankind; the other part wants to just die it seems. However there is also part of him that wants to ultimately try physically to get the world back to the way it was. (If he had survived, he would have made a great eventual Hershel.)
His back and forth inner struggle is highlighted after he gets bitten by the decisions he has made to do things and their consequences: how saving some people has cost other people their lives: Martin telling him that saving his life ended Bob’s. The Governor telling him that he has to pay his dues now for deserting the folks at Woodbury. Beth, Bob, Lizzie and Mika telling him in their own way that none of that is true and the outcomes of the choices he had made don't matter. The important thing to remember is that he did the best he could do and that he needs to let go of those regrets and move on. This includes letting go of his life at the very end. (A relatable example with other characters: Daryl told Bob Stookey his thought consequences example was 'Bullshit' in S4E4 about how the bottle Bob picked up and then put down on the store shelf led ultimately to the death of Beth's boyfriend in S4E1.) Daryl's point to Bob was he was being too egocentric and he needs to let go of the way he looks at things.
IMO Possible Writers Message:
Bad things happen in this world and people make mistakes. You need to let go of things and do the best you can and accept the fact that all you can do is try your best and live in the moment; don't live in the present constantly beating yourself up for the things you have done wrong in the past to the point that you are too paralyzed to make decisions that affect you right now. Added to Show Axioms here: http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/151
In the end, Tyreese dies knowing he has done all he could do and he’s at peace with that. We all stumble through life making poor decisions. Unfortunately Tyreese had to realize that letting go of his past mistakes is the solution to calming his anxieties and troubled mind in the final moments of his life. Tragic.
(This part really belongs with the bad section, however it refers to the above so it's here.)
The real tragedy (purposefully ironic or not) here is that none of the other characters can learn from his introspection because it all occurs in his mind. I feel this is the biggest problem with the show. The characters cannot grow unless they share their feelings and mental struggles with each other *in the moment*. If they don't then how can humanity ever persevere in this apocalyptic construct?
*Radio* - Was the way Tyreese's dad faced his fears and now this has become Tyreese's method. When he was ready to accept his own death he asked for the radio to be shut off because he proved to himself he can face it.
*Broken Grandfather Clock* - Tyreese past this in the road. I took that to mean his time was ending soon.
*Picture with blood* - Death comes to the homestead.
*Graffiti - Wolves not Far* - There's an enemy not too far away apparently. They are using zombies for some weird thing.
Why didn’t Rick use a belt from Noah’s house as a tourniquet for Tyreese’s arm? You would have thought one of the scouting party would have thought about that. Rick did manage to save Hershel after chopping off his leg and he would have lost a lot more blood faster than Tyreese since he severed a femoral artery. Then again, inconsistency should be okay.
Perhaps the visitations from character's past was a little too much, however I thought the point was to show the inner-workings of Tyreese's conscience and struggles.
Wonderful arrangement of people; actions and images. There is loads of misdirection in this episode. This does not have the look and feel of other Walking Dead Episodes. I feel like we are in Tyreese’s brain the whole time. We race through his thoughts which are flashing back and in the present and mixing everything from every time period in the now when he was dying. There was the montage aspect of pictures of Woodbury mixing in with action images of Rick and company trying to get them out of Noah’s family’s safe haven; Mika and Lizzie; the Governor; Mitch, Bob Stookey and Beth and conversations with Noah whilst going to his old home miles away from where their current group is.
It was very fitting for Tyreese's death to be at the hands of a child and also it being somewhat surprisingly trivial in terms of its spectacle. However emotionally I felt his thoughts were very impactful.
*What is Sasha feeling experiencing the loss of her brother?
*Where exactly are the group now? We know they are in Virginia about 100 miles away from Washington DC.
*There was no sign of Abraham, Rosita or Eugene although I am sure they are still with the group.
*Are the radio broadcasts memories or made up hallucinations ? (Andy Lincoln actually is the announcer on those using is normal voice.)
*Which group took out Noah's family? They look pretty heavily armed. Isn't Rick concerned about encountering this group as he goes back to get his main group and bring them toward's Washington?
I hope they cover that in the next episode.
*Behind Michonne at Noah's family compound are the words in graffiti 'Wolves Not Far'. Who are the wolves? Is that the group that attacked the compound leaving their mark?
*The bodies by the wall had just the legs and arms and were missing torsos. Rick and company hit a truck that dumped a load of zombie torsos on the hood of their vehicle. Are those two things connected? If so, why would anyone need a truck full of zombie torsos and why were they left there? Why did the zombie torso heads have a 'W' etched in their foreheads? Does that stand for Wolves? If so, it looks like the wolves are sending a message to anyone who stumbles on this broken settlement.
What do you think?
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