I’m really glad that Tyreese understood “What Happened and What’s Going On” in the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead, because the general consensus between myself and most of my friends who watch is that we sure as hell had no clue for most of this episode. As one of my friends so eloquently put it, “You make me wait two months and then it’s a memoir of those that have been and ads?”
Even if we ignore the ridiculous number of commercial breaks, it’s not as easy to do the same with the general messiness and bad writing that comprised such an important episode. Beth’s untimely death in the midseason finale raised a lot of eyebrows, but other than some brief mentions of “what happened to Beth” and her appearance in Tyreese’s visions, it’s almost as if they’re trying to write her out of existence. Yes, I understand that for all intents and purposes, “What Happened and What’s Going On” picked up quite some time after her death, but shouldn’t we have gotten to actually see them lay her to rest?
I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. To put it bluntly, I’m shocked that Tyreese made it this far in the first place. He was trying too hard, for too long, to be the new Hershel; the current “moral compass” of the group…and failing at it. Miserably. It really was only a matter of time before he died, but was this the best way to send him out? I say no…especially as there were actually a few moments in the episode that made me think perhaps Tyreese had learned his lesson and would pull through and actually start growing again as a character. And considering how hard he fought to stay alive, in the end it felt like his death was being thrown in viewers’ faces.
Or perhaps that was just sensory overload from the constant weird flashing memories/visions that Tyreese kept having. And while I’m on the subject of those visions, I’m admittedly a bit confused as to whether there was some significance in the characters who did show up versus those who didn’t. I understand the inclusion of Lizzie and Mika, and Beth as well (though considering how they basically ignored her otherwise I wonder why they bothered at all) – but why would he also see The Governor and Martin (from Terminus), yet not envision, say, Hershel…or more importantly, Karen?!
Though they were pretty heavily eclipsed by Tyreese’s plight, of course other things happened in “What Happened and What’s Going On”. Probably the most important was Michonne’s insistence that they find a place to settle down, along with them coming across so many bodies of people who’d been sliced in half at the waist.
Richmond was a bust, but the group is now officially on the road to DC again…and clearly the next Big Bad is already on the horizon. I just hope that this dud of a midseason premiere doesn’t foretell too much about the quality of what’s to come for the rest of season five.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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