The Walking Dead returned from their midseason hiatus (I’m done being mad about that, they’re gon’ do it anyway, so it is what it is) with “What Happened And What’s Going On”, which was the perfect title as it showed some important people from the past, and what the plan is for the next phase of Operation: Don’t Get Bitten, which one of the members failed to do last night. Let’s go………………………..
-We open with someone shoveling dirt, a picture of a house from “The Grove” (probably my favorite TWD episode, the joint with Carol, Lizzie and the flowers), what looks like the sun as someone is driving down the road, and Maggie crying, because we’re still supposed to believe that she cared about Beth and you know what? I give up, sure, I’ll buy it. Noah is crying, over what we think is Beth’s death, and then Pastor Bitchass (Gabriel) is standing over a body. Beth’s? Someone else? Rick, Daryl, Sasha and Glenn are running to secure some vehicles, and then we flash through a few pictures of two black boys, which I assume are Noah and someone else (side note: I may refer to Noah as EHC or Everyone Hates Chris, because I stay forgetting his name). We flash to the prison as well. Kind of an intricate opening that doesn’t make any sense…..but the payoff is worth it.
-Noah tells Rick that Beth was gon’ come with him to Virginia, and Rick decides screw it, we’re going there. Then we see a window with a bullet through it, and a street that again, looks familiar and I wanna say it’s Woodbury, where the Governor and his people were at. Rick tells the group of his plan to go to Virginia because Noah’s family lived in a community with walls, so all can’t be bad, right? We flash a little more to a skeleton on the ground, a drawing of a sun on the ground, the group driving through South Carolina, but it looks like BBQ Bob is driving. We flash to Judith, then to a car with a zombie in it, the train tracks on which the group were walking, someone doing some more dirt-shoveling and then BAM…..little creepy-ass Lizzie and her sister Mika, both with bloody wounds, but Mika looks at the camera and says, “it’s better now”. Then blood starts to drip onto the picture of the Grove cabin, and they hit the music. This seems like a lot of detail to go into for before-the-credits shit, but it’s easily the most important part of the episode, which I got on the second watch.
-Tyreese, Noah, Rick, Michonne and Glenn are almost to Noah’s destination, and Rick touches base with Killa Carol, who is finally getting some leadership shine. Tyreese and Noah start having a conversation about the hospital and Noah says he never wanted to kill anyone until he got there. Tyreese responds that he wanted to as well, but now he doesn’t because he doesn’t want to deal with the aftermath. His pops told him pains were the cost of living, and they had to listen to the news, even the bad stuff because that’s just life. His dad must be looking at him now, somewhere, like “damn, how did I raise this?”. We learn Noah’s dad is gone, but his moms and his brothers (the boys in the picture) are alive. Rick tells Tyreese to pull over so they can go on foot and Noah is like, nah it’s cool, and Rick says, just in case. This means two things: one, I’m the leader and we do as I say and two, dude, we’ve been out in these streets….it ain’t all good.
-They park next to the car with the zombie in it from the opening, and they walk past the skeleton that was on the ground. They cross through some barbed wire to the community, and Noah says there are snipers, but none are out, which can’t be a good thing. Glenn climbs up and checks to see if he sees anything; nothing. Noah starts running when he realizes his family and everyone is gone, and they chase after him. He collapses on the ground, and the group offers their condolences, so now he’s officially with them. The decision is made: make a sweep for supplies. Michonne is in the background, cuttin’ heads off. Can we make her, like, a vice-president or something?
-Rick and Glenn are talking, and Rick says he doesn’t believe Dawn meant to kill Beth, and she absolutely didn’t, she was just reacting to gettin’ stabbed in the shoulder. He also says they came to this place to honor Beth, who wanted to come here with Noah. Meanwhile, Tyreese is back with Noah, who is in no condition to go anywhere, and gave him some speech about not giving up, which he wanted to after Karen died, but he didn’t. Then he ended up babysitting Judith and kept her safe, even though he let that Terminus dude put a knife to her. Damn, I can’t stand this dude. Shit got kinda preachy, so Noah is like, fuck this and starts running towards his old house. Why can’t Tyreese catch up to a limping, crying dude? DAMN, I CAN’T STAND HIM.
-Meanwhile, Rick and Glenn are still talking and Glenn is saying how he lost Maggie, and found here, now they’re going to Washington, then they weren’t, now they are again or something and how Maggie and Glenn wanted to find Beth alive, which is horseshit because they didn’t say one word about…..never mind. This is a problem I have with The Walking Dead sometimes. The writing isn’t good enough to hold down these speeches, but furthermore, they have them at the worst times. Find some supplies, and get outta there. That is when Michonne pipes up like, yo, come the fuck on.
-Noah wants to go in his house, but Tyreese says he’ll go in first and they find Noah’s dead mother, so he puts a blanket over her. Tyreese walks down the hallway because he hears a noise, and all he finds is one of Noah’s brothers that got his guts taken out, but what does he do? He doesn’t continue on to find the noise, he stares at the wall at the pictures from the opening. Meanwhile, behind him, we see a walker sneaking up on him, and I hit that Birdman hand rub like, shit, it’s about to get poppin’. That little walker, the other twin brother, sinks his teeth all in Tyreese’s arm and goes after him, but Noah stabs him in the eye and says he’ll run and get the others. See where feelings gets you in the zombie apocalypse, Tyreese? SEE??????
-This is where it starts to get trippy again. We get more flashes of all the shit from the opening (the sun, the cabin, the prison, the window with the bullet hole, the zombie car), while Tyreese is just sitting there with blood pouring out of his arm. He starts to hallucinate and the first is Martin, the Terminus asshole who Tyreese didn’t kill and he points out that he should have killed him because if he had, this might not have happened….domino shit, as he says. Then BBQ steps up to say that was bullshit and how he died was random, with getting bit at the food bank. Then the Governor appears and reminds Tyreese that he said something about earning your keep, and then Lizzie and Mika tells him it’s okay. He has no idea what is going on, but the Governor turns into a walker and the fight is on. It lasts a little bit and Tyreese gets bit on the same arm again, but he eventually wins and falls to the floor. The walker’s blood drips onto the picture of the cabin.
-Michonne suggests to Rick and Glenn that they stay here, and they don’t think that is a good idea because they don’t have a sight line because of the trees, and something obviously happened to this community. I wanna listen to Michonne and she’s pretty gung-ho about it, until she steps outside and sees a BUNCHA dead bodies so she’s like, you wanna know what? Let’s do this Washington thing. But then they hear Noah scream, and start running. They save Noah as he’s getting attacked, and Michonne hits a zombie, but it breaks her sword. These mufuckas gettin’ stronger? That can’t be good.
-Beth is singing Tyreese, we see the flahes from the opening again, and her lyrics are pretty poignant (Jimmy Cliff’s “Strugglin’ Man” is the song she is singing), but her voice annoys me; do yo’ thang, girl. Lizzie and Mika are still with her and Beth tells Tyreese that it’s okay. Bob tells him that it’s okay to not be a part of this anymore. Basically, they’re telling him that it’s okay to die now, but he’s still fighting. The Governor tells him that he didn’t adapt and that’s why he is where he is. Tyreese is still defiant, saying that the Governor was wrong and it’s not over because he’s stubborn, but the bite on his arm begs to differ. Then he admits that people like him can’t live, but then he says no one has to die today. Yeah, he’s starting to go. The Governor shoves him to the ground because he’s a bitch.
-It looks like the girls are grabbing his hand to bring him to the afterlife, but it’s Rick, holding out his arm so Michonne can chop it off and they can try to cauterize it like they did with Herschel. They start to escape and we see some more stuff from the beginning, like the crew securing vehicles, and they also have to get past a buncha walkers. Noah tries to hold Tyreese up, but fails miserably and almost gets bit before Rick saves him and we see some cool special effects of a bullet going through a head. There is a flash of Carol at the cabin after she shot Lizzie, which is dope. There is also a flash of Sasha stabbing the shit outta Martin at the church. The Governor tells Tyreese that he has to pay the bill as the group gets him through the barbed before a walker comes. Bob tells him that it went the way it had to as Rick tells him to hold on. They pass the skeleton again and get Tyreese into their vehicle; Rick tells Carol to get Sasha and Carl away as they return to try and save Tyreese. Of course, their van gets stuck and ends up hitting a truck that was beside the zombie car, and a buncha severed walkers spill out.
-Tyreese is in the back and he tells the driver to turn the radio off; Bob asks him is he sure, and that is why we saw Bob’s face in the rearview mirror earlier. Beth is driving and tells Tyreese it’s okay for like, the 14th time. The girls are in the back, being creepy and telling him it’s better now, and Bob hits that smile that I need a .gif. The van stops in the middle of the road as Tyreese dies, and the group lays him down. We skip to that shovel and the funeral, which we learn is for Tyreese with his skullcap on a cross, and the group takes turns putting dirt on him. Sasha looks just stunned, and now I’m pulling for her, Maggie and Michonne to form this all-girl killing machine. Sasha is about to go the fuck OFF.
-This is my last will and testament: if y’all are with me in the zombie apocalypse, and I get bitten, just kill me right then and there. Don’t carry me all around and shit. That’s stupid.
What I gathered from “What Happened And What’s Going On” is that you can have all the humanity you want, but in this world of The Walking Dead, at some point, you’re gon’ have to put that shit to the side and be about that life. Look at Herschel, Andrea, Dale and now Tyreese, and I’m sure there are more examples. This humanity shit ain’t gon’ fly in the zombie apocalypse, bruh. Which is why I assume no one will want to roll with me if shit goes down.
But overall, this was a strong return for The Walking Dead, and they’re good at these types of episodes. It was directed by Greg Nicotero, who has now directed nine episodes of the show and is known for being a special-effects master, which is why this was one of the most interestingly shot episodes of The Walking Dead I’ve ever seen. So now, we have a mission: on to Washington, for better or for worse.