The Walking Dead and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Episode – Season 5 Episode 9

This is how we'll always remember you, Tyreese: as the man who caused us to scream many expletives in celebration when you turned around holding Judith after the prison fell (Screen: AMC)

The midseason premiere of The Walking Dead is a shining example of why many people are unable to watch this show with any sort of investment.

The last time I covered The Walking Dead for Clare, I went fangirl on y’all and subjected you to my ravings about how the zombie genre should be taken seriously.

This time, we’re going in the opposite direction. While my love for all things zombies – including this show – is still as fervent as ever, tonight’s episode was a perfect example of why people don’t and can’t take The Walking Dead seriously.

Recap

The group drives 500 miles to Virginia to reunite Noah with his family. When they arrive, only Rick, Glenn, Michonne, Tyreese, and Noah enter the fortified town, which has now been destroyed1. The remainder of the episode is The Walking Dead doing what it does best: having people talk while standing around.

This is why you can’t have nice things, Walking Dead

Let’s just rip this Band-Aid off right now: Tyreese dies.

Tonight’s episode of TWD clearly demonstrates why this show has so many naysayers. TWD established Tyreese as both a mentally and physically strong character from the beginning, and then they had the character grow and take on additional roles, such as being the voice of reason & humanity and a protector of children. Tyreese was one of the most complex characters in The Walking Dead’s entire run. And the writers spit in his face with how they killed him tonight.

On the drive to Noah’s town, Tyreese gives Noah a speech about how his father instilled in him a duty to stay informed of the news “as a citizen of the world.” Tyreese expounds on how his father teaching him to be aware of the world around him helped him to help others when the zombies rose. Even when he wanted to shut himself off from the bad things that were happening in the world both before and after the zombies rose, Tyreese wouldn’t allow himself to and continued to observe and participate in the world around him.

The writers who wrote that beautiful scene must have handed those pages to another set of the writers, who promptly used those pages as toilet paper without ever reading them. That’s the only explanation for why Tyreese dies the way he does.

When Noah insists on searching his abandoned house that could contain walkers2, Tyreese insists on entering the house first. After checking out the living room, Tyreese then turns his back on the rest of the house so he can stare at Noah grieving over his mother’s decaying body3. Tyreese then saunters down the hallway, hears a zombie, sees the shadows of feet moving underneath a door, and then walks into an open bedroom across the hallway from the zombie. He then stands with his back to the door while he looks at pictures on the wall. That’s when, you guessed it, the zombie from the other room pops up and bites his arm.

This entire scene completely annihilates both the speech in the car and everything that has been established about Tyreese’s character throughout the previous seasons. Yes, I’m sure the writers probably thought they were being clever by having a zombie child be what kills Tyreese since Tyreese highly valued his role as a protector of children. But, no, it wasn’t clever. It was lazy. It was a disservice to Chad Coleman4 and to the audience since both parties invested a lot of time and emotion into the character of Tyreese. Having Tyreese die because he behaves in a way that is a direct 180 from the way he has always behaved is disappointing, frustrating, and, frankly, insulting.

Character inconsistencies, both in individual episodes and the overall seasons, are just one example of how the show gives people strong ammunition when they say that The Walking Dead is not as great of a show as people hype it up to be. Unfortunately, tonight proves that those people sometimes have a point.

  1. Though never explicitly stated, it is heavily implied that other survivors knocked down part the wall and slaughtered the townspeople  
  2. They’d already encountered a few walkers on the streets inside the perimeter walls  
  3. The real Tyreese from episodes gone by would never have done this without clearing the entire house first  
  4. The amazingly talented actor who brought Tyreese to life  

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About Becca Marshall 36 Articles
Becca has been writing about film and television since convincing her junior high English teacher that comparing and contrasting the film and stage versions of Romero and Juliet was a good idea for a term research paper. After getting her BA in English and film studies, she doubled down on liberal arts and got an MA in television, radio, and film from Syracuse University. Becca is incredibly proud to be an Aggie and entertains her non-Texan friends with Southern colloquialisms. Her hobbies include watching Golden Girls and her interests include all things zombies - she's simple, not basic. Email: becca@whatelseison.tv
  • Tyrone Bird

    agree with you this episode was totally s****. normally love walking dead but seriously what were they thinking. I’ve heard there are 12 seasons planned – lets hope they haven’t shot themselves in the foot with this tripe – any more episodes like these and I shall be tuning out