Review by Gene
Director Greg Nicotero summons his inner Terrence Malick as he brings us back from the season 5 break. The events in the episode will have long-lasting impact for our characters, but for me it was hit and miss. (spoilers ahead)
Let me first start with the misses. This was almost exclusively related to cinematography near the beginning of the episode. If you watched, you may know exactly what I mean already. They played with the filtering on the lens in a way that, were it running on a film reel, might at times make you think the film was being burned. It looked like heavy color washes over the lens with a rainbow. I’m not sure how else to describe it, but it was a far more ‘artsy’ approach than we’re used to with this series, and for me it was an annoying distraction, not something that added to the surreal feel I think Nicotero was going for.
Now to the episode proper. Rick is accompanied by Michonne, Noah, Tyreese and Glenn to scout out the place Noah and his family used to stay in Richmond, Virginia. We learn they travel 500 miles, and Nicotero explains on ‘Talking Dead’ that this has taken 17 days. It should be noted that this is the first time in this show the group has traveled outside of Georgia. When they arrive at the town, they quickly find that the cut-throat, inhumane people they ran into so much in Georgia are commonplace everywhere. The town had been ransacked and looted, walls crushed in, homes burnt and people left for dead. Including Noah’s family.
Tyreese plays a major role in this episode in two ways. One being that he provides comfort and support for Noah. He gives a touching speech about how, had he given up after Carol killed Karen, he wouldn’t have been in a position to save Judith and return her to Rick, among other things. He encourages Noah not to give up. The second reason Tyreese is a major player is, well, he dies. The scenes surrounding his death are some of the coolest reflective moments and best dialogue on the show yet.
Tyreese is in a daze of sorts, staring at an old photo of Noah and his twin brother, when a walker bites his arm. As he sits on the floor, bleeding out, he begins to see and speak to significant people from his past. These hallucinations give some great introspection of Tyreese. He sees Lizzie and Mika, Martin, Beth, Bob, and the Governor. Each one either convicting him of a wrong choice, or comforting him for what lies ahead. For my part, his interaction with Martin was the most interesting.
You’ll remember that Martin was the Terminus member Tyreese and Carol came upon before freeing the rest of the group to start season 5. Martin quickly turned the tables on Tyreese when he grabbed Judith and threatened to kill her. Fighting ensued, and Tyreese told the group he had killed Martin. Well, he hadn’t, and Martin returned to (presumably) help Gareth and others track them down, which led to Bob’s death and Sasha’s rage. Tyreese, in his hallucinated conversation with Martin and others, describes how he didn’t want to be a part of “it”. The “it’ is the murder, the manipulation running so rampant in this world now. Martin says, “Being a part of it is being now.” Convicting Tyreese of the thought that maybe he just didn’t belong in this world now.
Feeling out-of-place in your surroundings is a somewhat common feeling. We’ve probably all felt this from time to time in a superficial way; we’re left out of an “inside joke” or we missed some context in a story. But to feel it on the level Tyreese did points to something the Bible describes that Christians will and should feel many times.
Before Jesus was crucified he prayed fervently for his disciples. In John 17:14 Jesus says, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”. There’s a very real sense in which we as Christians should feel a bit like a fish out of water. We live in a world teaching us to rejoice in a lifestyle contrary to what God calls us to. Much the same way the world Tyreese was in didn’t agree with him. He’s the kind of man who, as Martin so aptly describes, saves the baby. So he’s next.
For now our group is headed to Washington, clinging to the logical foundations of Eugene’s lie and recovering emotionally from the death of two siblings. I never really thought Tyreese was the moral compass of the group. At least not in the way Dale was from season 3. Alas, that is how he’s being hailed and the standard for the show is held that if you’re clinging to the “morals of old”, your number will soon be called. Interestingly, Nicotero said on Talking Dead that he felt like Michonne was the moral compass of the group now. I don’t see that either, but perhaps he’s tipping us off to something!
My Rating: C+
Aside from Tyreese’s conversations with hallucinations, this episode was pretty dull. We learn of yet another group of inhumane ravagers bent on killing and stealing from everyone. That makes at least 5 now of one size or another our group has come across. I’m sure such people would exist, but our group can’t run across just one community founded by Mr. Rogers? Granted, that’s not as interesting of a story, so we’ll continue with this doom and gloom. Also, Glenn and Michonne are given some pretty abrupt changes of character. Glenn seems numb to just about everything, even saying he would no longer choose to save anyone at Terminus on their way out if he could. Michonne seems to be losing her edge and gets a bit frantic about staying on the road vs. finding somewhere safe.
Nothing to add to this featurette. Stay tuned for next week.