This season started off so happy. I was genuinely surprised by how happy it was. Then, in the midseason finale, The Walking Dead killed off Beth, whom I loved, and another beloved character died this week as well. Even worse, “What Happened and What’s Going On” was yet another episode almost as emotionally draining as “The Grove”, made only more emotional by one of the characters hallucinating the two little girls from the “The Grove” as he slowly bled out and died.
Spoilers after the jump.
Our episode opens with Father Gabriel conducting a funeral for a person I assumed to be Beth. But as the episode concludes, it turns out that the funeral is actually for Tyreese. “What Happened and What’s Going On” uses flashbacks and fastforwards to focus on Tyreese’s thoughts throughout the episode, and it becomes clear about halfway through that his character isn’t going to make it. After the funeral, the show cuts back to earlier that day as our survivors take a trip to Noah’s home. Now that they know the truth about the cure—it doesn’t exist—they have nowhere else to go, and if possible, they want to take up residence with Noah’s people. Once they arrive, though, they find the town destroyed. This episode also seems to start our next big gruesome mystery, as it looks like people attacked the town, not walkers. There are holes in the cement outer walls, and a bunch of the bodies have had their heads and torsos removed, leaving only their legs and arms lying around.
Noah and Tyreese go to Noah’s old home, and while there, Noah’s brother-turned-walker ends up biting Tyreese on the arm. Noah puts his brother down, then runs off to get help, and while left alone, Tyreese hallucinates some of the past characters. I already mentioned that the girls from “The Grove” make an appearance, but so do Beth and Bob. They tell Tyreese that things are better now, that they worked out how they were supposed to. Unfortunately, also showing up are the Governor and a Terminus member, who mock Tyreese and tell him that all the bad things that have happened are his fault. Tyreese eventually stands up to the Governor right before Rick and the others show up to amputate his arm. Unfortunately, Tyreese dies from blood loss as the characters drive away from the town, and that’s when we learn that the funeral at the beginning of the episode was really for him.
Like I said, this was yet another emotionally draining episode, especially since it happened right after Beth died (and I’m still upset about that). It was also emotionally draining because Tyreese was another really well written character. As I’ve said before, I am invested in just about everyone but Rick at this point, and now that both Tyreese and Beth are gone, I find my ability to enjoy this show falling rapidly. It could be worse, though: more characters I love could be dead. I dread the day Carol or Daryl (or Glenn, Maggie, and Tara) don’t make it.
As this was Tyreese’s last episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On” delves into his characterization quite a bit. It addresses his willingness to forgive Carol for murdering Karen, and it also talks about the guilt he feels for the mercy he showed a Terminus survivor at one point—if he hadn’t let that man go, Bob wouldn’t have been cannibalized. It’s through his hallucination of Bob that he also lets go of that guilt—Bob was already bitten, and he was going to die regardless. And the two little girls from “The Grove” also let him know that it’s better where they are. Even Beth tells him everything is okay.
During Tyreese’s last moments alive in the car, he continues to see Beth, Bob, and girls, who all continue to comfort him. For a death on The Walking Dead, it was a surprisingly peaceful and pleasant way to go. It was also really annoying because Tyreese is another minority character, and like Beth, he went through a suicidal stage after Karen’s death. Also like Beth, he regained his will to live. If he hadn’t survived, Judith and other characters wouldn’t be with us right now.
Two out of the three characters we’ve lost this season were Black, but thankfully, the show still has numerous other minority characters. Noah and Father Gabriel have joined the crew. Michonne, Sasha, and Glenn are still around. And then there’s Tara and Eugene. We did not, however, see many of the other characters this episode. The only ones who show up in “What Happened and What’s Going On” are Tyreese, Noah, Michonne, Rick, and Glenn. Additionally, in the comics, Glenn is dead already, and Michonne’s status is unknown. At this point in time, the TV series isn’t following the original source material all that much, but that does leave me a little worried for their wellbeing.
I also found it a little odd that, other than Tyreese, “What Happened and What’s Going On” focuses on Rick’s and Glenn’s thoughts over Beth’s death, and how they’re handling the loss. I would have assumed that maybe Maggie, Beth’s sister, or even Daryl, would’ve had more screen time this episode, especially Maggie. The last time Maggie had seen her sister was at the prison, and she went the entire second half of Season 4 and the first half of Season 5 not knowing where Beth was, or if she was even alive. In “Coda”, Maggie finally found out that Beth survived the attack on the prison, and was so happy that she was about to see her sister again, only for Beth to be killed before she could get to her. So I was extremely disappointed that the only shot we saw of Maggie this episode was about two seconds long.
“What Happened and What’s Going On” is by no means a bad episode. It’s really good, but that comes at the expense of characters like Maggie who are still grieving. I can only hope that The Walking Dead will do better next episode, and maybe if I’m lucky, it won’t be entirely depressing.