Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 9 Recap: Tyreese Trips Out — Beth, Governor Return
*The Walking Dead Season 5 spoilers referenced ahead*
But he’s the guy who saves babies. Who sings in the dark. Speaks out for forgiveness and against killing. Mourns a woman he never even got to, you know, hit the guard tower with. He’s the truest moral compass they have. Or had. But it’s over. You can’t go back, Bob. Which is not to say Bob didn’t come back, since he and others returned in Tyreese’s (Chad Coleman) mind after he was bitten in The Walking DeadSeason 5, Episode 9, "What Happened and What's Going On." Ty was a struggling man. And he had to move on. Bill = paid.
The Governor. Lizzie. Mika. Martin. And Beth. They were all ghosts of Christmas past in Episode 9, which proved you can’t go home again — and really drove home the point that goodness is punished in this world. Dale, Hershel, Bob, Beth. Now Tyreese? The new world may need Rick Grimes but it seems to have no use for Judith’s babysitters beacons of hope and peace. So what do you do? You keep goin’. You don’t give up. ‘Cause it's not over. This isn’t the end. And it's better now?
Episode 9 put an X next to Rick’s latest mission, a very trippy trip to Richmond, Virginia to help Noah find his family. It was a way to honor Beth Greene’s final wishes and also give his own group a chance at a new home. Didn’t work. The CDC. The farm. The prison. The Grove. The “Claimed” house. Terminus. Grady. Washington cure. Shirewilt Estates in Richmond. One crushing disappointment after another. Things will get worse before they get better, since Andrew Lincoln said the group hits its lowest point next in Episode 10. Poor Sasha. Poor Judith. Poor everyone, to lose still another “good” one. What message is that meant to send?
Episode 9 was emotionally draining, but visually stimulating. The midseason premiere went for an ambitious show-and-tell hour, juxtaposing images of horror and hope, love and loss. A show this popular could just coast along, guaranteeing itself more popularity with formulaic storytelling, giving audiences the exact things they want one after the other. Instead, TWD is using its power to challenge the viewers with something more artistically sophisticated and potentially more frustrating. Ep9 asked a lot of viewers right from the first two minutes, giving us dreamlike art house images that Andrew Lincoln compared to a Terrence Malick film. If you turned away for a minute to get some popcorn, you’d miss something. Time was scrambled. Nothing was too straightforward. It was a beautiful, elegant tragedy. Chad Coleman is a diamond.
This isn’t how most blockbuster shows behave, but bless The Powers That Be — specifically showrunner Scott M. Gimple, who wrote this episode, and Greg Nicotero, who directed — for taking these risks. As Robert Kirkman teased, this will probably be a polarizing episode — some will love it, some will hate it. (The Daryl fans are going to lose it. Just wait.) They set themselves up for more extreme reactions instead taking the safe approach, but that’s why TWD is worth watching and why it’s deserving of more award recognition. Everyone involved is all-in, and they expect the same commitment from viewers.
That said, what did you think of Episode 9 — the events and how they were shown? Impressed? Depressed? Both? Why no thoughts about Beth from Maggie? Why gloss over what happened, only hearing from Rick and Noah and Glenn? Do you wish the show spent more time with Carol's group instead of focusing all attention on the five characters in Richmond?
AMC posted the dreamy first two minutes and 20 seconds the week before the midseason premiere. The episode starts with digging. We see a shot of a house. Sky from a car. Maggie crying. The inside of a front door, with blood on the wall. Noah sobbing. Father Gabriel officiating at a funeral. Clearing a car. Shots of two young boys. Noah and brother? Prison guard tower. Long shot of the prison. Noah talking to Rick about the plan. Beth was going to go with him to his community outside Richmond, Virginia. The place had walls, last time Noah was there, but he was stuck at Grady for more than a year. Baby crying. Hole. Woodbury. Rick tells the group about Richmond. It's a long trip, but if it works out it's the last long trip they ever have to take. Glenn wants to know what happens if it's not around anymore. Then we keep going, Rick says. Then we find a new place, Michonne says. Bones in the woods. A smiley face on the ground. Death and hope.
Driving in a car. Shot of Judith. Don’t you hurt her! Bullet holes in car. Walker trying to get out. Train tracks. Lizzie and Mika. More digging. “It’s better now,” Mika says. The house again. Blood drips on the house frame. AMC should’ve shared a list of drugs to take while watching this episode.
So they’re already in Richmond. Time jump! Knew they wouldn’t make us follow them from Atlanta. Tyreese is driving. Noah is shotgun, with Rick, Michonne and Glenn in the back. Rick checks in with Carol in another vehicle. They are behind. Noah tells Tyreese the trade at Grady was the right call. Ty said it went the way it had to and was always going to go. He never wanted to kill anybody before. Tyreese said his dad always told him and Sasha it was their duty to keep up with the news. There were always stories on the radio. Something happens a thousand miles away or down the block, some kind of horror he couldn’t wrap his head around, you can’t change the channel or turn it off. Dad had them face it and keep their eyes open. His dad called it paying the high cost of living. Noah has mom and a couple of twin brothers in Richmond. Photo explained. They park in the woods. We see the walker in the car of the opening. Walk past the bones. Ty looks at them. Rick still has his red machete! Noah already draws blood even before seeing action.
Do they have snipers? Rick wants to know about security. The place seems deserted. It’s called Shirewilt, which should be a remix of the Wiltshire Estates storyline of the comic book, something that happened in the timeline a while back. Noah goes to the giant gate. Hear that? Glenn climbs up to see over the gate. Just a side note: How did they have enough gas to get to Richmond? Was it easy? Anything interesting happen along the way? Guess we don’t know. Noah climbs over. He seems nervous, he’s limping. He sees burnt houses, he’s starting to panic. The group runs after him. There are dead bodies everywhere. Poor Noah. He breaks down. What heartbreak. All that hope. What’s written on the wall there? Wolves? Tyreese tries to calm Noah down, say it’s all right, he’ll be with them now. Michonne takes out an approaching walker. They are all defeated. Rick tells Noah he’s sorry.
Rick wants to get supplies then head back. Michonne wonders “Then what?” Glenn says they can make a quick sweep. Tyreese says he’ll stay with Noah. Bad plan! Rick checks in with Carol. They’re there. Rick says, “We made it. It’s gone.” Michonne is so frustrated, but at least she found a new shirt! Remember that cool cat kitsch she found in King County? Glenn didn’t think it would still be there. Did Rick? Rick talks about wanting to kill Dawn. It didn’t have a thing to do with Beth. He doesn’t know if he thought it would still be there, but Beth wanted to get in there. She wanted to get Noah back home. “This was for her. And it could’ve been for us too.” Well, like most things for Beth, it didn’t work out.
TY’S PEP TALK
Ty wanted to die for what he lost. He walked into a sea of those things. (Remember his hammer time?) But he just kept going. And later, he was there for Judith when she needed him. He saved her. Brought her back to her dad. That wouldn’t have happened if he had just given up. If he hadn’t chosen to live. “Noah, Noah, this isn’t the end.” Noah gets up. Ty is getting such a big showcase, you know he’s a goner. He was almost like a Christ figure when Noah looked up at him. Noah runs ahead to his own house. Noah, are you going to get Ty killed?
Glenn was thinking about the guy in the storage container. (We’re the same!) He made them stop. Losing Washington, losing Beth. (He picks up a baseball bat. Negan foreshadowing!) Losing Beth after just finding out she was alive. He wouldn’t make them stop. He would’ve shot that woman dead right or wrong. Michonne said they need to stop. They can be out there too long. No thoughts from Maggie about Beth? Isn’t she the one we should hear from?
Tyreese tries to block him. You don’t want to go in there. Ty breaks out his knife. “Me first.” No! Noah is in his house. His mom is on the floor. Head bashed in? He tried to get back sooner. He tried. Damn you, Dawn! There’s a walker behind a door. Tyreese approaches it. He sees photos of Noah’s twin brothers, but he doesn’t notice the one behind him. Bitten by a twin! Noah kills his own brother. But it’s too late. Tyreese is bitten and bleeding.
Radio news about the outbreak. We can’t stop listening, Ty’s dad’s rules. Flashes of prison and road. Poor Tyreese. He’s still bleeding. Martin shows up AND HE’S STILL CHEWING THAT EFFING GUM. Martin said he tried to tell Tyreese it was going to be him. He’s the guy that saves babies. If Martin hadn’t told Gareth they were there, maybe Bob would still be alive. Maybe that would’ve changed things with Beth, domino sh-t. Maybe he wouldn’t be bit right now. Bob says that’s bullsh-t. He got bit at the food bank. It went the way it was always going to. Martin says if he just did it, if he didn’t lie like a bitch, maybe the bill would be paid. The bill has to be paid. Governor shows up. You told me you’d do whatever you had to do to earn your keep. It’s what you said. Remember that? More radio news. It’s better now, Mika and Lizzie say. The Governor says it’s not, you know damn well. Ty fights with another walker. Where the heck is Noah? Ty is bitten again, uses stuff from shelf to bash walker. Ty is definitely toast now, poor dear.
Rick walks with Michonne and Glenn. She wants to stay there and build the walls up. The others aren’t loving it. What’s with the bottom half bodies in the grass? Glenn says it doesn’t matter. Back to Dawn. Doesn’t matter who killed her. Are they sure Maggie shouldn’t be in this conversation? Michonne argues for Washington. Eugene was lying about a cure, but not washington. We’re close. What if there are people there. What if it’s someplace they can be safe. OK, so this speech is for Washington, not for the Alexandria Safe-Zone, as we originally thought. Figured she was arguing in favor of Aaron, but he’s not here yet. She wants to go to D.C. Don’t you want another day with a chance? DC. is 100 miles away. Rick is convinced. We should go to Washington. That was quick. Plenty of gas?
They hear Noah yelling. He was trapped on a porch. Noah says Tyreese was bitten, at his house.
There you go, fans! Beth isn’t dead, she’s still singing. Struggling man, no time to lose. I’m a struggling man and I’ve got to move on. She says “It’s OK, Tyreese. You gotta know that now.” He didn’t want to be part of it. Where is the other group? Governor is still trying to guilt Tyreese. You told me you’d earn your keep. You didn’t know what you were getting into. Your eyes were open but you didn’t see. Did you change? No. You sit there in front of a woman who killed the woman you loved, and you forgive her. Bob says that’s all there is. It’s like a Dead Person Support Group. Tyreese says Governor didn’t show him sh-t. Everything you were is dead. It’s not over. I forgave her because it’s not over. He cries. Poor guy. He’s taking a long time to turn, though, which is good. He’s not giving up. Governor pushes Tyreese. You have to pay the bill. Blood on the house photo frame. What a great scene. Lizzie and Mika take Ty's hand. But it's Rick. Can they save him? Can they get his arm off, ala Hershel's leg?
They carry him out of the house, and out of Shirewilt. More flashes of the past. Sasha killing Martin. Governor. Lizzie. Mika. You have to pay the bill. It’s hard to get Ty back to the car. This is the downside of parking so far away! His foot gets caught in the wires. Bob. Beth singing. It went the way it had to. The way it was always going to. I’m a struggling man. And I’ve got to move on. They get him in the car. Rick gets back on the walkie-talkie. No Carol in this episode. No Sasha, either, and her brother is dying. Poor Sasha. She lost Bob, and now this. Rick wants Sasha to get away. Did Rick just get into a car crash? What is he, Lori? Walker body parts are all over the place. Oh, that’s nasty … but at least we found the top halves of the bodies! Radio report about cannibalism. Burning down prisons. Mutilation of children and mothers. Tyreese wants them to turn it off. Bob is in the car. Beth is driving. It’s OK now, Tyreese. You have to know that now. It’s not just OK, it’s better now. He’s in the car with the good guys. They’re all driving away from us. Wow. Wow. Wow. What a powerful end scene. That was beautiful. The car stops. We watch from afar. They drag Tyreese out. Someone has to put him down. He’s gone.
Father Gabriel gives his speech. We see the other characters. Poor Sasha. How is she going to handle this? And why did they just skip over however Maggie felt? Will they ever cover that or is it too late, since they’re already away from that story and location?
They're on the road. Walking to D.C.? They need water. Looks like they take shelter in the barn. Here are more details/spoilers on what’s coming next in Episode 10. They might do more of the big El Camino herd remix in Ep10. That should be cool. Will Aaron pop up at the end of Episode 10 or will we only see him in Episode 11?