The second (mid) season premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead returned last night to what I am sure will be yet more stellar TV rating numbers night for the network. Numbers that not only looked good as the episode started, but also good in retention throughout the hour, because this mid-season premiere was riveting, odd and stylistic all at once.
The episode opened with its usual subjective recap to what has happened up to this point in time, that is pertinent to the episode you are about to watch and it goes from there.
And to be honest, I can’t say much more without divulging events from this episode so be prepared for some Walking Dead spoilers.
The episode titled “What Happened and What’s Going On” opened preparing us for dealing with the passing of Beth, and in memory of the young lady. We watched the shovel digging into the dirt and a quick funeral service.
We then watch as Rick decides that the group should take Beth’s friend Noah home to Richmond, VA, in honor of her memory, since that was what Beth had planned to do. And then we get this weird flash to Mika and Lizzie saying “It’s better now.”
What the heck? It was a bit confusing and instead of dwelling on it, I decided to sit it out and see what else the episode had for me, because obviously something was up, and I presumed it was going to be something related to Beth. Right?
It was a quick and philosophical journey as member spoke amongst themselves on reasons for going in what direction after dropping off Noah. Part of that was the group in the car trying to sooth Tyrese into not feeling guilty about Beth’s death, and his opening up about how his father used to make him listen to the radio to learn how the world is out there.
When they get to Noah place, the neighborhood had been overrun and fate against fates, Noah’s family had succumb to the plague of walkers.
It was in Noah’s house that Tyreese gets distracted by a picture of Noah and his twin when a walker sneaks up and bites him in the arm. I can only imagine the range of expletives that fans must of elicited when seeing this moment. Those go here. ()
We all know that a character getting bitten on The Walking Dead is not the end of it, but the rest of the episode was Tyreese hallucinating and being visited by the ghosts of episodes past as he struggled to stay alive.
He was visited by Martin, Bob, the Governor, in all his commanding arrogance, Lizzie, Mika and Beth.
Martin taunted Tyreese while Bob was there to diss on Martin’s words. The Governor kept telling him he warned him of this, while the girls just kept saying it was all OK. Or as I saw it, the ghosts of guilt, doubt and acceptance.
While Tyreese was having his issues, Michonne could be losing it or just tired of being on the run and tried to convince Rick they could shore up Noah’s subdivision and plant roots.
But that was not to be.
The group tried to save Tyreese by cutting off his arm but alas, it was way too late for Tyrese and his visions continued on and brought him into the afterlife.
It was then that we realized that the funeral service we saw at the beginning of the episode was for him, not Beth.
This entire episode had an odd tone to it, and I wasn’t sure if we were just experiencing turn in the road of the story, pacing or if something was up. It felt like there was a big-name guest director projecting his spin on the series with a heavily influenced artsy, poetic spin on the story.
But alas, it was just Tyreese’s swan song, as he stepped into the light of the episode and we watched his ghosts shun him for his failures or support him for making the right calls in tough situations.
THIS was The Walking Dead‘s “Christmas Carol!”
Overall, the episode started out slow and reflective, not feeling very engaging, but every step of the way into the hour started drawing us in further and further until the moment we realized whose funeral it was, and BAM, it all made perfect, poetic, dramatic sense.
It was as simple as that.
What did you think of the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead?