Every week for the fifth season of AMC's post-apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, David Sims and Lenika Cruz will discuss the latest threat—human, zombie, or otherwise—to the show's increasingly hardened band of survivors.
Sims: For much of this episode, I thought I had The Walking Dead figured out: After 2014’s mid-season finale and Beth’s death, the first episode back would give the group some time to grieve and decompress, maybe find a new direction to head in, and set a course for the latter half of season five. "What's Happened and What's Going On" opened with a montage of funereal digging, and the image of blood pooling on some picturesque watercolor. A little cheesy, maybe, but the show can do good things with cheese, and while Beth was never a character very close to my heart, it’s always good to lend some focus to the weight of things going forward.
Then Tyreese got bit on the arm. Welp. How quickly did you guess that this episode was going to serve as a sendoff, rather than further general plot development, Lenika? Initially I thought that Tyreese would just have to go armless for the rest of his time on the show, but once he started getting tortured by visions of the dead, and the show kept tying into those images it had led off with (his blood pooling on the picture, etc.) it seemed like this was it for Chad Coleman, one of the show’s best additions in these recent seasons. There was no ambiguity, no cliffhanger: We watched through his eyes as he expired, and realized the burial glimpsed at the beginning was for him. The Walking Dead is a show that often excels at killing off its characters out of nowhere and with little fanfare, but Tyreese deserved the attention he got here, I think.