Welcome to the official Panels The Walking Dead weekly recap! After the mid-season hiatus we are back! I did these recaps occasionally for iFanboy back in the day, and I am thrilled to be bringing them here to Panels. In the discussion, please be mindful of spoilers from the comics, let’s let everyone get their reveals the old-fashioned way.
We being with digging. Looks like northern Georgian soil, based on the lack of sticky red clay you’d find in the deeper South. Gabriel narrates while we see photos of Noah and remnants of the prison. Rick and Noah talk Richmond, VA. It’s all very stylized. Michonne even gets a line, albeit off screen. We see the group driving north through sets of Justified but with zombies. Then back to digging. Blood pools on a drawing of a house with fire in the foreground. Are we supposed to recognize this image? I don’t. Oh well, ROLL CREDITS!
After the credits we’re only five miles from our destination. Already to Richmond? Odd when so much of earlier seasons has been time on the road. Noah commends Tyreese on how he handled Trey, the guy from Terminus he let go instead of killing. Tyreese pontificates (a word I use describing the ‘dialogue’ in this show more and more) about how his dad payed attention to the news because of reasons that I sort of zoned out for. Rick wants to enter Richmond on foot, “just in case.” As they walk, Noah exhibits a slight limp, but I can’t remember why he’s limping. This is the problem with mid-season breaks, people.
The gang works through some defenses that would probably stop zombies but not people who know how to bend at the waist. Rick worries about snipers, but it seems like the settlement is currently not being guarded. Is anyone even still there? Climbing the wall reveals that no. The building look burned out, and the streets are littered with bodies and the occasional walker. Noah handle’s it poorly, as to be expected. Tyreese does his best impression of a person being comforting, as does Rick.
The gang decides to look about for potential supplies. Rick’s beard is insane as he explains that they brought Noah here to honor Beth, in the off chance that it could have been their new home. Then I zoned out for another Tyreese speech. I promise this isn’t intentional, I just lose focus when he starts droning. Noah agrees and decides instead of listening he’d rather run away. Tyreese chases.
Glen soliloquizes to Rick about his adventures in Terminus and on the road with team GREATM. He then picks up a baseball bat which makes me uncomfortable. Michonne says they need to stop being on the run all the time, and that they could stay here in they really wanted.
Noah and Tyreese reach Noah’s old house. Tyreese insists on entering first, because he should see Noah’s family dead on the floor slightly before Noah does. Looks like they ended things themselves before turning. Noah handles it much better than when he saw his town destroyed. Tyreese hears something and continues to explore the house. At least one walker and one more body. Looks like Noah had twin younger brothers. One of them is dead on the bed, the other ‘sneaks’ (really obviously) up and bites Tyreese in the arm right at the elbow. I point out where are the arm because if an amputation is in order I assume you are curious to know at which joint.
I am yet to understand the point of the flashes, hopefully by the end of the episode. Tyreese hallucinates Trey in the room with him, reminding him that he predicted that Tyreese would die due to his kindness. Bob appears to contradict Trey. There are these weird radio broadcasts that makes out Rick’s group as terrorists, not sure what those represent. Then, the governor. A bit ironic if you read the comics. The two crazy blonde girls, Lizzie and Mika, show up to argue with the governor, who morphs into a zombie to attack the already weakened Tyreese. He reaches for his hammer but drops it. They use some POV shots that really make it seem like zombie is trying to bite you in the face which work in making me flinch. Tyreese uses his already bit arm to fend off the zombie, getting bit again. Things to not look good. We now know where the blood on the drawing in the cold open came from…
Michonne still wants to stay and refortify. Rick points out that with nothing but forest around, the sight-lines are terrible. I would really appreciate a convincing reason why Michonne is so keen to stay put, seems like a forced dilemma for the group. Rick points out that the tree cover is likely what allowed them to be destroyed in the first place, Glen agrees because it has literally already happened to them before. Michonne suggests using the trees; chopping them down to build a wall, demonstrating by walking over to the breached wall and seeing the remnants of whatever horror occurred. Michonne flips and starts espousing heading onwards to Washington DC. Eugene was a liar about a lot, but it’s probably DC really is in better shape than most ‘burgs. Rick agrees just in time to hear Noah screaming for help.
Rick, Glen, and Michonne run to the rescue amidst a few walkers. Michonne is foiled when she tries to lob off a zombie head with her katana and can’t because of a bit of rebar blocking the neck. I hoped for an epic kill, but it’s just Rick with his machete. Noah announces Tyreese’s predicatment and they dart off.
Tyreese is now hallucinating Beth playing guitar and singing. I’m not sure how others felt, but I always liked Beth’s musical interludes. All the good dead folks in the room with him are trying to tell him he’ll be better off dead, and the bad ones maybe saying the opposite? Its all a bit abstract and unclear. Tyreese responds with something about not killing Carol when he found out she killed his love interest. Which reminds me, we’re missing quite a few characters here. There was some stuff at the beginning of the episode where Rick was radioing Carol 20 miles behind, I guess they just haven’t caught up yet? That’s weird.
Then the area behind the governor shifts to a weird dual home movie projection. This is a strange episode that I’m not quite following. Quick cut to seeing Michonne take Tyreese’s arm off with “one clean cut.” The group has to head out the main entrance because they can’t get Tyreese over the wall which means… zombie battle! A lot of it is in slow motion from Tyreese’s POV and looks FANTASTIC. I’m sarcastic a lot here, but that was really cool.
Back at the van, Rick radios the other group to tell them to stay away while they stabilize Tyreese, who continues to hallucinate radio broadcasts about his own groups activities. I guess what they’re trying to do here is show how Tyreese always paying attention to the news has affected the way he perceives actual crisis around him. It’s not working for me. At all. If it is for you I hope you’ll speak up in the comments. He continues to hallucinate all the dead folks in the car with him, who seem to want him to die.
The van stops in the road, and everyone piles out. Looks like Tyreese is dead. That digging we saw in the beginning was for Tyreese, not Beth like I think we were supposed to assume. The rest of the gang showed up for the burial, but Rick still gets the starring role as bereaved, over Tyreee’s own sister. How strange.
As is probably obvious from the recap, I didn’t love this episode, but I’m not entirely sure why. It was stylistic, violent, and shocking; many of the things we ask for from this show. But I also feel like it rushed us to a place I didn’t think we need to go to. It watched like an episode struggling to get an actor out of a contract rather than a natural progression of the story. I also think this was a weird opening for a mid-season premiere. I feel like we’ve been trained to expect the big death at the end of the arc, not the beginning, which is maybe a compliment to the writers because I was so thrown off by it. Unfortunately, I was thrown off to the point of being thrown out, and wasn’t able to enjoy the episode for it. I never thought I’d like something less for being experimental and weird, but it seems I have a found that line of demarcation. I truly hope you disagree and that if you do we can talk about it in the comments.
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