The Walking Dead Mid-Season Premiere Surprises Everyone



Enzo Libertini, News and Entertainment Editor

This article contains excessive spoilers, so stop reading now if you have not yet watched the episode. If you haven’t watched the episode yet and choose to read this anyway, I am not responsible for the things that are spoiled for you. If you haven’t seen the mid-season premier and still decide to keep going, don’t be that person who comments on this article about how I spoiled the whole episode for you because I didn’t. That being said, for all of you who have watched the episode and just want to read some analysis of it, let’s begin.

February 8 was a day of television history. Not only did our beloved Walking Dead return from its wintery hiatus, but the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul premiered right after and preceded to bring the house down. Needless to say, a lot of die hard fans got very little sleep last Sunday. I went into the mid-season premier thinking it was going to immediately start working to bring the story back on track with the comics. I thought they would begin heading to Washington right away and that we would see a couple of new characters, but the show decided to hit everyone, even us fans of the comic, with a curve ball.

This Greg Nicotero-directed episode opens with a series of shots that mean a lot more than you might think. You see a shot of a shovel filling a grave with dirt, a skeleton in the woods with flowers growing out of it, a guard tower from the prison, a framed picture of a house, and several other unusual pieces of imagery. I, like probably ninety percent of the audience watching this episode, assumed the grave being covered was Beth’s.

Noah believes the community his family has been surviving with in Virginia is still there and that there might be a chance they could be safe there. So, instead of going to Washington, they decide to head to Virginia to help Noah find his family. They arrive to find the place completely destroyed and no one who lived there is left alive. Noah and Tyreese eventually make their way to Noah’s old house where Noah finds his dead mother on the floor of the living room. I really liked how they did that scene. They film Noah covering his mom’s head with a blanket and then they cut to Tyreese slowly walking down the hallway while you can still hear Noah whispering his goodbyes to his dead mother, so sad.

Earlier in the episode, while the group was driving to Virginia, Tyreese and Noah have a conversation in the car. In this conversation, Tyreese discusses how his father told him and his sister that in order to be good citizens of the world they had to keep up with the news. Tyreese goes on to say how he would be in the car with his dad and the radio would be on and news stories of people doing horrible things all over the world would be talked about, and no matter how bad the stories got his dad never turned off the radio. I loved the radio metaphor. It connected on so many levels. It worked for Noah because he had to face whatever was waiting for him at his old community, it worked for the whole group because they now have to face what ever hardships come next after the deaths of Beth and Dawn, and it also works for Tyreese for reasons I will discuss later.

While Tyreese and Noah are at Noah’s old house, Rick, Glenn, and Michonne are scavenging supplies. While they look they talk about how they wanted to kill Dawn after she killed Beth. This was very interesting because Rick says that he knew Dawn didn’t mean to shoot Beth, but that it didn’t matter and he still wanted her dead. Glenn agrees with him, and they later conclude that it wouldn’t have mattered who shot her or that Darrel did shoot her. It was always going to happen like that it was beyond their control. On another note, one of the things Glenn picks up while scavenging is a baseball bat, and he even uses it to kill a few Walkers. For those of us who have read the comics this is a huge reference to the possible future.

While Noah is still crying over his dead mom, Tyreese goes to explore the rest of the house and ends up getting bit by a zombified version of Noah’s brother. I couldn’t believe this. I thought for sure he was going to get out of it somehow. Even after he was bit and then eventually bit again I still held onto hope that Rick and the rest of the group would get there to cut off his arm in time. While Noah ran to get help Tyreese encounters visions of dead group members such as Bob, Beth, Lizzie, and Mika. Among them the Governor and cannibal Martin also make appearances. I loved this part of the episode, seeing Tyreese literally confront what he struggles with all while slowly dying was some of the most textbook suspense the show has ever done.

The ending of this episode was very misleading for multiple reasons. The first reason being the fact that Tyreese tells his vision of the Governor that he’s not gonna quit and that he’s going to keep fighting to live, and the second being that he told Noah and those in the car that his father never turned off the radio, and that it is important to face what’s out there. These facts are misleading because after they amputate his arm and are trying to get him back to the rest of the group, he tells his visions to turn the radio off and dies. Tyreese was never cut out to live in that world. He saved Judith and refused to kill Martin. Out of all of the survivors he was definitely the most human. The last little trick this episode had to offer came at the very end when you realize the grave they were covering at the beginning of the episode did not belong to Beth, but was actually the final resting place of Tyreese.

I loved this episode, and while I think the show could have gotten more use out of Tyreese, his death here makes sense and kicks the mid-season off right. I can’t wait to see where the show goes from here as the group heads towards Washington and the next major chapter of the show is set up. We all have something to look forward to.