By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
Warning: There are spoilers for both the show and the comic book ahead. If you’re not caught up on either, stop reading now!
Last night’s mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead had a little bit of a slower pace than we’ve grown accustomed to. Sure, there was action and walker killings, but most of the episode focused on Tyreese and his visions of friends and enemies past. Not that I’m complaining. After the disappointment of the last two half seasons, the show needed a jolt to grab my attention once again. Now that the group is back together and moving towards Washington, D.C., hopefully we have seen the last of the non-Rick Grimes episodes for a very, very long time.
Speaking of Washington, D.C., the show’s writers really threw us for a loop with that one. After it was revealed that Eugene is not a scientist, I thought for sure that the group had no reason to move towards Alexandria. The addition of Noah offered the city of Richmond up as a replacement. I didn’t really care for the storyline, but I felt that the writing staff wrote themselves into a corner by revealing that Eugene was lying too early. In comic, that revelation does not come until the group already made it to Washington, D.C. Since the show decided to lay that bomb on the audience while the group was still in Georgia, there was really no need for Alexandria, hence the detour the plot took to the hospital and Richmond. It wasn’t a very tightly written plot, but we’re here now, so hopefully the group just moves towards Alexandria so we can get to one of the more exciting storylines of the comic.
Last night we all bid farewell to Tyreese. I have mixed emotions about this character’s death. On one hand, I wanted to like Tyreese, so I was excited to see where his character was headed. On the other hand, the television character was nothing like the comic book character, and that’s both a shame and a waste. In the comic, Tyreese was more like what we see from Daryl. He was Rick’s right-hand man (which was helpful since Rick doesn’t have a right hand). He managed to serve as a moral compass while still being a badass survivor, something the show’s characters struggle with. He was important to the story and he had a very emotional end.
The show’s version of the character was incomplete. He was a survivor who felt immense guilt for living. He struggled to go on after the deaths of Karen, Mika, and Lizzie. Protecting Judith gave him a purpose until the death of Bob. If you only takeaway one thing from his visions in “What Happened and What’s Going On,” let it be that Tyreese blames himself for the Termites finding the church.
His death came before his story could truly be resolved. That’s okay. It’s the Walker Apocalypse; sometimes you die with unresolved character issues. I just hope the writers give us something in the second half of this season to make up for wasting a potentially great character.