The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 9 -
In the wake of Beth's death, the group decides to honor her wishes and return Noah to Richmond where they may be able to find safety. When their worst fears are confirmed, they must decide what to do and where to go next.
After two months of waiting, The Walking Dead is back, and with it all the angst and despair viewers have come to expect from the show. From the beginning of “What Happened and What’s Going On” to the end, the writers toy with our emotions and repeatedly hold out hope only to snatch it away at the last minute and hand it over to the walker horde.
As the episode opens, it looks like at least one of my predictions for the second half of the season is already coming true. There is a lot of crying. Rick is talking about Noah’s walled community and trying to convince the others that it may be a safe place to rest, but over it all there are tears – lots and lots of tears. Maggie is crouched on the side of the road, Noah is clearly upset, and, over it all, a baby can be heard crying. Since all of this happens over clips of skeletons in the woods, pictures of happy kids, and sidewalk art covered in blood, I’m pretty sure that wherever they’re heading, it’s not safe.
Once they arrive at Noah’s home, Rick, Noah, Michonne, Glenn, and Tyreese discover that their worst fears are true, and they have to deal with another disappointment. The community is gone and all that is left are the dead. While Tyreese stays behind with Noah, the others go off in search of what supplies they can find. Michonne tries to convince the others that the town could be salvaged, but as they explore it becomes obvious that their group won’t find any kind of safety in Richmond. What they will find is a lot of the dead… and even more questions.
While the others search, Noah and Tyreese return to Noah’s house and Noah begins to say goodbye to his family. While there, Tyreese lets his guard down and is attacked by one of Noah’s brothers and bitten. Noah runs off to find help, and Tyreese is visited by some of the more memorable characters from his storyline. Mika and Lizzie show up with words of comfort saying, “It’s better now,” but it’s really hard to feel anything but the creeps when Lizzie is involved. Bob is there as well to tell Tyreese that it’s not his fault, but it’s how it was always going to happen. Through it all, the recently-departed Beth is in the background, serenading the group with a suitable, yet amazingly depressing, song. Good times.
We are even treated to repeat performances from memorable villains like the Governor and Martin the Cannibal. Of course, being the bad guys, they are less than comforting and spend their time making sure Tyreese remembers all the times he has failed. In the end, Tyreese tells them off and sends them on their way; however, their message about the choices we make creating a domino effect in our lives leads Tyreese to a crossroad where he has a final decision to make. Will he continue to fight, or let go and accept that he is no longer willing to pay “the high cost of living?”
There is no longer a sense of joy or optimism in anything Rick’s group does, and life has become a day-to-day struggle for survival. While the show points at the lack of a secure home as being the root of the problem, I see it as a wonderful illustration between living a life in a relationship with God and living without that relationship.
Herschel, who repeatedly quoted scripture, prayed, and talked about his faith, gave the group hope and security, even if they didn’t openly acknowledge it. Ever since his death, there has been an obvious downward spiral in morale, and many of the characters seem to be giving up completely on ever finding happiness or safety. Even Glen, who was always an optimistic character, has changed and begun to see the world with unveiled cynicism.
In the end, the show’s discussion of predestination vs. choice also ends in despair since Tyreese chose to let go instead of continuing to fight for a better life. As a Christian, I have to wonder if his choice would have been different if he had had a relationship with God.
Language – None.
Nudity/Sexual Content – Some of the walkers are only partially clothed, but there is no nudity shown.
Violence – Graphic violence and some close-up killing of the walkers. There is also a lot of blood and many corpses scattered about.
+ No more waiting
+ Great story, but grab the Kleenex
- No one is safe
- Nowhere is safe
- I'm pretty sure the writers spend their time trying to make us cry