Season 5, Episode 9
What Happened and What's Going On
- Tyreese faces his demons when the group scopes out Noah's old home.
In a montage, various scenes are shown, including Rick and the group scavenging supplies from abandoned vehicles, the previous areas they've taken up residence in, a gravesite and blood dripping on a photograph.
After her burial, the group finds the aforementioned abandoned cars on a supply run. Noah tells the group that he wanted Beth to come with him to his gated community, the Shirewilt Estates, located 530 miles away from Atlanta. Although the destination is far off, Rick agrees to it, deciding the community could serve as a new home for his exhausted, despairing group.
It has been 17 days since Beth's death at the hospital, and the group has made it across the country to Virginia, leaving Atlanta behind for good. Rick brings Tyreese, Michonne, Glenn and Noah along to scout out Shirewilt, and they drive out to the community. Rick radios Carol to stay in touch over radio, as she and the rest of the group hang back, and the scouting party leaves the vehicles outside of the community and go in on foot.
When they arrive at the gate, Glenn pulls himself up and over and sees that the place has been devastated. Noah loses it and runs inside, crying as he sees numerous corpses lining the streets. The rest of the group catches up with him, and Tyreese tells him that everything will be alright.
Rick radios Carol to let her know that the community was overrun, and rallies the group to search for supplies. Rick and Glenn head off in one direction, and the latter says that he wouldn't have attempted to save the man in the container at Terminus and killed Dawn immediately without hesitation.
At the town square, Tyreese attempts to console Noah, but the latter stands up and sees his own home in the distance. He runs off towards it and Tyreese follows in concern. Noah enters and sees the corpse of his mother in the living room, collapsing in grief.
Tyreese begins searching through the house for walkers, and comes upon a framed picture in one of the bedrooms of Noah's brothers. Suddenly, he is attacked by a walker that bites him on the arm. Noah hears the commotion and rushes to dispatches the walker, then tells Tyreese to stay while he runs to get the others.
Tyreese begins experiencing hallucinations. He sees several figures from his past, including Martin from Terminus, Beth, Lizzie, Mika and finally The Governor, who taunts him about doing whatever he can to earn his keep at Woodbury. Tyreese snaps out of his daze, and the "Governor" is actually another walker that bites him on the same place on his arm. He manages to dispatch it before falling to the ground in shock.
Michonne convinces Rick to move the group to D.C., following Eugene's logic that the best chance for safety would be there. Noah comes running to tell them what happened. Fearing the worst, they run in the direction of Noah's house. Inside, they find the bloodied Tyreese, who is hallucinating them as Mika and Lizzie. Left with no options, Rick holds Tyreese's arm off while Michonne lops it off to attempt to stem the virus.
The group begins desperately hauling the large, limp Tyreese to safety, facing a grueling challenge trying to deliver their friend to safety as they're plagued by walkers and other obstacles. As they start driving back towards the rest of the group, Tyreese has flashbacks to events from the last few weeks. He eventually hallucinates Bob, Beth, Mika and Lizzie comforting him, and realizes that they are smiling at him. He looks out at the sun one last time before passing away.
Seeing what happened, Rick, Glenn, Noah and Michonne stop the car, and Michonne puts him down.
Some time later, Gabriel is performing a funeral ceremony, while a distraught and disaffected Sasha stares vacantly. The group buries him, and his grave is left behind, with his signature hat on top of his cross.
- A Death in the Limelight: For Tyreese.
- Anachronic Order: The episode begins with some scenes from the end — but doesn't tell you they're from the end until the end. It sometimes even goes back and forth.
- Arc Words: "It's gonna be alright", "It's better now" and the episode title itself.
- Big Bad: It seems the group responsible for the chopped up bodies, truck full of legless walkers, and the destruction of Shirewilt Estates may be being set up as this. The graffiti in Shirewilt and the 'W's carved onto the walker heads suggests that they're called the Wolves.
- Broken Bird: This episode doesn't help Sasha's status as this.
- The Cameo: Martin, Beth, Lizzie, Mika, Bob, and the Governor all appear to the dying Tyreese.
- Character Death: Tyreese.
- Chekhov's Armoury: The truck in the middle of the forest next to to which Rick and co. leave their car. And did you see those amputated legs on the back of Shirewilt? Turns out the truck is filled with the upper halves of the corpses, now undead.
- Continuity Porn:
- The episode is littered with flashes of locations of past places featured in the show, namely the prison, Woodbury, and the house in the grove.
- Martin brings up the events of the Hunters arc, the Governor mentions how he fooled Tyreese when he joined Woodbury, and of course Mika and Lizzie are walking references to "The Grove".
- Darkest Hour: Likely so since this is the first time two major protagonists simultaneously die since Lori and T-Dog's deaths in the third season.
- Dead Person Conversation: Tyreese speaks with the ghosts of Lizzie, Mika, Martin, Bob, the Governor, and Beth.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: With his hallucinations and constantly holding his left (bitten) arm, you'd be forgiven if you thought that Tyreese just took drugs.
- Doomed Hometown: Noah's community.
- Downer Ending: While the group is still mourning and recovering from Beth's death, Tyreese dies at the end of the episode.
- Event Title: The title refers to Beth's death (What Happened) and how the group is coping from it (What's Going On).
- Fake-Out Opening: The opening leads you to believe that the funeral being held is for Beth. Likewise, it also leads you to think that the blood dropping on the frame is Maggie's.
- Flanderization: Tyreese's hallucination of the Governor is basically a Card-Carrying Villain, gloating about how he fooled Tyreese and he must now "pay the bill".
- Foreshadowing: During the intro, while it's showing the clips of the funeral (initially assumed to be Beth's, since she died at the end of the last episode), Noah has a cut on his forehead. During the episode, we see him obtain this cut. Sharp-eyed viewers would have realized, upon seeing this, that the funeral at the start must not be for Beth, because hers would have happened before Noah scratched himself, but that it was instead for an upcoming death.
Radio broadcaster: "The group has continued their campaign of random violence, moving across the countryside unfettered with the republic's military forces in disarray."Radio broadcaster: "...Carrying out revenge attacks involving hacking innocents with machetes and, in some cases, setting them on fire."
- Tyreese's hallucinated radio broadcasts foreshadow the actions of the Wolves, which we see throughout the rest of the season and in "JSS."
- From Bad to Worse: The group is still recovering from Beth's death the previous episode and this episode ends with Tyreese dying. Sasha in particular is still not over Bob's death and is now forced to accept the fact that her brother is gone too.
- Hope Spot: Rick and company are able to amputate Tyreese's bitten arm, and he holds out quite a bit before dying at the episode's end.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The radio broadcast mentions acts of progressively savage cannibalism.
- It's All My Fault: Rick clearly feels this way as he furiously, but tearfully, finishes burying Tyreese, having lost yet another member of his group.
- Late to the Tragedy: Noah's community has been raided, burned, and massacred by an unknown large malevolent group.
- Life or Limb Decision: Subverted. Rick and the others are too late doing this, as Tyreese ultimately dies anyway.
- Manly Tears: Tyreese when he realizes he's going to die. Later Rick when burying him.
- Mushroom Samba: Tyreese suffers one as he lays dying from his bites.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Tyreese sees the places, people and events from his life while he was dying.
- Mythology Gag:
- The title of the episode is taken from a line spoken by Hershel in Issue 11 of the comics: "we don't know a damn thing about what happened or what's going on." Ironically, Tyreese is in the background in the panel that he says it.
- The Fake-Out Opening leads the viewers to think that Maggie will commit suicide, much like what she attempted (but failed) to do in the comics.
- Noah's gated community is called "Shirewilt Estates". In the comics, the group seek refuge after leaving Atlanta in a gated community called Wiltshire Estates - which turns out to be much more infested than its tv counterpart of Shirewilt. According to Word of God TV!Wiltshire Estates is the infested neighborhood in which Andrea and Shane look for Sophia in Season 2.
- Glenn grabbing a baseball bat. That weapon is what Negan used to kill him in the comics. It's ultimately how he meets his end in the show too.
- One of the "radio broadcasts" that Tyreese is listening/hallucinating to is reporting a killing committed by "a guy with a machete who burnt the victims' bodies afterward" is a reference to the Hunters' fate in the comics.
- Tyreese's death is almost exactly the same as Comic!Morgan's death. The only difference is that Tyreese died on the road.
- Oh, Crap!: Tyreese's expression is this when he notices there were two brothers in Noah's house, instead of one brother as he previously thought. This is what does him in when a Walker comes up behind him and attacks him, infecting him in the process.
- Which is odd because Noah specifically told him whilst in the car he still had a mom and twin brothers back home - or so he hoped. Guess Tyreese forgot.
- Out of Focus: Besides Rick, Glenn, Michonne, Noah, and Tyreese himself, the rest of the group only appears at the very end.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Tyreese's exit is likely because Chad Coleman will appear in the upcoming Live-Action Adaptation of The Expanse as a major character.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The ghosts of Martin and the Governor keeps berating Tyreese when they appear. Tyreese countered them near the end.
- Rule of Symbolism:
- Tyreese observes a discarded clock on the road, indicating his time is running out.
- As Tyreese is dying in the backseat of the car at the end of the episode, Beth, Bob, Lizzie, and Mika take the place of Rick, Glenn, Michonne, and Noah, driving the car into the sunset and urging Tyreese to move "on."
- Also, when they first appear in the episode, they're shown bloodied with the wounds that killed them. Toward the end, they appear well and whole, as Tyreese accepts his fate.
- Sacrificial Lion: Tyreese, whose death coincides with a major crisis of hope for the group.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: After being repeatedly berated by the ghosts of the Governor and Martin, Tyreese counters them with his own "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Silent Credits: The series ends with the usual CBB but without the usual Theme Tune and is instead have the sound of the shovel being piled by Rick on Tyreese's grave.
- Sole Survivor: Similar to Maggie in the previous episode, Sasha is now the last surviving member of her original group (as well as the last surviving prison newcomer from the end of Season 3).
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: No one saw Tyreese dying in this episode, especially after Beth's death the episode prior.
- Time Skip: By the time the episode's plot properly picks up, the group has put 500 miles between themselves and Atlanta.
- Title Drop: Tyreese does it multiple times in the episode.
- Took a Level in Cynic: The group is progressively undergoing this after Beth's death. Tyreese's death likely won't help.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Noah directly caused Tyreese's death after indirectly causing Beth's just the previous episode.
- Wham Episode: What appears to be just a scouting episode ends with Tyreese getting being bitten and ultimately dying. This also happens on a geographical scale, as the group have left Atlanta, the show's main setting for 4.5 seasons, for good and are now in new territory.
- Wham Shot: Tyreese being bitten.
- White Male Lead: Rick is the Token White of a Five-Man Band consisting of three African-Americans and an Asian-American.
- You Can't Go Home Again:
- Five-and-a-half seasons into the show, Rick and the rest of the group finally give up on Atlanta and head towards Virginia, leaving behind their former home for good.
- Also played straight with Noah, who learns that his community (the Shirewilt Estates) has been attacked, looted and had its inhabitants massacred by an unknown party.