'The Walking Dead' Recap: Another Main Character Becomes Walker Food

'The Walking Dead' Recap:Another Main Character Becomes Walker Food(AMC)
We're baaaaaaack. And, well, all the Trader Joe's White Cheddar Corn Puffs and red wine in the world couldn't prepare me for tonight. I should have known better than to think we would all be lulled back from the hiatus. Tonight's midseason premiere was as straightforward as its title "What Happened and What's Going On"

When last we left off, what seems like eleventy hundred years ago but was really a little over two months, according to one of my cats who is still living in the box from the new toaster I got for Christmas and who has a better grasp of the space time continuum than I do, Beth was brutally shot and killed. Just when we thought she would finally rejoin the fold. Tonight Beth was back, well, sort of. If you can call a cameo by the hallucinated ghost of Beth to help lead another cast favorite into the afterlife a comeback.

You can never go home again. Nope, nope, nope.

The show opens with what appears to be Beth's funeral with Father Gabriel and his perfectly dry cleaned preacher suit presiding over it. It's decided that new kid Noah will make the trek back to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. After all, Beth would have wanted it that way. She had even gone full gangsta to bust Noah out from the hospital of horrors just to help him find his way back his origins. In Noah's mind, his mom and his twin kid brothers and some nice hot apple pie on a windowsill are waiting for him in a secure compound that surely, surely (RIGHT???) remains intact from all the apocalyptic violence. And who knows, maybe Noah's old set-up could become the perfect new set-up for the now homeless group. Sigh. More booze and cheesy poofs, please.

And so off goes the caravan of Rick, Michonne, Tyreese, Glenn, and Noah while staying in touch via walkie talkie with Carol, Daryl, and the rest. On the drive over, Glenn is thinking what we are all thinking... um, maybe someone wants to tell this kid it's more than likely his home as he knew it is destroyed and everyone he has ever loved is a walker or in the stomach of a walker. What is this, amateur hour???

Meanwhile, Noah is connecting with Tyreese and and trying to assure him that his hostage trade-off plan back at the hospital was a good one, but Dawn was batshit crazy so any plan was bound to get messy. There's some male/paternal-ish bonding and Tyreese tells Noah how his father raised him and Sasha to always be aware of world news and events - even the ones not in their geographical proximity. The sort of awareness is what Tyreese's dad referred to as "paying the high cost of living."

After making their way through the fancy barbed wire outside Noah's gated community and not being greeted by even one person on lookout at the gate, things are not looking good. Over the wall they jump and with the exception of some pieces of dead bodies and a couple straggler walkers, what was once an American cookie cutter hamlet known as ShireWilt is now just as jacked up as Georgia.

Twice Bitten, Twice Shy

After Rick tries to get inconsolable Noah to buck up and face his new reality (some Grimes real talk that should have have been delivered as a a preventative measure on the hours-long car road over) it's decided that Tyreese will babysit Noah while Rick and Michonne and Glenn canvas for supplies. In some familiar foreshadowing that no viewer wanted to accept as foreshadowing, Tyreese gives Noah a pep talk about how there was a time when he, too, was ready to just give up after losing people he loved but he powered through. And now he knows it was so he could be there to save Judith when she needed it. "Noah, this isn't the end," Tyreese tries to convince him. But Noah will have none of it and limp-runs off to his old house.

Tyreese knows he can't stop him from satisfying that curiosity so he paves the way for him by entering first. They are greeted by the gnarly corpse of one of Noah's dead family members (looks like his mom) in the living room whom Noah respectfully covers up. As Tyreese wanders about, he realizes there's a walker in one of the locked rooms - surely another relative.

He gets distracted by the sight of one of the half intact/half gutted twin brothers dead on his bed. He sees snapshots of the twins tacked on the wall --kids being kids-- and then makes the rookie mistake of allowing himself to daydream in the apocalypse. Which we all know is a no-no.

It only takes a split second for a walker version of one twin (my money is on the one who was making weird faces in every single photo) to sneak up and take a giant bite out of Tyreese's giant arm. Noah races in and stoically offs his walker brother with the pointy end of a model airplane.

While Noah runs for help, Tyreese is left to the fever that he knows will herald him into a slow, agonizing death. As the sweat pours down, he begins hallucinating that he hears news reports from the radio on the nearby desk, an eloquent British reporter (voiced by Andrew Lincoln) describing the attacks from rebel forces and the casualties suffered by "the Republic." Just like his father taught him, he listens as a means to pay the even higher cost of living.

But he is interrupted by the ghosts of Beth, Lizzie, Mika, Bob, the mother freaking Governor (!!!) and Martin, the nasty Terminus guy who threatened to strangle baby Judith -- the sick jerk Tyreese should have killed when he had the chance.

They deliver various messages to Tyreese about where he is at and what is about to happen. (Um, death.) The girls attempt to soothe Tyreese's fears and welcome him to the other side. Bob tells him to chillax and that this is all how it's supposed to end for him. Martin hypothesizes about how things would have been soooooooo different for everyone if only Tyreese had it in himself to kill him when he had the chance.

And, not surprisingly, the Governor brings spectral harassment to the next level -- goading and mocking Tyreese -- even going so far as to snarl about how Tyreese must pay his bill. As the Governor's ghost leans in, it becomes clear he is actually a walker with massive strength and even more massive teeth -- who takes yet another bite out of Tyreese before Tyreese smashes his skull with a geode collectible from the nearby shelf.

That's two bites for those of us keeping track in horror at home. I want to reach into my TV and hug Tyreese like a bear (before helpfully keeping him from turning into a walker.) Everyone's favorite gentle giant is leaving us. That's now pretty obvious.

"Don't you want one more day with a chance?"

While Tyreese is dying an ugly, literally haunted death, set to a folksy tuned strummed on ghost Beth's guitar and the cries of Judith who seems to psychically know from 500 miles away that her keeper is leaving her for good, Glenn and Rick and Michonne decide the next step for the group is DC. Eugene may have lied about knowing the cure but it does seem logical that if any place holds promise, it's our nation's capitol. Michonne really feels like it will give them all one more day with a chance.

Noah's screams interrupt their travel planning. They run and find him cornered by walkers, one of whom is so strong (What is UP with the muscles on these dead Virginia natives? Makes me seriously think maybe there is something in the water) that it takes both Michonne and Rick to end him.

As big, old Tyreese cowers under the child-sized desk in Noah's brother's room, amidst all his friendly and not-so-friendly ghost friends, the Governor (typical!) continues to dominate the phantom dialogue by mocking Tyreese for forgiving Carol even though Carol killed someone he loved. Tyreese tells the Governor's ghost he is not giving up, that he never turned his back to the news and how people like him can still live. Some spooky home movies begin flickering behind the Governor's ghost as he shoves Tyreese to the floor. The ghosts of Lizzie and Mika grasping Tyreese's infected arm turn out to be Rick and Michonne amputating it.

"It's ok, Tyreese. You gotta know that now."

After fighting off throngs of walkers at the gate and the car almost getting stuck in the mud, they pack up Tyreese and head to meet the rest of the group. Rick radios Carol to warn her to keep Sasha and Carl out of their sight when they return. As Tyreese feverishly stares at the sun from the backseat, he "hears" more news reports on the car radio. He asks Rick to turn it off and just like that instead of being surrounded by his people in the car, they've been replaced with the ghosts of Beth, Both, Mika, and Lizzie. "It''s ok, Tyreese. You gotta know that now," Beth assures him as he smiles.

The car stops at the side of the road. Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and Noah get out and remove the lifeless Tyreese. They (looks like Michonne) presumably take measures to make sure he won't turn and cover him in a sheet.

Cut to the funeral scene from earlier which we now know was for Tyreese and not Beth. Father Gabriel reads from the Bible. A despondent Sasha can hardly shovel some symbolic dirt onto her brother's grave. And all that's left to mark the memory of a man whose heart was bigger than his body, is a wooden cross topped with the knit cap he never took off.

Rest in peace to our favorite conscientious objector.

Well, that was a bummer, you guyze. Geez.

Things to think about for next week to distract us from our tears:

*Is Sasha going to lose her damn mind?

*If the group makes it to DC, what kind of twisted sightseeing awaits them? How distorted will our national landmarks be? Puhlease let them kill off some corrupt politician walkers. (Where's Olivia Pope when you need her???)

*Will Morgan finally reunite with Rick or will we have to suffer through another season of him carving symbols into trees and creeping behind the group?