Hello hello!! Welcome back from the hiatus, the one where we questioned sticking with this ugly world, because everything good seems to get snuffed out. Well, at least we still have the moral compass that is Tyrese.
This is probably the most artistically directed episode in the entire series, and I really enjoyed it. The opening is a series of images overlaid with haunting music, Father Gabriel’s soothing voice as a body–whose?–is committed to the ground as the women cry. So the question is: is this for Beth given the way Maggie is sobbing?
Through all of this we keep flashing on our group rushing in a panic intercut with a cheap painting of a small, modest, but lovely home, surrounded by autumnal flora. Until blood begins to pour out onto it, ruining it.
In case anyone needed the reminder: we’re in the Apocalypse, and there are no lovely homes anymore. None surrounded by attractive flora, only face-biting, moaning, shuffling fauna. We also see pictures of two small boys–twins–and they look like Noah. At first I thought it was Noah, that he had a twin, but no, they’re his younger brothers.
Done setting us up for a painful ending (is it Noah being buried?), we’re in the present where Our Group, minus Carol and Daryl because they’re re-acquainting themselves with each other, hey-hey! (let me have this), are driving Noah to his old “safe” community. They’ve been on the road a while, and they’re almost to the neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia.
Real talk? I got super worried about how on earth Morgan is ever going to track them to Virginia. Ha, I’m a nerd.
Because Rick understands more than Noah, he doesn’t just drive up to the gate and give two friendly taps of the horn to be allowed in. They pull over and join a car wreck–smart, because looters would definitely take their ride–and cut through the never-ending forest and through an entry-level security system of ropes twisting and stretching through the trees of the perimeter. Not bad, but it doesn’t go all the way around. Needs some surrounding pits with spikes in it.
Recon done, they hop on the main road to get to the entrance, passing a Grandfather clock, broken, in the middle of the road. Well, it appears time’s up for someone.
Glenn looks over the barricaded gate and it’s bad. It’s totally what Glenn expected, but Noah has to see it with his own eyes, bursting into body-wracking sobs and falling to the street at the site of all the dead bodies and burned houses.
This has to mean something: WOLVES NOT FAR was spray painted on one of the inner walls. Any thoughts? UNLESS IT’S A SPOILER! Remember, we’re not comic/graphic novel readers here, be cool about it.
Our group is smart and makes a sweep for supplies. ALWAYS MAKE A SWEEP FOR SUPPLIES. (Oh man, back at Grady with all of those Army tents? No one swept them for First Aid kits, ammo, blankets, Cram, Dandy Boy Apples…) Rick admits to Glenn that they’re here simply because Beth wanted it. Rick’s running low on hope, but high on honor. Glenn is fresh out of fucks to give for any of it, while Michonne is watching all of this and realizing they’re becoming nothing more than savages making do. She wants to light somewhere and recharge both in body and spirit.
Ty, babysitting Noah, continues the talk he had in the car as they drove. The world is awful in places, but not all of it. His father taught him to bear witness to it all as the “high cost of living.” He tries to reassure Noah that this–grand sweep to encompass the ruins of what was once a safe community–isn’t the end.
Ty? Maybe it should be.
Noah, because he is constantly reminding me that Everybody Haaaaates Chris, takes off running to one of the houses. Well, limping. He should be easy to catch, but Ty is tired, I guess. Noah’s run to his home, and it looks bad from the outside. The inside is even worse. His mother lays on the ground, dead for some time. Wow, is that gruesome. Noah covers her and whispers apologies as Ty goes off in search of the Walker he can hear in another room.
In one of the rooms he passes is a young boy, mostly eaten and totally dead. It’s one of the boys from those photographs, which are taped to the wall, absorbing Ty’s full attention because how sad is it that twins died this way, you know, and that must have been really hard for this family and HOLY GREMLIN SKITTER WALKER THERE’S THE TWIN CHOMPING ON TY’S ARM NOOOOOOOO!
Noah rips a model airplane from the ceiling and brains his little brother to get him off Ty. Okay, so Noah is responsible for Beth’s death, and it’s not looking good for Ty, so is this the way the show balances that debt out? Hmm, I don’t like it. (I do like his character, mind you.)
There’s an old radio in the room that Ty can hear (that’s never good) describing a violent rebellion in a soothing British voice. Is this Ty’s memory of how it all went down? Meanwhile, Ty is BLEEDING OUT and I just…
Protip time. Tourniquet: a life-saving hug for your vascular system! Tear off that long-sleeve from your shirt and wrap it around the limb, a few inches above (towards the body) the wound. Tie the sleeve ends as you would a shoelace, but before tightening it, slip a sturdy pen or pencil (or ruler, etc) in the center of the knot. Tighten the knot and if the bleeding continues, twist the pen, tucking the end under the tourniquet to hold in place to increase pressure.
We’ve now hit the full on hallucinations portion of our bleeding out, where Ty is confronted by Ball Cap Termite, Martin, and Bob, playing both devil and angel on Ty’s shoulder for giving up or letting go, respectively. The Gov makes an appearance–representing how deep Ty’s naivete runs, I think. Remember how Ty was all “Tenpenny Towers seems perfectly lovely!”?
The Gov is pissed with Ty not pulling his weight and runs at him but SCREW THIS HALLUCINATION SHIT I’M ACTUALLY A WALKER!! Ty snaps out of it and literally drops the hammer trying to hold off the Walker, finally feeding the Walker his bad arm so he can get a weapon and bash him good. Well, it was good knowing you, Ty. This can not be good.
The Walker falls onto a chair, blood pouring out of its mouth onto that painting we saw before. Yep, nothing good remains pure, nothing wholesome is left untainted in this world, and that’s always been Ty’s weakness: holding onto the past as if they can reclaim it. I say weakness because of the world they live in now. I don’t think you can have such a glass half-full approach anymore.
Meanwhile, Michonne wants to repair the breach so the group can stay here, but strategically it’s just a bad idea. I mean, there’s forest all around obstructing the view, the perimeter is broken in too many places, there are bottom-halves of torso strewn about… Wait, what? Just a whole bunch of waist-downers in a bloody pile? What the hell was going on in this joint?
They all decide that yeah, maybe going on to D.C. is a good idea because if anything, there will probably be some sort of military infrastructure to lean on.
OKAY. If that’s true it’s going to be one of two things. One, hyper-PTSD rape-bots like 28 Days Later or two, Brotherhood of Steel, hoarding technology and assets and making them their bitch.
But hey, a cot and three hots, right? *tugs neckline*
As they dispatch the last of the Walkers in town, there’s a moment where Michonne’s katana blade bounces off a piece of rebar stuck in the Walker’s neck. Now, let’s get real: that would have wrecked that blade. But okay. Noah finds them, drags them back to where Ty is bleeding out because he doesn’t believe in vascular hugs of LIFE SAVING, THIS IS BASIC FIELD MED WORK, YOU GUYS.
Back in “low oxygen to the brain” land, Ty now sees Beth singing “a struggling man has got to move” as Mika and Lizzie point at the flowers. The Gov says he’s weak salt for forgiving Carol about Karen’s death. Well that’s not how Ty sees things, okay? He’s still good, goodness isn’t over and done with, and that’s why he saved Carol. Ty says he’s not giving up.
…on goodness, because I think we all know he’s giving up on living. He lets the girls take his hand, but it cuts to Rick holding his hand, stretching his arm taut as Michonne brings her katana up and down, cutting his arm off in one fell swoop.
PROTIP: CAUTERIZING WOUNDS. First, this should be used only in extreme situations like blood loss during the zombie apocalypse. So they’ve whacked off his arm. Let’s get that stump to a red hot skillet or stove top. Use clean gauze to wrap and cover the seared stump, try not to gag over the inticing smell of long pig, and then wrap a clean sleeve of material over that to further prevent bugaboos from getting in (because they will). Now, we have five days to stave off the inevitable systemic infection with some good old antibiotics, and we’ve got Ty back up and at ’em in a week.
Or… we can force him to run along to the main entrance, letting him fall onto the spray-painted sunshine in the street while the group clears the main gate of Walkers (oh man, this just ratcheted the tension up and off the charts, right?)–
–continue racing to the car that they parked in the woods after the string maze, spin the tires in the muck for some added tension, wait, no, that would be the car lurching into one of the wrecked cars where all the top-halves of those bodies spill out, chomping and teeth clacking and SERIOUSLY WHAT HAPPENED HERE? Then Radio Carol to prepare amputation recovery triage, hear Ty tell “Bob” to turn off the radio where he’s been listening to the ugliness of the world dying all around him because he’s seen enough, okay? That’ll do, Pig.
We have a very “welcome to Heaven where your loved ones are waiting” moment, and then the car pulls over and everyone spills out. I like that we don’t see them putting a bullet in his head or stabbing him, because that would be too much. He was a good man, he lived by a code until the end, and his impromptu funeral is appropriately sad and shocking, Sasha barely able to wrap her head around this enormous loss.
Rick puts Ty’s knit hat on an impromptu cross, and we say goodbye to kind-hearted, gentle giant Ty. But he’s with Karen, now.So welcome back, Show? Are you about to hit Game of Thrones levels of destroying me? BECAUSE IF MICHONNE DIES, IMMA RIOT.
I’m guessing this episode is going to be polarizing–you either loved the slow pace and artistic endeavor (I did) or you didn’t feel it was necessary because you’re dead inside. And seriously: learn how to make and use a tourniquet, survivors, sheesh!