The Walking Dead episode 509: Remembering the death of Tyreese

Chad Coleman as Tyreese - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Chad Coleman as Tyreese - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Episode 509 of The Walking Dead featured Tyreese’s death, but we all got an opportunity to explore the mindset of a soulful and beloved character.

After Beth was killed in the hospital in season 5 of The Walking Dead, the group decides to head to Shirewilt Estates to connect Noah with his family. Uncharacteristically, this is over 500 miles outside of Georgia, in Virginia (the first time The Walking Dead strayed from Georgia). Things go awry when Noah and Tyreese enter Noah’s former home. Quite simply, a distracted Tyreese gets bitten by a walker!

Keep in mind, this is fresh after the death of Beth, and Tyreese was sort of a beloved character over the years (not unlike Hershel). Much of the episode revolves around how Tyreese copes with being bitten and with his regrets. Yes, he is hallucinating due to blood loss, so there is a medical explanation. However, it seems Tyreese himself would consider it more of a spiritual thing.

The Hallucination

It’s hard to say which moments draw the most attention here. Martin makes another appearance, only this time he taunts Tyreese about sparing his life, which resulted in the deaths of others. Bob Stookey also hangs around. Frankly, he doesn’t say much appears to be there as a bit of freaky moral support. The Governor even comes back, giving the impression that he thinks Tyreese is weak in general. Lizzie and Mika Samuels come back as creepy murder kids, adding another morbid yet interesting dynamic. However, Beth Greene seems to be more like a beckoning angel, suggesting that his time to die has come.

There’s something great about this scene — or these scenes, as they might be treated separately. While some aspects of them are open to interpretation, they are also rather self-explanatory. It’s not very complicated, yet one could dig into the different layers thematically. It may be an interesting thought experiment to trace Tyreese’s decisions, much as the hallucinatory spirits suggest. What if he had done things differently? A few minor decisions truly can impact history, most often in unknowable ways.

Of course, there’s also an odd dash of humor thrown into these scenes, because we know that these are just hallucinatory. The Walking Dead had hallucination scenes before (Rick’s crazy prison phone, Daryl seeing his brother, etc.), but this one’s a bit special. Not only does it take up much of the episode but it’s just well done.

Alternate Titles?

I do not wish to criticize this episode much. It is a standout episode, for sure. However, I honestly think it could have had a better title. “What Happened and What’s Going On” just doesn’t do it for me. The episode itself offers some string alternative titles. For example, “Wolves not far” is spray painted outside on a brick wall in Shirewilt Estates. Who would say that’s not a good title? Another option: “The High Cost of Living.” This is what Tyreese says his father used to say about following the news, even if it’s depressing and overwhelming. He called it the high cost of living.

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That is a great title, fits Tyreese’s personality, and it also is in tune with the Walking Dead and its overarching philosophy. While one can say this show is intentionally dramatic, there are certainly harrowing crises occurring every day which rival the very worst scenarios depicted on this show.

What are your thoughts on this episode of The Walking Dead? Surely you miss Tyreese!