The Walking Dead: looking back at “What Happened and What’s Going On”

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 /

On February 8, 2015, The Walking Dead episode “What Happened and What’s Going on” aired on AMC as the midseason premiere for season five.  This episode is unique and focuses on the death of a much-loved character, Tyreese, portrayed by Chad L. Coleman.

This episode takes place 17 days after Beth’s (Emily Kinney) death at Grady Memorial Hospital. In honor and memory of her, they decide to take her friend Noah (Tyler James Williams) to reunite with his family. When they tried to escape from the hospital, Beth intended to take him to his family, but Dawn and her group recaptured her.

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Tyreese Williams (Chad L. Coleman), Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) accompany Noah on the journey to Shirewilt Estates, where he lived with his mother and younger twin brothers. The Wolves had invaded the subdivision, and everyone either killed or escaped. This is awful for Noah as he just had to witness Beth’s death and now discover his family is gone.

The Walking Dead season 5

After Tyreese is a bit, the episode takes the viewers on a guilt trip as he fights death and laments over things he could have done differently that perhaps could have prevented others’ deaths. He experiences hallucinations and is visited by previous characters Martin (Chris Coy), Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), The Governor (David Morrissey), Lizzie and Mika Samuels (Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy), and Beth.

At the beginning of the episode, the viewer sees flashes of a funeral, assumably Beth’s, but it is revealed in the end that it was actually for Tyreese. They place his stocking cap on the cross marker to designate his grave.

This episode has been praised for Greg Nicotero’s direction, Scott M. Gimple’s script, and Coleman’s performance. Tyreese’s death was shocking, but it was done in such a beautiful way. So much symbolism and flash back references to Tyreese’s life.

The song Beth sings in the episode is titled “Struggling Man” by Jimmy Cliff.

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The Walking Dead returns to AMC on February 20 and AMC+ on February 13.

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