(Warning: Spoilers ahead if you're not caught up on Season 5 of The Walking Dead)
This season of The Walking Dead has been a nonstop parade of amputations and death, and the mid-season premiere reminded us not to get too attached to anyone.
There's been some speculation that Rick might die this season since actor Andrew Lincoln has been spotted without Rick's trademark, flea-ridden beard, but the latest to go was poor, sweet Tyreese. The flashes of memory in the beginning of the episode were explained by the end, and it was an interesting way to have the viewer step inside his head during his last few moments on earth.
After Tyreese tried to help Noah get some closure by visiting his old house, only to be bitten by one of Noah's twin brothers, it was like a devastating This Is Your Life featuring everyone he knew that was dead or that he had personally killed. Beth, the Governor, Bob, those two creepy-ass little girls he and Carol eventually had to put down — everyone was there, and everyone had something to say while he faded in and out of consciousness.
Usually, in the show, when someone is bitten by a walker you only see them dying from the outside. This was more introspective, and slightly more terrifying: death by zombie bite from the perspective of the dying.
The people Tyreese loved were telling him to come to the light, and the ones he hated were telling him that it sucks all over and you might as well become a walker. He also had the extra bonus of being attacked AGAIN while he was waiting for Noah to bring back help, and he let a walker bite his arm while he grabbed a weapon.
He got double bit! And then he smashed in a walker's head with a geode. Those kids had a lot of potential weapons in their bedroom.
When help finally arrived, Michonne chopped Tyreese's arm off in one fell swoop, using the only method that's proven to work to stop the virus from spreading from the wound, but Tyreese died anyway. His death was sort of gentle, barring the last shocking image of a walker stumbling towards him, only to have Rick shoot her through the eye seconds before she bit him again. He was surrounded by friends and staring at the sun, very obviously going towards the light.
It was suitable, since Michonne had just been telling Rick that she thought they needed a place to land, and that being out on the road was no longer the way to survive. Tyreese might have been the first person from the group to die because he chose it, and wanted to go on his own terms.
Is watching this show the most depressing way to end your weekend?
Danielle Henderson is a lapsed academic, heavy metal karaoke machine, and culture editor at Fusion. She enjoys thinking about how race, gender, and sexuality shape our cultural narratives, but not in a boring way.