Spoiler alert! The following recap contains spoilers.
After a heartbreaking midseason finale where we lost Beth and any remaining shelter for our survivors, "The Walking Dead" picked things back up with even more devastation. If you were looking for a bit of reprieve, you're watching the wrong show.
You'll probably agree that this was one of "The Walking Dead's" most abstract episodes since the days of the Lori hallucinations, starting with flashes of what at first looks like Beth's funeral but is later revealed to be the result of an even more recent loss.
Here are the 4 main takeaways from the episode, "What Happened And What's Going On."
Noah's hometown is no sanctuary.
The survivors, now split into two separate cars and communicating with walkie talkies, manage to drive about 500 miles to Noah's home in Richmond, Virginia. Rick wants to honor Beth's wish that Noah make it back and find out what happened to his semi-protected community. We see dream-like flashes of the prison, Woodbury, little Mika and her sister Lizzie (whom Carol had to put down at the end of Season 4) plus a framed drawing of a suburban home with blood dripping on it. It's pretty clear that something bad is awaiting them in Richmond.
On the way there, Tyreese shares an anecdote about how his dad instilled a duty in he and Sasha to keep up with the news, especially bad news, in order to "pay the high cost of living." Noah mentions that he lost his dad in Atlanta but his mother and twin brothers might still be in Richmond. After they park the car and approach the neighborhood on foot, Noah nicks his head on a wire fence in the woods, one that would later slow the group down at a crucial moment. The foreshadowing is all too apparent.
Despite the walls of the gated community, the group finds Noah's neighborhood ravaged by walkers and fire. "We made it. It's gone," is how Rick sums it up over walkie-talkies to Carol and her half of the group, whom we don't actually see in this episode. Noah breaks down and cries but Tyreese comforts him with "don't worry, you'll be with us now" and "this is not the end." As he has become known to do, Tyreese relates to Noah about wanting to die after losing Karen, but explains that choosing to stay alive allowed him to save baby Judith and makes living like this worth it.
Noah makes a beeline for his home and Tyreese volunteers to go in first. Right away, we see a gruesome corpse on the living room floor, presumably Noah's mom. Tyreese enters the twin brothers' bedroom and finds one dead in the bed, then gets distracted by snapshots of the boys on the wall. In a tragic lapse of defense, the other twin lurches up behind Tyreese and bites his arm. Noah enters the room just in time to put his brother down with a model airplane. A model airplane! Brutal.
We saw a few familiar faces thanks to some trippy hallucination scenes.
After being bitten, Tyreese has a series of hallucinations containing previous characters on who have died on the show: Beth, Bob, The Governor, Martin (the Termite he failed to kill when he first had the chance) and the aforementioned Lizzie and Mika. Martin and The Governor keep goading him on, while the others comfort him in an attempt to let him accept his fate. Over the radio, Tyreese hears old-timey news reports similar to the ones he described listening to with his dad as a kid. Martin guilts him for letting him live, which lead to Gareth following the group, Bob dying, Beth dying, and Tyreese being bit. The Governor takes us back to the Woodbury days. "You told me you'd do whatever you had to do to earn your keep," he says. "You've got to pay the bill!"
Bob tells Tyreese that his death isn't his fault. The little girls reassure him that, for those of them who died, "It's better now." Beth does the same, singing one of her sweet ballads, strumming guitar, and repeating, "It's okay, Tyreese. You've gotta know that now." Tyreese stands up to the The Governor and screams, "I'm not giving up!" He certainly doesn't want to go down without a fight.
Michonne has a plan and the group has a new mission.
While Tyreese is dealing with Noah, Rick, Glenn and Michonne sweep the neighborhood for supplies. Michonne gets herself a sweet Yankees jersey by smashing a frame and the group loads garbage bags up with supplies. Rick admits that the trip was mostly for Beth but doesn't seem too phased about not having any further plans. Glenn admits he's still reeling from finding out Beth was dead right after he found out she was still alive. Michonne (whose figure-hugging jeans never seem to get that "day four sag" that every other pair on Earth does) suggests they go to Washington, D.C., anyway, on the account that it's only 100 miles away. She gives a pretty inspiring speech about it being their best shot of finding another group of organized survivors: "It's a possibility. It's a chance. Don't you want one more day with a chance?"
Rick is immediately on board, but the moment of clarity is interrupted by Noah's screams. After leaving Tyreese to find help, he's now trapped under two walkers. Rick, Michonne and Glenn come to his rescue and they head to Tyreese, who is still tripping, hard. When they get there, they do the only thing they know can stop the infection from spreading: amputate his arm.
Unfortunately, "The Hershel" doesn't work for everyone.
With a swift chop, Tyreese's arm hits the bedroom floor and the group attempts to carry its heftiest survivor out of the neighborhood. The gates open and we see one of the most visually intense shooting scenes of the season as they flee to the car parked in the woods. Tryeese's foot gets stuck in the wire fence that Noah nicked himself on and the journey seems impossible -- especially when the car gets stuck in the mud and subsequently covered in wriggling walker torsos -- but they make it out with Tyreese still alive. He's still hallucinating, now seeing Beth driving the car with Bob in the front seat. It isn't until we see the car slow to a stop and Rick and Glenn pull the body out from the backseat that we know Tyreese is gone.
At the end of the episode, we see the same funeral scene that we saw at the top, only now it's clear that it's Tyreese's body that's being buried, with his signature beanie hanging on the crude wooden cross. Sasha must be destroyed but she looks numb. She can barely lift her arm to pour the first shovel dirt over her brother's grave. As the credits roll, the usual theme music is replaced by the sound of his grave being dug.
To say it was a chilling end to an eerie episode is an understatement.