“The Walking Dead” returned for the midseason premiere Sunday night, and with it came tragedy. The show raised the stakes for the remainder of Season 5 by killing off one of its main characters.
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
Just one episode after losing Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), everyone’s favorite giant, Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), met his end this week when one of Noah’s little brothers, turned walker, took a surprise bite out of his arm. The episode dealt with larger issues about the will to survive in a world that’s not really better than being dead. While “The Walking Dead” has seen a lot of characters be killed off in its five-year run, Tyreese’s passing seemed special as many characters like Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) and The Governor (David Morrissey) returned to play the hallucinations that forced him to come to terms with his fate.
“I found out about Beth at the same time I found out about myself. I knew three episodes prior that that was what was going to go down,” Coleman told TV Line. “I saw it coming at one point [when Tyreese lied about killing Martin], but I was told that the cost of him lying wasn’t going to be anything that grave.”
While Tyreese’s death has clearly shocked fans of the TV series, many are taking this opportunity to compare the character to his comic-book counterpart. As fans will know, the popular AMC show is based on the graphic novels written by Robert Kirkman. In the comics, Tyreese has a significantly different role and death.
After Rick is forced to murder Shane, Tyreese steps up as Rick’s new right hand man. Since the TV show’s creation of Daryl Dixon rendered that role redundant, Tyreese became the moral compass of the show instead.
“What I love more than anything is they had to carry my big 200 pound ass — pick up that dead weight. I have been carrying the moral character of the show for quite some time and it was a heavy load — now you take me! I loved that,” he told Variety.
In the comics, Tyreese met his end earlier on in the story at the fall of the prison. Those devoted to the show will remember the tragic and violent death that Hershel (Scott Wilson) met at the hands of The Governor. After being captured and beaten, Tyreese is thrown into a truck and brought to the gates of the prison where he’s used as a bargaining chip as The Governor tries to take the walls. When the group refuses, Tyreese, not Hershel, is the one to have his head slowly cut off. According to The Walking Dead’s official wikia page, The Governor goes as far as to punt his head once it’s decapitated.
The actor said he was pleased with the way the show allowed him to depart. He told Variety that the entire cast has a looming shadow over their heads because they know that anyone could go at any time.
“Here’s my volley shot to Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman: I dare you to kill Daryl. Or kill Rick. Really turn them on their heads,” he said with a laugh. “It’s not gonna happen. But I really felt anybody else, we’re all susceptible.”