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Spoiler Alert for anyone who hasn’t seen the Season 5 midseason premiere of The Walking Dead. It’s about to get real outside of Richmond.
“What Happened and What’s Going On” put the characters of The Walking Dead through not just one makeshift grave ceremony, but two of them, as the group’s post-Beth travels didn’t take long to claim a victim. R.I.P. Tyreese. The character was already a fan favorite when he was ported over from the comics, and his death can be attributed to both his two-dimensional origin and the three-dimensional introduction of Daryl Dixon.
Chad Coleman, who played the empathetic Tyreese, spoke with TV Line about his thoughts on the surprising death, and his reasoning goes beyond just the character’s actions and motivations.
The reason why I’m not alive is everyone circles around Rick. My ideology and philosophy doesn’t fit. So I wouldn’t stay, anyway. I would have to tell my sister, if you feel like this is the way to do things, then I’m just going to go off on my own and find some like-minded people. But they weren’t going to go that route, because the show is focused on Rick. [Aside from that,] the creation of Daryl, more than anything else, is probably the reason why I’m not on the show. I was [Rick’s] right-hand man [in the comics].
Boom! Coleman is correctly (to me) pointing out that Daryl’s exclusivity to the TV show, which turned Norman Reedus into a fictional icon, basically filled the role that Tyreese would have played had the show been more faithful to its source material in that regard. Even though Rick and Daryl aren’t best buds or anything, they both serve as the squad leaders that are too popular to ever kill before the series’ final episodes, if even then.
Tyreese’s eventual introduction gave us a different interpretation of the character that ended up being interesting in its own right, but was one that still gave the character too much expendability. There’s no real reason why he couldn’t have been written up as someone worth the same amount of narrative heft as the show’s longest mainstays, especially since Tyreese kept Judith alive. You totally missed out on a swell friend, Rick. But it’s not like the Dixon boys haven’t ruined many a person’s life in their respective pasts, so chalk this up as the weirdest way Daryl has been involved with someone’s death during the run of the show.
Coleman did speak about how the clash between TV Tyreese’s personality and the others’ factored into his death from a narrative perspective. It’s commendable for an actor to speak with such respectful realism about a character, proving that Coleman really gets what’s going on, even if the actor in him might have a problem with it. Maybe I’m reading into things, but doesn’t it look like Coleman/Tyreese is aiming for Daryl’s arm in this shot, in one of the relatively few scenes that Tyreese and Rick were in together? He’s out for blood!
So in the end, Tyreese was “officially” killed by walker bites, but his time on the show was inevitably limited thanks to the existence of one Daryl Dixon. Maybe a 21 Crossbow salute in his honor would be nice, Daryl.