So many zombies, such little time, which should really be Rick Grimes’ motto. Yes the Walking Dead shot back onto our screens for its sixth season. Who would have thought a show about zombies would have made it this far or even worse who would have thought it would be the hottest show on TV?
Spoilers will be present in this review of the first part of the Walking Dead season 6, so do not proceed if you do not wish to discover that which you do not want to uncover, also known as what happens and stuff.
When you’ve been on the air for six years, it is easy to just keep doing what you’re comfortable with, because you know where you are and what you are going to get as a final product and more or less people will like it the same. To be fair to the Walking Dead they did try and do different things this season, the problem being that I don’t think it really worked, and in the end they fell in to old tropes which the show is really bad for.
I’m talking mainly about them setting the first eight episodes over the time of one event. You had the first episode which had the flashback nature to it, where for some reason we went from colour to black and white backwards and forwards, making me wondering if my television had finally kicked the bucket, thankfully not.
The idea of setting The Walking Dead Season 6 over a few days actually started off really well, the first few episodes of the season were some of the best fast paced stuff which we’ve seen from the show since season three where they attacked the prison. The run of the first four episodes was actually really good, it was the last four that really lagged along and dragged the season down, it was as if they had ran out of ideas, money or both and decided to shop it in.
Episodes 2, 3 and 4 were the best of The Walking Dead season 6; however I can’t help but feel let down by episode 3 looking back at it now. For me the idea that Glenn ends up dying because he is too nice a guy, is absolutely perfect. More so than that what makes it such a good death scene is that nobody saw it coming, especially because of how early in the season it was. I sat up when Nicholas blew his brains out and took Glenn down with him; it was unexpected, especially when you saw what seemed to be Glenn having his guts pulled out of his shoulders.
Other than the first season I think that the first few episodes of season 3 are the best that the show has ever done, and one of the reason those were so good was that it felt like anything could happen and that everyone was at danger (my man T-Dog and Lori died and Herschel lost a foot). The impact of Glenn is more of a blow to the viewer because he is such a fan favourite (up there with T-Dog) and it makes the threat of death being around every corner all the more real.
I have written previously about the Walking Dead struggling to have impact kills (here if you're interested) now because there are so few characters which the audience are genuinely attached to, and Glenn is one of those characters. The issue is that they killed off a sway of other characters this season and nobody really cares, yes it’s sad that Deanna died and it was mildly unexpected, but it doesn’t have the same impact. The thing is that you can only do so many fake outs before people get fed up with it (Judith seems to die every other month) and the Walking Dead is beginning to walk a very slippery tight rope.
Sticking with the Glenn theme, how silly was it that he actually survived? I’m not even talking from a story perspective, I mean from a logic perspective. He’s surrounded by hundreds of flesh eating walkers, and is stuck under a dead body, yet somehow manages to squeeze under a bin… I mean yeah Nicholas was protecting his torso, but his legs will still have been dangling out there, as well as his face and head, so am I supposed to believe that they couldn’t be arsed going for his exposed areas, because it seems like every other person in the Walking Dead gets bitten on the neck or shoulder area. Were the walkers groaning to each other that they already had Korean this week or something, because that is the only reasonable explanation which I can think of for him not getting bitten at all.
On further fucking stupid Glenn stuff in this season of The Walking Dead, why has Maggie been relegated to shouting ‘where’s Glenn!’ duty? Remember when Maggie was kicking ass, yeah the writers have clearly forgotten, because now all she does is run about acting like an idiot and a Glenn sidekick. The whole Enid thing was pretty fucking stupid too.
On a more positive note I felt that the wolves attack on Alexandria was very well done and once again Carol was an absolute badass. It also helped set up another of the better episodes as we got an insight into what Morgan was like, which got further expanded in another excellent episode which centred solely on Morgan’s journey from dithering wreck to zen master (Lennie James is a great addition to the show). The fourth episode of this season shows that the show can take one character and make a really interesting story arc for them within an episode.
In contrast to this was the whole Daryl, Sasha and Abraham arc. I do find it odd that you take such a big character like Daryl and isolate him to a handful of appearances; surely he is more important than that. This is made all the worse by the fact that the episode which he was featured in prominently was so mediocre it was ridiculous. It also contained a really odd story between Sasha and Abraham from pretty much out of nowhere, which is pretty terrible in itself. You can’t just do things with absolutely no build.
Another thing which I’d be critical of the Walking Dead of in general and particularly this season was characters doing things which make no sense just to create a false tension (Spencer rope business, Maggie jaunt down the sewers, Daryl doesn’t understand how bags work), it insults the viewer’s intelligence because they know that nothing is going to happen because nobody relatively important will die in such an insignificant manner.
Whilst I’m slagging The Walking Dead off I might as well point out that I found it odd that a bunch of characters from Alexandria were dropped totally is the story began to heat up. Remember Heath who was introduced at the start of the season? What about Aaron, Spencer or Eric? Nope I have no idea what happened to them after the wall came down either, really makes you realise how important they are to the story. Who cares about them anyway, what I really want more of is teen angst about some girl and fisticuffs, said nobody ever.
The show did set up the second half of the season pretty well, with Daryl, Sasha and Abraham running into Negan’s crew, something which should set up the next season and half (if not maybe more) very nicely. Back in Alexandria Rick and the gang used the ol’ rub walker shit on myself to mask me (something I’d personally use a hell of a lot more of if I was in that situation) to get out of a troubling situation, however traumatised children aren’t the best companions and it seems very much like little Sam might be getting some people eaten. Which begs the question, are the Walking Dead openly going to have a child being eaten by walkers? They’ve choked out of it a number of times, if they want that impact anything can happen shock kill then they should really pull the trigger. Also the doctor or something.
The post reads very critical of the season and rightfully so, they keep getting an open goal and hitting the corner flag. The thing is that the Walking Dead is almost a really good show but continually struggles to achieve more than above average. I still enjoy the show but I know that this isn’t quality television. The acting is fine, the plot is ok if illogical and it can be exciting, however the weaknesses really drag it down for me and to be honest barely anything happens in the show.
The first half of season 6 was classic Walking Dead for me, it bolted out the traps only to lose its energy half way through and slump to the finish, but set up enough intrigue to raise my anticipations for the second half of the season. It’s a double edged sword, they do a good job of setting up the next part but I now expect more from it than I would have if they hadn’t which means it will be judged more severely based on that, as is life.
So what did you think of the first half of the Walking Dead season 6? Are you annoyed that they faked out the Glenn death? Are you wanting more teen angst and cuddling? Are you wondering how Abraham can keep up a perfect handlebar moustache despite it apparently being an undead apocalypse? Or do you just want more Daryl and couldn’t give two fucks about the rest? Leave a comment and share those goddamn thoughts!
If you're interested then why not check out my review of season 5 of the Walking Dead.
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