The Walking Dead’s sixth season finished with a bash…yet there are still many walkers out there who need their heads bashed in by Rick and the gang. So how did the head bashing go in the second half of season 6?
There will be spoilers throughout this post so don’t read on if you don’t wish to know the goings on of this season.
No point messing about, I might as well start by speaking about the conclusion to the sixth season which saw our new saviour Negan brutally bashing in the head of one of the Alexandrians…well I say saw, what I really mean is sort of saw because for some unknown reason the writers of the Walking Dead decided that it would be a great idea to show us that someone is going to die but actually not show us who it is that died…
It really bothers me with the Walking Dead that they are more interested in creating drama than they are about telling a good story. This isn’t an isolated incident, the Walking Dead constantly pulls fake outs and shity cliff-hangers, and it’s become common practice. The problem being that most of the cliff-hangers don’t feel organic, rather they feel incredibly forced and it really pisses off your audience.
It’s a bit like the whole Sam saying mum cliff-hanger from the end of the first half of season six. ‘Oooo what’s going to happen!?!?’ Well the answer was nothing, it was a false drama created to tempt you back. Yes Sam was consumed by the walkers, along with the rest of his family, but it wasn’t in anyway linked to the cliff-hanger they left you on. Not every fucking season/episode must end of a cliff-hanger. If everything is a cliff-hanger then nothing is a cliff-hanger.
Anyway back to Negan smashing someone’s head in, the Walking Dead had a chance to make amazingly brutal and memorable TV and they fucked it up. There is a reason that the audience is so pissed, it’s because the whole episode was a long slog where Negan’s people grind the group down, toying with them, only to lead us into an incredibly tense scene where the newly introduced and charismatic Negan is talking down to the helpless group about how the new world order is. They built it up so well and then fell at the last hurdle.
In the season six part 1 review I wrote something which I thought was totally relevant to this very scene/conclusion, so I’ll copy it in here “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.” There it is, once again they had an open goal and hit the corner flag, and they really have nobody to blame but themselves.
The whole thing is generally a kick in the nuts; however I really do wonder what the writers were thinking with the whole cliff-hanger thing because clearly the name of the person who has been killed will come out between now and season 7 starting. That moment when the person is cast in a new show or isn’t in Georgia so much, people aren’t stupid and this isn’t the 90’s, it’s pretty easy to find these things out if you’re interested enough. The only way they could get round this is if they pay the person killed off to basically hang around the set, it’s stupid but at least people wouldn’t know.
This is turning into a rant but I really don’t understand how this was green lit. The thing being that the buzz from seeing a major character have their head brutally bashed in by a man using a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire would have been huge, it would have pulled people back to the show and made those who haven’t watched it take note. The headlines would have said ‘is this the most brutal moment in television history?’ ‘Has the Walking Dead finally went too far?’ You can’t buy that publicity, it really was a win win situation and they still managed to lose. Now people expect it, they know it’s coming and the impact isn’t going to be anywhere near as massive as it would have been if they had shown us right there and then, people will almost certainly know who the dead person is and the whole thing has lost everything it could have had. It’s just really fucking stupid of them.
Anyway onto who it could be the forensic analysis! So we have Glenn, Daryl, Michonne, Maggie, Rosita, Aaron, Sasha, Abraham, Carl, Rick and Eugene all lined up and we know one of them dies, but which one? Well we know it isn’t going to be one of the women because there is no way in hell they are going to show a woman having her head beaten in by a man with a baseball bat, we know it won’t be Rick or Carl because they are too central to the storyline (plus Negan said he would feed Carl’s eye to Rick if he made a ruckus), Aaron wouldn’t have a big enough emotional impact to make you overly upset so it doesn’t make sense for it to be him (may I add that if it is Aaron then it’s a total cop out) and if it was Daryl then they’d lose half their viewership (plus they wouldn’t shoot him then do this), so it won’t be him.
So this leaves us with Glenn, Abraham and Eugene. Eugene had the big I’m a selfless fellow and will take one for the group arc in the last episode which is usually a good sign that you’re about to die, however he is too important to the story with his ability to make bullets and the like, so it probably isn’t him. Abraham has been on a death threat for quite some time now but the way that he clearly stood up to Negan to show he wasn’t scared tells you that it is very unlikely to be him that perishes.
This leaves us with Glenn who is clearly the person who dies at the hands of Negan. The weird first person shots from a box throughout the episode and then the stupid first person view of Negan killing that person, Glenn was in the box and is the only one they are likely to kill in this manner. You can hear what very much sounds like Maggie’s loud squeals as the person is being killed, why would she over react so much for anyone but Glenn or Daryl, Glenn had the brave don’t kill Maggie moment, he also has been almost dead a whole bunch of times in this season, however the biggest reason of all that means it is Glenn is that it was Glenn in the comics. It should be noted that they don’t follow the comics precisely (Daryl never existed in the comics for instance) but Glenn dying is just the one that makes most sense, a character who if killed by Negan will make the audience hate him because he is so beloved, so it has to be him.
My last point on the last episode would be that it does bother me that the Walking Dead has a tendency of creating situations which suit the story it wants to tell even if it doesn’t actually make sense. The whole Denise going out to help find a pharmacy, when obviously they’re going to take everything, just so she can die, so that Daryl goes on a rampage to find her killers but forgets how to track (how the hell did he not see the tracks of a number of men when he is an expert tracker? Makes no sense and is sloppy writing), and so that when Maggie started having weird baby issues (something which will almost certainly be magically cured) that Alexandria had no doctor available to help her, creating the situation where they need to go to Hilltop. It’s lazy writing to force a narrative and the Walking Dead is terrible for it.
The first episode of the second half of season six brought us back from the double cliff-hanger of the first half. Daryl, Sasha and Abraham got out of their situation with no problem at all (of course) but the Alexandrians had less luck. Sam got his mum killed and himself killed after seeing a child walker (I have always wondered why there are so few, as this is the first I recall since Sophia) and Ron pulled a gun on Rick only to be impaled by Michonne and ultimately shoot Carl, the scene which should have ended the first half of season six (it does feel like they keep ending things about five minutes too early).
The rest of the season pretty much centred around the discovery of the Hilltop community and the Saviours. We got a fun episode with Jesus, who looks like he could be a great addition to the show and then we got our second introduction to Negan’s crew. The weird thing about how the Walking Dead has went in this season is that Rick and co seem to have got pretty barbaric in their handling of things.
I speak primarily of the episode where they attack Negan’s crew for no reason other than the Hilltop people told them that they were super meanies. It’s one thing if you are provoked into killing a bunch of people, however to do it for the sake of it sort of makes you the bad guys. It’s certainly an interesting path which they are sending Rick down. The episode after where Carol is losing it whilst she is captured is the same; I mean they kill a bunch of people who they attacked and then burn another bunch just cause they showed up, really quite brutal.
One thing which really bothered me about those couple of episodes (which I thought were pretty good) was that they took an outpost and killed at least twenty people, yet took no injuries at all. Yes I know they caught them by surprise but after the alarm is sounded they really don’t take a single bullet? Come on that isn’t realistic at all, especially when they’ve built Negan’s group up as very competent.
As far as some good things go, I loved the addition of Steven Ogg (of GTA 5 fame) who is the perfect crazy unpredictable bad guy. I loved Eugene’s dick biting. I loved that they openly had a child be killed by the walkers on TV (I had wondered if they would finally pull the trigger). It’s nice to see Rick get some off of Michonne, and I’m sure there is other stuff which I’m forgetting along the way.
I didn’t really like the Carol arc; it doesn’t really go with what her character had become the stone cold killer. By doing this and giving her the crucifix, they are essentially saying that the woman who happily ran about killing the Wolves and the people at Terminus was actually faking it the whole time. Another example of them forcing a narrative so that new characters can be introduced.
Denise’s death was mentioned earlier and I have to say it is one of the worst bits of writing I’ve seen on the show. Why would you let a doctor, a vital commodity, go on a basic run which anyone could have done? It makes no sense. Worse than that, why would Daryl then go along the rail tracks after he had made such a big deal about going the safer but longer route? It doesn’t make sense. It’s also great how they conveniently wrote Tara out of the picture because the actor is pregnant, but what will now happen is that it will get swept under the carpet because whoever has been killed in the last episode is a bigger deal, just generally a total mess.
The review has been fairly critical throughout and I can’t help but think that is how it should be. It isn’t that I really disliked this season of the Walking Dead; I’m just frustrated with it. The writing really is all over the place and can be incredibly nonsensical and I hate how they make characters do stupid things just to create tension and force a narrative, it’s so lazy and insulting to their audience.
The thing being that regardless of how the season ended I would still have been generally frustrated with the show, but to end the season in this manner has made those frustrations boil over, it is the cherry on top of the shit sundae, and I fucking hate cherries. The pacing of the show is all over the place, it can be going one hundred miles per hour scintillating TV, and by the next episode you’re struggling to not dose off.
Possibly the weirdest thing of all about the Walking Dead season 6 is that they managed to piss me off with the whole Glenn under the dumpster thing and then piss me off with the way which they finished the season, and yet I’m really looking forward to season 7 because apparently the Negan story is one of the best ones from the comics and the character Negan is in his short time on screen grabbed my attention. They do a great job of dangling the expectation of something brilliant around the corner, I’m sure it’s just another stove and I once again will be burned.
It’s very long review of the second half of season six of the Walking Dead and although I have done a lot of moaning about the show in general I don’t think this season as a whole was terrible, it was above average television which could have been exceptional television and that is where the problem lies.
If you’re interested then why not check out my Walking Dead season 6 part 1 review by clicking this link.
So what did you think of the Walking Dead Season 6 part 2? Do you think it’s Glenn who has been killed by Negan or has he actually killed a member of the audience in a massive twist? Are you wondering how Dwight went from never having killed someone to loves killing people in the space of a few months? Where did Eugene learn those dick biting skills? What will Maggie’s new catchphrase be if Glenn is dead? Leave a comment and share those thoughts.