6 Apr 2016

"The Walking Dead" Season 6 was a mess

I'll preface this by saying this includes spoilers for AMC's The Walking Dead up to S06E16, "Last Day on Earth". Although I also wanted to discuss stuff from the comic book, I have avoided using any major spoilers from there.

I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead. I've been a fan of the comic book since 2008, and a fan of the show since it began in 2010. During my second year of sixth form, me and my friends had free periods on Monday morning, so we called that "Walking Dead Mondays" where we would gather in the Drama room and put the latest episode up on the big projector. I also own a bunch of The Walking Dead merchandise, which I will probably share on another blog post in the future. Basically what I'm saying is; The Walking Dead is a huge fucking deal to me, and that's why watching Season Six of the TV show hurt me deeply.



Why don't we begin on a light note, and I'll discuss what I enjoyed about the season. First of all, it was nice to have Morgan back. His return had been teased throughout the fifth season, and fans had been anticipating that as early as Season 3's "Clear". I felt that Lennie James' performance as the pacifist martial artist was one of the strongest of the season, and his monologues were done really well. I also loved the introduction of the Hilltop Colony and The Saviors. These two groups were a big deal in the comics and I felt the way they introduced Jesus was great, and the Hilltop looks exactly like how it was in the comics, so that made me very happy. I'll admit that I was a bit on the fence about how they presented the Saviors in the episodes "Not Tomorrow Yet" and "The Same Boat", but the finale served as a fantastic introduction to Negan and the rest of his group.

But unfortunately, I hated the finale. Season 6 was a mess of poor writing and questionable action, and by going back to 6A we can see why. Firstly, there was a whole season of cop outs and cheap tricks for the viewer. Remember Glenn's near-dumpster death? Oh wait, turns out his fate is left ambiguous for three episodes but yeah he's fine. That moment only existed for episode-to-episode suspense, and had no real impact on the bigger story. Then came the mid-season finale, which I thought was a pretty good episode, but a small continuity error just proves the same thing. In the final moments of the finale, as Rick and co. are leaving the house covered in walker guts, one of the kids begins to shout "Mom? MOM!". Then we had a two month break and it's like "Ooooh how are they going to get out of that situation?" - but no, turns out the writers forgot about that and the characters make it through the herd fine.

Morgan was my favourite character of Season 6

I love Scott Gimple for what he brought to the show. Seasons 4 and 5 were brilliant pieces of television. But Season 6 just missed a lot of nails for me. It's like Gimple feels the only way to keep viewers watching is to hold them emotionally hostage. There were a lot of moments just like this throughout the rest of the season; the post-credits scene in "Start to Finish" with the Saviors, the scene where Daryl gets shot in "East", I could go on. 

But you know what? I was happy to let that slide if we got a perfect finale. Everything was going well for the first 50 minutes. We had a suspenseful build-up, where Rick and co. drive road-to-road looking for a way past the Saviors. As the episode goes on, the viewer begins to realise that maybe everything won't go perfectly well. Steven Ogg as one of Negan's henchman was a fantastic guest star (he played Trevor in GTA V!). Then, the ending had the perfect setup. Negan finally shows up, our heroes are lined up and down on their knees, and we get a speech about how one of them is going to die. Now, I don't think Jeffrey Dean Morgan was the best fit for Negan, but he did deliver a great performance for the ten minutes of screen time he got.

And then what fucking happens but Gimple cops out on us yet again by not revealing which character got to meet Lucille. There's a lame POV shot of the victim with terrible GoldenEye era screen blood effects, and then credits start rolling. I facepalmed and internally fuck you-d for about ten minutes. So, after all this build up, that's what we get? Literally, the most memorable moment in the comics is reduced to more ratings bullshit from Gimple. This scene could have been the best finale ever. It could have been our "Red Wedding". But now we won't know who dies until the show returns in October, and nobody is going to care who, even if it's Glenn or Daryl. They had the perfect suspense to do it, but that's ruined now. I had been anticipating this moment ever since I read it in the comics, and while I won't spoil who Negan's victim is, it's one of the craziest moments in the whole story.

To even cut the wound deeper, this revelation ruined a lot of the good stuff the episode had. The pacing was perfect, and Andrew Lincoln was ON POINT. In fact, most of the cast were, even the scenes with Morgan and Carol (though how the hell did he sneak up on them?). But this episode will be remembered for a terrible cliffhanger and six months of probable disappointment.


I don't know whether to blame Gimple or AMC. It's entirely possible that AMC are using Gimple's talent for monetary gain. And Gimple does have talent, after all he penned great episodes such as Season 2's "Pretty Much Dead Already" and Season 3's "This Sorrowful Life". Gimple may be a great writer but he may well be a bad showrunner if he can't stand up for his show. Look at other critically acclaimed shows that have aired on AMC. Mad Men and Breaking Bad didn't fall into the same trap because Matt Weiner and Vince Gilligan had the balls to defend their child. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead went through three showrunners in four seasons, and had so much controversy regarding its creator, Frank Darabont. I feel sorry for Robert Kirkman, creator of the comics, who more or less has to ride this through to the end in a front row seat.

I'm not saying I'm quitting the show. I just hope they can recover from this. The upcoming arcs from the comic book are amazing, and I would be very sad to see them ruined. For me, Season 6 of The Walking Dead has been the second-to-worst season for me. At least it wasn't Season 3.

Thank you for letting me rant.

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