SPOILERS AHEAD! Stop reading this if you are waiting to see what happens in Season Six of TWD.
Well, this was the episode where they lost me.
If you've been reading recaps today, you'll come to understand that the way they wrapped up the front half of Season Six of the Walking Dead is not going to make anyone very happy. And I cannot be contrarian in the face of a lackluster episode or upbeat at the conclusion of eight frustrating episodes. Aside from Morgan's backstory, what is there to recommend this run of episodes? I had a blast watching Fear the Walking Dead, and I can't say that I enjoyed much of anything this season.
What a let-down. Not the direction, not the performances, and not the execution of the episodes. The plotting and the writing have failed.
It's not that we keep crushing hope or hearing the sermon about how things are "different" now. It's not that we aren't used to impending doom and frustration. The show cannot build on happiness or expand on satisfying story developments. We can't have three episodes about the successful creation of a garden where potatoes and string beans are able to live side by side, with some pumpkins thrown in even though they take up a lot of ground water. No, we have to have sadness and loss every damned week.
Eight straight weeks of being punched in the gut has left me wondering what the hell this is all about. It's not easy to write about human misery. It's no fun to list the dead, the sort of dead, the should be dead, the gonna be dead, or the not dead but should be dead. It's easier to move on and do something else.
I think the front half of this season has failed for three reasons. One, they muffed Glenn's mishap with Nicholas and the dumpster. This will go down as a manipulative and unnecessary plot point that created a phony cliffhanger. It was done to generate "buzz." Well, if your show is good, that's all the buzz you'll ever need.
Two, they went with a particular weak mid-season finale and you saw the evidence of that in this episode. Yes, we know that little Sam will mess everything up because he is a sheltered child being brought into the real world for the first time. It would be a mistake to kill off Alexandra Breckenridge, however, because she's the closest thing to a new "Andrea" that they've been able to find. She could be an invaluable character when the rest of Season Six sets up the conflict with Negan's group (whatever they call it). The way things are going, she'll be lucky to survive the third episode of the back half (because, as things stand, we're not going to get any resolution until a few more "filler" episodes have run).
The creative re-mix of comic book story lines has to include some sort of love interest for Rick Grimes. If they don't keep Breckenridge, they're going to have to give him someone to hold on to, if only because of the possibility that it could create better storylines. I think the writers have allowed a whole host of in-house conflicts to put themselves on display this season--the premise that the group would stay inside of Alexandria and do nothing while surrounded by walkers is too far-fetched to be believed. They should have been using poles, crowbars and rebar to draw down the herd. Where's a spring-loaded captive bolt gun when you need one? No one has thought to build one that can be braced and operated from the top of the wall? Come on.
In an hour, fifteen adults could easily kill 1,000 walkers if they worked it out right. You're telling me that this group couldn't have greatly reduced the herd outside? Come on. They had weapons and tools--every garage has at least one shovel and they have an armory.
I think being down on the creative direction is justified. They even went so far as to give Carol almost nothing to do except get beaten up while holding a knife. That's a sign that no one really knew how to give Melissa McBride anything resembling the material she's been given in the past. Where's Carol's gun? You're telling me she can't get past a middle-aged man with a stick? Why give Morgan a "do not kill" philosophy when it should be a "protect all life" philosophy that allows him to see unrepentant killers for what they are? Talk about a manufactured conflict.
Three, this season divided the work force and failed to bring everyone back together--another phony plot device that simply doesn't cut it anymore. Where the hell is Aaron, for example? How did he play a minor part in fending off the wolves and then disappear? What's happening with Aaron and his partner while the Alexandria safe zone is overrun and why isn't he the one to help Maggie? It's that kind of a plot hole that drives me nuts.
The real story is in the conflict people have with one another, not the made-up drama of their longing for each other. How did Carol and Daryl end up being in different places? They were at their best when they solved problems together. They were and should be inseparable. In Carol, they have the best character on television. She saved everyone a second time and then she got knocked out. What a waste.
I have little if anything good to say about how this all ended, so that's it for me. I hope you found something good to say about it.