The Walking Dead – Season 6

Andrew Lincoln in 2012
Andrew Lincoln in 2012

Warning. This review contains several spoilers about the sixth season of the TV show “The Walking Dead”!

On april 3 the sixth season of the show “The Walking Dead” ended.

The sixth season was produced and broadcast with the format has become usual: 16 episodes of which 8 were broadcast in October / November 2015 and the other 8 in February / March / April 2016. Meanwhile the first season of the spinoff titled “Fear the Walking Dead” aired but it arrived in Italy late so I’m still watching it.

The fifth season of “The Walking Dead” ended in the city of Alexandria, where Rick’s group established, and with Morgan’s arrival. The sixth season begins with a plan to get rid of a huge herd of walkers set up by the newcomers.

“The Walking Dead” sixth season cast consists of:

  • Andrew Lincoln (photo ©Angela George) as Rick Grimes
  • Danai Gurira as Michonne
  • Steven Yeun as Glenn
  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
  • Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon
  • Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
  • Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
  • Lauren Cohan (photo ©Gage Skidmore) as Maggie Greene
  • Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
  • Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese
  • Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha
  • Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler
  • Michael Cudlitz as Abraham Ford
  • Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter
  • Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa
  • Seth Gilliam as Gabriel Stokes
  • Lennie James as Morgan Jones

The plan to get rid herd of walkers is of the type that you can expect in “The Walking Dead”: a total idiocy! The walkers are almost all in a quarry so they could just throw anything flammable, set them on fire and the problem would be solved. Instead, Rick decides that the best idea is to get inspired by the Pied Piper of Hamelin to attract the herd away from Alexandria.

Obviously the plan turns out to be a disaster! The Wolves take advantage of the situation to attack Alexandria and distract the walkers so that they too get directed to the city. The first half of the season is almost entirely devoted to this story arc except for the fourth one – “Here’s Not Here” – the inevitable pseudo-introspective episode in this case focused on Morgan’s story.

The positive thing is that this story arc is based on the action with many dismemberment, including in living humans, a pace much faster than the slow one seen all too often in the course of the show and has a certain length instead of being concluded hastily.

The bad thing is that there are also some of the most stupid deaths seen in the show: among many others, I’d say that the winner is the character who in the episode “Always Accountable” manages to get bitten by a walker stuck among the rocks! As if it were some sort of compensation, in the next episode we find that Glenn managed to survive even though he was pretty much overwhelmed by walkers.

Unfortunately, the Wolves are not particularly interesting villains and are used only to kill someone and have some other character behave like an idiot. In the end, any group of psychopaths would’ve done the job for most of the plot developments.

This story arc continues until the midseason break, where we see yet another idiotic character behavior. Returning to Alexandria on a truck, Abraham, Sasha and Daryl find a group of bikers who are blocking the road. Instead of accelerating to drive over the block and maybe at the same time shoot the bikers, they stop and come down unarmed.

At the beginning of the second half of the season, we discover that the bikers are idiots too because Daryl is sent into the back of the truck to open it so he can pick whatever they’re transporting. This gives him the chance to take a rocket launcher and blow them up. In the end, this has the sole purpose of creating a cliffhanger in which we hear the name of Negan for the first time.

The story arc’s end is marked by more deaths but eventually the walkers are eliminated and somehow the survivors can start fixing Alexandria. At that point there’s a leap forward of a couple of months to open a new story arc.

When Rick and Daryl meet a strange guy who calls himself Jesus, they discover the existence of the Hilltop community with the chance to form an alliance. The name of Negan pops up again and his group too, the Saviors. There’s the perspective of a real war and in Rick’s opinion the best thing is to attack first what would become their sworn enemies anyway.

In the episodes the precede the season finale we see again the best and worst of “The Walking Dead”: a lot of action with a fast pace but also idiotic behavior by the characters. The plot sees substantially characters who even in dangerous areas seem to just mind their own business or argue with each other and as a result they don’t realize that there’s sneaking on them with bad intentions.

The result is that every time some idiots get captured and someone can get killed. In the episode “The Same Boat” Carol and Maggie get captured and come face to face with two women from Negan’s group who are their mirror images. Carol manages to prevail over her counterpart, played by a fantastic Alicia Witt, but has a strong nervous breakdown.

The disaster happens in the episode “Twice as Far”, where Daryl and Rosita are supposed to escort Denise during an expedition in search of drugs. Since Denise is Alexandria’s doctor her safety is very important for the whole city, instead it seems that Daryl and Rosita want to get her killed and in fact a group of Saviors arrive and “oblige”.

At last we arrive at the grand finale, where after so many expectations comes Negan. It’s a longer episode, unnecessarily because they could easily cut twenty minutes but it certainly had a nice value in ads sale. The subplot about Morgan and Carol was useful only for their meeting with new characters and certainly will be developed in the next season.

It almost seems that the authors realized that amateurs like Rick and his group can’t always get away with anything they do and created a really organized group. Negan is absolutely ruthless but the Saviors showed they have strategy and skills. The consequence is that Rick and the others who wanted to bring Maggie to the Hilltop have no hope and Rick’s face is worth a thousand comments.

Lauren Cohan in 2013
Lauren Cohan in 2013

Immediately after the end of the season the speculations about the identity of the Negan’s victim started. He might not be the same as in the comics. Certainly Negan and his Saviurs bring big changes to “The Walking Dead” but I haven’t read the comics so I don’t know how the story might develop in the future.

This shock is a good hope for a show that too often goes ahead with plots that are fun because they’re really laughable. With Negan the humor can only be very dark and in general we can expect strong plots for the seventh season.

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