The following is a review of the sixth season of The Walking Dead. Expect spoilers for the sixth season.
Now, I haven’t reviewed the first five seasons of the show, but I’ve been a fan of the show since the very beginning. I’ve read a good portion of the comic book series, so this world isn’t new to me. It’s been almost two full months since the sixth season aired on AMC in the U.S., and about 5 weeks or so since I got to see the final episode of the season on DR in Denmark. I’ve gathered my various notes from different points in the season, and I’ve finally decided to review a season of The Walking Dead.
The sixth season of The Walking Dead begins with Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) and the original group now in charge at Alexandria. But Alexandria is having a bit of a walker-problem, so Rick plans to lead a large herd of walkers away from Alexandria, using themselves as bait, essentially. Meanwhile, though, the Wolves are invading Alexandria. So, when a horn suddenly blares from Alexandria, and the walker herd starts to move back towards Alexandria, all hell breaks loose.
After lives have been lost, Rick and Daryl (played by Norman Reedus) meet Jesus (played by Tom Payne) from the Hilltop-community. Rick and the Alexandrians are suddenly made aware of multiple rival groups and communities close to Alexandria’s territory. The danger of the Wolves is suddenly replaced by the dangerously violent Saviors, and their terrifying leader, Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
I was super excited for this season of The Walking Dead. A lot of fans have been desperately waiting for the Savior/Hilltop-storyline to take place, and we were finally getting it started this season. And early on in the season, I did think it was shaping up to be one of the best season, if not the best season, of The Walking Dead ever.
JSS, Thank You, and Here’s Not Here were very impressive episodes. But when we got around to the seventh episode of the season, most of the fans were left pretty annoyed. Sure, Glenn turned out to be alive after all, and Glenn is one of the most popular characters in the show. But in Thank You, it had looked like The Walking Dead was doing something very bold. Killing off Glenn like that was pretty powerful, but with Heads Up the writers badly hurt the show by letting him survive the walker assault. A cheap cop-out.
Speaking of cheap cop-outs… I guess I have to talk about the awful cliffhanger. With the season cliffhanger shown in Last Day on Earth, I’m sure the writers were hoping for a ‘who shot Mr. Burns-mystery’, but it came off really smug. Like they weren’t worried about upsetting fans. Like they expect people to return to the show, no matter what. I don’t know what the writers were thinking… There are other negatives, but the two cop-outs were the most egregious negatives.
There were some very strong positives too, though. They got a pretty great actor to play Negan, and what we saw of him was awesome. The single biggest highlight for me, though, was one of the best episodes ever on The Walking Dead: The Same Boat. It is an excellent episode about losing touch with your humanity, but needing to show strength. We’re at a particularly late stage in The Walking Dead, and this episode was perfect for the time we’re in. And showing this loss of touch through a fan-favorite character like Carol (played by Melissa McBride) was brilliant.
But that is pretty much it for the positives this season. I really feel like the writers ruined what was a pretty solid season of The Walking Dead with two cheap cop-outs. Still, though, The Same Boat may be my favorite episode of the show ever, so while there were some very ineffective plot points and an awful cliffhanger, I did enjoy a sizable chunk of the season.
– I’m Jeffrey Rex