While we wait for the new season of The Walking Dead in February let’s take a look back at the first half of Season 6 and the things that could have been better.
The Walking Dead is still my favorite, and one of the best shows on television right now. That doesn’t mean the first half of season 6 was without a few little missteps. No sense wasting time, let’s get right into this.
#6 – The Neighborhood is Great, Not So Much the Neighbors…
One of the conflicts that Rick and the Grimes Family Band have had to face since they moved into Alexandria was learning to become a part of a larger community that’s afraid of them and, as we’ve learned time and again, largely useless. Sure there are a few characters with potential in the Safe-Zone like Aaron, Dr. Denise Cloyd, Tobin, Heath, Spencer Monroe, and Deanna (R.I.P), but everyone else living in the ‘hood has either been a glorified extra, an entitled whiner, or a future Darwin Awards nominee.
Here’s the problem: The show had a potentially fantastic dramatic storyline about the struggles that our main characters faced after having experiencing so much horror and instability on the road. How does one reintegrate into civilized society, and what does that even mean? There is no black and white to this situation, and we can understand Rick’s trust issues as much as we can understand Tara’s blind optimism.
What the show didn’t do was make Alexandria and the people inside worth all the trouble. We can understand the appeal of fighting for four walls and a good night’s sleep, but if audiences at home don’t care about the Alexandrian body count then why should Rick or anyone else? Sure there are idiots like Carter, and everyone who decided to raid the pantry, but if you want to convince audiences that fighting for the Safe-Zone is worth it, than you actually need to make the people (good and bad) that make up the community worth fighting for.
#5 – The Walkers Aren’t the Only Things Shambling
Season six started out with a bang, what with the thousands of walkers just hanging around in a giant pit, and the ambitious Rick plan that blew up at the sound of a truck horn. By the end of the first half of the season, the show ended with a whimper. We liked that the writers shook things up in regards to story structure and character development, but by making these first eight episodes take place over a period of two or three days, it quickly became clear that the writers were struggling to kill time until Negan makes his terrifying appearance in 2016.
Could the slow plotting have been avoided? Sure. Make Alexandria and its lame residents compelling (see above). There was a lot of focus on developing character, but for the most part our main characters were either kept apart or didn’t interact, and the show sometimes focused on characters that audiences don’t care about (*cough* teens *cough*). Don’t have characters repeat the same information over and over again. (Rick is ready to throw the Alexandrians into the walker pit, Morgan chooses life, Glenn lectures, etc.) If you’ve said it once, move on, because no one wants to hear it fifty times.