The Good, The Bad and The Dead

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As the Season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead begins tonight, my anticipation grows. I look forward to being engrossed in the struggles of the group, internal and external. I still waver whether me not having read the comic book nor the graphic novel is a good or bad thing. A lot of gratitude goes out to Fear The Walking Dead for stemming the tide even though I wish Chandler Riggs would had not grown seemingly four feet, allowing AMC to show the onset of the apocalypse with the TWD cast. Or should I say Coral!!!

My anticipation does not come without some apprehension though. Just because I label myself a “Dead Head” (respects to the Grateful Dead fans out there) that does not mean I am blind to the shortcomings of the show. Two of the biggest that come to mind are ‘The Crawling Dead’ that the show became during the second half of Season 4 and after the prison war not one member circled back to find other group members.

Starting with Episode 9 of Season 4 (“After”), the show crept to a snail’s pace. Some would call that character development. It seemed more like wheels spinning, as if a writers’ strike or contract talks were slowing the pace. They made up for lost time in Season 5 which came out like gangbusters and almost never slowed down, which wasn’t a reasonable expectation, but very enjoyable. Just to explain, I am not looking for a main character to die off every other episode, but I am looking for drama, conflict, or, at least, tension. It seemed only half of the episodes in the last 8 episodes of Season 4 contained any of those attributes.

Wish I had a bucket of pudding right now

The other glaring hole for me was that after the prison war not one member circled back to wrangle in stray members of the group. Everyone seemed to head in a straight line and, at best, hoped to run into other members. After the herd overtook Herschel’s farm, everyone thought to meet at the highway. It was an understood meeting point. I understand of not thinking ahead and not assigning an emergency meeting point. People make mistakes, but after the group is scattered, someone should’ve doubled back and tried to corral anyone possible.

There are others holes and I’ve seen more as I watch the TWD marathon leading up to Season 6. No show is perfect though and not to harp on the negatives, let’s move onto the things that make us perk up when we hear those violins playing at 9 o’clock on winter Sunday nights. The show, to me, is getting back to when it was in its prime which I determine to be Season 3 at Herschel’s farm. TWD mnrdaily.comApocalyptic/zombie shows always turn out be just regular dramas in disguise. Even though the walkers are ubiquitous, the show is not truly about that. Human interactions transcend circumstances. The writers and directors conjure up new ways to kill off walkers to entertain viewers while I am far more interested in the group’s internal trial and tribulations. Real life is about survival and relationships just like the show. Survival may not be as prevalent in our lives, but hunting and gathering have been substituted by careers. Whether in the show or in reality, relationships are critical for our social/emotional needs and in times of emergencies. Just like Rick told Herschel in the bar scene in the episode “Nebraska“, “You know what the truth TWD 9e3k.comis? Nothing has changed. Death is death. It’s always been there, whether it’s from a heart attack, cancer, or a walker. What’s the difference?” We watch to see if the group can restart society as it unfolds underneath them while avoid impending death, of course.  

There is so much to look forward to in Season 6. Just to name a few: Is Sasha going to come back to reality or is she on permanent suicide watch? Will Glenn finally die? Haha!  As much as I like the character, he may deserve it at this point after being man-hunted by Nicholas and then letting him off the hook. Or what major character will not make it through the season? (I vote Judith. Lol.)  Is everyone going to follow Rick or what type of what push-back will he receive? Will Rick pursue Jessie? When will Carol shed the happy homemaker guise? Will Michonne be the moral compass? Will Father Gabriel reap what he has sown? What will the beloved Morgan’s role be in the group? Will Daryl be fully engaged with the group and become the quippy redneck he once was or will he stay a social recluse with the rainbow coalition? And what challenge will the light across the field pose to the group? “These questions—and many others—will be answered in the next episode of…Soap.” Ha! Only 30s and older will get that reference.


P.S. – I hope my namesake Heath does our name justice by being a valuable character.

Heath McEachin