Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Looking at the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 15 “East"

Looking at the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 15 “East”
by rick olivares

From the start of this sixth season of the Walking Dead, fans of the show have seen the residents of Alexandria fend off a herd of zombies, an attack by the Wolves, and engage in sporadic battles with the menacing Saviors. For those who follow the comic book series from Image Comics, they know and dread the arrival of Negan (to be played by Jeffery Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy), the brutal leader of the Saviors who is more than a fitting villain post-Governor. In fact, Negan is still around.

He was introduced in The Walking Dead #100 and the long-running indie comic is way past 150 issues and Negan is still around. That’s over four years worth of comics and he is just as dangerous especially after his jailbreak.

Since the death of the Governor, fiendishly played by David Morrisey, in Season 4, there has been no villain to torment Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) band of dogged survivors of the zombie apocalypse. The Terminus cannibals rightfully met their fate quickly but what the popular show on AMC needs is someone more nefarious than the walkers.

The television introduction is a week away so let’s take a look at the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Season 7 titled, “East” that is somewhat of a bewildering episode.

For one, the main characters acting out of character.
Carol (Melissa McBride) is a prime example. I can understand her suddenly faltering mentally. A person can reach a breaking point.

I am just wondering after everything they’ve been through this happens now? She survived her abusive husband who Shane (Jon Bernthal who is now playing the Punisher in Daredevil Season 2) beat up after which he became zombie roadkill. She loses her daughter Sophia, shockingly discovers her to be turned and watches Shane put a bullet through her daughter’s head. She's banished for killing two members of Rick’s prison group after they were struck down by a strange malady. She puts away a young girl who has become psychotic. 

Yes, it could be quite traumatic as she has done things a morally upright person should. And Carol has been consistently portrayed as a woman who holds on to her religious faith for strength despite what she has done. But now, after she finds love and helps fend off a herd that invades Alexandria she runs away?

The popular Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is unhappy that Dwight, the person he showed kindness but was repaid by the latter stealing his crossbow and motorbike and killing Alexandria’s doctor, Denise, runs off for some payback. As a result, three key members of Alexandria — Glenn (Steven Yeun), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Rosita (Christian Serratos), dash off to bring him back. Morgan (Lennie James) and Rick join the search effectively splitting the team and leaving their community undermanned. 

In the comics, when Negan is introduced, he beats Glenn to death with his barbwire-laced baseball bat. While it seems obvious that the show’s Korean-American actor will bite the dust, the show’s producers give us four possible deaths — in fact, there could be multiple deaths by this season’s finale — Glenn, Daryl, Rosita, and Michonne. 

After Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) have been separated for so long, he dashes off, leaving his wife, to go search for Daryl. Of the group that started out in Atlanta, the only ones left are Rick, Carl (Chandler Riggs), Daryl, Glenn, and Carol. Maggie joined them after with Michonne and Sasha (Sonequa Martin) coming on board post-Woodbury. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Rosita were added during the Terminus storyline. 

I cannot fathom Daryl storming off to look for Dwight (Austin Amelio). It stands to reason that the Saviors have a whole lot more people. And going off my one’s self means there’s a bigger chance of getting killed or captured. Putting others at risk just as it happens.

Having said that, so much for Rick’s leadership. There is no discipline in the Alexandria group. And they are about to pay for that.

There is a price to be paid for their aggression.
One can argue that Rick’s group’s pre-emptive strikes against the Saviors are necessary. I agree considering the Saviors aren’t the most friendliest of people. But their failure to gain good intelligence on their new foe or even to hit them harder will prove to be their undoing.

Too much Saviors blood has been spilled for both sides to sit down and hash things out. This is going to be a bloody ending when it happens.

As for Alexandria’s security, I am surprised they haven’t cleared the immediate area fronting their gate. What they need is a clear field of fire. In “East,” Tobin (Jason Douglas) notices that there are missing cars in front of the gate. No one noticed the missing cars. Not even those on guard duty. What gives?

I find it hard to believe that they could be this sloppy or stupid.

Why is it that the characters have to go through PTSD one after the other?
In the series, the zombie apocalypse has claimed much of the world’s population. So it has been quite a while where Rick’s band has been out there literally trying to stay alive. They have done a lot of things just to survive. As much as possible, they have done what is right. They have fought and killed to stay alive. So why is it that they suffer post traumatic stress disorder one after the other? 

I wish they’d find better ways to develop a character or to move a storyline. As it is Rick dealt with his own demons. Abraham has. Ditto with Morgan, Carol and Sasha. Daryl has to a certain extent. 

The Walking Dead has proven to be one of the top-rating shows in TV history; capable of captivating audiences even with the high death toll on characters audiences have grown attached to.

The season finale will find the group shaken to its very core. It’s going to be bloody and painful. I expect it to fray relationships but to also strengthen some. 

Whatever happens, I wish that the finale, 90 minutes long, would not only be satisfying — but is it ever — and serve as a good set up for Season 7. 

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