The Walking Dead Review: “Start to Finish”

Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.

I’m going to do this review is a little differently. Rather than a recap with commentary, I’m just going to give my slightly disjointed thoughts about the episode, and the first half of the season in general. In an effort to keep things somewhat organized, I’ll start with the stuff I didn’t like, and close with what I did. Although there might be a bit of cross-pollination.

The Walking Dead Episode 608

“Look, I get it. My dad killed your dad, but […] your dad was an asshole.” I don’t much care for Carl, or Coral if your prefer, but that line made me smile. I really don’t get the conflict they’re trying to setup with the teenage characters here, all of whom have terrible haircuts. Yes, I know that Rick killed the dumb kid’s dumb dad, and that there’s some sort of Enid love triangle going on, but… Okay, maybe I do get it. I just don’t care. That probably the worse sin.

Rick’s relationship with Jessie has been really weird as well. I liked the initial flirting, but Rick came off as a complete psychopath on a couple of occasion. Yes, Jessie’s husband was abusive, but I just don’t buy her falling in love with Rick. It’s pat. It’s just too convenient. It’s like these two characters are romantically linked just because they’re about the same age and are both good looking. Jessie should be completely creeped out by Rick. Lots of people should.

Speaking of which, I hate the way the show deals with anyone who isn’t a core character and disagrees with Rick. They’re always shown to be cowards, completely wrong, or, more often than not, both. Oh, and they also usually die shortly after they’re proven wrong. This one really shatters my immersion in the world of The Walking Dead. Rick is frequently wrong, reasonable characters should recognize that.

And then there was the Glenn thing, but we’ve addresses that pretty thoroughly at this point.

Okay, those are the big negatives. Let’s talk about what worked. Well, let’s start with a big one:

The Walking Dead Episode 608

That’s right, more Lennie James is always a good thing. This guy is such a good actor, he really elevates the show. I’m curious where they’re taking his mission of pacifism. I’m not convinced it’s working at the moment, but I’m willing to see where it goes.

I also loved the way they spent the entire first half of the season focusing on the zombies in the quarry and the way things spun out of control with the plan to coral them away from town went off the rails. It gave the season a lot more focus than other seasons have had to date, and it did so without resorting to a cartoonish villain like the Governor. That said, they did overdo it a bit stringing us along with the Glenn reveal, but that particular dead horse has been kicked.

Alexandria, as a concept, worked really well. The town felt real, and the way the characters began taking ownership of it an embracing its potential was really great. I thought Deanna played a big role in this, and it was a shame to see her character killed off. She made for a good foil to the other characters, particularly Rick. Her kids were pains in the ass though.

Building off Alexandria, I also really enjoyed the way they spent a lot of time focusing on the minutia of day to day survival. People getting into petty fights, stealing and hording supplies, worrying about maintaining some semblance of civilization by educating the kids. Again, this made the setting of the season feel much more real.

Finally, I feel like The Walking Dead has done a solid job, for the most part, on fleshing out some of the other characters on the show, particularly Michonne, Sasha, and Tara. They all got a few nice character moments, and I’m actually starting to like Michonne as a character now that she’s showing a little personality rather than just being a cipher with a sword.

The Walking Dead Episode 608

The episode ends in a pretty substantial cliffhanger, with half the characters trying the old blood and guts trick, and the other half trying to deal with Morgan’s friend. Oh, and you did stay after the credits, right? Because we were introduced to the newest villain of the show, and Daryl, Sasha, and Abe are in trouble with his lackies.

Grade:
4 zombies heads out of 5

8 Comments

pi3rk

Once again I was so wrong… Last week I was quite thrilled with Diana back in her shoes, feeling she’ll be as strong in 2nd half of this 6th season… Right on the spot dude… And now she’s gone. I definitely suck at predicting.

Very entertaining half season, bothered by a few things (I kinda hope TWD was above stuff like the Glenn cliffhanger) but as you said overall pretty solid season. I thought Jessie, as we know have hairdresser talents, could take care of Carl and his “friend”.

I’m just quite surprised that people of Alexandria don’t start asking themselves why on Earth they took Rick and Co on their community cause since then, they’ve been losing people at a pretty fast rate.

But… we sure will enjoy a great 2nd half of the season, full of “find a way to get ride of this herd”, “What with the Wolves ?”, “Who the hell are those bikers?”, “From Carol and Morgan, who will kill the other one?”,…. Will 8 episodes be enough?

Reply
Dave

I’m bummed about Deanna too. She was a good character with a lot of potential. I’d much rather have her around than some of the more one-dimension characters we’re stuck with.

I forgot about Jessie’s hairdresser talents. Those damn kids have no excuse!

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Mad..

There is a few zombies floating around inside Alexandria… I’m sure we will be losing some of the lesser more annoying characters in the not to distant future, I’m just curious as to which main character gets taken down/injured because of them, as that seems to be a theme this season. I think the main character in the most danger at the moment is Carl and Judith (because she is strapped to him)

Reply
Dave

Carl and Judith would be a good choice from a narrative and production perspective. Kids keep getting older, outpacing the show. Killing them off makes sense, and it would be an extremely emotional moments for many of the characters and fans.

Mad..

Main highlights for me in this episode came from Deanna – I haven’t always liked the character, but that actress is awesome and I felt she carried a lot of this episode and she had some great scenes like hanging over Judith’s cot, helping Michonne and Rick with “stuff and things”, even her choice to take out some zombies as opposed to shooting herself and her one liners were awesome (not quite Abe level though). My random thought from all this is… surely the horde of zombies heard her gunshots? So shouldn’t the ones outside be trying to get to the noise as opposed to wandering up and down the street as obstacles for the gut poncho conga line?

Speaking of the gut poncho conga line, it has a lot more people in it than the comic version, and I am very interested to see how that plays out with the weakest link calling out for mum in the middle.

The whole scenario with the Wolf is really odd to me, however given the awesome actors they have working those scenes it is still a good watch, and did Morgan just WWE slam Carol?

I’ve seen that photo of Spencer and Heath a few times in relation to this episode… but they and most of Alexandria (Aaron? QM lady?) weren’t even in it, and what happened to Tobin? He was with Rosita and co, and then he wasn’t? Did they cut a bunch of stuff out? Or are these scenes for episode nine and beyond?

Maggie tripping and being a muppet at climbing a ladder felt too contrived for me, I get that we were meant to be worried that she might get bitten, but I never once thought she was going to be… I was just more disappointed she had forgotten how to walk and climb. She is in a precarious scenario now however and Glenn has spotted it. Personally I would have just liked to see her get away from the zombies, climb to the platform and pull the ladder up behind her… she is still in just as much **** but didn’t cheapen the character having her falling over etc.

I mentioned this last review, but I hate the mid season break… we have a few months to forget the little things that have happened that lead to bigger things, nothing we can do about it though, BRING ON EPISODE NINE!

Lastly, the Negan intro was great. I don’t know the actor that is playing Negan, from what I saw in that little teaser however the character is in good hands and season seven is going to be going up a gear. Kind of like the glimpse intros of Morgan throughout season five, and now we have Lennie James who has helped bring TWD to a new level in season six. The future of the show is looking good, and season six has been very good overall thus far.

Bit of a wall of text, I guess I’m making up for the fact we will be breaking for a while now hehe.

Reply
Dave

As far as the photo goes, I download them all from the AMC press page. They didn’t have much for this episode for whatever reason, so I had to include the Spencer/Heath one, even though they weren’t in the episode. The press site is great, but some episodes don’t give a lot in the way of photography for some reason.

Oh, and Maggie tripping. I should have put that in here. It drove me nuts as well. Pure contrivance, as you said.

I don’t think the guy from the post-credits scene was Negan. I think he was a henchmen. I thought Negan was going to be played by Sam and Dean’s dad from Supernatural.

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Mad..

Oh right… I thought that was Negan.

I just google imaged the actor playing Negan… and yeah that wasn’t Negan. The henchman was good though 🙂

Reply
Dave

The henchman was awesome. I hope he plays a fairly meaty role, because he’s got that casual intimidation thing down pat.

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