Negan is coming. We get it.
Season 6B of The Walking Dead has essentially been all about the setup. Biggest bad we’ve ever faced, and he’s gonna do some damage. So let’s spend half a season spinning the bottle in different directions to try and play the bookies’ odds on who is actually going to get brutally battered with a baseball bat. And we’ll kill off poor, sweet Denise along the way just to make sure we’ve got your attention.
The likely victims have been pretty much narrowed down to three as far as I’m concerned; Daryl, Glenn and Abraham. But that’s a story for another piece.
This week’s episode, East, for a season semi-climax, is a bit of a let-down. Characters that should know better all doing utterly stupid things that are inevitably going to get them into mischief. Daryl running off by himself to take revenge on Dwight and the Saviours for killing Denise; Carol doing whatever the hell she’s doing running away from Alexandria; Glenn and Michonne leaving Daryl and Rosita and thus getting captured; Rick allowing Morgan to go off by himself in search of Carol, and giving him his only gun… It’s just a stream of rookie errors that surely, after six seasons of wandering around doing “things” and “stuff”, our heroes should know better than.
But perhaps this is the point of East; our characters have become complacent. Rick’s absolute overconfidence at the beginning of the episode in a “nothing’s gonna hurt us ever again” speech to a post-coital Michonne speaks volumes about his ignorance to the darkness coming.
Carol’s whole crisis of faith thing, meanwhile, still makes little to no sense; having fled Alexandria because she allegedly can’t deal with the guilt of killing anymore, she then proceeds to mow down a group of Saviours in the bloodiest of fashions. Weak, useless season one Carol, we get. Kick-ass, look at the flowers Carol, we get. Even happy housewife Carol is pretty damn cool. Right now though, it almost feels like the writers aren’t sure what to do with her, which is a real shame. But then, when have they ever led us wrong before? Hopefully, this rather convoluted arc will explain itself come season seven.
So, to the part that everyone’s going to be talking about.
Having gone on a crazed vengeance gig, Daryl is pursued by Glenn, Michonne and Rosita. Heart to hearts happen (it’s TWD; it wouldn’t be an episode without at least two), and the group separate. Frankly, it’s nice to see old Daryl back (even if it is only for a brief time…), and Rosita right now is playing a wonderful foil to the grouchy old hillbilly. If both of them do survive the finale, more interactions between these two would be muchly appreciated.
And then Glenn and Michonne get themselves captured by Dwight and his crew.
And super tracker Daryl falls for the bait.
And gets shot in the head.
Whether or not this transpires to be nothing more than parlour tricks on the writers’ behalf is yet to be seen, but that last millisecond does make up for a rather disappointing penultimate episode. Naturally, next week will actually be the penultimate episode, with the first episode of season seven being this season’s finale, as is the way with The Walking Dead (why do you do this boys??? You know we’re gonna keep watching, why not finish a season when you finish a season, ‘stead of making us wait however many months???).
Roll on next week.
Dir: Michael E. Satrazemis
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Michael Cudlitz, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green
Music: Bear McCreary
Episode Number: 15 of 16
Run time: 45mins