The Walking Dead, I applaud you. Season 6 Mid-season Premiere Review.

The Walking Dead, I applaud you. Season 6 Mid-season Premiere Review.

If you know me well enough, you probably already have a fair idea of what this post is going to contain. Last night was the night I had been waiting for since November 2015. To be quite honest with you, Valentines Day was irrelevant to me simply because I don’t believe in it, so it had nothing to do with that. February is one of my fave months for a completely different reason- and yes, it has something to do with the post-apocalyptic world and a certain character by the name of Grimes, Rick Grimes.

THE WALKING DEAD FINALLY RETURNED! And naturally, I need to vent my frustrations, excitement and adrenaline into a blog post. This is like therapy for me; who needs to pay hundred’s of dollars to vent, right?
One day, back in 2010, 14 year old Racquel and her Dad were sitting down harmlessly flipping through Foxtel when Dad goes, “Racquel, I heard about this TV show called The Walking Dead. It’s supposed to be really good and I’ve taped it. Wanna watch it?” or something along those lines. I was like yeah sure I mean why the hell not. It was like fate, the episode Dad taped was the first one in the first season called ‘Days Gone By’. Ever since Rick Grimes woke up in the hospital alone, we’ve been hooked and The Walking Dead is a tradition in our family now- everyone’s addicted and we watch it religiously. Me as a 14 years old was at first fucking terrified of the blood, guts, gore and walkers; but now I’m pretty much immune to it and I sit there wided-eyed every Monday night trying to digest how the storyline will again surprise me.
I read so many articles that have deconstructed last night’s episode ‘No Way Out’ and have suggested all the things that were ‘wrong’ with it. I just want to tell those people to shut the hell up, really. I mean, this series is a remarkable story, the filmmaking is insanely a-standard, and everything from the casting, writing, special effects, make-up department, film-crew and more is crafted to near perfection. Just enjoy the show and appreciate it for what it is. You can probably tell that I don’t agree with these discriminatory articles so I’m here to be positive Penelope and to praise most aspects of ‘No Way Out’. Enjoy.
WARNING! Read on only if you’ve seen ‘No Way Out’ or want to ruin it for yourself. Spoilers ahead! Abort Mission.
Part 1: Abraham, Sasha and Darryl face Negan’s Group.
The opening to the mid-season premiere starts with insane Abraham, scary Sasha and the one-and-only crossbow himself, Darryl Dixon facing Negan’s group. To me, Negan’s group comes across as a bunch of rookies. Why? They are so full of themselves and fail to see whom they’re talking to. I mean, if I came across Darryl especially I know to run the other way simply from his appearance and dude, Abraham is a big bulking red-head with the meanest face out. Truly though, I thought Abraham and Sasha were screwed with guns pointing towards them and the countdown starting. Out of nowhere, Darryl saves the day once again with possibly the most badass weapon ever made; that guy just keeps getting more and more attractive.
I’d like to praise the stunt team in filming this scene. The explosion that blows Negan’s group to smithereens looked incredibly realistic. Later that night when I was watching Talking Dead I learned that it was all shot in real time and that Negan’s group in the shot where they get blown up are all actually dummies. Something could have easily been put together with CGI but the film crew and stunt team wanted realism, and that what they achieved.
The i09 blog explians that it’s pretty insulting to suggest that the show would off a major character by playing what is essentially a homicidal game of peek-a-boo”, my response to this statement is that first thing’s first, in a apocalyptic world such as TWD world there are all sorts of people. We saw the Governor- power-hungry and selfish-, we saw Merle- cocky and stubborn-, we saw Gareth and Terminus- cannibals and avengers. My point is that in a realistic situation there would be psychologically damaged people such as Negan’s group who would treat death and murder as a sort of game; I don’t find this scene ‘insulting’, I find it realistic.
Part 2: Every parent’s worst nightmare.
We are then introduced to TWD’s main characters’ storyline. They started where they left off and are dressed in their meat poncho’s strolling through the herd of walkers. Father Gabriel finally mans up and offers to take Judith to the church and keep her safe. Rick reluctantly agrees with Gabriel’s request. And again, if I were in Rick’s position I would definitely let Gabriel take my child. Gabriel is kind and caring and has faith. I would choose that over keeping my baby under my guts couture and risking her life. Jessie also has a mom-decision to make. To let Sam stay with her or to force him to go with Gabriel. In this situation, Sam seems pretty stable, he seems like he has kind of manned up too; he is dead-set on staying with Jessie and I think I would be like Jessie in that situation and let my begging son stay with me.
A Forbes article suggests that “I wouldn’t let that wimpy, sniveling, conniving, dishonest priest take my baby”. Again, I disagree. Gabriel is probably the safest port of call for Rick and Judith. Gabriel has seen everything that this group has been through, he has had tender moments with Rick and Judith, Gabriel has faith in God but also has come to the realisation that the world is what it is and you have to fight to survive. The priest is the perfect combo of considerate but protective and for that I believe it was a great idea to hand Judith over to Gabriel. And anyway, Judith ends up being safe after all.
Part 3: Porchdick Family turned Porchdick Walkers
Night arrives and it seems like the walker poncho club are so close to the infirmary. Then Carol’s words come back to haunt Sam and he continues his freakout that we were left with at the end of the mid-season finale. At this point I’m starting to regret agreeing with Jessie’s decision to keep Sam with her because really, if it wasn’t for Sam, everyone would most likely still be alive in the Porchdick Family. Carl, Jessie, Ron and Rick are all hushing Sam, conforting him. Then out of nowhere, a walker starts munching on Sam’s head and one on Sam’s chest.  I applaud all the actors in this scene. It goes to show how incredible they all are at their jobs. I almost believe that Jessie is actually Sam’s mother because her reaction is that realistic. Then, Jessie’s cries are all too much and she dies. Even as she is being bitten her facial expressions are nothing but terror for her son’s death. Alexandra Breckenridge, I applaud you. You see the sadness and grief on Rick’s face at Jessie’s death and you get a glimpse into what Rick saw for his future with Jessie through the flashback’s that were so excellently constructed. Andrew Lincoln, I applaud you. And for a moment, we get a tender moment with Ron who always seems to have this smartass façade on. After his mother and brother are gone he is completely alone and you see this evidently on his face. Carl finally regains Rick’s attention and eases him out of his delusional zone by turning Rick’s gaze to Jessie’s hand that won’t loosen her grip on Carl’s arm as she is still alive but being eaten by walkers. In an attempt to save Carl, Rick axes off Jessie’s arm so that Carl is free from her grip. Just let that sink in. JESSIE IS STILL ALIVE, BEING EATEN BY WALKERS AND GET HER ARM SEVERED AT THE SAME TIME.
Part 4: Carl’s fate.
The aftermath of Rick hacking off Jessie’s arm includes driving Ron to the edge. Ron pulls a gun on Rick but Michonne’s there stabbing Ron through the back to save Rick’s life. Ron’s hand squeezes the trigger missing Rick but hitting someone else. Carl faces his Dad, and you finally see the brutality of the situation, Carl’s eye has been shot out and he calmly exclaims, ‘Dad’? At this point in time I’m like fuck me this guy has gone through a shitload. Rick has endured:
  • ·       Waking up alone in a apocalyptic world
  • ·       Finding his family throughout this new world
  • ·       Having his son shot once
  • ·       Over run of walkers on the farm
  • ·       Having to kill his best-friend
  • ·       Seeing his wife die
  • ·       Seeing Hershel’s head being severed
  • ·       Having the prison defeated
  • ·       Watching his son nearly getting molested
  • ·       Ripping out a guys throat with his mouth
  • ·       Being stored as food with his group at Terminus
  • ·       Cutting Gareth to pieces
  • ·       Leading a herd of walkers away
  • ·       Having these walkers break into Alexandria
  • ·       Seeing Jessie die
  • ·       Seeing everyone else that he’s been with from day dot die
  • ·       And now seeing Carl’s eye getting shot out.
CinemaBlend has made a statement that I hands down actually agree with. They’ve played with the idea of Carl deliberately taking the bullet for Rick allowing the kid a moment of heroism.
“It was that moment after Michonne skewered Ron and before Carl collapsed that really ratcheted up the tension of the entire episode. Carl’s “Dad?” was perhaps the most affecting line of the entire episode. Carl might have gotten a hero moment if he’d gotten to jump in front of the bullet, but Carl taking a stray to the face is definitely more tragic. Also, more awesome.”
Carl’s “Dad?” goes to show how excellent the filmmakers and actors have built up these characters since 2010. We feel so much emotion for these characters, we feel like we have known these characters as actual living people for years, we have seen Carl grown up, we’ve seen him evolve, so much so that it takes one word for the most devastating moment to occur in what may be the entire series. And this moment is heart wrenching. You hear Carl’s fright and confusion; the way that Chandler Riggs’ pronounces “Dad?” echo’s thoughts like “Am I going to be okay?,” “What just happened?,” “Will I heal?.” Chandler Riggs, I applaud you. You see Rick’s reaction and I interpreted it as “oh no”. His shoulders hunch, he look worn out, he looks concerned, he looks completely done with everything, you can almost see Rick saying “how much more do we have to go through?”.
Part 5: Glenn’s near death… again.
It is clear that Maggie will die if she stays on top of the watchtower. It is shaking and is bound to fall any minute. But when Enid reaches Maggie I feel a sense of relief because I know that she will be fine. But then TWD team makes you anxious again by surrounding Glenn with Walker’s as he’s trying to distract them in order to save Maggie. But Abraham and Sasha are at it again and fire bullets on Glenn’s converging walkers saving him in the process.
Part 6: Rick Rampage and Alexandria’s Final stand
After rushing Carl to the infirmary Rick once again loses it and heads out the door to walker rampage Alexandria. For a moment, it doesn’t look like he stands a chance. Then Michonne joins him, Alexandrian’s join him, Aaron, Carol, Rosita, Eugene, Gabriel, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, Sasha, Morgan and more join him. Darryl lights the lake on fire and before you know it everyone has come together to fight the undead, to take back what’s theirs, to bond, to save each other and I felt like it was one of the greatest moments on television history. I’m a sucker for togetherness and group work, the scene made me smile in a situation that is unfortunate. And then we get this montage of main characters and Alexandrian’s again a black backdrop having their own moment killing whatever is in their way; I particularly loved this. It’s a great way to showcase the commitment they have as being one together, it showcases the evolution of the characters, it showcases what this series has become; a worldwide phenomenon.
I09once again disagrees with this scene stating,
Now, apparently, our heroes can take out hundreds of zombies each, as long as they Believe in Each Other or some shit. If this gigantic zombie horde can be defeated by brute force and hand-held weapons, why should anyone ever worry about zombies again?”
I think that everyone that saw Carl’s state was greatly affected, that they shared Rick’s pain and emotions because most of them had lost children or loved ones in this new world at some point. Seeing Rick’s anger at the world and fight that he has for his son, mixed with having something so good such as Alexandria being taken away from them finally set them off. The first people to join Rick’s rampage are the Alexandrian’s who have seen Carl’s condition. I think that everyone in this group rampage knew there was a large chance of dying whilst fighting the walker with Rick but I also think that this was a insignificant fact to them. Everyone realises that they will die sooner or later and mixed with Carl’s state and Alexandria’s terms they don’t mind it being sooner or later. In the end, they just want Rick’s acceptance and they are so done with everything that they feel like they need to take what’s theirs back. Everyone has something to fight for, so I don’t think it is so much as ‘believing in each other’ but rather ‘standing by each other’.
Rick is a changed man. He’s softer, he now knows what the people of Alexandria are capable of, the wants to carry on Deanna’s legacy and expand Alexandria. Rick used to look at outsiders as being the enemies, but he know realised that people are the best resource, not when it just comes to surviving, but also when it comes to regaining your sense of humanity. Rick realises that faith needs to be evident and hope needs to exist.

Racquel Hardie
Racquel Hardie

A twenty-something Aussie girl with a love for exploring this world and telling her stories.

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