5 Things We Learned From ‘Walking Dead’ Season 6.1
We’re now eight episodes into The Walking Dead‘s sixth season, with a few months off before we get to chapter nine. And thanks to a controversial plot twist — or un-twist — AMC’s cash cow re-entered the dreaded “cultural conversation” in a major way this fall, generating think-pieces aplenty about whether pretending to kill off characters constitutes bad faith or good business. Meanwhile, amid all that external hubbub, showrunner Scott M. Gimple has continued to move ahead slowly (perhaps too slowly) with the story from writer Robert Kirkman’s original comics, putting pieces in place for a grand conflict that could be unlike anything TV’s TWD has attempted before.
As we take our leave from zombieville until next February, what’s the state of the show? And what do we know now that we didn’t when Season Six premiered back in early October?
1. Rick may not be that great of a leader
In the second half of Season Five, Rick Grimes and his battle-scarred bunch were recruited to live in “Alexandria,” a walled community near the ruins of Washington, D.C. that was led by an idealistic former congresswoman named Deanna Monroe. Sensing an opportunity to seize control of an already-fortified location, our heroes plotted to take over the location; but in last March’s finale, after schemes were exposed and many shots were fired, Rick instead convinced his hosts that they needed to follow his program and toughen up.
How has that worked out so far? Well, this fall’s arc started with the Alexandrians following their new leader on a mission to herd hundreds of walkers away from their home — a plan that went awry when a loud noise drew a frighteningly large number of those zombies right back. While that was happening, the largely unguarded safe zone was overrun by marauders; and in the day or two that followed, more of the scattered townsfolk were either killed or frightened into making life-threatening decisions. And then in the midseason finale, the undead broke through a wall and swarmed the streets. So … not great, Mr. Grimes.
If The Walking Dead were a sports movie, the last eight episodes would be that first game of the season where the good guys get their butts kicked. For the sake of humanity, Rick had better hope this is just a minor setback on his road to a championship.