Friday, December 4, 2015

TV Review - The Walking Dead Season Six (First Half)


Zombie attack, anyone?

  The first half of the sixth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead concluded on Sunday night with our intrepid band of zombie apocalypse survivors trapped inside their homes in the Alexandria ‘Safe’ zone while the hordes of zombies that had laid siege to the town roamed the streets after a collapsing tower created a breach in the walls that had sheltered the community. There were more questions raised than answers provided in the last 10 minutes of the final episode when the group led by Rick Grimes slathered themselves in zombie guts in order to walk past the herd undetected. Undetected at least until the youngest son of Rick’s new flame Jessie starts calling “Mom..Mom..Mom’’ as the group walks through the middle of the zombie pack. Jessie’s parenting skills must be called into question since her oldest son Ron allowed the zombies into the house in the first place by trying to kill Rick’s son Carl in the garage which led to a fistfight which broke a door that let the zombies in the house. Meanwhile on the other side of the camp Carol and her brass knuckle knife took on Morgan and his bo staff in an argument over whether Carol was going to kill the member of the ‘Wolves’ that Morgan was keeping prisoner in an attempt to convert him to Morgan’s pacifist world view. After a fantastic fight Morgan knocks out Carol but is in turn knocked out by the Wolf, who then takes Denise the town doctor as a hostage into the zombie horde.

  The entire first half of season six took place in the course of one day and I feel very sorry for the people of Alexandra who had led a sheltered existence with running water and solar power before Rick Grimes and company moved in. The morning started with a discussion on how to make homemade pasta while Rick talked the town into his plan to lure the thousands of zombies trapped in a nearby quarry far away from the town. The plan was going fine until the zombies broke out of quarry on their own and moved up the time table. Then the Wolves attacked the town while most of the best fighters were herding the zombies. After the Wolves’ attack was repulsed thousands of zombies broke away from the main herd and surrounded Alexandria leaving the town rationing their food instead of discussing how to make homemade pasta. And then the tower fell, breaking through the walls and letting the zombies in the town. It was quite the day and I hope if Marshalltown ever gets overrun by zombies and my house is surrounded that Daisy and Baxter won’t have some sort of squabble that breaks a window and lets the zombies in to devour everyone.

Glenn is the Houdini of The Walking Dead. Witness this escape from an alley of zombies!

  It seems like most of the Alexandrians were either eaten by zombies or killed by the Wolves but luckily there are more Alexandrians than the red shirted Star Trek crew members that always seemed to be killed in the first few minutes of each episode. Alexandrians were killed leading the zombies away from town, in the attack on the town by the Wolves, trying to get back to Alexandria after the zombies went off course, and finally Deanna the town leader was bitten by the zombies after the tower smashed the wall open. Being bitten allowed Deanna to say her goodbyes to Rick and Michonne but she got her chance to be zombie food when she used the gun she was going to commit suicide with to shoot five zombies instead. Miraculously none of our familiar band of zombie hunters succumbed although Glenn had a close call when he was trapped in small fenced in area lying on the ground surrounded by dozens of zombies that were feasting on the intestines of the cowardly Nicholas who had just shot himself rather than try to survive. Luckily, Glenn rolled under a nearby dumpster and the zombies moved on after their Nicholas-feast to allow his escape.

  The entire first half of the season seemed contrived to me but it is a television show about a zombie apocalypse after all and the first two episodes were as action packed as any of this series. The characters lurched from crisis to crisis with very little break in between. One of the hallmarks of The Walking Dead is showing man’s inhumanity to man. This half season had very little of that with the exception of the Wolves’ attack and the Darryl/Abraham/Shasha encounter with another group of survivors. It all felt like a long prologue to the second half of the season with a final battle with the Wolves and the introduction of Negan (the baddest of bad guys from the comic series).

  A longtime staple of this show that continued through season six was offering hope to the main characters and then smashing that hope to bits. After episodes not knowing whether Glenn was dead or alive he floats some balloons towards the town as a signal. His pregnant wife Maggie points it out and as the townspeople marvel at the balloons the tower comes crashing down through the walls and lets the zombies into the town. Darryl escapes from a small group of survivors, stealing a bag that had his crossbow and insulin that one of the survivors needed. He brings the insulin back and helps them fight off the group they stole the insulin from. He offers them a place in Alexandria but the diabetic gets eaten by some zombies in sleeping bags and the remaining survivors pull a gun on Daryl and steal his motorcycle and crossbow. Then Darryl finds a working oil truck, picks up Abraham and Sasha, and the trio is happily rolling down the road when they run into Negan’s group of motorcycle warriors that demands the truck.

  As disjointed as this season has seemed so far with long periods of inaction before the next crisis The Walking Dead remains one of my favorite television programs. It’s going to be a long ten weeks until the second half of season six starts on February 14th but until then I can ponder how many of the Alexandria residents will survive until the end of the season (the over under is 13.5) and why Rick didn’t cover himself in zombie guts when the zombies were still outside the gates and he was looking for a way to get to one of the cars outside the walls to lead the zombies away. I’m sure these and many more questions will be answered in the next half season.

Waiting in the wings is super bad guy Negan...

  One question I sure my readers want to know is what happened to my Monday basketball picks. Not only did none of the three road favorites I picked cover, two of them lost outright to drop my season record to 14-7-1 and my mythical winnings to $630. Just like my favorite characters from the Walking Dead I will rebound from Monday’s crisis and look for better days ahead starting with tonight’s picks using the lines as listed on the Yahoo Sports page for entertainment purposes only with no real money wagered.

Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks
Even though the Nets are technically on the 'road' I am going to bank on the fact that Brooklyn has won their last four home games and will bet $110 to win $100 that they will be able to beat the Knicks who have lost four out of five games. As an additional bonus, the Nets are getting three points.

Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons
The Bucks have lost four out of five games and travel to Detroit where the Pistons have won two games of their current four game homestand. I think the Pistons will avenge their blowout loss to the Bucks in Milwaukee two weeks ago and cover the six points and will wager $110 to win $100 on the Pistons.

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