Warning: some zombie gore below.
You (Sometimes) Know What You’re Gonna Get: The Walking Dead
The season six premiere of The Walking Dead opens on the aftermath of sheriff-turned-psycho Rick Grimes making a morally ambiguous decision in the name of protecting his family, while simultaneously sketching together a plan to battle the walkers. Other characters look on in various levels of disbelief or enthusiasm. That is all a pretty good descriptor of… just about every episode! The slight variation season to season is which character is going to get killed this time around. If The Walking Dead is a box of chocolates, you usually know what putrid flavor you’re going to get (sorry, Forrest). And honestly, we mostly tune in just to catch the Zombie Kill of the Week. Speaking of which, the winner is this beauty, which is fantastic:
But despite the show’s predictability, Sunday’s episode hints at what might be the most ambitious anthem to date. The return of Morgan introduces a refreshed perspective to the group, a morally sound voice who has yet to be corrupted by the warped world view and the vicious survivalism of the rest. As such, with each well-intentioned action, Rick inches closer and closer to the role of a villain. After a bloody coup-de-tat of Alexandria, it will be interesting to see just how far Rick slides into total darkness. As was much the intent of Robert Kirkman’s original novels, we don’t exactly know who the hero, or villain, of this story is. Is Rick just a Governor in training? Who will be the last left standing with their morality intact? To survive must you abandon those morals entirely at every turn? With the mysterious Wolves lurking somewhere on the horizon, Rick’s merry band still has a ways to go to discover those answers.
Sunday’s premiere looks intent to dislodge the group from their comfortable suburb; a move I welcome with open severed arm stubs. The Walking Dead is best when Rick and Co. are roaming through the woods, with simple and clear objectives to overcome, and walkers ambushing behind each tree; its at its worst when there are prison cells or farm fences to confine them. Perhaps that is because every time we settle down, we are reminded of that which we would rather ignore: the decisions that led us to this point, the degradation of our humanity. But now, even on the move, our merry band still cannot escape those lingering thoughts. With the group soon to be on quite the run, and the premiere literally doubling down on the zombie count a thousand fold, we may be in for the best season yet. But it really doesn’t matter, because here we are, following Daryl to the bitter end.
(And now, a quick and unnecessary sidebar. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, a crossbow and katana would be cool, but my money is on the Brooklyn Smasher, a specially designed fiberglass baseball bat.These are the things I think about at night. Check out this hilarious demonstration video.
Thank you for your time.)