Hello Walking Dead – we’ve missed you. Congratulations to the one programme that has made me care enough to watch all five series and make me salivate for the start of series 6. I’ve had relationships end, pets die, moved house and job a few times and throughout it all there’s a lone figure staggering through my life, dishevelled, wounded, kinda smelly and really quite vicious if you let him get close – ‘Grrr arrrgh!‘ to you too my lovely zombie. It’s true love, but I know you only want me for my brains!
Expectations were extremely high for the start of series 6. Woodbury and the prison are far behind them, yet Alexandria still doesn’t feel like home. And Morgan is back! So that’s two British actors (Lennie James and Andrew Lincoln) at the helm of this all-American show! You go British actors! Not just the bad guys in action movies, or the floppy-haired romantic leads any more!
So far episode 1 and 2 have aired, and the reactions on the t’internet seem pretty favourable. But I think the show is still very confused by what kind of story it wants to tell this time around. Is our focus on Rick’s group and their heroics in planning a zombie march to save Alexandria or on the residents themselves, having to adjust to a violent life style they still seem ill-prepared for? Will these two groups ever unify? Do we care enough about the people of Alexandria to worry about them – so far they’ve been cowardly, pathetic and relatively useless.
It feels like these stories have been told already, these moral questions already mused on – what exactly is worth fighting for; to what lengths should you go before you lose sight of your own humanity; who really are the bad guys? Carol versus Morgan in episode 2 and how they dealt with the shocking Wolves attack was a pretty heavy-handed way of asking these questions again. Sad to say I think we answered these in Woodbury with The Governor and earlier still on the farm with Hershel pushing back against the Ricktatorship.
I did like the audacious zombie parade plan, and Rick’s attempts at showing Alexandria they really need to learn to fight. And I liked the Wolves too – a totally unhinged group of maniacs that reminded me of the gangs in Mad Max. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.
I really disliked the use of black and white for the parts of episode 1 that weren’t set ‘present day’. It felt like the bright idea of a 17 year old film studies student (“Oh man, it’s such an original idea!”). It was an unecessary layer put extra distance between the show and the viewer. We know this is nonsense about zombies but let us believe it’s real for 45 minutes out of our week.
I’m also confused about the timings of these episodes, since they’re linked by the noise of the airhorn blaring. Carol has time for a cigarette and a little cry after defeating the Wolves (in typical and fantastic bad-ass style) – shouldn’t the zombie horde have already been upon them? And wouldn’t Morgan have had a little word about the big plan having to go into motion early? It doesn’t seem like something he’d forget, even while knocking Wolves on the head with his broom handle.
Very glad to see Alexandria’s new doctor is Merritt Weaver who played the wonderful Zoey in Nurse Jackie. So far she seems to be playing the same exact character only without the cartoon character scrubs. I hope she’ll have enough screen time to expand her role and show off some acting chops.
Maybe the Wolves will save us? I think the storylines about how humans are even worse than the zombies need a Big Bad Guy for our focus (see The Governor, played by David Morrissey – another Brit!) and a threat like that would be cohesive for the groups. People who have read the comics have mentioned another Big Bad and suggested Patrick Warburton to play him. Now that I’d like to see.
One last thing – thanks to FoxTV UK for finally picking up The Talking Dead, the post-show chat show. It’s really interesting to get a different perspective on the show, and nice to see the actors and other fans enjoying themselves. Makes you feel like slightly less of a zombie-loving freak.