Saturday, February 20, 2016

Walking Dead S6.9 interpretation and reaction

Over the last few years I've steered away from commenting about movies, TV shows or music regardless of my personal affection or disdain for any of the applicable medias. For one day and one day only I think, I'm going to break that trend.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a big fan of TWD. If you're like my parents and aren't too connected with popular culture or you don't have cable so you haven't seen it then you may not know what that is. It stands for The Walking Dead. And yes I know there are people who may have seen it and didn't like it, but for the time being I'm just going to disregard ya'll.

It's a TV show that airs on Sunday nights on AMC for 16 weeks a year, not counting the many days during the year that AMC goes through Walking Dead marathon. And that does happen several times a year. It's one of the most popular shows on TV.

But maybe you're asking yourself why I'm breaking a streak that goes back many years, to the days of the old name for this blog?
Well, the second half of the sixth season just premiered last Sunday. I would have gotten to this earlier but with my new work schedule and the fact that I'm putting an emphasis on a new blog that I started last weekend, I just haven't had time. The episode was just too good to not do a write up about. But more on that after the break.

Please note, there will be spoilers if you haven't seen the episode yet.
Before I get into the meat of the post I'm going to answer a question I've been asked a few times. That is, why do you like the show so much?

Beyond the compelling nature of the story itself - people living in a world filled with reanimated corpses. As a result of that, it's violent. Like really violent some times. But that is part of the appeal.
It's a story of survival and as I see it, it's a graphic parable. That's a bit of a misnomer because of the dictionary definition for parable.

1. a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth,
religious principle, or moral lesson.
2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use 
of comparison, analogy, or the like.

But I think that calling it a graphic parable is fitting anyway. We live in a world filled with the walking dead. Those who are alive but don't know Jesus. Through various means they seek to destroy those of us who are alive, which is exactly what the dead seek to do in the show/books.
More to the point, amongst the living there are frequent choices to fight each other instead of banding together, becoming stronger and surviving. Many of the most compelling parts of the story are when the living are in conflict with each other. Unlike the people of TWD, the people of the Church are already one body, just often terrible at being one unit.
We can be wounded by each other and by the dead but we cannot be killed by them, another difference, no one is guaranteed to live all the days of their lives. We have eternity with God as a guarantee of salvation.
The idea falls short with the fact that we are able to make a difference in bringing the dead to life, while the dead in the show and books cannot be brought back.
It is also of note that the books and show are done by people of loose morals, at best, so there is content that is not acceptable of those alive in Christ.
Instead of just dismissing it for those reasons I've chosen to see some positive angles and just enjoy the exceptional work that it is.

Now on to the episode, I'm not going into all the details cause there are so many separate story lines in the episode but I'm going to hit the best parts. Again, there will be spoilers so for those of you who haven't seen it but are fans, just stop. That's 2 warnings, there will be no others.

As the episode began, three of the stars of the show were stopped by a heavily armed biker gang. The gang members told them to get out of the truck they were driving. After complying, the gang's leader took the handguns from each of them then asked for the rest of what they had in the truck. After a short back and forth, one of the biker's took Daryl and went to the back of the truck to start searching it. Simultaneously, the gang leader started threatening Abraham and Sasha. Right about the time that the leader was about to shoot them for not listening to him there was an explosion and next thing we see is Daryl walking up with a rocket launcher (which had been found in one of the last episodes before the midseason break).
I was hoping the rocket launcher would come into play during the episode but that usage was a faint pipe dream. It was an unbelievably great five minutes to start the show. The twist that I only heard of after was that in the distance behind the biker gang a car drove into view. Possibly an oversight and error or potentially the first hint at Negan's proximity to the story of the show already.
After the intro and a commercial break the show flashed back to Alexandria. Rick and Co. were making there way through the herd that had gotten into the walls of the city but then came to the conclusion that there plan wouldn't work. They gave Judith to Pastor Gabriel to take to the church. They wanted Jessie's son to go as well but he refused. They made a plan to head for the quarry to get vehicles to get cars and lead the walkers away. While on the way, Sam (the son) started thinking of a warning that Carol had said to him and he froze up followed by starting to cry which resulted in getting torn apart by the dead. Jessie didn't let go of him (they were all holding hands) and then began crying herself which lead to her getting attacked by the walkers. Another lost love for Rick but before he could really take any time to process it, he had to cut her hand off so that Carl wouldn't get dragged into the fray of death.
After doing so Rick looked up and saw Ron (Jessie's other said, who already blamed Rick for the dead of his dad) point a gun at him. Before he could pull the trigger Michonne ran him through with her Katana but he got a random shot off before going to the ground and being consumed.
As soon as Sam froze, I sat up and was on the edge of my seat. I had heard of a sequence from the book where a mother and son went down a certain way but didn't know if they would kill another of Rick's loves off so quickly. Well they did, exactly as it was described in the book, though probably with different character names. I didn't think they would go there, then they turned up even higher.
As I mentioned, Ron fired a single shot and after a few seconds we see what he hit. Carl, Rick's son. The shot hit him on the right side of his head, taking out his eye.
At that point I was wide eyed and couldn't believe it. Sure they had the Governor lose his eye but this was way more dramatic. I didn't think they would go there. The fact that they did means that they'll go to any length they want to make the show as compelling as possible. AMC isn't taking their cash cow for granted!
Well, Rick picked Carl up and with Michonne clearing the way they ran to the infirmary. After setting him down on the operating table Rick pulled out his hatchet and went on a zombie rampage. He single handedly killed 6 - 8 immediately then some of the other residents grabbed weapons and joined in. Over time most of the residents joined in the fight and they just all went to work getting their sanctuary back.
It was just such a cool sequence. After all of Rick's hemming and hawing about us and them in the community it was just the best way for the division to be taken down. Based on the monologue that Rick had at the end of the episode it seems like it'll last but it was a great spring board into the rest of the season and beyond.
There were a bunch of different details that I skipped and I would recommend people to check it out, if you haven't already but consider yourself a fan cause it really was the best episode yet. Top 5 at worst. I'm struggling for words to express how good of an episode it was but it was just SO good!!