Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Walking Dead S6E9 No Way Out Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Trial By Fire

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
The Walking Dead came back from its mid-season break with a bang. The mid-season finale was a letdown, but it seems they saved all of the payoff for the premier. Right from the opening scene events started off tense and didn’t let up until the very end. The RPG’s Abraham found had to come into play, and they did in a big way. Daryl, the constant bad ass, made quick work of Negan’s biker gang. It was a stellar opening. I was expecting Daryl to pull off something, maybe not that, but something. The possibility of Sasha or Abraham getting taken out in the scene seemed probable, maybe even likely, but death would come fast and furious later in the episode.
Almost all of the characters had a trial to overcome tonight. Rick in accepting the Alexandrians. The Alexandrians in proving themselves capable of living in the current walker world. Denise in becoming confident in her skills as a doctor. Gabriel overcoming his fear and taking action. In the end I found it all a little too neat, but the ride to the conclusion was fantastic. Rick now in the final scene has finally accepted everyone in the town and wants to make the place livable. We close one door and problem, only to find Negan and his gang waiting on the other side. I would have preferred more of a complex resolution to some of the problems facing the group, but they wrapped most of them up so we could move on.
Carol and Morgan is the only story which wasn’t resolved from the first half of the season. Their conflict, more than likely, will tie into the overall theme of the show going forward. Compassion or survival? Is all life precious, or should you protect yourself first at any cost and sort out the details later? Carol already stated she should have killed Morgan. Can they survive together, and which philosophy on how to live in the current world will prove correct? It was interesting to see the Wolf protect Denise. Morgan may have had some influence on him. Though it didn’t seem like he did during the episodes building up to this one. Rick, it seems, is going to be more on the side of Morgan moving forward. He wants to build the town and look for more people. With Carl getting hurt and seeing Jessie killed, he is searching for hope. Morgan will play the angel on the shoulder while Carol the devil. Will see how long Rick listens to the voice of mercy before having to go back to protecting at all cost. After watching Sam and Jessie get eaten and the town banding together after he went on a rampage, I’m not sure I could look on the side of hope. Rick after Carl’s injury seems to want to try build civilization with this group again.  
The carnage scene with Sam and Jessie was hard to watch. It was almost shot in a dreamlike sequence, and I almost thought they would pull back to Sam imagining it all. You knew something bad was going to happen with Sam. He just did not have the disposition to survive in the situation presented. Having two kids, that scene hit a little too close to home. Nightmares might be in my future because of some of the images presented tonight. I didn’t see Jessie’s death coming right after Sam, but it was understandable. What didn’t make much sense was Ron trying to kill Carl in the middle of all the mayhem after watching his brother and mom get killed by walkers. I don’t see the character having the capacity to keep his head and pick up a gun in the situation. His hatred for Carl was that strong it superseded his love for his mom and brother? I don’t see it. It would have made more sense for him to try and save his mom and get taken out in the process. It did serve the purpose for the episode and tied up the conflict between the two characters. Death is always a permanent solution, as long you make sure and double tap.
Glenn looked to be on the ropes again tonight. I didn’t think the showrunners would take him out after the first half of the season, but it was close. The ending was brutal and satisfying with everyone taking out zombies and the fire cleansing away the problems. I didn’t care for the shots of everyone hacking away at the very end, but that’s a style choice and it didn’t take anything away from the story overall.
The mid-season premier was a fantastic way to start the second half of the season. This has been one of the more consistent seasons of high quality content, even if they did stretch and cheapen the show with Glenn’s supposed death and salvation. Even though most of the storylines from the previous half of the season where tied up too nicely, I’m not sure of a better way they could have handled the stories. Rick’s acceptance comes a little too quickly after so much resistance, but it is past time for him to be the leader of the whole community.  Hopefully the fast pace of the first episode continues for the entire second half. Not constant action, but more consistent plot development and story movement. Sundays are now back to normal and will be until after Fear the Walking Dead goes on break. 

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