The Walking Dead Season 6: Cheap Gimmicks & Cliffhangers Ruin Negan’s Arrival & Potential Greatness [Review]

by | Apr 4, 2016

The Walking Dead is an AMC television adaptation from showrunner Scott Gimple pulled from the pages of the hit Image comic series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. The series stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chandler Riggs and Melissa McBride. Season six just concluded and season seven is set for Fall, 2016.

Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, this gritty drama portrays life in the weeks and months following a zombie apocalypse. Led by police officer Rick Grimes, his family and a group of other survivors find themselves constantly on the move in search of a safe and secure home. But the pressure each day to stay alive sends many in the group to the deepest depths of human cruelty, and Rick discovers that the overwhelming fear of the survivors can be more deadly than the zombies walking among them.


100 issues of the Walking Dead have finally been adapted to the small screen as season six draws to a close. Negan, Jesus, Lucille, Dwight, Gregory and more were all finally introduced to the show and fans were treated to some of their favorite and iconic comic moments getting the live-action treatment. I always loved how the Alexandria storyline plays out in the comics. Rick and his group start to realize that they aren’t the only players left in the world. Other communities have been formed and they’ve been functioning for quite some time. By the end of season six, Rick finally gets a much needed dose of reality after assuming he’s the biggest bad-ass around. Not even close buddy and you deserved the wake-up call.

After a slow season premiere, The Walking Dead really amps up the action with an unexpected attack from the Wolves in ep.2, who take Alexandria by surprise while most of the soldiers are outside the walls herding a large group of walkers to a different area. Melissa McBride’s Carol once again gets the chance to go full Rambo and kicks much ass here. The panic and chaos is something to behold and it really ramps how dreadful this post apocalyptic world is by watching how people can do such terrible things to other human beings. If season six is any indication (for REAL this time), zombies are no longer the scariest monsters on Earth.


Morgan’s reintroduction into the series is a nice addition and Lennie James has his own character arc which includes a great flashback episode to show us all how he became the staff-wielding peaceful warrior of today. Some people have issues with Morgan’s “we don’t kill” clause, but I think it’s nice to once again have a moral compass on the show — even if they always wind up dead. Cough Dale, Cough Herschel, Cough Tyreese. I’m having a coughing fit here.

Andrew Lincoln’s Rick has lost his shit and you get these nice little moments where you see how he’s almost becoming a version of what The Governor was back in Season’s 3 and 4 – a power hungry sociopath who kills without thinking twice. I think season six is Lincoln’s best work on the series to date – especially in the finale when we see that look of distress and dread come across his face as he finally meets the leader of The Saviours – Negan.


Jeffrey Dean Morgan gets 10 minutes of screentime but he makes them count. I won’t ruin what happens next, but it’s completely unexpected and if you thought the comics were a guideline – well – the writers under the leadership of Scott Gimple don’t give a shit about what you think. For better – but unfortunately in this case – it’s for the worse. Season six, and the show in general mind you always strikes gold when they follow the source material. Creator Robert Kirkman can argue all he wants that it’s boring to follow the same path that his comic has, but what he put down years ago and what was brought to life by artist Charlie Adlard – is sacred in my eyes. The Walking Dead is one of the greatest comic series of all time and there is no problem with seeing the major notes hit in the same way for television audiences.

Cliffhangers. I feel like the writers figured out that cliffhangers are fun for some reason and they decided to utilize them at nearly every single turn this season… And it backfired. From the dumpster dive with Glenn to the mid-season finale that stops suddenly right in the middle of a suspenseful scene only to be continued months later to show us the chaos that ensues would have been best served as one complete episode. Cliffhanger fail. I’m OK with waiting to see what happens next, but when you end without ANY sense of resolution it can come across as a dick move that transforms into a marketing gimmick and nothing else. Don’t worry assholes, I’ll be watching the show when it comes back – you don’t need to leave me hanging like a bitch.

Michael Traynor as Nicholas and Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

When the show hits, it hits hard and it does it very well. Some of the latter half of season six features the best episodes of the series. Tremendous action and great discoveries of new and frightening enemies lead to moments that easily rival the show’s finest moments of seasons past. But the finale was a bummer… Plain and simple, the writers have failed their audience and I feel like The Walking Dead has sold out their fans by utilizing cheap marketing gimmicks because they’re either a) lazy b) super stoked that they discovered cliffhangers for the first time or c) can’t decide what the hell to do when plotting out a story arc. I’m incredibly depressed at what one of my favorite TV shows has turned into… What a shame. So close to greatness yet so far away.

Rating: [star rating=”3″]


Major Spoiler Alert for the Finale Ahead

If you were anxiously awaiting the introduction of Negan to see who gets murdered – you’ll sadly be experiencing yet another cliffhanger as the camera cuts to black after a first-person view of the audience getting murdered by a barbwire laced baseball bat named Lucille. After a 90 minute extended season six finale, we don’t see who gets killed. Instead – we the audience are murdered in the cheapest moment in Walking Dead history.

I feel like the writers and producers are going to heavily regret this decision later. I don’t know who was high when they came up with this creative choice, but it’s laughably bad. Was it Glenn? Probably not. Was it Daryl? Probably – but you did it off-screen? Really? Fuck off sellout. There’s no coming back from this move. Whether they “show” the murder in the season seven premiere or the aftermath – neither makes sense and that’s a shame. I don’t need to see graphic violence but I do feel that I deserve some answers.


For more of my thoughts on the Negan introduction and past comic vs TV show moments read THIS.