The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Descriptions of violence and self-harm. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of actor Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, with bandages all over his face
Looking good, Grimes!

Welp, I finally got caught up on the first three episodes of Season 6 of my favorite show that I love to hate, so here it is—the return of The Walking Thread!

When last we left our totally trepid band of zombie slayers, Grimes Gang had made themselves at home in Aarontown, and by "making themselves at home," I obviously mean "introduced them to Grimes' special brand of Patriarchial Authoritarianism." Also: The W-Heads, a violent gang of exiled scoundrels, were looming ominously as the foils for this season.

Let's run through the first two episodes quickly, so we can get to the most recent episode, which has been the focus of MUCH DISCUSSION for REASONS!

The season premiere set out to accomplish two things:

1. To remind us that The Walking Dead is ART—beautiful, meaningful art—which is accomplished via awkwardly splicing together present-day color scenes of Grimes Gang shepherding a mass of zombies out of a quarry because GRIMES SAYS SO and black-and-white Pleasantvillian flashbacks to the hatching of the plan. A plan which is so fucking stupid, because, yes the noisy zombies in the giant pit are attracting other zombies, but those zombies are falling into the pit, so why not just contain the pit and fix the leak, as suggested by Ethan Embry? (Hi, Ethan Embry! I bet you can't hardly wait to be killed by a zombie, amirite?!) The quarry is basically a natural trapping pit of enormous size, which is SO LUCKY, and it seems a lot smarter and easier to secure the potential exits than lead a horde of easily distracted zombies to wherever the fuck Grimes is intent on leading them. "I never settle for smart or easy when MANLY AND COMPLICATED will do!"—Rick Grimes.

2. Reestablish that Grimes is King Patriarch Who Is Always Right and Must Never Be Questioned, which is established by Morgan's first line being "You were right!" and Deanna's first line being "Rick is right!" and Ethan Embry, who dares to question Grimes' infallibility, being killed by a zombie. That's what you get for challenging the Patriarchy, ya jerk!

Episode One ends with the sound of a blaring car horn leading some of the zombies off-track from their march to wevthefuck. WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED SOMETHING WOULD GO WRONG WITH ONE OF GRIMES' SOLID PLANS?

We are left wondering: Who was blowing the horn?! And where are the W-Heads who were clearly being set up as the villains of this season? Which brings us to Episode Two.

This episode takes place back in Aarontown, featuring all the Leftbehindsies who weren't approved by Grimes to help execute his STELLAR PIT PLAN.

Ostensibly, the episode is about the W-Heads invading Aarontown, and their crashed truck whose perished driver leans on its horn, but that's just a backdrop for the REAL story, which is about Morgan's discomfort with Grimes Gang's murdery tendencies. He doesn't want to kill anyone, and he's real judgy about Grimes Gang killing everyone.

Naturally, by the end of the episode, he has to kill someone to save himself—a W-Head who conveniently taunts him about his reluctance to kill him!—thus proving once again that Grimes is right about everything. Literally an entire episode dedicated to humiliating a black man for advocating nonviolence. COOL.

Also in this episode, we catch up with Carl the Hat, who is: 1. Becoming the perfect little patriarch, yelling at Enid, who wants to leave during the W-Heads invasion, that SHE ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP. (She leaves anyway. Good girl!) 2. Suddenly hatless and sporting a haircut that makes him look like he's slowly morphing into Tig Notaro. I rechristen him: Tig Nocarl.

And Merritt Wever as the new doctor! Hi, Merritt Wever! (Merritt Wever was Nurse Zoey on Nurse Jackie, and that is a good show that I did not hate! I highly recommend it!)

As Episode Two ends, shit is fucked up and shit. Grimes' Zombie Relocation Plan is falling apart, Aarontown has barely survived a siege from the W-Heads, Aarontown extras are dropping like flies, and the only thing that ever saves anyone is a willingness to MURDER and FOLLOW GRIMES WITHOUT QUESTION.

We thus arrive at Episode Three, which opens with Grimes, Michonne, Glenn, Douchebag Beta, and assorted Aarontownians racing through the woods toward Aarontown to try to figure out who's blaring the G.D. horn! They are being slowly chased by the distracted faction of the zombie horde, and Grimes barks at Daryl over his walkie-talkie that he and Sasha and Sgt. Red Bull should keep leading the rest of the zombies to WHEREVER IN SLOW MARCH HELL they are supposed to be taking them.

Grimes then breaks off from the group on his own, explaining he's going to get the RV and (MAGICALLY!) redirect the distracted faction before they reach Aarontown. He tells Michonne and Glenn to leave the Aaronvillians in the group behind if they can't keep up, because they're WEAK and DON'T GET WHAT'S IT LIKE OUT HERE and blah blah fart.

Commence maneuvering to try to rescue this shitshow of an unaccountably stupid plan. Grimes Gang are competent and ruthless killers, because they've been in the shit, man. The Aarontownians are hapless rubes, who get picked off. One dude gets bitten in the shoulder, but soldiers on with Michonne and Glenn because he wants to see his wife one more time before he kicks. They swear to get him home.

While Grimes is off doing whatever the shit he's doing with the RV, Michonne, Glenn, and their quickly diminishing lot get trapped inside a pet store by the distracted faction of zombies. Glenn and Douchebag Beta volunteer to go set a feed store on fire to distract the zombies.

Eventually, Michonne and the others make a break for it. They are slowed by a fence, and Michonne barely makes it over. The dude who was bitten in the shoulder gets overrun by zombies, trapped against the fence, and they all STAND THERE AND WATCH HIM SUFFER instead of killing him as he's devoured. WHUT. This show.

Meanwhile, Glenn and Douchebag Beta discover the feed store has already burned down. Oh no! They get trapped in an alley by zombies, and they climb up on a dumpster as the zombies surround them. Douchebag Beta, who's been slowly losing it, puts his gun to his head and kills himself. As his dead body falls over, Glenn is knocked to the ground, directly into the center of the zombie horde.

Glenn screams and blood spatters all over his face, as we are meant to believe that he is being chomped to his demise. (I'll come back to that.)

As Episode Three closes, shit is even more fucked up and shit! Michonne and the two remaining Aarontownians, Heath and Scott, arrive at Aarontown only to find the outlying buildings have been torched. Grimes makes it the RV, only to be besieged by a bunch of W-Heads. He successfully kills them, only to discover the RV engine has failed, as zombies converge on him.


That's where the episode ends. So! Let's go back to the MAJOR OMG MOMENT in the episode, which is Glenn's death. EVERYONE IS SO SAD! NOT GLENN!

I call bullshit. Glenn isn't dead.

We're definitely supposed to think that Glenn is dead! But unless Glenn has anatomy unlike every other human being on earth, and his intestines are actually in his throat, it wasn't Glenn's innards that were being eaten; it was the innards of Douchebag Beta, whose corpse was lying on top of him, after their fall from the top of the dumpster.

The only question is: How will Glenn get away?! Or will he not get away?! I would laugh for ten million years if it turns out I'm right and Glenn has been protected by Douchebag Beta's corpse, only to then be immediately killed in the next episode!

I hope Glenn finds a way to crawl into the dumpster and just live there forever.

I mean, if I had the choice between living in a dumpster, surrounded by the dulcet tones of gurgling zombies and the ceaseless echo of their rotting limbs thrashing against the dumpster's exterior, or having to spend one second of my life obliged to genuflect to the alleged wisdom of Rick Grimes, I would dive in that dumpster faster than Dr. Mulletsworth can volunteer to stay behind on a dangerous mission.

Next week: More of this garbage.

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