The Walking Dead, Season 6, Episode 6 - It's All About the Walls
I've mentioned recently the lack of focus on a whole host of characters this season. For better or worse, the show responds with an episode solely focused on Daryl (Norman Reedus) and to a lesser extent Sasha (Sonequa Martin) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz).
It's a shame it needed to be, but this week's episode is a kind-of return to form in a season with more highs than lows. Much like the Wolves late last season, a new threat starts to simmer in this episode, and like any smart television show the final scene leaves us on a cliffhanger that may have fooled a lot of people into thinking Glenn still has radio access.
Daryl's transformation has been a highlight in recent seasons, and despite having such little airtime this year, it shows again here. His willingness to trust in others and to come to their aid is nothing short of astounding given the kind of man he used to be, though tonight it actually at one point proves to be a fault in character.
But while he had most of the screen time, Daryl the character didn't get a whole heap of focus. Instead, this was more of a reminder that he is indeed around, and is a major character on the show. His place in the episode is also a way to introduce us to three characters, led by a man who may or may not be comic book character Dwight (Austin Amelio), a man who comic fans will be familiar with but who has a very different introduction into the TV series (a common trend).
But maybe Daryl didn't need a whole lot of inner progression. At this point, he's climbed as far as he can, and I think he's nestled into a pretty comfortable place both in himself as a character and for fans of the show. It might prove a flaw as time goes on, though some predict he could be headed toward a permanent leave of absence from the show at this point.
Here, he is both strong and brave, exhibiting again his willingness to fight for others but also his ability to be cold and threatening. Reedus shows no lack of form despite having so little chance to flex so far this season.
How the two alternating portions of the episode co-relate is a little less sound than each individual story-line. Abraham and Sasha have a chance to really bond, fascinating for the fact that both characters have been on the edge of losing themselves late last season. Sasha seems to have taken a leaf out of Morgan's book, and claims that she's "better now". She certainly seems it, and offers a welcome calmness.
Though, her being lost for words near the end of the episode was odd. Abraham himself continues to show some unhinged characteristics, but he's starting to find himself. Where the two stories start to coexist is in their focus on the much taken-for-granted (in the real world) want for four walls and a roof. But where Daryl's story-line maybe doesn't tackle its themes with any relevance to Daryl himself, Abraham and Sasha perhaps labour on it too excessively.
The back and forth between the two characters is solid enough. Especially when counteracted with Daryl and 'Dwight''s interactions, which bounce around a little too much. This ultimately makes Dwight a rather confusing character, one that at times seems smart but ultimately takes a 180. Amelio's acting is fine, if not as commanding of the screen as he perhaps needed to be with a gun to Daryl's face. Daryl never felt in danger here.
While some things needed to be put on the table for Sasha and Abraham, this episode felt as though it was dragging events out a little. With so many lingering plot points going on in all corners of the Walking Dead world, it's a little hard to keep up with. Now, there's a new question rising.
This is what the show has made a conscious habit of doing. It creates a new threat to overtake the current one when that current one is all said and done. It works and it doesn't. In a story like this, it's not so much about a central conflict and more about the world as it is, and how the characters cope with that world.
If nothing is ready to come and replace the first conflict, we have a show empty of drama outside of its inter-group issues. If a conflict arises out of nowhere at the conclusion of the first, audiences will scratch their heads.
But it feels like the walkers at the walls are less important already, and the now simmering conflict is so vaguely alluded to that it's confusing to consider Dwight's reasoning or his motives. The motivations as a whole in this episode are a bit choppy, making it feel like a lazy interim, albeit still an entertaining one.
The Walking Dead keeps to its word, and the events of this season have so far equated to a horror day for its characters. With only two episodes left in 2015, we can only assume that the walkers will become a serious threat. But let's not get our hopes up on any Glenn-related answers.