UK VOD TV review: The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 3 (Thank You)
Neil Brazier | On 26, Oct 2015
This is a spoiler-free review of Episode 3. Read on for spoilers.
Season 6 continues to be one of the strongest of the entire Walking Dead series yet, as it continues to develop new, yet ultimately the same, ways of sharply pulling you into the drama. It starts with nothing but a black screen and the sound of the air horn echoing in the distance, then someone panting, running. The panic and fear felt by the characters is already real and we are yet to see anything.
Back outside the walls of Alexandria, the horde is moving and it’s going in the wrong direction. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Glenn (Steven Yeun), along with your standard Alexandria fodder, must find a way to stop the herd reaching their home. This is where the show has once again evolved. For a long time, man has been the one to fear – The Governor, the Cannibals, the O’Grady Hospital – yet while the Wolves are near and very dangerous, Season 6 has so far emphasised the threat of the undead.
Perhaps it is due to their numbers being overwhelmingly greater than the living, but the horde that they had so cleverly tried to lead away is now looking like it will be the one to conquer them. Inside an abandoned shop, Michonne has to watch and keep the group calm, as the walkers approach. She, too, has evolved, as much a leader as Rick and, in one scene, able to show diplomacy and authority to earn the respect of others because, of course, the episode sees some standard conflict over how Rick is leading the town. With Alexandria comes an endless supply of food for the undead, which can end predictably, but also allows for the make-up and special effects departments to have some gory fun.
They’ve done a terrific job this week, with so many walkers to deal with and each one of them unique. The kills, both of the dead and the living, are gorgeously executed as flesh is torn and skulls sliced. The only gripe comes in how weak some of the no-name Alexandrians are picked off; we understand the Alexandrian’s aren’t used to this world, we get it, the show doesn’t have to show them not even putting up any effort to survive.
Rick, however, is picking up the slack as usual. Barking orders, he plans to get ahead of the herd and once again drive them off in another direction. But the fearless leader looks to be buckling; the pressures of being in control – just like back at the prison – are taking their toll on him. Unlikely it may be, but it seems to spur him on, never giving up or giving in, although inside cracks are appearing. Rick needs to refocus and re-grip his weapon if he is to survive.
The group is desperately trying to save Alexandria, but at what risk to themselves? Rick exclaims that they’re doing this for those back home – should they stop and go back, they’d be doing it for themselves. But even Rick begins to doubt himself. The aftermath of the episode will have ramifications on what happens back inside the walls, but the threat isn’t over yet. As we opened with fear ripping at our chest, the episode ends with the same feeling, but at least we’re given a chance to breathe as the scene cuts to black.
The Walking Dead Season 6 is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. You can also buy and download it on pay-per-view VOD.
Spoilers and further consideration
– The fact is that people have to die in The Walking Dead to keep the emotion and the drama going. Sometimes that person is someone we’ve only just been introduced to, sometimes it’s a character that’s been around a season and sometimes, just sometimes, it’s one of those who have been around the longest, who we’ve put so much investment and love into, watching them grow and change as the world around them falls apart. Episode 3 will make your world fall apart as Glenn is taken apart by walkers.
– There was huge drama and tension, as both Glenn and Nicholas (Michael Traynor) tried to escape from the herd, eventually being trapped in an ally. There looked to be hope, there were fire escapes leading to rooftops and perhaps they could have shimmied along the tops of the fencing, but it was all too much for Nicholas who has been struggling ever since Glenn spared his life. When he took that bullet, for a moment it was just another Alexandria death – we’d already seen a couple, what was one more? But as Nicholas went down, so did Glenn, into that sea of clawing zombies. When watching the death we thought that perhaps Glenn had fallen under Nicholas’ body, using it as a shield with the now-zombie guts providing that protective smell barrier. Watching again, Nicholas certainly is on top of Glenn as they fall and the shirt that is ripped doesn’t seem to match the one Glenn is wearing. We could argue Glenn will survive this despite the odds, his death not heroic and certainly undeserved for all the good he has done.
– It wasn’t until the music changed tempo that the tears of realisation began to well. It was a genuinely upsetting moment for the series and one that no-one saw coming – it wasn’t even Episode 100. (In the graphic novels, Glenn’s death comes in issue 100.) For so long, the expectation has been that the main players will just survive somehow and whenever they are put in situations where there appears to be no-hope, they will find a way out of it – look at the first episode of Season 5 as a prime example. Therefore, even when there appeared to be no way out for Glenn, nobody expected him not to make it. Rick would save them, they’d be distracted from eating Nicholas, the Wolves would appear, at no point was the thought entertained that this was the end of the road for Glenn… until it was.
– He’s been a favourite character since Rick first heard his voice on the radio back in Atlanta. Always keeping a level head and showing compassion, even if it got him into trouble (remember Terminus?). He was a romantic even in the zombie apocalypse and leaves behind his wife Maggie, who, from her cryptic conversations in the first episode, may or may not be pregnant with his child. Growing as a character from a pizza delivery boy into one of the shows core components, Glenn will be sorely missed.
– With this now shaking the cage that anyone could die at any time, is the time up for Rick? After an incredibly tense and surprising attack from the Wolves, Rick is now trapped in a broken down RV about to be surrounded by walkers. Will he be next?
– Actually, was Rick bitten? As he sprinted along the road, he encountered some walkers. Losing his knife, he ripped a machete out of one of the undead but his hand was injured in the process.
– Anyway, all the death is certainly going to cause some issues if everyone gets back to Alexandria. Already on the cusp of conflict before the quarry, now with both sides having to deal with casualties, both Rick and Deanna’s leadership will be put into question.
– Speaking of people who thankfully haven’t died, there hasn’t been much of Daryl in these opening episodes. Struggling to keep his head over his heart here, we all want him to turn around and head back to Rick.
Photo: Gene Page / AMC