Duration: 41 min (per episode)
The Walking Dead: Season 6 (Blu-ray) – Series Review
Even if it’s a bit overdue, it’s finally time for our yearly appointment to review the latest physical release of The Walking Dead. Last time the band of weary survivors ended up in Alexandria, which proved to be a rather ‘huge’ human settlement, filled with those who think peace and happiness are the key to survival. While their motto has gotten them so far, Rick and the rest of the party can’t stress enough that their new ‘allies’ won’t make it if they don’t man up, and prepare for the worst. Even though they still don’t see the light, this season is truly all about ‘the worst’ that could happen with the settlement.
This season starts off with a tragic event in Alexandria, where the former doctor kills Deanna Monroe’s (Tovah Feldshuh) husband, who then gives the green light to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) to exact a proper punishment to the offender, namely his execution. This is the first step of Alexandria to toughen up, which seems to be the main topic of this season. Truth be told, this might be the only real ‘story element’ of this series, as it’s all about the battle torn group to find a peaceful home to lay their hats, even if they have to take over the city by force. Slowly it’s all about tightening the city’s defenses, but other real problems start to arise soon after, as a massive horde of zombies is piling up in the quarry close to town, meaning they have to lure them elsewhere. This plan will divide the party, and make the town vulnerable to attacks from other survivors with less noble intentions, and as expected, this becomes the case, making it even more clear that the old residents of Alexandria are basically enormous pussies.
The second portion of this season revolves around the ‘Saviors’ which are not really as the name may suggest. This gang-like group is extorting settlements into paying them half they own, and they are slowly becoming a threat to Alexandria as well, and thus Rick decides to take out their strongholds, which might not be his smartest plan.
Overall this series isn’t the fastest one to unfold, but in many ways this season feels slower than the previous season. You’ll be stuck in, and around, Alexandria for the biggest part of this season, while the group encounters the same enemies over and over, learning they are far more numerous than initially expected. Other than that, it feels as if the character development was set on a lower level, as you’ll only see a few of the characters properly (d)evolve, for events that occur during this season, be it a lover’s quarrel that hits a sensitive note to kick you in the face even harder mere moments later, or a character that goes from an extremely passive ‘player’, to the most passionate and fervent zombie-slayer out there.
For the most part, there aren’t that many new additions to the cast, which means that the acting performances remain on par with season 5, nonetheless, there are a few ‘new’ appearances that get their time to shine in this bleak end-of-the-world scenario. Lennie James returns as Morgan Jones, who starred in the earlier episodes of the series, but he has gone from a rather ‘crazy’, somewhat rabid survivor, to a man that does not believe in taking lives anymore, and he roams around only with his fighting stick, with which he takes out his targets as peacefully as possible. Another interesting appearance is the character portrayed by Merritt Weaver, the new doctor of Alexandria. She goes from a hesitant figure to a true member of the group in only a few episodes, perhaps showing the most character development of all characters in this season.
The Blu-ray release of the sixth season comes with a hefty dose of special features, so much even they dedicated an entire disc to it. You’ll be able to wade through lengthy making of features, and many others, such as the ‘in memoriam’ section to honor the characters that left the series this season. Other featurettes involve the new types of zombies introduced during the events of season 6, the bonds between characters and many more. Even though many of these features will not bring that much extra story content to the table, it’s interesting to see how they came up with certain story choices, or how they made the original comic book series come to life. This alone is a hefty ‘bang for your buck’ when opting to purchase this box set.
The Walking Dead: Season 6 might be a bit more bland and slower than the fifth, but it’s still very much worth it. This season clearly serves as a fairly brutal intermezzo, as it’s clear that season 7 will show how powerless the party actually is, after their many successes into getting where they are now. If you’re curious to see how the group manages with their hardships, failing to adjust to a more peaceful existence, then the series will certainly still prove to be a delight.