The Walking Dead 6.13-15: “Sometimes you have to”
The Walking Dead Season 6, Episodes 13-15 recap
We’re down to the last episodes before the ninety-minute finale of The Walking Dead, season six, and besides an Obligatory Secondary Character Death and the penultimate episode’s Cliffhanger You Know Won’t Amount To Anything, not a lot happens. Three hours of The Walking Dead amounts to maybe an hour of meaningful storytelling. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating—sixteen episodes is just too much. The Walking Dead should be no more than twelve episodes a year. Ten, ideally, but I’d accept twelve if it would get us tighter, more propulsive storytelling.
Episode 13 could be subtitled “Ladies in a Bottle”, since it’s a bottle episode featuring predominately female characters. We pick up with Maggie and Carol in the hands of Paula (Alicia Witt, once again being better than the part written for her) and a cohort of Saviors. Most of the episode happens in just a couple rooms—thus the bottle episode status—with additional hallways thrown in for relief. This is the kind of filler episode that screams “budget shortfall”, thanks to the limited sets, small cast, and lack of costume changes. In a twelve-episode season, this doesn’t happen at all.
Nothing terribly interesting happens in this episode, except for some conversations about Maggie and her pregnancy, all of which we’ve already had with Lori and Judith, and we get to see Carol’s deteriorating mental and emotional state. Thanks to Morgan, she’s having a crisis of self and no longer wants to kill, even though she can’t stop killing. Seriously, in episode 15 she writes a Dear John letter to Tobin and is like, “I can’t love you because I can’t kill for you,” and then she runs out and kills a bunch of people. If we’re going to take Carol down this (extremely stupid) pacifist route, at least commit to it.
Although they have committed to it with Morgan and it’s ruined his character. In episode 15 we get yet another Rick And Morgan Have Useless Conversations moment when Morgan reiterates his “all life is precious” philosophy and Rick looks at him like he’s crazy. WHICH HE IS. We’ve seen enough of the Saviors to know they’re bad f*cking news, and they are OBVIOUSLY stalking/spying on Rick & Co., so why take chances? It’s f*cking dumb and it’s making Morgan the stupidest, most intolerable person on the show because he represents a wild safety risk no reasonable person in this universe would tolerate. At least Carol recognizes her pacifism has no place in Alexandria and she bugs the f*ck out.
Which, naturally, puts everyone else in danger because no one on The Walking Dead makes good decisions. Daryl goes out after her, which means that while Rick and Morgan are chasing Carol, Glenn, Rosita, and Michonne are chasing Daryl, chasing Carol. Of course people end up captured, and we’re meant to think that Daryl gets shot at the end of the episode, but c’mon. No one is buying that. This show has already burnt that bridge.
These three episodes expose every weakness The Walking Dead has developed over the last few years—the navel-gazey self-important filler, faux-death psyche outs, romantic subplots no one cares about (looking at you, Rosita/Abraham/Sasha), and pointless philosophical debates already hashed out in previous seasons. The only really memorable thing to happen is Eugene biting some guy’s dick in self-defense. Eugene the be-mulleted badass is kind of a fun character.
The only real positive development is that we’re clearly building toward a major character death. No one cares about killing off secondary characters we barely know—although Denise’s death has the sting of Dead Lesbian Syndrome— and constantly faking out the deaths of main characters does more harm than good, but the wind-up is obviously happening. A major character is about to bite the dust, and several key characters are in danger going into the finale. Daryl, Glenn, and Michonne are Savior-bait, and Maggie is at home, having cramps. My money’s on Glenn and/or Maggie, because this show has confused nihilism with drama. But one thing is certain—if they don’t pull the trigger on a main character in the finale, despite all its gory trappings, The Walking Dead will be a show with no balls.