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Published on October 27th, 2015 | by Bean

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The Walking Dead – Season 6 Episode 3 Review “Thank-You”

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WARNING! MASSIVE SPOILERS!!

What will it take for our heroes to learn that they cannot afford to turn the other cheek in this new, hideous world they live in? In my many ramblings on the zombie apocalypse, I have posited the following things ad nauseous;

1. Be useful.

2. Get it done.

3. Move on.

The second point really covers a multitude of sins, and in particular the fact that should you choose to show mercy, know that it will come back and bite you or some other unsuspecting sod in the face. Glenn, sadly, cherished his humanity above his survival, a decision he made clear at last season’s close when he didn’t kill Nicholas, who was in the throes of very definitely trying to kill him. Glenn knew to make that difficult choice would change him at his core, and his values wouldn’t allow it. And I’m sorry to say I told you so, but I called it; that was his own death sentence.

Glenn, a true veteran of The Walking Dead and our scrappy band of buggers, was often quietly at odds with Rick’s new worldview, but had by and large followed the three golden rules, and hence, was still with us. But the fact that nobody listens to Rick, still, when he clearly talks sense 90% of the time, is baffling. Ok, it’s ugly sense. And sure, individuals still need to seem to retain their agency. But what is the purpose of appointing Rick leader only to blatantly flout his guidance at every turn. I thought Season 3 made this abundantly clear – this is not a democracy. Every time he’s disregarded, folk die. In a big way.
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Just to make certain the point is rammed home, Rick organises the plan B with the express caveat to his seconds that ‘let’s face it, these chumps are not all coming out of this alive; save yourselves” – a brutal truth nobody wants to hear. And whaddya know, as soon as Rick leaves Michonne and Glenn in charge of the Alexandria newbs to go on his one-man-sprint-into-doom, dick moves start happening. Yeah, let’s keep the bitten dude alive (literally carrying dead weight around much?) I get it – humanity. Jeeeez. Or, tell ya what, why don’t we get Glitchy Nicholas to lead a mission? ‘Cause his self-esteem needs a boost! Crap plan guys.

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That’s the main thing that grates about “Thank-You” – Michonne, a seasoned survivor, is one of the doofus’ making these bad calls, and I just don’t buy it. Ok, she’s struggled with the horrible moral implications the innumerable life-and-death scenarios regularly face her with. Her excellent chewing out of Heath in the pet shop is a blunt reminder of her character’s extraordinary arc.  “Have you ever had to kill people, ‘cause they’ve killed your friends and they’re comin’ for you next? Have you ever done things that made you afraid of yourself afterward? Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn’t know if it was yours, a walker’s or your friend’s? Huh?! Then you don’t know.”

But she still hasn’t found her internal balance. I can appreciate the human touches scenes like the arm-writing bring in what can otherwise be unrelenting carnage. It’s poignant. But it’s not helping. And on that front, in another people-acting-like-dicks moment why are Michonne and Heath (heretofore known to me as Speccy Dude) standing around watching their mate get eaten. After all these years, it seems The Walking Dead is still insensible to the fact that we don’t need to see all the carnage all the time. And perhaps they could have saved a bullet for him? Whaaaa?

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Glenn’s demise is fitting in a number of ways. Whilst the kamikaze approach to the mission may be signposted with the appearance of Hershel’s watch, there is real pathos in the little things. Poor Glenn, just trying to save everybody (an unachievable goal) goes and lays the pyre for his own funeral. The show does him the honour of the traditional zombie guts and glory death scene (another reason we didn’t need to see similar earlier with dead-man-walking, whatshisname) – or ‘The Dylan Moran’ as I term such genre homages. But it was a catalogue of errors that led them down that alley, so I find it hard to feel the loss. Not to worry – I’m sure Maggie will help with that next week.

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In other news, Darryl also goes on a pointless jaunt to try and make himself feel better. No Darryl – you’re already doing the most useful thing you can leading the herd away, stop indulgently playing the hero. Tsk. Again, not really sold on that motivation overriding Sasha’s very salient point that “You’re really leaving us in the shit here Darryl”. I suppose it’s a mark of the quality of The Walking Dead that these countless shoe-horned moments of narrative absurdity did nothing to truly sully my enjoyment of the hour of television. “Thank-You” was compelling, but in a ‘bloody-piss-up-at-a-brewery’ way.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Ratcheting the tension ’til the last, the show saves Rick’s violent encounter with some ‘W’olves at the rendezvous for the episode’s final minutes. The attack is brief and savage, almost Poe-like, but the assault is punctuated with beats of chilling intensity. Rick reaches into one of the attacker’s pockets and retrieves a jar of (Judith’s?) baby food. Given no time to process this ominous find, a second wave approach and once resolved with a furious barrage of machine-gun fire, and finding the RV’s engine dead, Rick’s face finally registers those emotions so frequently repressed or simply not felt at all; panic, helplessness, genuine fear. An aerial shot affords us the gloomy bigger picture as the horde descends; Rick is surrounded.
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Review by Nina Clark

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Bean

Director at Nina Clark Music / The Musical Walkabout at Nina Clark Music
Bean is the family nickname of Nina Clark, singer, songwriter and professional musician. Nina's many nerdly passions, aside from music, include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and all things Whedon. (re. GoT, she has NOT read the books, so please be cool - no spoilers!)
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