The Good - Fear the Walking Dead Micro-series
One of the best things about season 6 of The Walking Dead are the Fear the Walking Dead Flight 462 micro-series playing once per episode during commercials. Micro-series (small stories usually sponsored by an advertiser) have been around for a while but haven't been used much in the last five or six years. This goes against the current norm of producing a 3-5 minute web-series which tells a story that runs parallel with, but not essential to, the main series, allowing fans access to additional content.
To some degree, the Fear the Walking Dead micro-series has been better than the actual show and we don't yet know any of the characters' motivations, backgrounds or even their names. None of that matters because the story is being told in such a superb way that audiences can quickly grasp what's going on: a passenger on a commercial airliner has been bitten, and is either dead or dying, and while one mysterious lady seems to understand what's happening, the others around her are clueless.
Are these events taking place before or concurrently with the first episode of Fear the Walking Dead? Is the man in the restroom patient zero? Who or what bit him and where did he get bitten? It's assumed they've been in the air awhile (and knowing what we do about the virus), why hasn't he turned yet? Is the zombie still on the plane? There are so many questions fans are eagerly waiting to find the answers to as the season plays out.
The Bad and Annoying - Worthless, Moping Characters
Despite the growing popularity of characters such as Carol, Daryl, Abraham, Michonne and even Aaron, the show's numerous writers have chosen to bore us in season 6 with details and exposition on characters who have very little to do with the overall story. Take Eastman, for example; even though he was an interesting character, he serves no real purpose in the driving the narrative forward in a meaningful way.
Meanwhile, audiences are inundated with Alexandria citizens like Nicholas, Annie, Scott, David, Heath, Ron and others who are given just enough screen time to become zombie food but not enough to be a real part of the story. Denise was an interesting (if forced) addition into Tara's life, but now she's been kidnapped by Alpha Wolf (thanks Morgan) and she means very little to audiences because they know little about her. The show needs to leave all these background characters alone and bring the focus back to the main group.
It's understandable that the citizens of Alexandria would be in shock after the Wolves attacked their town and a swarm of undead are literally pressed against their walls, but at some point they need to stop with all this damn moping about. Instead of taking up arms (which they have a lot of, by the way) and fighting back or finding ways to reinforce their protections, they are content to walk around aimlessly in a daze. Spencer, for all his annoying flaws, was at least trying to help (albeit stupidly) but Father Gabriel adds nothing of interest to the story anymore, yet we see him time and again as part of the story - usually with a look of fear, doubt and guilt on his face. It's time for him and the rest of the 'dead weight' characters to go.
The Bad - No Clear Character Goals
Of all of the things wrong with this season of The Walking Dead, this is probably the biggest reason for most, if not all, of them: not one single character or group of characters has a main objective anymore. Sure, they're all trying to survive the influx of thousands of zombies trying to break through their walls right now, but there needs to be more than just pure survival as a goal. Every season has had one or more goals the characters are (slowly) moving towards:
- Season 1 - Get to the CDC at Atlanta
- Season 2 - Find Carol's daughter/Maintain order at Herschel's farm
- Season 3 - Take/keep the prison for safety/Fend off the Governor
- Season 4 - Find Terminus/Deliver Eugene to D.C.
- Season 5 - Search for Beth/Find Noah's community/Enter Alexandria
- Season 6 - ????
Even though the multiple split narratives from past seasons made it difficult to focus on the larger picture, at least it gave characters individual goals, as well as a main objective for the group in general. Maybe this will change in the back half of the season, but for now, motives need to be revealed as they remain largely unclear. However, now that the "bananas" mid-season finale has aired and Negan was finally revealed during the post-credits scene, it's possible some of these issues will soon be resolved.
What are you enjoying about the The Walking Dead, and what do you wish they would change?