The Walking Dead: 615 “East” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
I’ve found that The Walking Dead suffers with the problem of “staggering episodes” and this has been apparent since Season 2. These episodes drag the entire season down because they are either bland, pointless or simply drag on without much substance minus a couple of important scenes or moments.
Season 6 has been one of the better seasons, that’s for sure, but the second half has had plenty of staggering moments and it is majorly disappointing, especially when you consider how strong the series has been this season.
I think the biggest problem this second half has had is the slow reveal of Negan. The reason I loved Season 3 so much was because it didn’t stagger in the slightest. It got straight to the point by introducing the prison, killing off vital characters, bringing fourth the Governor and inducing a fall-scale war upon our favourite survivors.
Here we have had the complete opposite through being given separate dangers that merged into one massive problem for Alexandria, with the latest one being the impending doom of Negan. But where is Negan? We don’t know. All we do know is he’s meant to be dangerous but won’t be seeing him until the finale next week. It’s always good to have anticipation but too much can ruin the pacing and the overall reveal through the expectation being raised too high and not being satisfied.
We have had a couple of episodes that have delved into the idea of how bad Negan’s group is and the consequences involved. The rest of the episodes have had little to no merit and serve as bland filler episodes. You’re probably wondering why I’m waffling and not talking about “East”. That’s because, despite it being the penultimate episode, it falls under the filler category and is in fact my least favourite episode of the season.
Barely anything happened. It was depressing seeing nothing significant happen until right at the end. This was supposed to be the final build-up and yet all we had to go on was Rick and some of the others out looking for Carol after she abandoned Alexandria.
As for Carol, I have completely lost faith in her. She has always been a character that has wavered in my interest but just as she started to become a badass she had to fall back again and become a character I found to be a liability. My girlfriend tried to explain to me that her existence in Alexandria was making her fall back into the life she knew before the apocalypse, hence her worry that she can no longer tackle the idea of killing when out on the field. This is a fine idea but it does seem pointless, given all Carol has been through. And don’t get me started on her random romance. These are tedious plot-threads which are ruining a once good character.
I also assumed something good would come out of Rick and Morgan being alone together, perhaps some kind of confrontation due to Morgan constantly undermining Rick’s judgement throughout the season. A perfect build-up to nothing. Morgan admits his actions and yet Rick does nothing about them. In fact he seems to question his own morality instead. This all really bugged me and I was really hoping for Morgan to be struck down and taught a lesson. I know Morgan has a point but in this new world his good way of thinking will only get people killed, as it has been proven in the past by Rick.
Daryl has certainly been affected by this season through him becoming furtherly damaged by his emotions and vulnerability. This probably stems from him blaming himself for Beth’s death in Season 5. After Denise’s death in last week’s episode, Daryl wished to pursue Dwight in order to get revenge. Dwight is somewhat confusing me due to his lack of screen- time and explanations. We saw him in the first half of the season presumably trying to escape Negan and now he is half-burnt and working for Negan, attacking Rick’s group without any real reason.
Having wasted episodes telling us nothing and adding little to the on- going narrative we are left with a finale that needs to give us a lot of answers and reveals. Again that is the problem about constant build-up, you have little substance and things are all left till the last moment which easily leads to disappoint. I think we should’ve seen Negan sooner or at least had more battles between Rick’s group and the Saviors.
The only real significance this episode had was a major cliff-hanger which leads us to think that AMC has dared to kill off one of the show’s most popular characters, Daryl. This, to me, is cheap publicity tagged onto an episode that had little going for it.
“East” was a disappointing penultimate episode. It went nowhere spectacular and left me waiting for something shocking to happen, only to be left hanging for yet another week. My biggest worry is the finale will only do the same, build-up to something great only to be told it won’t happen until the next season. If that happens I’ll be worried that we’ll have a repeat of Season 5 in which the drawn-out Terminus arc was concluded within a couple of episodes.
Here’s hoping for some results instead of further promises.