Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Walking Dead Reaction: "Start to Finish" (6x08)

Unbelievably, it's time for The Walking Dead's midseason finale. The episode aired on Sunday, leaving us with plenty of jaw-dropping moments, as well as enough loose ends to keep us wondering until February. Here's what we thought.

Jameson C. Smith

The season’s first half has gone by quickly, so it seems a bit weird to have already watched the midseason finale. (And so begins the long wait until February.) For a midseason episode, this was pretty calm.

Deanna’s death was sad but I think they made it suit her character. I also thought there was an interesting parallel to Andrea’s death. Andrea wanted to be the one to make the final call on when her life ended, and Deanna wanted the same thing. Having already been by a friend’s side in a similar situation, Michonne stuck by Deanna’s side as long as possible and tried to reassure her that things would be okay after she was gone. I like how Michonne is learning to hope again, and I think she will be vital in the community’s rebuilding.

I’ve spent most of the show disliking Carl, but since season five, he’s really matured and shown that he is a capable member of the group. I thought he handled the conflict in a pretty smart way, given all that was going on at the same time, but I still think there will be big problems from Ron.

(Still don’t trust him.)

The most nerve-wracking part of the episode was the Carol-Morgan showdown. It’s definitely not over, and I’m really not sure how it’s going to turn out. As for who was most in-control of the situation, I’m inclined to think it was Carol. We’ve seen she can be a good actress if she needs to be, and I think some of the nervousness she displayed was for a purpose. However things turn out, I’m sure a major character will die. *sigh*

Overall, it was an episode with intense moments and a lot of unfinished conflict. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen when the show returns in February!

Other stuff and things:
We finally know for certain who was on the radio, but I wasn’t expecting it to be Eugene.
I was beginning to wonder if Rick even remembered the walker-guts trick. (Then again, it’s incredibly gross so I’d probably try to not to think about it too...)
I expected more characters to die in 608, but it was a nice change to see so many people live through the episode.
I really hope Maggie’s platform doesn’t collapse. She and Glenn need to be reunited! (*Gleggie feels*)
Sam…just don’t. Please don’t.
THAT 6B TEASER. I’m just not ready for all those potential character deaths. How are we supposed to prepare for that?

Sky Destrian

The Walking Dead has a reputation for cliffhangers--especially in their midseason finales. For me, season 4’s mid season finale stands out as the worst thus far, since the Governor broke into the prison and killed Hershel. So going into this week’s episode, I was worried. Usually The Walking Dead uses its midseason finales to kill someone off. I just didn’t know who, and that scared me.

Surprisingly, none of the “main” characters died. Deanna’s death was honestly sad, but I did see it coming. Throughout the whole first half of season 6, Rick has been slowly rising to take her place. I loved every scene with her in it--from her extremely realistic reaction to being bitten (“Well, shit.”) to her decision to go down fighting. I haven’t really cared too much about Deanna either way, but this episode made me one of her biggest fans. RIP, De.

It was good to see Michonne in this episode, too, and I liked her relationship with Deanna. I found the conversation they had about what they wanted to be especially poignant, as well as Deanna’s Latin phrase-- “Someday this pain will be useful to you.” This episode was packed with so many deep thoughts and feelsy lines; it’ll stick around in my head as a really meaningful episode as far as its perspective on humanity and continuing on in the face of adversity.

Morgan and Carol. Okay. There’s no way this is going to end well. I really hate to think of what will happen when they wake up. I’m really concerned about Denise, too. She’s a new addition to the show, but I do like what we’ve seen of her, and I feel super bad for Tara, who had to watch Denise go. The fact that the Wolves’ leader is free obviously doesn’t bode well either. While I applaud Morgan’s desire to believe the best about people, I knew it would come back to bite him in the butt, and I don’t look forward to seeing the ramifications of this.

I feel like I finally learned a little bit more about Sam, the kid Carol terrorized last season who hasn’t come out of his room in quite a few episodes. While I find him slightly annoying (like, honestly, Sam, you’re in the midst of a bunch of walkers, I’m sure whatever you have to tell your mom can wait), his reactions and fear were honestly very genuine and realistic to me. Though seriously, I’m 99% sure he (and Ron, actually) aren’t done causing trouble. That cliffhanger, as simple as it was, is going to eat at me until February.

In the second half of season 6, we get to see the evil Negan, which doesn’t bode well at all. I’m nervous for what's about to happen, especially since everything is already pretty bad without Negan. I think these poor characters just can’t catch a break (though that’s what makes this such an awesome show).

As always, The Walking Dead manages to shock me with its plot twists. TWD returns February 14th--I think it will make a wonderful Valentine’s Day present. Here’s to three months of wondering and waiting. 

Erinn Leach

I am (and always will be) a lover of philosophical debates, and this episode was full of them. I know that there are people who find these conversations to be pointless, but you have to have something that pushes you to carry on besides, "I want to live." Considering the fact that the walkers have invaded Alexandria, they have to cling to that motivation in order to find their way out.

Rick taking over as the leader of this community was inevitable, and so was Deanna's death. I was proud (as disturbing as that may sound) that Deanna sacrificed herself for Rick. It was a bold final decision for her, and it is one that we all know will pay off. I think Tovah Feldshuh did a wonderful job in her role as Deanna, and I was satisfied with the creator's choice to do this gender swap. The comic book character Douglas is her male counterpart, and I found his role in the comics a bit stale. I understand that Deanna wasn't a strong leader when it comes to defending her community against the walkers, but her ideas to keep Alexandria thriving were very valuable.

I really wish that Carol and Morgan would have just put an end to the member of Wolves and not had the power struggle, but you know how television works. Glen and Enid were just watching crap hit the fan, and I get it. Glen could have totally rushed in to save his baby mamma, but Maggie wouldn't have wanted that. It's also a safer move to wait until the initial wave of walkers barge in and spread out, rather that storming in with them and having them turn on you!

Walker guts to protect yourself? What a neat-o idea! This has proven to be one of the most effective ways to disguise yourself from the un-dead time after time. I don't see why the group doesn't slather on the stuff every time they go out!

There are a lot of character story lines slowly coming together and I'm not too worried about our groups' survival. Abraham has an RPG, we're in good hands. Or so I thought...The mid-season premiere video told us that they might not make it home-sweet-home anytime soon. Negan will make the Governor (who was worse in the comics) look like a wanna-be bad guy in the apocalypse. My struggle will be that Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be playing Negan, and I love every role that he plays.

Ashes Tahg

This episode had so much to process!

This season has been so full of loose ends (that's what TWD is made of, though, isn't it?), but it is also so very neatly doing a reminder at just how far our heroes have come.

In the last season, we really saw Rick go haywire. He'd broken his own rule of, "We don't kill people," (it was a dumb rule, really). In this season, we've been allowed to see him expand past his hardened bubble exterior. He's still surviving, yes, but he's learning, I hope, to do it with more tact.

But this season, thus far, has done the best at showing us how far Glenn and Michonne have come from where we first met them.

I've already spoken about Glenn's change, but this, today, is for Michonne.

When we first met Michonne, she was cold and distant. She didn't make friends and was dealing with the crippling grief of having lost those close to her because of the walkers.

She wasn't just a samurai, she was a true rōnin. She had no master/purpose and was just wandering through her life, keeping her dead loved ones chained to her side.

She had softened slowly; she had people again who needed her, and people she, in return, needed as well.

But it wasn't until seasons five and six that I think Michonne has truly became the samurai; she has a purpose now. She is no longer in the mindset of, 'Just survive somehow'. She doesn't want to just survive. She wants a life; she's ready to reclaim the pieces of herself that died when her son and family were killed.

And that's why I think Deanna's message of, "What do you want?" to her was so poignant and important. Michonne has, in a sense, been so selfless through this whole series. She never rooted herself anywhere because she didn't have a place to root. Even if they leave Alexandria, I think just being in a place where life continued even among such tragedy that is the world they live in, it has done Michonne more good than anything else (except maybe Judith) has done. 

During The Talking Dead, Tovah Feldshuh made a very good point that, in the beginning, Maggie was Deanna's apprentice of sorts. It was Maggie who Deanna attempted to take under her wing and teach the ways of Alexandria.

But Maggie has her own story now. And the person who really took in Deanna's thoughts and plans and ways was the silent samurai who stuck close to Rick's side.

And I think it is fitting.

Michonne has always had the ability, if maybe not the courage, to be a leader. She has everything it took except the belief in herself.

And I really hope with Deanna's words being choked through her dying breath, where Deanna handed over her role to Michonne, that our favorite sword-welding heroine realizes all her own potential.

But I hope above all else, that Michonne keeps the fragile new self that she is developing. That she doesn't allow herself to slip back into the rōnin she once was.

"Someday this pain will be useful to you," Deanna told her--one of the last things Deanna said, actually--and I think, I hope, Michonne keeps that close to her and remembers where she came from as a place that she never wants to go again.

What did you think of "Start to Finish"? React with us in the comments!


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