The Walking Dead: The Complete Sixth Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]

TWD-S6This is it, this is the year we finally meet Negan, and it is a thing of beauty. Season Six is where the series “The Walking Dead” is taken to a whole other level, rebooting itself yet again. No longer is this a series about a bunch of survivors looking for a new home. They’ve found their home. Now they realize they have to fight tooth and nail to protect it. And they have to protect it from a trio of humongous menaces which include a massive horde of the walking dead that threaten to destroy the town Alexandria, a cult of terrorists known as “The Wolves” that raid Alexandria at its weakest, and of course, the Saviors, a group of raiders and nomads that want everything that Alexandria and Rick Grimes have worked for and accomplished. Season six promises us a glimpse in to a larger world, and lo and behold we get it. The series expands in to a much larger set piece and introduces many more characters, a lot of whom have been established fan favorites in the comics.

When we meet Rick Grimes and his group in season six, they’ve settled in to Alexandria and have unwittingly gained a lot of leverage in such a short time. This leaves many of the Alexandrians angry and nervous, especially since town matriarch Deanna has not only entrusted Rick with a lot of the major decision making of the town, but has also handed over a majority of the power to him without influence. Season six is a mostly loyal adaptation of the beginning of Rick and company’s stay in Alexandria, where Rick has to evade all distractions in order to save the town. When he and the group are made abundantly aware of a quarry that’s become a pit for the stray dead, they notice that the overflow of walkers has begun to allow the walkers to pour in to the wilderness. Much to their horror, the walkers are making their way to Alexandria and will bring down the walls.

Rick enacts a risky plan to lure the dead away from the town, and this results in a chain of truly dramatic, catastrophic, and gripping events. In the first half of the season, we see the emergence of enemies, the deaths of bitter rivals, the controversial “death” of one of the main characters, a last grasp for survival among the survivors, and the introduction of the Saviors. Season six brings with it a ton of new surprises and is perhaps one of the most controversial of the entire series, prompting two cliffhangers in its mid-season and season finale that have sparked a ton of fan speculation and pure rage among the fan base and pop culture observers alike. The latter of which features Rick Grimes and his group at their lowest, literally kneeling down in front of their newest nemesis, a man named Negan who sports a phallic barbed wired baseball bat named Lucille. When we meet him, he’s smiling and he’s hell bent on proving to everyone, including the audience, that he is not anyone to be trifled with. Season Six really is one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally tumultuous of the series yet.

Characters evolve, they reach new echelons of development, they come to realizations, some nasty, and some complex, and folks like Carol, Morgan, and Abraham find new dimensions that make them some of the richest individuals of the television mythology. While I’m not a big fan of the consistent cliffhangers leaving us dangling for months on end, “The Walking Dead” is still a strong series with wonderful storytelling, top notch human drama, and some moments of chaos that’ll leave your head spinning. For folks who want to see what Negan is really like in the comic books, AMC features the season finale with the first live action appearance of Negan that’s uncensored. Negan, in the comics, is a man who uses “Fuck” in every other word of every sentence he utters, and he loves using his bat Lucille as a euphemism for his penis. Jeffery Dean Morgan’s introduction as Negan takes on a new dimension with his unleashing of “Fuck,” “Fucking,” “Motherfucker,” “Fuckers,” and “Fucks” in his opening monologue to Rick Grimes and his crew. It’s incredible!

There are seven audio commentaries for select episodes with the cast and crew discussing tone, themes, and various characters. “The Making of The Walking Dead” is an hour long in total, all with sixteen three to five minute featurettes garnering interviews with cast and crew. “In Memoriam” is a fun ten minute tribute to the characters we lost in season six. Don’t see it unless you’ve seen the season first. “601: Out of the Quarry” is an eight minute look at the filming of the humongous sequence in the rock quarry. There’s some interviews with cast and crew, and a look at how they filmed the entire scene.

“Guts and Glory” is a five minute look at the death of a character, and their relationship to Glenn before being eaten and torn apart. “Strength in Bonds” is an eleven minute look at the relationships forged this season. “Negan: Someone to Fear” is a six minute look at the new villain Negan, and how the cast and crew responded to him. “The Face of Death: Iconic Walkers of The Season” is a four minute look at the best and most memorable zombies of the season. Finally, there’s nine minutes of deleted scenes from episodes one, three, five, and seven.