As a history teachers, I find their depiction of human crisis behavior fairly realistic. They experiencing what settled and developed peoples have struggled with since the beginning of "civilization." Sedentary life makes you soft. Outsiders constantly test you and your defenses until you are worn down and overrun.
What makes this show different than any other zombie show/movie is that you can miss an episode and need to go back. The development of key characters happens over time, not just in an episode. In fact, you can reorder some of the episodes and create mini series for key characters or cut them up to make a single character focused movie if you want. Carol, Morgan, The Governor, and others were/are so well developed that even a show like Game of Thrones, which boasts a rather bloated cast, struggles to match it.
Every week when my students come in and ask me if I watched, I use it as a teachable moment in small groups for those that watch. The reviews have slowed down a bit because I've been trying to figure out where it's all going.
S6E2 - The Wolves Attack - Great example of a raid by nomadic/semi-nomadic peoples on the fringe of the city. They have a different philosophy and social structure. Power seems to be decentralized and clan based, but they are unified by their "death is good" mantra. Not really sure what their goal is and they seem to be a hodgepodge of damaged people that came together by chance. They don't seem to have made the collective decision to engage in depravity like Terminus. They seem more like the folks Rick dispatched in season 4. Carol has maintained her skills acquired from nomadic life, but the sedentary people of alexandria are largely helpless.
Parallels: The historic relationship between Chinese dynasties, like the Tang and Song, struggling with nomadic peoples and using them to fight each other. Similar policies existed with the between various steppe pepole and the Assyrians and Persians.
S6E3 - The human memory fails and Glenn takes a tumble, potentially dying in the process. Now, I'm one of those people that thinks he's alive but isn't quite sure how. Nicholas thinks he knows a way our and Glenn, rather than abandoning the weak, tries to save everyone. Things can't go right all the time. Pressure situations and past trauma don't go well for everyone, especially if that pressure is new. Nicholas is probably a good example of how most of us would be if we made it past the first part of societal collapse but had only limited exposure with the horrors of combat. People freeze. That's why military training is so rigorous and repetitive. So you don't have to think, your body knows what to do and does it.
There's a conflict here between morality and survival as well. Rick isn't wrong. Glenn and Michonne would be fine if they abandoned the hurt and weak. Many animals would do the same thing. They choose to ignore instincts and end up in trouble. That is also the tension between Rick and Morgan that causes problems for Rick as he's attacked by the same Wolves Morgan let escape.
Parallels: 20th Century professional soldiers vs. Insurgent militia; Colonial Militia v. British Regulars
S6E4 - Morgan learns peace but is still burdened by past trauma, losing some friends in the process. Poor, Poor goat. Eastman and Tabitha didn't have to die. I think the show would have been better off if they were living somewhere happily until they could join up with our main group somehow. Anyway, this is the closest thing to what I feel like teaching is like. Literally, he teaches him Aikido, but he rehabilitates him and heals his mind. Many of our students have issues. Period. Just because they have done wrong, are a little rough around the edges, and are obstinate doesn't mean they are beyond compassion and possibility. Does Eastman's trust and Morgan' relapse (literally) bite Eastman in the behind? Yeah, but that doesn't mean what he did was purely stupid. He was on his own atonement journey and wanted to do something good with his life. It got him killed, but it could be argued that he wouldn't have truly lived if he didn't follow his code. He took a risked on a damaged person and it didn't pay off for him, but it paid off for the world (maybe).
Parallels: Rehabilitating child soldiers, veterans, felons, victims of various traumas.
S6E5 - The siege is on and people are starting to turn on each other. Leadership questions it's ability to resolve the crisis while others step up to fill that gap. Rations are thin, enemies are inside the gates, and previous expeditions are trapped outside and feared dead. I feel like the show is laying it on pretty thick trying to make it seem like Glenn is dead only trying to make shocking when he turns up alive. She's pregnant and she's behaving recklessly trying to find him. Good on the showrunners for making the zombies in the sewer extra slimy and decayed. She was straight up going to die if she didn't use the buddy system. Rick is even more clearly now in charge where as Deanna and her son, the previous queen and prince, are busy giving grand speeches to quiet the masses while simultaneously embezzling what little food (and booze) they have left.
Parallels: Siege of Carthage, Siege of Ostend, Siege of Kiev
This episode was probably my least favorite of the season so far, but still solid.
S6E1 - A
S6E2 - B+
S6E3 - B
S6E4 - B+
S6E5 - B-
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