I’ve been going to Comic-Con for the past 8 years, but in the past 4, I never had a chance to see The Walking Dead panel. Thankfully, this year changed all that. Sitting down in the same room as my favorite survivors and execs along with 7000 people talking about nothing else but zombies was truly wonderful.
The trailer they released was, to be quite honest, very confusing for me to understand the first time ’round. There were so many things happening and going on, too much screaming, too many sideward glances between the characters, the usual. Rewatching it a third and fourth time has led me to the same conclusion: this show is not the same.
Now, I could understand why some of you may read that statement and roll your eyes because we’ve all heard that one before: despite how different each season will be, according to the stars and execs, they each inevitably follows the same pattern of death in the premiere, gang meets a group of people, things are going snazzy until something bad happens, they split off, then the finale has a final showdown and another pivotal death. And there’s probably a third death thrown around in the middle somewhere. No doubt Season 6 will be headed down the same path, but it’s with a much different tone.
The showrunners of The Walking Dead have decided to really focus on something that’s been mentioned briefly, or evident but not totally touched upon: mental illness. We’ve seen characters obviously plagued by the trails of the apocalypse and the tolls it takes: our first dose was Morgan in Season 1, Episode 1. More recently, we saw Sasha dealing with the strains of PTSD within a very controlled and “stable” suburban neighborhood, as she wrestled with losing her brother. And now, Rick is next in line.
The more generic term to call Rick this season, and probably the easiest for most people, is crazy. He’s dealt with a lot, but he’s always remained the leader. With the new trailer, his intentions as a leader, and even as a stable person, are brought into question by Morgan’s arrival. We all knew this was coming following the aftermath of the Season 5 finale, and I remember being pumped about having the juxtaposition between Morgan and Rick uncoil in Season 6. It’s not without clear discussion of what’s actually going on in Rick’s mind, what type of actions he’s willing to go to, and who will support him and even help him.
As we see in the trailer, there’s a clear struggle between parties in Alexandria. It’s a blurry line between savior and murderer for Rick in the eyes of others. Apart from the sole focus on Rick, other people are brought into light. Eden has arrived into Alexandria looking like a bloody mess. Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) is caught between a struggle for leadership. Daryl seems to be isolated at some point from the group, perhaps with the elusive Wolves. And Morgan seems to be wrestling away Rick from the podium, as he reveals more and more of his unstable characteristics to the general audience.
Personally, I think the Rick-Morgan conflict will last maybe 2 episodes, tops. As Scott Gimple said during the panel, the trailers definitely stretch the truth for the audience, so what we’re seeing in the trailer is not a 100% accurate depiction of all that’s going down this season. That being said, the themes of Rick’s mental stability, and the positions of each member of the gang are left to be discovered.
What do you think? Watch the trailer below.