The Walking Dead: "Start to Finish" (Season 6, Episode 8)

Flabbergasted

A tower collapses on the walls that protect a community from a besieging horde of Walkers. It's pandemonium as the Walkers stream in. You wouldn't think boring would be the word to describe what happens next. And yet here we are.

Everybody just goes into their houses while the Walkers wander around. None of the living humans do much of anything interesting inside. The conflicts that have been set up to date dutifully play out in a manner lacking all inspiration. Then a stupidly cruel coda closes it out.   

The opening scene is ants eating a cookie. I'm not sure what the heck that was all about. It was boring, too, since we followed a run-of-the-mill stream of ants heading to that cookie for a long time. Raise your hand if you've never seen ants forming a line to food before. If not, this prologue was for you.

The opening thirty seconds is nice. The collapsing tower kicks up a cloud of dust that looks for all the world like fog. It gives an extra eerie, unearthly quality to the Walkers passing through it. There's even a sense of momentum building. Then everyone runs to their assigned buildings and the action comes to a standstill.

Group 1: Tara, Rosita and Eugene. They go into a garage. They talk while apathetic Walkers with no sense of initiative whatsoever gently rest their faces against the garage door's windows. Eventually Eugene picks a door lock so they can get into the house. I wasn't on the edge of my seat for that one.

Group 2: Glen and Enid. They have a brief discussion about not giving up, probably the hundredth such conversation on this show. We don't see them again until the end when Glen spots Maggie and eyes her longingly from afar.

Group 3: Maggie. She was cut off by the Walker influx. In one of the few scenes with real tension, she went for a ladder that gets knocked out from under her halfway up. She still manages to climb to isolated safety atop a standing portion of wall. We don't see her again until Glen does.

Group 4: Carol, Morgan and Denise. Carol conveniently trips and bangs her head in the first minute of this episode so she can have a concussion and do nothing until the last five minutes. That's when she faces off against Morgan about the injured Wolf he's got tied up in his basement. And whose injuries Denise the doctor has been treating. To prevent the Wolf from escaping, Morgan and Carol have a stupid fight that allows the Wolf to escape with Denise as his hostage. Yes, he took a hostage outside where the Walker horde is everywhere. Pretty dumb, huh? On the other hand, they do seem an apathetic bunch of Walkers. Group 1 also made a cameo so they could give the escaping Wolf a gun. Don't ask.

Group 5: Rick, Carl, Michonne, Father Gabriel, Deanna, Jessie and her two sons San and Ron. They all went into Jessie's house. Deanna discovered she'd been bitten off screen, so there was a lot of lazy, maudlin farewell crap expended on her. Ron tried to kill Carl in the most half ass, uninteresting way possible. He succeeded only in breaking some windows that allowed Walkers into a garage or a basement or something. This mini-horde was held off with a couch. Yeah, you read that right. The Walkers are totally phoning it in tonight.

Rick decides they need to kill a couple of Walkers, smear their guts over some sheets, and don the resulting cloaks of grossness to slip past the Walkers undetected. They all talk about this ad nauseum while they do it. I don't recall who was manning the couch patrol then. They even put a cloak of grossness over baby Judith although it's obvious to anyone that's ever looked after a baby that they'd be balling their head off over that one.

The gross group slips through the Walkers. And when I say slip, that means at a snail's pace, in keeping with this episode's low energy levels. They even stand around on the porch trading each other knowing looks while even the Walkers look bored. They waste so much time that little Sam finally starts calling to his Mom. As the picture fades out, we hear Walkers start to growl.

Great. So after all this tedious BS, they're promising us to open in 2016 with a ten-year-old getting torn apart before our eyes. All because everyone walked excruciatingly slow in a situation where we all know the baby would be crying to begin with.

There was an epilogue as well. Darrel, Sasha and Abraham ran into some of Negan's guy who threatened to take their stuff. That wasn't great either, but at least inspired some mild curiosity about what comes next.

What a way to peter out this half season. Especially when it started with such promise.             

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