The Walking Dead: Marathon gives one last hurrah to the Saviors


The Walking Dead is coming back to AMC this weekend. A marathon of every episode from seasons six through the first half of season nine will commence on Saturday night at 10:00 PM ET. It’ll conclude on New Year’s Day just after 8:30 PM ET.

The first episode of The Walking Dead marathon that will air, the season six premiere First Time Again, is as jarring as the overall story has become over the past few seasons. It was a real sign of things to come. We’re dropped into the middle of a typhoon of merging walker herds that would destroy Alexandria for sure.

The Saviors Arc

Season six was the long, foreboding build-up to the introduction of Negan (Jeffery-Dean Morgan). The faction trope that was established in the second half of season four was expanded. Different bands of heroes would contend with walkers in different parts of Alexandria. A lot of the action took place over just a few days.

Then there was the death of Glenn (Stephen Yeun). Except it turns out that he wasn’t dead. Until he got powerful dead in the season seven premiere.

It seemed like the point of season seven was to show us how morally corrupt Negan and his Saviors were. It worked. But then the episodes kept going.

There really wasn’t much of a driving force behind any of the arcs. This was like The Walking Dead’s mystery box season where the individual character journey’s were more important than the story.

All out war took up all of season eight. It became clear that would be the case when there were a few opportunities to end the war that, well, did not end the war. Negan did end up dead to rights, but Rick (Andrew Lincoln) put him in prison. Even if you never picked up a single one of the comics, you knew that prison sentence wouldn’t last forever.

The Expanded Universe

The first of half of season nine basically tied up loose end and created all new ones. Andrew Lincoln bowed out of the series as a regular. But, he’ll reprise the character of Rick in spin off movies that will expand the universe of The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead-Ross Marquand-Courtesy of AMC Networks

We’re at an interesting time in entertainment. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been an undeniable success for a solid decade. DC Comics has been unable to build a cinematic universe of their own, but the sheer number of movies and television shows that they’ve thrown at the project are finally starting to take hold.

Then there are existing franchises like Star Wars and Halloween. Both series came under new ownership which gave them new life. But, both series saw their decades old expanded universes retconned. Instead of taking their franchises in entirely new directions, they recycled arcs from their retconned expanded universes in their own image.

I like where both franchises have gone, but I am in the overwhelming minority on that. (And, no, that does not mean I liked Solo: A Star Wars Story. That took the 40 year old lore of the Kessel Run and told us Han Solo simply used the spacey wacey version of a nitrous tank on the Millennium Falcon. Welp.)

Now we have The Walking Dead Expanded Universe. I get it. Andrew Lincoln was out. This was AMC’s way of holding on to him without a season long commitment. AMC has already begun their universe with Fear The Walking Dead. The Rick Grimes movies are a higher profile way to kick the universe in to gear.

And, if it fails, oh well. It was a nice shot. The Walking Dead was losing Rick already, so they didn’t damage the crown jewel of the franchise. But, out of all of the universes and franchises I mentioned, this is the first one where the big lead has walked away. Marvel has always planned past actor contracts.

DC has retconned actors when their movies/performances/demands bomb. Disney decided we didn’t need Luke Skywalker in a Star Wars film with The Force Awakens (you read that right). So, it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here for The Walking Dead.

Ultimate All-Star Uber Super Mondo Rick

The first half of season nine also, eventually, introduced us to the Whisperers and saw Negan escape custody. I threw all kinds of shade at Rick being able to survive an explosion that should have obliterated him. The suspension of reality got suspended when he survived being thrown hundreds of yards in the air only to land safely on a hard beach.

Now, per, users on Reddit are questioning whether or not the bullet Rick fired could have detonated the dynamite. It did seem like fairly robust dynamite.

Let’s unpack this. Not only can Rick deny the forces of a massive, close-proximity explosion. He can also spark the explosion with his sheer will.

He might even be able to fly. Man, alive! That whole Ash vs Evil Dead theory I had could actually be true.

Related Story. The Walking Dead. light

So, I get this seems like a bunch of negativity. But I really want The Walking Dead to do well. I can recap all these seasons because I’ve been a fan every step of the way. Are parts of the marathon going to seem drawn out and redundant?

Probably. But I still think the episodes are worth watching. And in the second half of season nine can we please get more Ross Marquand? What are we waiting for?

Will you be tuning into The Walking Dead Marathon this weekend? What’s your favorite Savior season? Let’s discuss in the comments!