FIRST TIME AGAIN
Okay, so I have been looking forward to the season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead like there was no tomorrow. And, I hate to say it, I was not at all impressed 😦 Don’t get me wrong, there were bits I absolutely loved (like the interaction between Morgan and Rick), but, for me, the flashbacks didn’t work and the black and white made moments that could have been epic (like the first time we got to see the pit’o’walkers) were just kind of washed out. But, let’s wade through what went down in Episode 1 (entitled “First Time Again”) anyway.
Cassidy Frazee: Hey, how are you? Since I was asked to come in and give my thoughts on these episodes, I’m more than happy to jump on the Zombie Train and offer my observations as well. And in keeping with this non-linear episode, I’ll try to color-code my comments, too, so we’ll know if I’m in the present talking about the past, or in the past speaking to the future. Man, I need to get my TARDIS out of the shop . . .
And to echo what Rachel said, this wasn’t my favorite episode, either. After the Season 5 opener, The Walking Dead had to step up their game. And . . . it didn’t happen. In fact, you may say this episode was something of a slow burn–but that doesn’t happen on this show, does it? Unless, of course, it’s the last eight episodes of Season 4, or the last eight episodes of Season 5, or all of Season 2 . . . but I’m nitpicking. Onward.
RT: Welcome back Cassidy! 😀 It was really hard recapping this episode with the time hopping, I agree, a Tardis would be better 😉
*Oh, and for clarity, I will be color coding the recap. Black is for the black and white sequences that were flashbacks and green is for the present day time.*
So, the show opens with the season 5 finale of Rick killing Porch Dick and the fade out is really kind of cool because it totally makes Rick’s head look like a skull.
The pit’o’walkers (that we don’t even know about yet) fails right from the start when the truck that was worrying them further on down the track (which is really in the past even though we haven’t seen it yet) falls off the edge of the road and releases the undead. This leaves Rick’s group — who were just there for a dry run of trying to relocate the walkers — to implement the plan regardless of how many times Carter whines that they’re not ready.
Okay, now as soon as I worked out the plan was to relocate the walkers, I was confused. After all, as you see later on, they have helium for balloons and flare guns and walkie talkies. Why couldn’t they just find some explosives and blow those walkers to smithereens? Then they could keep using the quarry to collect the undead and occasionally blown them all up again, thus keeping Alexandria relatively safe still.
CF: I’ll offer up that they likely didn’t have any explosives, and probably wouldn’t have known how to use them if they found them. Though I’m sure they could have handed over a case of dynamite to Suzie Deathmaker and said, “Figure this out for us, Carol,” and before you know it they would have been quarry blasting the night away. Another thing: as long as it took them to build that carom on the highway, why not build that son of a bitch at the top of the quarry, and angle it so the Walkers fall right back down into the pit?
RT: And that idea is even better than dynamite! (Although, to my credit, I watch a LOT of Mythbusters 😉 )
Flares. Just to remind the audience that they are about to be confused by events.
Say hello to skin peel walker. The easiest way to shed that unwanted skin in a hurry, just squeeze through a tight place and voila! no more skin. And yet this wasn’t the coolest walker of the episode.
Now we get to see how the people of Alexandria are coping after the events of the season 5 finale. Deanna is moping about in her husband’s blood while Father Gabriel lets her know he’s had an epiphany and he was the bad guy, not Rick’s group. And so Suck Up Gabriel is born. He’s not nearly as nice as Suck Up Nicholas who gets teamed with Glenn time and again and is as humble as Gabriel is weak.
Abraham has taken to drinking and keeping company with Sasha because he is on the border of Crazy Rick territory. Sasha, however, seems to have made a full recovery and has zero fucks to give about Abraham.
CF: In the comic Abraham started hooking up with Holly, the girl he saved from the construction project. I have a feeling they’re bringing in the substitute.
In the Anderson household, Porch Dick’s son, Ron, is all moody creep in this episode, slinking around and snooping on just where his dad is going to be buried. Which isn’t in the grounds of Alexandria thanks to Deanna and Rick. So, when Morgan and Rick drive out with Porch Dick’s body, Ron follows. And can totally keep up with a car when he is on foot…
Tara’s okay and everyone is glad to see her, especially Eugene who is that happy it freaks Tara out who then makes a comment about sending Noah in to deal with Eugene. And suddenly it’s all awkward.
Carl and Enid are not in the house. But that’s okay, because this is before Ron follows Rick and Morgan so is hiding in the bushes being creeptastic.
CF: I really did not like the whole, “Murderers get dumped in the woods” vibe, because–I’m gonna says this a lot–it never happened in the comics. They had a funeral for everyone who was killed, and it was done, in part, to make everyone feel better and keep people calm. How can you not know that just dumping someone’s body in the woods isn’t gonna start some shit somewhere?
RT: Exactly my sentiments. Did they not give one single fuck about the family of Porch Dick? Did Rick not once go, hang on, he left behind a wife I’d like to bang? Although, if they buried him in the grounds, no one would have found the pit’ o’ walkers. Except maybe Carl and Enid…
CF: And Carl and Enid not being in the house? I think we’re going to see a lot of that.
We get our first look at the undead parade that I still can’t believe wasn’t fireworks back at the quarry. But here they are, a pit’o’walkers following Daryl on his motorcycle and Sasha and Abraham in the car. Basically, the plan is to lead them 20 miles away. Then leave them to their own devices. Yeah, guys, you should have blown them up.
CF: Because those Walkers are gonna head on off into the sunset and we’d never see them again, right?
RT: Seems legit.
Conflict between Rick and Daryl is introduced here. It seems Rick wants Alexandria to be an exclusive club but Daryl has totally turned from antisocial to “let’s make Alexandria the apocalypse destination for weary travelers” in the time it takes to get from the season 5 finale to now.
We couldn’t have the season 6 premiere without Morgantello making an appearance. So, while he is being a ninja, Rick and him have a little chat about how well Morgan knows Rick. To be honest, I think Morgan might be onto something with his, “I know you Rick” spiel. Perhaps people don’t really change, even though the environment does? Needless to say, Morgan will be Rick’s moral compass until he works out how to be his own moral compass again. When these guys aren’t talking about how much they know Rick, they are talking about how much Alexandria don’t know.
CF: The whole time Morgan’s going, “I know you Rick,” I’m thinking, “Based upon what?” He knew Rick for all of a day or two after he ran off from the hospital, then then about a year later met him for about a half a day, thinking he’d been abandoned, and now he knows him? Dude, this is the same Crazy Rick who a few days earlier was talking about taking the Safe Zone by force and saying, “We’ll grab three of them and tell them we’ll slit their throats.” Morgan would be shitting himself if he’d heard that line! (A line which, by the way, got me laughing because Carol and Daryl are there, and they’re both like totally down with it. Well, you know Carol’s thinking, “I’m not gonna just tell . . .”)
RT: I agree. But, in the apocalypse, I think Morgan is still hanging onto the fact that Rick is the only guy left in the world that knows Morgan. A little bit of Crazy Morgan might still be present I think.
Next we are introduced to Heath, who has been away on a supplies run for a few weeks. Of course Eugene is on the gate only because someone wanted to tinkle and now he won’t let Heath in. Until he does. And then they are all besties until Heath asks if anything big has gone down since he was gone. Um… talk to Deanna dude, shit got REAL.
So Rick, Morgan and Michonne are standing around at a fence they had time to build even though the truck was about to collapse and no one thought to use explosives. Apparently Morgan is still dirty on Michonne about taking his last peanut butter protein bar. Michonne, god bless her soul, lies through her teeth about being the culprit. I mean, the mat did say welcome way back when Morgan was crazy and Michonne was visiting.
CF: First, not only did that wall take time to put up, but back at the start of this little zombie parade–how the hell long did it take to find all those cars needed to build the road funnel? Seriously, you begin doing the math, and a couple of weeks must have past between finding the Zombie Mosh Pit and starting The Grand March. Time that could have been spent sealing the quarry . . . Also, the peanut bar comment was totally Nutty Morgan. I did love that scene.
RT: Oh, I didn’t even think of that! You’re absolutely right. It is looking more and more like a stupid idea. Although, I guess there’s no TV and video games to distract now, guess they need something to do to fill in time?
So Rick and Morgan finally come across the pit’o’walkers for the first time after saving Ron from a group of walkers. After burying Porch Dick, they head back to Alexandria to find out why they weren’t informed of this new threat.
Glenn, Heath and Nicholas are shooting out the window of a business to kill the walkers inside so they don’t distract Daryl’s undead parade. In the process, Nicholas learns to listen to Glenn, suck it up and behave like a member of a group.
There is a meeting in Alexandria about the pit’o’walkers. Turns out it started with 12 campers that turned and they, in turn, made enough noise to attract every walker wandering past. Of course, no one thought there would be a problem. Except now there is according to Rick and if the truck falls, the walkers will march straight on into Alexandria.
Carter tries to reason with Rick, and I kind of wish Rick would listen as Carter is trying to find alternatives that don’t involve spending an unreasonable amount of time building a fence and leading the undead out.
CF: Carter is here doing all the stuff Nicholas did the comic, and given all the damn foreshadowing that’s coming, we also know why he’s here.
Deanna tells them they will follow Rick’s plan and now everyone decides who should do what. On a side note, I think Maggie is pregnant. During everyone sticking their hands up to volunteer, Glenn and Maggie have a conversation in which Glenn tries to get Maggie to stay in Alexandria and look out for Deanna. Maggie then alludes to another important reason to stay behind. Seriously, I think she’s up the duff. And, for comic book fans, we know what that means…
CF: While Preggers Maggie comes a little later in the comic, the show seems to be speeding up events, so this makes sense. And, yes: we know what this means . . .
RT: *Dies a little inside*
The wall used to herd the walkers away from Alexandria seems to be working. Minus those that shamble too fast at it and beat their skulls in. Maybe they should have just gotten them all to hit the wall head on? Still a better idea than a zombie parade.
CF: Two to three weeks they could have spent sealing the quarry. But we know why they’re doing this—
So Morgan totally calls Carol out for being anything but a soccer mom. Carol gets that look on her face that she does right before she bakes or gardens…
CF: He can tell there’s something different about Carol, but he can’t tell Rick’s off the fucking rails. Okay—
So for whatever reason, the walkers are getting fed up with following Daryl and decide to jump ship. It is a perfect way to show the audience just how messed up Abraham is and how much he needs Sasha now because she is proof that you can come back from dark places.
Rick wants more from Deanna than just a zombie parade. He wants everyone in Alexandria armed and dangerous. Deanna completely agrees because she is just Rick’s puppet now as Carol pointed out earlier. Of course, right in the middle of this conversation, walkers turn up and Rick can say “I told you so” after Morgan jumps in to kill them all.
CF: Welcome to The Ricktatorship 2.0, bitches! Respect Ma Authority!
We also get to witness Carter trying to rally an army to kill Rick. Eugene overhears this but then drops a jar. Carter doesn’t believe him when Eugene says he didn’t hear a thing and points a gun at his head. Luckily for Eugene, Rick arrives just in the knick of time and it is Carter that almost gets killed. Rick compromises though when Daryl intervenes and Rick remembers that Michonne might have to smack him again. Instead, he gives Carter a chance to redeem himself. Which means when it flashes back to present time…
CF: Just a point between the show and comic again. In the comic this was all Nicholas’ doing, and the dude who walked in on the scheming was Glenn. The show really can’t use Glenn for these situations any more because he’s really become too much of a bad ass in his own right, and he would have simply taken the pistol from Nicholas–or Carter–and shoved it up their ass.
RT: I really love any scene that has Eugene in it. I know he should come off as pathetic, but he just makes the whole scene hilarious instead.
We see Carter admitting Rick was right about everything and then gets bitten by a walker who has tried himself to a tree with his own entrails. Carter screams like a girl which encourages the walkers parading by to change direction and Rick is encouraged to push a knife through Carter’s skull.
CF: Ethan Embry has said many time The Walking Dead is one of his favorite shows, and in retrospect it seems like the role of Carter was written as some kind of meta fan service. This could have been done with one of the other existing actors, and really: this whole episode could have been done so much differently. And there was so much foreshadowing that he was going to die, you knew he was going down at some point.
RT: Completely agree. It was certainly odd to have a new character arrive and get a whole story arc when there are others floating around we have already seen before. Although, watching Ethan Embry hardcore fan crush on Talking Dead was kind of worth it.
So Morgan is oiling his stick and it totally isn’t even an euphemism for something else, he is actually oiling his stick. This is when Rick asks Morgan to move in with him and I am wondering if AMC realized what they just did there.
CF: No, not homoerotic at all. Why do you ask?
RT: Bet it made the Richonne shippers sad. I am so loving the vibe coming off the Rick and Morgan relationship though. Seriously, it was the highlight of this episode for me. Oh, and the hair jokes.
Jessie and Rick have a run in and it is as awkward as you would expect it would be between Rick and the wife of the man he killed in the season 5 finale.
Now is when all the backstory is explained about the plan except by now the audience has already worked it out and I am still trying to work out why they didn’t use dynamite.
Then Rick gives a speech a speech that sounds suspiciously like the writers ripped off Strand’s speech from the season finale of Fear The Walking Dead.
CF: But that couldn’t possibly happen because Fear The Walking Dead sucks, right?
RT: Haha! So sucky that it managed to consistently pull in half of the current Walking Dead viewership in its first season. I think the haters are just louder than the lovers.
So the walkers are all doing as they are told and following in line. Until someone starts in with a mother fucking horn. And guess where it is coming from? Alexandria. Which means either something is wrong in Alexandria or someone *cough* the Wolves *cough* is trying to lure the walkers into Alexandria.
So what did you think of Episode 1 of the season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead? Let me know in the comments below!
CF: We know from following the comic that–SPOILERS!–a herd is drawn to Alexandria because of a shoot out that occurs between the Safe Zone and people who are marginally aligned with the new bad guys coming up. So we need a lot of zombies, and–oh hey, look, here’s a quarry full of Walkers we can turn loose. I’m really sort of surprised that more people didn’t call out Rick on his batshit insane plan, but as he says, it’s an insane world, so go with the flow.
And as far as next week goes–Carol told Carl to stay in the house. And the odds that Carl stays in the house are . . ?
RT: But Carol told him to stay in the house. He just might do what he’s told. 😉 Or have to eat cookies afterwards…
[Images credits: AMC/Gene Page]
You can view Cassidy’s video recap on Episode 2 here.
- The Walking Dead Season 5 FINALE Recap – Episode 16: Conquer (racheltsoumbakos.wordpress.com)