Monday, October 12, 2015

The Walking Dead, Season Six, Episode One: First Time Again

Rick and the group  are facing down a gigantic horde of zombies which are held at bay by tractor trailers.  The plan is to practice what they want to do tomorrow but all that is tossed out of the window when two of the trucks they are using as barriers crumble.  The group scrambles to put the plan into action immediately, with each person taking on their responsibility.  Only Carter is in doubt about what to do and if they can actually pull off their plan   Rick orders the firing of flares into the horde. Zombies manage to push their way through another barrier.

The film now turns to black and white.  Father Gabriel approaches Deanna, and she looks up at Gabriel with tears in her eyes and tells him that he was wrong.

Abraham carries the body of Deanna's husband wrapped up in a sack to prepare for burial.  He puts down the body and takes a stiff drink and then pours some alcohol over the body.  It's really a touching scene.

Jessie sits on the couch holding Sam with Ron by her side.  Ron gets up suddenly and leaves the room despite his mother calling out for him.

In the medical area, Tara is awake when a bloodied Glenn and Nicholas stumble in.  Glenn is pleased to see Tara alive.  Eugene enters, clearly delighted to see Tara awake and comments that it's a good thing he didn't cut his hair. When Eugene continues to stare, Tara asks for Noah to protect her jokingly, not aware that Noah is dead.

Carl is sits next to Enid and she puts her hand on Carl's hand.

Morgan tells Rick that he was right that the threat wasn't over.  Rick suggests that they talk more tomorrow.  Rick explains that he doesn't take chances anymore and Morgan agrees that he shouldn't.

Sasha checks in on a drunk Abraham.

A walker stumbles down the road and gets the drive by treatment.  Rick is still organizing his people as they continue to lead the walkers away from their small settlement.  Rick reminds everyone to keep their heads in the game.

Back in black and white, Darryl is fixing his bike when Rick approaches.  They talk about the guys Morgan met with W's on their head.  Rick says that they need more watch points and that they don't need to go looking for new people anymore.  Darryl is clearly conflicted about Rick's decision and admits that he doesn't agree.  Rick believes that people out there have to take care of themselves just like them and heads to go and release Morgan.

Sasha and Abraham are driving together.  Abraham checks in on how Sasha is doing and she questions if he was so worried, why he got into the car with her. Abraham doesn't answer, so Tara explains that doing something as big as this is living.  Sasha stops her car when they reach the designated spot.

Back to black and white.  Rick finds Morgan going through the paces with his fighting stick.  Rick questions where Morgan learned this and Morgan explains that he learned it after everything.  Rick apologises for having to do this but Morgan says that sometimes you are safer when there is no way out. Morgan adds that they need to get to know each other again.

Eugene is standing by the gate when Heath arrives with a group of people.  Eugene is not anxious to let Heath in because he cannot confirm that Heath actually lives there. Heath doesn't have more patience and explains that the longer Eugene waits to open the gate, the more motivated he is to beat Eugene's ass.  Eugene finally consents and opens the gate. Eugene explains that he just relieving Holly at the gate for now.  Scott and Annie get out of the vehicle and introduce themselves.  Heath asks if anything big happened while they were gone on patrol and Eugene suggests that Heath talk to Deanna to get it from the horses mouth.  Heath starts to walk away and Eugene calls out that it's good to see someone like him and that he fully respects the hair game.

Rick is showing Morgan the community and explains that Reg built the gate.  He tells Morgan that the community people didn't have to survive and have been behind the walls from the start.  Rick is concerned that it's too late for the group to come around and suggests that Morgan talk to Deanna. Rick then notices that two graves are being dug - one for Reg and the other for Porch Dick.  Gabriel tells Rick that he just wanted to help and Rick makes it clear that they are not going to bury killers inside the walls.  Gabriel tells Rick that it's not his decision and Deanna intervenes to support Rick, adding that the trees should have the body. Ron watches the incident from a distance.

Porch dick is now loaded into a trunk by Rick and Morgan.  Rick explains that he shot Porch Dick because Porch Dick killed Reg. Rick makes it clear that he has no sympathy for killers.  It's Morgan who points out that Rick is a killer and so is he. Rick simply closes the lid to the truck.

Back in colour, Rick continues to talk with the group, checking their positions.  There's an RV and a car in front of the gate and Morgan assures Michonne and Rick that it will hold.  Morgan brings up the time that Michonne, Rick and Carl came to see him and asks if Michonne took one of his protein bars.  Really?  They're worried about zombies getting through the gate and Morgan is worried about the protein bar.  Michonne lies and says no, but she did take the bar.

Ron walks under an underpass and climbs up a ravine.  Morgan and Rick are walking and Rick suggests that they just leave Porch Dick there.  Morgan tells Rick that this is not who he is but Rick tells Morgan that he doesn't know him.  Morgan takes a few steps, drops his things and starts digging. The sound of walkers can be heard in the distance.  Rick tells Morgan to stop and listen.  They make their way to a cliff and when they look over it, they see a giant horde of zombies.  Ron is running through the woods and is being chased by zombies.  Fortunately for Ron, he runs into Rick and Morgan, who make quick work of the zombies.

Back in colour, Darryl rides his motorcycle down the street and is followed by the giant horde of zombies.  Tara pulls out in front of Darryl and joins the grim procession.

In black and white, Rick, Morgan and Ron stare at the horde.  Rick questions what Ron was doing out here and Ron explains that he wanted to know where his father was buried.  Rick realises that the community still exists because the walkers which would have threatened it have been blocked into the area that they are facing. When Rick looks over his shoulder, he sees Ron walking away.  Rick tries to tell Ron that he shouldn't be out here because he cannot protect himself, adding that if Ron comes out here he will die and turn into a walker.  Rick demands that Ron return with them now, adding that Ron better not make it hard. Rick walks back with Morgan on his heels and he stops at the place where they dropped Porch Dick's body.  While Ron watches, Morgan and Rick pick up shovels and start digging.

Back in colour, Glenn gets set up for his part of the massive zombie project they are undertaking. Glenn tells Nicholas to let one or two zombies out of the factory at a time so they can kill them. Heath expresses doubt but Nicholas tells Heath that Glenn knows what he is doing.  Nicholas and Glenn manage to pry the door open to the factory but no zombies exit.

Back in black and white, Heath is talking about the zombie blockade and how he has never gone back to the area. Michonne realises that the walkers keep getting drawn in because of the noise.  Rick then talks about the precarious position that they are in because the barricade will fall.  Carol speaks out in support of Rick (note: Carol is still playing meek and mild) and Carter asks about building up the weak spots and offers to try and make it safe. Rick points out that building up the weak spots won't work because the sound the walkers make is drawing more and more walkers everyday. Deanna tells the group that they are going to do what Rick said. Rick starts laying out his plans and Sasha and Abraham offer to help.  Rick says that they are going to have more people on watch from now on and asks for more volunteers.  Michonne is the first to volunteer and Glenn whispers to Maggie that someone needs to watch Michonne because she is important and that people need to see her come back.  Glenn then volunteers and when Gabriel offers to help, Rick immediately says no. Carter again expresses his doubts and asks if they should just fall in line behind Rick, after Rick waved a gun around screaming.  Carter brings up the fact that Rick shot and killed Porch Dick but Deanna calls out enough.  More volunteers start speaking up.  When Nicholas starts to waver, Glenn shakes his head no at him but Nicholas volunteers anyway. Rick questions if Nicholas can handle this and Nicholas explains that they need people.  Rick promises to keep this place safe.  Carter asks to go through the plan again.

In colour, Rick, Morgan and Michonne fire off flares, as Darryl and Sasha continue to lead the zombies.

In black and white, Rick stands over a map and explains to Deanna, Michonne and Carter his plans. Carter however does not believe that the walkers can be drawn away.  Eugene comes up with a suggestion to block the walkers in so that they don't get any strays.  Carter again points out what he perceives to be a hole in Rick's plan.

In colour, Darryl and Tara continue to herd the zombies past the gate as flares go off.  Morgan vigilantly watches the wall for any weakness as the herd begins to brush against the barrier. In the pressure of so many dead bodies, some zombies get crushed against the wall and others get trampled.

In black and white, everyone is working on shoring up the walls.  Darryl approaches Rick and tells him that going out and finding more people is taking care of themselves before walking away.  Carol approaches Rick next and offers him some water.  Carol volunteers to help out saying that Darryl has been teaching her how to shoot.  Rick tells Carol to stay back and get a feel for how people feel now because they have a long way to go with them.  Carol says that they will get there because even though they think Deanna is in charge, Rick is now.

Glenn has come up with a plan to take on the zombies with Heath, while Nicholas stays back.  I don't blame Glenn, I wouldn't entrust my safety to Nicholas.  Glenn tells Nicholas that if things go south, his job is to draw the walkers away and then warn Rick.

Maggie approaches Tara and tells her that Nicholas lured Glenn into the woods and tried to kill him. Maggie then explains that Nicholas is the cause of Noah's death. Maggie brings up what happened at the prison and adds that now Tara is one of the most important people in the world to her. Tara promises to follow Maggie's lead and the two women hug, as Glenn watches with a smile.

In colour, a window in the factory is broken and as the walkers exit, Glenn and Heath start shooting. A walkers get his hands on Heath and Nicholas intervenes.  The men manage to finish off the last of the walkers before moving on.

In black and white, Carol delivers some water to Morgan.  Morgan questions how long Carol has been with Rick and if she is a cop to.  It seems that Morgan has noted that Carol is always watching and always seems ready.  Carol asks for what and Morgan answers to handle things. Carol calls Morgan sweet and walks away.

Sasha continues to drive and when Abraham looks out the window he notes that they have some straggler walkers.  Abraham hops out of the truck and Sasha continues to drive, calling Abraham an idiot.   Abraham runs around in the woods and gets the attention of the walkers before hopping back into the truck with an unimpressed Sasha.  Abraham brings up Reg and Pete and how they died. When Abraham looks in the rear view window, he notes that the zombies are all in line again.  Sasha asks Abraham what he is doing and Abraham says that he is just living just like Sasha.

In black and white, Rick offers his condolences to Deanna about Reg and assures her that she made the right call.  Deanna asks what else and Rick explains that people inside the walls need to be armed and trained.  Two walkers approach and  Rick orders the use of shovels, saying that guns will draw more.  The people of the community panic and Carter asks for help.  Seeing that the community people aren't capable of handling the walkers, Rick, Darryl, Morgan and Michonne step up to take out the zombies. They make short work of the threat and Morgan reminds Rick that he said he didn't take chances anymore.  Rick then turns and stares at Carter.

Eugene is in the pantry and he listens into Carter talking about having to stop Rick.  Carter asks how many more of them have to die before they do something.  Carter makes it clear that they have to kill Rick before he kills them.  Eugene being Eugene, drops the container he is holding, drawing the attention of the community people.  An angry Carter points a gun at Eugene, realising that he heard every word but before he can shoot, Rick, Morgan and Darryl appear in the doorway. Rick questions what is going on and Carter explains that they are taking the community back from Rick. Rick snarks about how he would have set up some look outs before quickly disarming Carter.  Rick points the gun at Carter's head and asks if he really thinks he is going to take the community away from Rick's people.  Carter tells Rick to just kill him and leave the rest of the community people alone.  Rick hands the gun over to Darryl saying that he is good.  Rick tells Carter that he can try to work with them and try to survive.

In colour, the zombies continue to be herded as the group make their way through the woods. Carter notes that Rick's plan is working.  Rick says that they have to finish this and keep the walkers moving. Carters is running through the woods when he gets grabbed by a zombie and bitten.  Carter starts to scream, which draws the zombies off path.

Morgan is sitting on Rick's porch when he is joined by Rick.  Rick tosses Morgan a key and tells him that he should stay with them.  Rick promises to make room for Morgan.  Rick asks Morgan if he wants to hold his daughter and a smiling Morgan says yes, as Michonne watches from a distance. Morgan takes the baby and then sits back down with Rick joining him.  Morgan tells Rick that he is still the same man he met after watching what happened with Carter.  Rick admits that he wanted to kill Carter because it would be easier and so he wouldn't have to worry about what stupid thing Carter would do next. Rick it seems believes that Carter is someone who shouldn't be alive now but he realised that he didn't have to do it and that Carter doesn't get it. Rick determined that someone like that will die no matter what.

Rick pulls the walker off of Carter and kills it.  Rick tries to get a bleeding and screaming Carter to be quiet and when he continues to scream, Rick stabs him in the head.  In the meantime, the group has been firing their guns, which has drawn the zombies back on the road.  Rick is joined by Michonne and Morgan and he quickly tells them to stay on plan.  Morgan looks down at Carter's body and tells Michonne that he knows that's how it is.

In the armory, in black and white, Rick finds Jessie.  Rick says that he is there to get more flares and so Jessie hands him some. Rick explains that he thought it might be best if he let things be and Jessie explains that Ron told her what happened.  Jessie explains that Rick cannot talk to Ron like that and he cannot touch him. Rick defends himself, saying that Ron needed to hear every word he had to say. Jessie tells Rick that Ron will never hear anything he has to say.  Rick answers that Ron needs to know how to handle himself and offers to teach Ron.  Jessie it seems has it handled, having asked Rosita to teach her how to defend herself so that she can teach Ron and Sam.  Jessie tells Rick that she heard what he said and promises to fight.

In colour, the zombies continue to be herded as they are stalked in the woods by Rick and Michonne. Rick finalizes plans with the group.

In black and white, Abraham approaches Sasha and asks her if she is doing this because she wants to die and Tara says no before walking away.

In colour, Tara and Darryl continue to herd the zombies.

In black and white, Rick orders the factory cleared of zombies.  Glenn approaches Nicholas and tells him that he is not ready to be out here now but promises to help Nicholas get ready.  Glenn tells Nicholas that when he is ready, he will have the chance to make it right.

In colour, the zombies continue to move, as the group stalks through the woods silently.

In black and white, Rick gives a pep talk to the group, saying that they have to take out the zombies before the zombies take them out.

In colour, the zombies continue to shamble along. Suddenly, a horn goes off and the zombies start to move off the road.  The group starts to back away from the road.  Michonne and Rick realise that the horn sounds like it is coming from the Alexandria. The camera pans out to show the extent of the massive horn.

Wow....Just wow.  The zombies in this episode were absolutely epic.  I don't think we have seen this kind of zombie count since the group took the prison.  It was bloody, gory and the special effects were awesome, particularly the zombie who lost his face.  Yep, that's got to be the kill of the weak.

There was a lot of back and forth in this episode with the black and white representing the past. Things are really beginning to shift in Alexandria.  Carol is absolutely right, Deanna is the leader in name only.  All Deanna has done since Reg's death is to simply co-sign anything Rick has to say and assure the Alexandrians that they need to follow Rick's lead.  We knew it was coming.  There's no way that Rick could occupy a space in a secondary place unless he decides to become farmer Rick again.  I get why the power transfer is happening, and I know that Rick has been the protagonist from day one but at the same time it stings to see Deanna sidelined like this.  Women leaders in The Walking Dead universe always seem to come across as incompetent when juxtaposed to Rick.

From the beginning, Carter had to be dead man walking.  He dared to challenge the great Rick and ask questions, instead of following blindly.  I did however like Rick's point about how Carter's inexperience would be the death of him.  At this point, the people who are still alive are survivors and have seen some terrible things.  Carter is an innocent and naive because he hasn't been through what Rick has been through.

Morgan is back and he is totally zen.  He is quite different from the frantic, manic Morgan we last saw.  I gotta say though, asking about the protein bar was weird.  Also, why did Michonne choose to lie about this?  I think it's interesting that having been there for a short period of time, Morgan is totally on to Carol.  Now that Morgan has let that slip, you can be sure that Carol will be watching him closely.  Morgan also seems to have a calming effect on Rick. I was really surprised that Rick didn't shoot Carter dead. I think if Morgan hadn't been there, Carter would have died right there. Then there's the burying of Porch Dick.  Rick at that point didn't even see Porch Dick as a person anymore. I think that without Morgan's influence, he would have just dumped the body. It all sounds great right? Here's the problem, when someone becomes the moral compass for the group,y the end up dead. Remember Hershel and Dale?  Considering that The Walking Dead just introduced two new Black males and brought Morgan back, I would say that it is almost certain, someone is going to die soon. My only hope is that it's Gabriel.

Speaking of Gabriel, clearly the group has not forgiven his betrayal.  At this point, nothing he does seems to be right.  I cannot find it in my heart to have sympathy for this cowardly character. With Gabriel however, I wonder if The Walking Dead is going to follow the trajectory of the comics because it's clear that Gabriel will be excluded by the group?

I suppose we have to speak about the other coward Nicholas.  I am very surprised that both Maggie and Glenn are so forgiving of him. Yes, it's true that Tara was once aligned with the Governor but she didn't know what kind of man Philip was or Philip's history with Rick's group.  The comparison feels so wrong. In some ways what happened with Nicholas and to some degree Carters indicates a small shift in the groups way of thinking.  On the road they never would have had time for forgiveness or for giving someone a chance to redeem themselves.  It will be interesting to do what Nicholas does with his second chance other than hero worshiping Glenn.

It was interesting to watch the dynamic between Abraham and Sasha.  It seems that the two have changed places.  Sasha is now content to live and survive, while Abraham clearly isn't sure if he wants to keep going. I wonder what it was about the death of Porch Dick and Reg that put him in this frame of mind? Could it be that he had become to believe that Alexandria was the utopia it first appeared to be?  I hope that we get to see more of Abraham and Sarah interacting.

Anyone else notice that other than Michonne, the women seemed to be left out of the walker march. The only absence which was really explained was Carol.  Once again, gender is rearing its ugly head. I understand why the women from Alexandria didn't engage and why Tara was left out but what about Maggie?  We know that she is a good fighter and has a smart head on her shoulders.

Okay, I think that the season is off to a great start, though it is obvious that once again there are too many characters. The question is who will make it to season seven?  There's still the looming threat of the people with the W carved into their foreheads and we don't know who decided to blow the horn, thus driving the zombies right back to Alexandria. Hmmmm questions, questions.