‘The Walking Dead’ Delivers Best Premiere Yet


The wait for Season 6 of AMC’s The Walking Dead has been rather painful.  It was downright torture to stick us with the cliffhanger of Morgan’s return, forcing us to wait half a year for some resolution.  I can never stay mad at them though, especially after tuning in for last night’s premiere.  The Walking Dead nailed it yet again with an intense, nail-biting episode that was perhaps the best season premiere of the series.

The new episode, First Time Again, hit the ground running by showing us the largest herd of walkers we’ve ever seen.  All collected together in a pit with the exits blocked off only by a few large trucks, thousands of biters are just waiting for an opening to continue on their path.  According to Rick, once the walkers broke free, they’d be headed straight towards Alexandria, but Constable Grimes has a plan to redirect them somehow— and it’s something they realize must be done immediately once they see one of the trucks blocking their exit give way.

More from The Walking Dead

After the flash-forward beginning of the episode, we were taken back to the events that directly followed the Season 5 finale when Rick killed Pete in front of everyone.  Throughout the episode, the timeline shifts back and forth to the immediate fallout of Pete’s death and the current dilemma with the herd of walkers.  The scenes from the past were all presented in black and white, which was confusing at first as I thought my television was acting up.  By the end of the episode, however, I really grew to appreciate them as it really helped to differentiate the past from present.  It was also a nice nod to the colorless graphic novels the show is adapted from.

We get a bit of good news here when it’s revealed that Tara has recovered from her injuries, although she then has to be told that Noah was killed because of Nicholas.  Maggie then tells her that he also tried to kill Glenn in the woods, making it baffling as to why Glenn was now working alongside him.  It was all due to Glenn’s penchant for saving people, even “people like that.”  Tara tells Maggie she’ll follow her lead, and then they embrace with a hug.  I can’t help but feel like Tara is developing something for Maggie, based upon this along with the way the former was eyeballing the latter last season.

For what it’s worth, Nicholas has seemed to turn around following Glenn sparing his life after their bloody fight.  He now seems desperate to prove himself and no longer be the coward who gets others killed, despite Glenn’s resistance.  When Heath and Glenn have some trouble clearing out a building of zombies, Nicholas comes in to save them, unable to leave them behind even though Glenn had already sent him away.

Morgan, meanwhile, has already become the new moral compass of the show.  He seems to question all of the difficult choices Rick has been making, such as his insistence on refusing to bury Pete’s corpse.  Rick intends to simply leave the body on the ground after they take it outside of the walls, but Morgan won’t accept that, insisting on digging a hole.  This is when they discover Jessie’s son Ron, who had secretly followed them to find out where they were taking his dad’s body.  It’s also when Rick first sees the giant horde of walkers, all trapped in one place.

Realizing that something must be done, a town meeting takes place where the situation is explained to everyone.  Rick’s plan to deal with it isn’t solid, but it’s the only one on the table— the herd needs to be released and redirected another way.  It’s scary for everyone, but he manages to gather a few volunteers to help him on this dangerous mission.

Not everyone was on board, however.  A native Alexandrian, Carter, doesn’t trust Rick at all and feels he is going to just get everybody killed.  So desperate to stop him, Carter tries to convince a group of others to help him kill Rick.  Poor Eugene overhears the conversation and is nearly shot to death himself, when Rick and Daryl show up with the best possible timing to save his life.  Similar to how Glenn forgave Nicholas, Rick simply let it go and insisted that Carter help them with their plans.  I guess that’s just the world they’re living in now.

For the most part, the plan works out pretty swimmingly.  With Abraham and Sasha in a car, and Daryl Dixon on his bike, they draw the walker mob down another path.  Stray walkers are lured back on track with flares, as well as a taunting Abraham.  The first big hitch came when a now much-bolder Carter heads off alone towards the front of the pack, only to literally get bitten on the face on his way there.  His screams scatter the walkers a bit, but after Rick silences him the only way he knows how, the other survivors use the sounds of gunfire to get things back in order.

More from 1428 Elm

Just when everything seemed to be over, with every little kink in the plan successfully fixed, the worst possible thing happened.  In the distance, somewhere closer to Alexandria, a blaring car horn sounds.  Someone is now deliberately leading all of those biters straight to their home, and after all of that hard work.  I’m betting that this is the work of the Wolves, who found pictures of Alexandria last season and knew what to look for.  They’re likely looking for revenge after being thwarted, and using a car horn is an ironic way of doing so, given that’s how Morgan left them after their encounter.

All in all, it was an incredibly intense and very suspenseful episode.  One thing The Walking Dead has always delivered on has been solid season premieres, and not only did Season 6 follow suit, it turned in the best one since the series premiere.  Every scene was pretty intense, and not only did it follow up on some of the unresolved storylines from last season, such as Morgan’s return, it very quickly placed us in a new horrifying predicament.  This was an amazing episode that surely any fan of the series would have loved, and let’s hope next week’s is just as good.

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.

Next: Sticking to Horror Would Have Helped Dark Castle