April 1, 2020

The Walking Dead – First Time Again (S06E01)

The Walking Dead.Not only is AMC’s The Walking Dead back, but so am I! They keep knocking me down, and I keep crawling back. I’m not really sure who keeps knocking me down… I suppose just life in general. But just like our band of zombie killers, we can’t let chaos stop us. So after a crazy year, it’s only now that I feel like I’ve found my footing, so it’s back to reviewing that genre of movies and TV we all love so much – the scary stuff!

Last season, I made a pretty strong statement against TWD. There was, what I felt, a lot of sloppy storytelling, and I felt like this was done as a way to remove peripheral characters and make way for (once again) a more central group. And I’m ok with that! I get it – too many people and you get to the point where we don’t know enough about the characters to care about them one way or the other. BUT, they wrote off some really good characters (Bob, Beth, Tyreese, Noah [this one still hurts.]) and kept others around. To make matters worse, I almost feel as if they sacrificed some of these promising characters, kept less promising ones around, and have still given them nothing to do!

So, I drew a line in the sand. Morgan, who is played by the amazing Lennie James, is one of my favorite characters. I love his quiet strength – very different from the brash character Rick has become or the (delightfully) sneaky Carol. My threshold was if Morgan came back only for little snippets at the end or episodes, only to be killed off needlessly, I was done with the show.

Well, the powers-that-be kept Morgan around, and so here I am settling in for Season 6. This will be a shorter recap, since I know I’m running behind. If you’re a fan of the show, you probably already know what happened, so I’ll just give you my take on a few things.

Note: There may be spoilers throughout this review/recap. You may want to stop here and return after watching the episode.

With season 6’s first episode, “First Time Again,” we got a lot of flashbacks – something our 11 year old hates, and he tells us often during an episode like this. To keep things simple, present day was in color, flashbacks in black and white – easy peasy.

Last season, I made it abundantly clear that Tyreese’s death last season sucked ass… big time. He was the calm in the storm. But, if Morgan is going to fill those shoes, I can almost (ALMOST) stomach losing The Big Guy. When Rick and Carl encountered Morgan in their old haunt, he was a mess – forced to kill his wife who had just bitten their son. It seemed as if maybe Morgan was too far gone. And yet, something (we don’t know what) happened and our stoic Morgan is back.

I appreciated the scenes with Morgan and Rick. We got to see just how far these two have come over the past seasons – more so with Rick, but we saw it in them both. I assume if a big clash between these two is going to come, it will come later. Morgan tried to be the voice of reason, and yet the conflict was evident. He might not like it, but he knows Rick is right – usually.

We did get to meet a few of the newbies – Carter (ANNOYING!), Heath (sort of a witty version of The Weeknd), and two other people that I saw but didn’t pay enough attention too.

What did throw The Husband and I off was the pit of walkers! WHOA! We knew that couldn’t be good. The Rictator is back in full force here, and he does NOT want a murderer – the douche, Pete – being buried inside the walls. Can we say hypocrite? Anyway, somehow he and Morgan pull the short straws, and off they go to bury Pete. It is during this outing that the two stumble across a quarry of some sort, filled with – you guessed it! – walkers. And we aren’t just talking a couple dozen, but hundreds, maybe thousands. The mass of walkers is trapped in the quarry by trucks blocking each escape route. And the noise they create is luring more and more dead folks. Rick and Morgan realize that it’s only a matter of time before the horde is able to escape the pit, and guess where the walkers will head? You guessed it… right to Alexandria.

Back within the walls, Rick offers up a solid plan. They need to somehow control the walkers and push them where they want them to go – get them away from the town. Makes sense, right?

Well, Carter (played by Ethan Embry) also kinda makes sense too. How can they be so sure the horde will be controlled? How can they be sure they aren’t just going to lead them right to Alexandria? How can they be sure they won’t all die? I get that we are supposed to see Carter as weak, as a coward, but he made sense. He was rational – in an annoying way.

Well, a little later, we do get to see him trying to form a mutiny against The Rictator. And when Eugene overhears them, and then of course crashes into a shelf, giving away his snooping, and getting a gun pointed at his head, who comes to his rescue? The Rictator. And it is here we do see a bit of Rick’s humanity. Or maybe he was just sparing Carter for later.

Aside, it was hard for me to take Rick seriously throughout this episode with all the bandages plastered on his face. Come on!

In the end, everyone fell in line with Rick’s idea of herding the horde away from Alexandria. The plan had to be sped up due to one of the barricade trucks falling (for no reason i can see – guess it was just zombie erosion). The rest of the plan played out pretty well… OK, minus a few hiccups. It was a brash idea, and a crazy one, but they (sort of) accomplished it.

Unfortunately for him, Carter wasn’t long for Rick’s world, and in the end Rick had to put him down – getting half your face eaten off had to hurt. And we ended this supersized episode with Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham leading the horde away, as we hear a horn being sounded in the distance. Bet that wasn’t in Rick’s plan!

The powers-that-be said that each show will have a cliffhanger of some sort, and the horn was the cliffhanger for me in this episode. Who was blaring it? Anyone with any brains left in Alexandria knows the horn will distract the horde! Can’t be them, right? Will Rick, Michonne, and/or Morgan make it back in time as to keep the zombie conga line heading in the right direction? Will Rick’s bandages fall off?

I don’t know… Stay Tuned for Episode 2.

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Xina

Hello, fellow horror fans! I grew up watching horror, and my love for the genre is still going strong! Slasher films are sort of my secret-well, probably not so secret-obsession, but I'm up for anything-zombies, creature features, B movies, D movies-you name it, I'll give it a shot. Sometimes to the annoyance of my husband. I'm on twitter @Xina143, send me a tweet and tell me what I should watch next!"

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