In the sixth season premiere of The Walking Dead, Rick laid out a dangerous but doable plan to dispense with a quarry full of walkers before they broke through the semis that had blocked them in and marched on Alexandria (or attracted a whole lot MORE walkers with their argh’ing). And it went really well.
It went awry. Like, completely and totally, disastrously awry. And if you keep reading, I’ll explain how.
TIME WARP | Although the episode jumped back and forth between the past and present (and, for that matter, stylish black-and-white and color), I’ll try to lay things out for us in linear fashion. Ready? Picking up where the fifth season finale left off, Deanna told Gabriel that he had been wrong about Rick, Eugene was as thrilled to see that Tara had recovered as she was to see that his mullet hadn’t been harmed, Enid held Carl’s hand, Glenn lied about how he and Nicholas had been injured in the woods, and Rick and Morgan began the process of getting to know each other for the “first time again” (the turn of phrase which gave the installment its title). Which wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Although Deanna agreed with Rick that a killer like Pete shouldn’t be buried within the walls — “Let the trees have him,” the widow said — Morgan didn’t believe that his old friend would really just drop the body in the woods. “That’s not who you are,” Morgan insisted. Oh, but it is, Rick countered. Before this particular debate could go on for very long, the men discovered the quarry full of walkers and had to save Ron, who’d followed them to see where (and if) his father was buried. Realizing that Pete’s son had seen and heard everything, Rick then began digging a grave in which to bury the wife beater.
THE BEST DEFENSE | Back in Alexandria, Rick argued that they had to deal with the quarry walkers fast, before their moans and groans attracted an even larger mob of them. His scheme? Since walkers travel in herds, he wanted to free them and lead them away from Alexandria. One local in particular, Carter (Ethan Embry), was vehemently opposed to the idea, and wanted instead to just build up the walls around the community. But Deanna poo-pooed his objections. Among the volunteers for the mission were Abraham, Sasha, Daryl, Gabriel (immediately nixed by Rick), Glenn and, against Glenn’s wishes, Nicholas. Before starting the prep work, Glenn encouraged Maggie to support Deanna, noting that it was important that the Alexandrians see their leader bouncing back from Reg’s death. At the same time as Rick was dealing with Carter, and getting awkwardly reacquainted with Morgan, he was also quietly clashing with Daryl over the benefit of bringing in any more survivors. (Rick was against it; Daryl, for.)
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL | Tara was shocked when Maggie revealed not only that Nicholas had gotten Noah killed but that he’d also tried to murder Glenn. How was Maggie not calling for Nicholas’ exile?!? That was Maggie’s impulse, she admitted. But then she thought about Tara and how close they had become (in spite of Tara’s history with the Governor). Looking at the situation from that perspective, Tara was okay with following Glenn and Maggie’s forgiving lead. Elsewhere, Eugene got caught eavesdropping as Carter tried to convince some fellow Alexandrians that they had to kill Rick and reclaim their community. Carter was just about to put a bullet in Eugene’s beautifully coiffed head when in walked Rick, Daryl and Morgan. Ruh-roh. Easily disarming Carter, Rick lost more points with Morgan by aiming the gun at the mutineer and asking, “Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” Rick seemed to gain back those points, however, when he offered to let Morgan hold Judith and invited him to move in with his family. Later, Rick attempted to explain to Jessie that he’d been keeping his distance to let her deal with her sons in the aftermath of their father’s demise. But she was more interested in telling him never to scold Ron again. Also, she didn’t want Rick to teach her how to use a firearm, she’d already arranged for Rosita to train her.
AND THEY’RE OFF | During a dry run of Rick’s plan, the walkers pushed a semi off a cliff, which left the Alexandrians no choice but to act right then and there. “We’re not ready!” Carter cried. Tough s—, Rick replied. At first, it went fine. Sasha assured Abraham that she had no intention of risking her life by going “buck wild with the breath-impaired,” and Nicholas assured Heath (Corey Hawkins) that if Glenn said the three of them could handle the task of clearing the walkers out of a tractor store, then they could. (And, in fact, they did.) Even Carter had to admit that Rick’s plan was working. Until, all of a sudden, it wasn’t. Carter was bitten in the face by a walker, and if he didn’t stop screaming, he was going to draw the walkers off the path everyone had worked so hard to send them down. Desperate, Rick broke his neck… in front of Morgan and Michonne. Afterward, Rick gave them both orders, which they followed. “I know it’s how it is,” said Morgan. Michonne agreed. But they certainly didn’t seem to mean it. Finally, as the episode drew to a close, it looked like things were back on track. Not perfect — RIP, Carter — but on track. So, of course, that was when a horn began blaring, drawing the walkers from the path and toward the sound. Even worse, the sound was coming from Alexandria!
So, did you like the premiere? Are you Team Rick/Carol or Team Morgan/Daryl/Michonne? Hit the comments!