Historically, any episode of The Walking Dead that is directed by Greg Nicotero is a balls to the walls experience wherein at least one character won’t see the end. The season 6 premiere was no exception, but it also featured what seems to be the new Nicotero signature: exercising his artistic muscles. Thankfully, there was no time jump like so many other shows tend to utilize, but instead of telling a linear story, black and white was utilized in order to signify the past. It was all very Wizard of Oz and it was cool for a while. Then it just became irritating and slowed down the pace of what could have been a really intense episode.
“I know this sounds insane. This is an insane world. We have to come for them before they come for us. It’s that simple.”
Starting out in glorious technicolor, Rick is standing at the foot of a quarry that looks like the backside of The Titty Twister in From Dusk Till Dawn. As he rallies his people and explains his insane plan to lure the walkers away, you’re immediately drawn right back into the intensity of the Ricktatorship and it feels like putting on your favorite pair of fat pants. As tends to be the case, our group is forced to jump into action sooner than they had anticipated. While Ethan Embry starts bitching about how they’re not ready, Abraham pulls a Bill O’Reily and yells, “We’ll do it live!” Cue the walker skinning himself as he escapes the quarry only to get an arrow to the head while the horde of walkers starts following the flares. Welcome back TWD! I missed you. I really, really missed you.
“Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” (I do, but Carter clearly doesn’t.)
Here’s what: Daryl is going to lead the walkers out, Sasha and Abraham will join him at the bottom of the hill, Glen, Nicolas and Heath need to take care of the walkers at the tractor place because that is the one place where they need to get ahead of things. Everybody is asked to keep their heads and just keep up. Seeing as how our core group is doing all of the heavy lifting, it seems reasonable enough that this plan could work, but back in black and white land, there is some serious concern over the real world effectiveness of this plan. Carter (Embry) is the loudest naysayer and says to Rick, “We’re just supposed to take your word for it? We’re all supposed to just fall in line behind you?” Uh, duh. You will soon learn what happens to people who question Rick Grimes’ author-it-tay. Sure, Carter has some very valid concerns that will, ultimately, prove to be true, but you just don’t go against the Ricktatorship. Only Daryl is allowed to do that.
Alternating between the black and white sequences and the color ones felt like a lame romantic comedy tool. Add to that the fact that there was a lot of bromance occurring during the black and white and it all just kept taking away from the action of the color sequences. The episode is actually titled “First Time Again” which sounds like a romantic comedy and then we have Rick and Daryl tip toeing around one another’s feelings while Rick and Morgan meet for the “first time again.” UGH. I did enjoy Eugene’s bromance moment with Heath. Really, who doesn’t respect someone with a strong hair game? The most heinous crime that was committed by these black and white sequences, though, was how they slowed down the pace. I respect and appreciate what Nicotero was going for with this strategy of story telling, but it just didn’t work for me.
Our love birds, Rick and Daryl, do seem to be having some trouble seeing eye to eye on how things should be taken care of. While Rick has declared that people outside of Alexandria need to take care of themselves, Daryl isn’t so sure that’s the right attitude. “What you said about us needing to take care of ourselves? Going out and finding more people, that is taking care of ourselves.” The man has a point. He’s also probably just wanting to get out of that wacko gated community.
Step one in trying to gain forgiveness is to admit that you’re wrong and that is exactly what Father Gabriel does when he’s confronted with Deanna sitting in a pool of her husband’s blood. Father Gabriel will put his preacher’s attire back on and he will try to become a part of the group, but no one is having any of it. Curiously, he has not been exiled and that leads me to wonder if he will end up redeeming himself a’la Merle or if he simply has a spectacular death awaiting him.
As Rick declares that there won’t be any killers buried inside the walls of Alexandria, Ron happens to stumble upon this discussion. Just like Olly staring down Jon Snow, Ron has got it out for Rick Grimes. Rick, I suggest you keep your eyes open for traitors inside of Alexandria and I’m not talking about Father Gabriel.
In other frenemy news, Glen has decided to channel the ghost of Hershel and try to make Nicolas a better man. Glen tells Maggie that she is more than welcome to tell everyone that Nicolas took Glen out into the woods with the intention of killing him, but that would just get him exiled. Just in case you want to side with Maggie, there is a moment where Nicolas explains to Heath that he should listen to Glen because he knows what he’s doing, whereas, him and Aiden did not. Glen later promises Nicolas that he will help ensure that he learns how to survive in the wild alongside him. There is a lot of humbleness in this episode and I really like it.
Just when it looks like the walker parade is working quite nicely, a horn sounds and it starts pulling the walkers straight towards Alexandria. Uh oh. Where is that horn coming from and who is behind it? Are the Wolves causing problems or is there a completely new threat this season? What do you think? Tell me on Twitter.
Wait. How long has Dr. Dre been living in Alexandria? Yes, that is Corey Hawkins who played Dre in Straight Outta Compton.
Did anyone else feel like that overhead shot of the quarry with the smoke and flare coming up at the camera was very Ghostbusters? I can just hear Mick Smiley’s “I Believe It’s Magic.”
ICYMI: there was a not so subtle shot of a copy of The Art of Peace sitting next to the map proclaiming that the world needs a Rick Grimes.
Where did they get balloons?
Sure is convenient how many people of Alexandria were on a supply run only to show up at the beginning of this season.
Morgan asking Michonne if she took one of his protein bars was a brilliant moment of levity.
Carol, you are not fooling Morgan at all.
Mr. Embry, I gave you a hard time all episode, but only because I love you. You did an excellent job of screaming like an idiot after that walker bit your cheek off. I’ve never seen Can’t Hardly Wait, or your incarnation of Rusty in the vacation movies, but I did fall in love with you when I saw Cheap Thrills and I will always love you.
Judith is just the cutest little baby this zombie apocalypse has ever seen.