Final Thoughts from The Walking Dead Episode "First Time Again"

by StevenHelmer

Thoughts from the season 6 television premiere that first aired October 12, 2015.

Synopsis: Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group are still struggling to fit in with the rest of Alexandria following the tragic events of the community meeting that left Alexandria's founder dead. Alexandria's citizens must get a crash course in zombie apocalypse survival, however, after Rick discovers hundreds of walkers trapped in a quarry a short distance from town and realizes they are about to escape.

Welcome Back, Walkers!

One of my biggest pet peeves about the recent seasons of this show is the way it has become more of a soap opera focusing on various human interactions and less of a show about the zombie apocalypse. I'm still waiting to see if the writers are going to correct that on a long-term basis. But, this season premiere at least attempted to make up for it by having one of the largest zombie herds (and possibly the largest) I've seen on this series.

Rick Is Becoming More Like Shane Every Year

While there were some who weren't big Shane (Jon Bernthal) fans, I personally think he got the raw end of the deal. The only thing he wanted to do was keep his friends and the people he loved safe and he would sometimes cross some moral lines in order to do it. This, by the time his character was killed, obviously took a toll on him. And, I'm starting to see a lot of that when watching Rick.

One scene, in particular, reminded me of Rick's former partner/friend. His increasingly uncomfortable conversation with Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) was eerily similar to some of the conversations Shane would have with Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) when Lori's husband, Rick, wasn't in the room. I can't help but wonder if maybe that relationship will ultimately result in Rick suffering the same fate Shane did.

I Completely Disagree With Rick's Plan for the Walker Herd

This is my personal opinion and please feel free to debate me in the comments section below, but I think Carter (Ethan Embry) had the better idea.

Yes, building up the walls around the quarry would be, at most, a short-term solution. However, it would have given them a little more time. Plus, if done correctly, they could have taken care of the zombie hoard in a much more controlled fashion, releasing and killing a few at a time, thinning the herd and making it much more manageable.

Rick's plan, in comparison, was much more complex with too many things that could (and, ultimately, did) go wrong. Plus, even if his plan was successful and the walker herd was led 20 miles away from Alexandria, there was nothing to prevent the herd from seeing or hearing something and turning around once it was left unattended.

Not to mention, Rick's plan requires a large number of people, leaving Alexandria largely unprotected if something were to happen while they are gone. And, I fully suspect that is the case.

Speaking of Thinning the Herd....

If this show adds any more characters (three more were added last night), they are going to have to start wearing football jerseys so we can keep track of them by their number.

In fact, a good example of this was Carter. My wife and I could not remember who exactly he was or when he was introduced. That, in turn, made it very difficult to really care when he was killed in this episode.

On top of it, you have characters like Eugene (Josh McDermitt), that have outlived their purpose but still get screen time while main characters like Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are still seen but not heard nearly as much. 

I think it's time for the writers to do something about that and kill off a large number of these characters at once.

Is Carol About to Reveal Herself?

So far, Carol (Melissa McBride) has done a good job of fooling those outside of her immediate group, with the exception of the exceptionally observant Morgan (Lennie James). However, I suspect, with the army of walkers now approaching town, she's going to be forced to show people what she's really made of.

If/When that happens, I'm really curious to see how Alexandria reacts. They already don't trust Rick and many of the other group members. If they find out Carol has been lying to them this whole time, it could end up being the final straw.

Final Opinion

As far as season premieres go, I honestly couldn't ask this one to do more than it did. It offered a good transition from the season 5 finale and, ultimately, starts out the season on the right note by remembering the show is, first and foremost, about the zombie apocalypse. I only hope it will build on this rather than fizzle out after a couple of episodes.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 11/21/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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StevenHelmer on 10/13/2015

I probably would be OK with the whole human conflict thing if Rick and his group actually met legitimate resistance. The Governor was a nice nemesis and definitely did his damage. But, every other bad guy they've had has been defeated within a couple episodes.

dustytoes on 10/13/2015

As soon as the Talking Dead commercial announces they will have a "special guest" we know someone is going to die. My guess was Carter because he had an unusually prominent role in this episode. I couldn't remember who he was either!
I thought this season premiere was lacking. And it was such a dumb idea to let the walkers out and think they could lead them all away without a problem, but it is a show, and there needs to be tension and risk.
For the most part, I feel like the zombies have become a nuisance to the main characters rather than a threat, and evil people are the real threat now.

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