Typically we always get our good dose of walkers during the premieres of The Walking Dead. Season 6’s premiere went beyond our expectations, with over 700 billion walkers (I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate number).
In the return of our favorite zombie drama, all the Alexandrians adjust to life after the deaths of Reg and Pete. But after a discovery that Rick and Morgan make after going beyond the border to bury Pete’s body, they find a canyon filled with the 700 billion aforementioned walkers, who are all slowly but surely going to make it out of the canyon and towards them. It’s safe to say that things are quickly going to shit.
The episode was largely split into two parts, black-and-white representing the past (but honestly it was more sepia) and color representing the present. I’ll be recapping the rest of the episode as such:
Rick and Morgan, though happily reunited, are quickly coming to odds with each other. The first conflict? A debate over burying vs not burying Pete’s body (Deanna did take Rick’s side in not burying Pete next to her husband within the walls). During this spat they discover the aforementioned canyon with the aforementioned 700 billion walkers, along with a special surprise: Ron, Pete’s son. Spying on Rick and Morgan to see where his dad was being buried, he almost gets himself bit and is saved by Rick. I interpret this scene as Rick wanting to kinda somehow replace Pete as a fatherly figure, and so he gets mad at Ron for not defending himself. As the three finish surveying the scene and return back to Pete’s body, Rick rallies and helps Morgan bury the body.
Deanna holds a house meeting, after Rick has alerted the main leaders of the impending walker disaster. Rick has developed a master plan, and in rallying the people of Alexandria gets the support from his gang: Sasha, Abraham, Glenn, and Daryl (and a quick shutdown of Gabriel). He does find conflict in Carter, a continuation from last season. Carter even has the audacity and frankly impressive ability to bring up so much awkward in a single room by mentioning Rick’s past actions in Season 5 of “waving the gun around” as reasons why no one should trust him. Deanna quickly shoots down Carter’s annoying opinion and expresses her support for Rick’s plan.
Carter is still unimpressed, however. In a wide open space of one of the main houses, he holds a “riot meeting” of sorts: himself and four other disinterested native-Alexandrians. He explains his plan: kill Rick before Rick kills anyone else. Little does he know that Eugene is around the corner dropping eaves. Unfortunately for Eugene, he’s not as stealthy as he’d like and he soon reveals his presence to Carter. Just as Carter has him pinned down and is ready to shoot Eugene, Rick, Michonne, Daryl, and Morgan burst right in and stop the mess. Rick quickly overtakes Carter and pins him down with the gun, and Carter exclaims that it’s only his wrongdoing and to only shoot him. Daryl says “Rick” which in his succinct dictionary means “don’t do this dude”. Rick, who clearly has things under control hands back the gun, albeit still under the disapproving glance of Morgan.
Throughout the next couple of days, volunteers from Alexandria and Rick’s gang get started in creating Rick’s master plan of a) driving the walkers out of the canyon but also b) driving the walkers away from Alexandria. They’ve set up huge barricades around the road outside Alexandria, ready for the next steps. Just as this is happening, a minor walker attack happens around Carter and Ron. While they both scream for help, Rick orders everyone to not act and to let them handle this, so that they realize how unprepared they are in fighting walkers. Just as it seems like they’re about to die, Morgan, and soon everyone else jumps in and saves the two. Morgan, who seems to always be on Rick’s disapproving clock, says in a sarcastic tone “I thought you said you were done with taking chances”. True, but Rick had a point of wanting to teach them a lesson.
There are some lighter moments that happen in the past, too. Native Alexandrians/newcomers join the crowd. Tara wakes up, but hears the sad news of Noah. And it seems like Glenn and Nicholas are kind of becoming friends after Nicholas’s horrifying set of actions in the season 5 finale. And Carl has some alone time with his girlfriend (that scene is the only scene we see of the two…typical teenagers).
Rick goes over to the armory and finds Jessie. Things are obviously a bit awkward; it’s not a common thing to kill the husband of your crush. She scolds him on having the audacity to tell Ron to defend himself, and informs him that her family doesn’t need him for help on self-defense…at least for the time being.
With the barricades being set up, some feelings of malcontent on both parties, and frequent disapproving glances from Morgan, it’s time to put Rick’s plan to action.
Glenn, Nicholas, and Heath (Straight Outta Compton)—new Alexandrian—head over to a drug store filled with walkers. On Rick’s orders, they’re to clear out the area and join the rest of the gang back in the forest. Everyone is communicating with walkie-talkies and this whole section of the episode feels very fun and spy-thrillery. After some moments of horror and tension, they clear out the drug store, and it’s evident that Glenn and Nicholas are becoming more of a cohesive team, even though Nicholas is forever going to be a piece of shit to me (rest in peace, Noah).
With Daryl on his trusty motorcycle and Sasha and Abraham in a car, the trio begin and lead the exodus of walkers on the road. Daryl is steady and ready: no new updates from the past. While Abraham is a good team partner, he does reveal to Sasha his concern that she has suicidal tendencies, thus being a motivating factor in joining her on the road trip.
From behind the barriers that the Alexandrians have finished building up, Rick, Morgan, Michonne, and Carter shoot flares that keep the walkers going along the road. Tons of them bump against the barrier, but thankfully aren’t smart enough to figure out where the flares are coming from and keep moving along the road.
Soon after, Glenn, Nicholas, and Heath join Rick et al, and they continue their spy thriller. They’re all to continue walking alongside the walkers in the forest, but just to make sure that the walkers don’t get led astray into the forest too. Seems like a simple job, right? Wrong.
Just as they separate, incompetent Carter gets himself bit by a walker (who is by the way stuck to a tree). He starts screaming bloody murder, attracting the attention of walkers on the road to come into the forest and check out the situation. Rick arrives on the scene, and though he tries to quiet Carter’s screams, realizes it’s no use and kills him. When he looks up, he finds Michonne and Morgan standing there. Morgan once again has the look of disapproval, though Rick’s actions were completely understandable. Thankfully, the walkers stay back on track and continue on the road.
And then, everything changes. A loud horn starts blaring from some unknown point, and the walkers start to change course much to the terror of our gang. They’re headed to Alexandria.
All in all, this episode was a reliable and sturdy episode. It had all the dynamics continue from last season, and all the conflicts were addressed, no loose ends. To be quite honest, I don’t remember Ron ever existing last season, so his presence was a bit of a surprise to me. Some of my favorite moments include Carol playing the “housewife” card and Morgan seeing straight through, and also Rick’s shutdown of Gabriel (when is he going to die. Please.)
While I’m super happy with Morgan’s presence on the show, I’m beginning to get a bit annoyed with his dynamic with Rick. Yes, we understand that there’s some difference in opinions in the two on how to deal with things. This doesn’t however warrant Morgan to be completely dissatisfied with every single one of Rick’s actions. In fact, the only moment where Morgan wasn’t annoyed with Rick was when Rick was holding Judith. It’s a truth, babies solve everything.
The new walking path of the walkers is really going to be interesting. It’s without a doubt that the walkers will infiltrate the community, and considering Alexandria is a maze, it’s going to be a very terrorizing battle. And discovering who rang the bell is also a major point of interest: could it perhaps be the enigmatic Wolves? We’ll just have to wait and find out.