Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E1 "First Time Again" 10/11/15

Here's the stylistic deal:  the black and white scenes took place right after the events of the S5 season finale; the scenes in color are "now," seemingly six months later.

Now.  Rick is speechifying about some grand plan on the cliff over a quarry that is teeming with walkers.  Behind him, a tanker truck that had been serving as a barricade to keep the walkers in slips off the cliff and zombies start pouring out of the quarry.  All of a sudden, everything slips into high gear: this was supposed to be a dry run for the plan but now it's for real.  Rick shouts instructions and everyone runs off, knowing exactly what they're supposed to do, but for us, the viewers, it's chaos.  And the walkers, thousands of them, keep coming and coming.  I hope this is a good plan.

Then.  Deana, sitting by the pool of her dead husband's blood, tells Father Gabriel that he was wrong about Rick.  Gabriel nods sadly.  Abraham takes Reg's body to be buried and, sad, starts drinking heavily.  Tara is in the infirmary, conscious now, when Glen and Nicholas come in [after nearly beating each other to death out in the woods].  Eugene comes in and is thrilled to see Tara; she says she's glad nothing happened to his hair.  She asks where Noah is, not knowing that he got eaten because of Nicholas.  Everyone else looks sad.  A bloodied Rick tells Morgan that he's glad to see him and says that he doesn't take chances anymore.  Morgan thinks that sounds good.

Now.  The plan, via Rick's walkie-talkie voiceover is that Daryl leads the walkers out, Sasha and Abraham joining him at the bottom of the hill.  Glen's crew heads to the tractor place to lock that down.  Everyone has their assignments.  Everyone runs with purpose.

Then.  The next morning, Rick (with a distracting number of tiny bandaids on his face) and Daryl bring each other up to speed (what happened in Alexandria; the walkers with the Ws carved in their foreheads).  Rick doesn't think Daryl needs to bring any more new people back into Alexandria; Daryl disagrees but doesn't make a big deal about it.  Eugene is standing guard at the compound's front gate when a long-range run comes back.  Heath is a new named character - perhaps he will survive the episode.  Later, as Rick is showing Morgan around, they see Gabriel and an Alexandrian digging graves for Reg and Pete.  Rick's all, Pete doesn't get to be buried inside the walls and Deana, making a sudden appearance, orders that Pete's body be taken out into the woods and left there.  Rick and Morgan pick up the body, Pete's son Ron watching them from the trees.  As they load Pete's body into the trunk of a car, Rick tries to explain what happened.

Now.  Rick, Michonne and Morgan move into position by a steel wall reinforced by RVs.  Rick:  "It'll hold."  Michonne: "Well, that's good.  You know, considering where we're standing."  Then, moments later, Morgan hilariously asks Michonne if she stole a protein bar from his stash when they met the first time.  She gives him a look: "No."  Because he could have sworn there was one more peanut butter left.  She sighs, "That's how it always is.  You always think there's one more peanut butter."  Heh.

Then.  Rick and Morgan take Pete's body out into the woods.  Rick wants to just leave it there but Morgan insists on digging a grave.  They are interrupted when Rick hears something, though.  They investigate and find themselves on the edge of the quarry.  They stare down at the hordes of walkers, more and more being drawn in by the cries and groans.  The CGI is not all that good but the sight is still terrifying.  From behind them, Ron runs up, chased by several walkers.  Rick grabs the kid before he runs over the edge of the cliff; the walkers tumble over.  Later, Rick tries to tell Ron that it's not safe beyond the town's walls and he'll teach him how to shoot but, not surprisingly, Ron is uninterested in listening to anything from the man who just killed his father.  He is surprised, however, when Rick and Morgan go back and finish burying Pete.

Now.  So, so slowly, Daryl rides his chopper down the middle of the road, leading the huge herd of walkers.  There are thousands of walkers, more than enough to overrun tiny Alexandria.  Meanwhile, Glen, Nicholas and Heath get to the tractor store.  There are a bunch of zombies trapped inside, banging on the windows and growling and the concern is that they will make enough noise to distract the walkers on the road.  They need to keep the walkers on the road.  After a false start, they break a window and walkers tumble out.  At first the three men keep their cool, taking them down with head shot after head shot.  Then there are too many and it gets a little tense.  But they manage to put them all down, each man saving the others' lives in turn, Nicholas redeeming himself by saving Glen.

Then.  Rick and Morgan report to the Alexandrians about what they saw at the quarry and Rick lays out his plan.  "It's not a matter of if, but when."  Carol is still playing her meek housewife role and supports Rick's plans.  New character Carter (played by Ethan Embry) is the voice of opposition but Deana overrules him.  One by one the members of Rick's group show their support; the Alexandrians are slower to agree but some of them do.  Rick explains that walkers herd up and play follow the leader unless they get distracted.  This way they can lead them out and away from the town.   Then they go through the plan again.

Now.  The plan where Rick, Morgan and Michonne are stationed is a trouble-spot, a place where the road bends.  The wall is there to turn the walkers, to keep them on the road.  But walkers are mindless and many walk right into the wall, bouncing off.  Hence the reinforcements.  And Rick, Morgan and Michonne fire off flares, attracting the zombies' attention down the road.  The wall shakes and trembles but it holds and the herd keeps moving.

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Then.  Housewife Carol makes the rounds, handing out water as people build the walls.  Rick tells her that she needs to keep the people who remain in Alexandria safe and of course she will (I'm getting tired of Nurturing Carol - I want BAMF Carol back).  Later, when she hands Morgan some water, he asks if she was a cop with Rick before.  Bemused, she says no and asks why he would think that.  Morgan:  "Because you're always watching, always keeping ready."  Carol: "Hmm. Aren't you sweet."

Now.  Abraham and Sasha notice that some of the zombies are wandering off course.  Abraham jumps out of the car and runs into the woods, hollering and waving his arms and capturing the errant walkers' interest, leading them back to the road.  When he gets back in the car, he is splashed with blood and he chuckles, making entirely inappropriate comments about how much blood Reg and Pete were covered with on the night of their demise.  Sasha is all WTF I'M THE CRAZY ONE IN THE CAR.

Then.  When some walkers lurch out of the woods toward some wall-building Alexandrians, including crankypants Carter, Rick encourages the townspeople to use their shovels to protect themselves.  But the Alexandrians are pretty much useless and Rick, Morgan, Michonne and Daryl step up, quickly and efficiently putting down the threat.  Morgan stares hard at Rick and accuses, "I thought you didn't take chances anymore."  Rick shrugs and Carter glares daggers at him.  Later, as he is raiding the storeroom for snacks, Eugene overhears Carter trying to garner support among some of the Alexandrians to kill Rick before he gets them killed.  Eugene is discovered and Carter points a gun at his head.  But then Rick, Daryl and Morgan are there.  Rick easily disarms Carter and points his gun at his head.  Daryl says, "Rick ..." and Rick backs off, handing the gun to Daryl and saying he's fine, he won't kill Carter.  (We're supposed to be seeing Rick's dark side here but the show is too much in love with having him be the hero to really make him go dark.)  Later, Rick and Morgan have a nice moment - observed by an eavesdropping Michonne, who seems relieved to see Rick making a connection with someone - when Rick lets Morgan hold baby Judith.

Now.  Rick, Carter, Glen, Morgan, Michonne and a bunch of others fan out in the woods, paralleling the road to push any wandering walkers back on track.  Carter is amazed that Rick's plan is working and shakes his hand - so of course Carter won't survive the episode.  Indeed, as he moves out on point, Carter runs into a walker and is unable to defend himself, getting the side of his face bitten right the hell off.  It's super gruesome and Carter screams and screams and screams.  Unfortunately, his screaming distracts the walkers in the herd and some start wandering off the road towards the noise.  While others fire their guns to distract them back, Rick runs up to Carter.  He kills off the zombie and knocks the shrieking man to the ground, desperately trying to get him to stop screaming.  But Carter won't or can't stop and, just as Morgan and Michonne run up, Rick runs his knife through Carter's brainstem.  That stops the screaming.  Rick actually has a moment when he looks like he feels bad about what happened.  That moment doesn't last long.  Morgan and Michonne have a little more trouble with it: they know it had to happen but it doesn't make it any easier.

The plan seems to be working.  The herd is moving in the right direction and Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are to lead them twenty miles out and away before ditching the herd and returning home.  The walkers should continue moving in the same direction, away from Alexandria.  But then.  Then a horn sounds in the distance.  Coming from the direction of Alexandria.  And the noise is distracting the herd, pulling them off the road, turning them in the direction of the town.  It's a disaster.  Our heroes start running through the woods, heading back home.  And the camera pulls back into a helicopter shot, showing literally thousands of zombies lurching towards Alexandria.

Thank god Carol is back there.  She'll take care of it.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

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