Rick Grimes and the Alexandrians return for The Walking Dead season 6. And they must defend their community against a massive walker herd which threats the Alexandria Safe-Zone
Season 6, Ep. 01 – ‘First Time Again’ | Aired October 11, 2015
by TS Alan
Last season’s finale, “Conquer”, ended with Rick shooting Pete dead in an act of retaliation after Pete accidentally slit Reg’s throat, while threatening him with Michonne’s katana. Pete’s execution happened at the exact moment when Daryl and Aaron arrive with Morgan. The season six premiere begins the morning after the killing, well, almost. With the best opening teaser of the Walking Dead, we find Rick along with some of his team and members of Alexandria at a stone quarry that is filled with a massive herd of trapped walkers that want out, which means the certain demise of the Alexandria Safe-Zone if they get free. As the episode begins, Rick is giving step-by-step instruction on what will happen when they execute their plan for the thousands of quarry trapped walkers. When a tractor-trailer abruptly comes tumbling down a precipice that has given way, distracting the herd, Rick decides to seize the moment and execute their plan, though a few of the Alexandrians argue they are not ready.
The quarry scene is definitely the most ambitious and tantalizing opening scene from any episode of the Walking Dead, and it immediately hooks you into a need to know how the walkers got trapped and how Rick and the Alexandrians discovered the massive herd. Through a series of flashbacks (presented in black & white), viewers discover that Deanna and Rick decided to bury Pete outside Alexandria. In doing so Rick, accompanied by Morgan, discovers the large quarry filled with walkers.
The episode time jumps back and forth almost until the end, and presents a riveting episode throughout as we watch Rick and the Alexandrians devise a precise and controlled plan to lure the walkers out of the quarry and away from their walled-in community. The intensity and excitement of the storytelling has as much to do with the excellent direction of Greg Nicatero as it does with the episode’s writers, Scott M. Gimple and Matthew Negrete, who have crafted a story that is as tight with dialog as it is with the action and suspense. ‘First Time Again’ doesn’t hold back on the walkers either. We get plenty of blood, guts, falling off flesh, and skull splattering. And an awesome, gory face eating scene.
However, a massive herd of walkers on parade is not the only thing that happens in the episode. We get Tara awaking from her coma, Eugene being discovered overhearing Carter and his conspirators planning to murder Rick and seize control, and one hell of a cliffhanger. Just as the walkers get clear from the safe zone, a loud, distant horn begins to sound drawing the walkers attention. Rick realizes it is emanating from the Alexandria Safe-Zone and episodes ends.
The ‘No Way Out’ reference in the slug line refers to the title of volume 14 of the graphics series, which encompasses issues 79 through 84. If season six follows close to the story line of the comic — Kirkman stating at his New York Comic Con panel, The Walking Dead: An Inside Look with Robert Kirkman, that more elements from the comic would appear in the television series — this is going to be one gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and intense season.