The Walking Dead “First Time Again” Review (Season 6 Episode 1)

The Walking Dead First Time Again (1)

Wow, that was a lot of zombies.

The Walking Dead returned tonight, and they kicked off the episode doing what they do best: Unmitigated zombie mayhem. That opening sequence definitely broke the record for the most walkers we’ve seen on screen at one time, and even though a good portion of them was just CGI trickery, that was still a crap-ton of extras!

While it was an effectively exciting way to open the episode and kick off the season, I kinda wish that they really started “First Time Again” right where the last season ended. Rick pulling that trigger right when Morgan walked up was a pretty good cliffhanger, so why not pay it off and see Rick explain himself? We did see him explain himself later, but it seemed odd that they actually did show the moment after he pulled the trigger again right after the opening scene, and you heard Morgan saying “Rick?”, but then they didn’t show what happened next.

Of course, the rest of the blanks were all filled in with those black-and-white flashbacks. I’m sure that much debate will be had about the this visual choice, and I have mixed feelings about it. I do think The Walking Dead lends itself well to black-and-white, and they’ve already re-aired old episodes like that before. However, it seemed like a very on-the-nose way to signify which scenes were flashbacks. We didn’t need that distracting filter to let us know we were in the past. There wasn’t a huge stampede of zombies being driven down the street by Rick and his crew, so obviously it was in the past. It also kept taking away from all of those scenes of the zombies in the quarry, or the ones being killed by Rick and Morgan and falling down the cliff. I would have loved to see all of that in beautiful color, but unfortunately the show had other ideas. It’s really pretty mind blowing when you think about it that the series premiere of the biggest show on TV in 2015 had the majority of its episode in black and white.

The overall plot of the episode really came out of nowhere. We just learned about this horde of walkers near Alexandria tonight, and then we see the plan get drawn up and executed all in the same episode. It was really just more of an excuse to catch us up on where our characters are now, and introduce a few new faces to us.

The main new face is Heath, who’s keeping his hair game tight like Eugene. We didn’t really get much out of this guy, or the other two new faces Scott and Annie, but let’s be honest: They’re really just being introduced so they can get eaten in a couple weeks anyway.

Speaking of eaten, the other newish face was Carter. We’ve seen this guy before, but he really popped up as a contrarian turd tonight, and you just knew that as soon as he started going against Rick and really having a say in the group, it meant he was going to die. The Walking Dead always gives more screen time to minor characters right before they’re going to die, so you can see it coming from a mile away. I found it really hard to believe that Rick would still allow him to participate in this plan after what he found out Carter was conspiring to do, and it turns out he really shouldn’t have because the dude did nothing but get bit and almost derail the whole plan. Good riddance, Carter.

The other minor character from Alexandria that got an increased focus tonight was Nicholas. Again, I’m having a hard time buying Glenn giving him so much leeway as well, but it really does look like Nicholas is trying to redeem himself. I’d be shocked if Nicholas makes it out of the season alive, but at least he’s tryin’!

As far as our existing players, not much has really changed. I guess you can count Morgan as a new character, even though he’s been on and off the show since the very beginning. Having Morgan with the team full time is great. He brings a lot of humanity to the group and he seems to be really helping with keeping Rick grounded. Of course, more Lennie James on your show is always a good thing. However, I do feel like we need to get a little more explanation as to who taught him to use a bowstaff, and how. We saw him not too long ago all holed up in that little town by himself, and I don’t think he was using one back then. So how did he go from crazy and surrounding himself with traps to being sane and an awesome fighter? He just explained his skills away to Rick with a shrug and a short explanation, but I don’t buy it. I don’t know if there’s anything nefarious behind him, or if maybe he’s still got some lingering craziness from the last time Rick saw him.

I thought it was a great little twist last season to have Carol playing the part of the polite Southern Belle for all of the unwitting Alexandrians, but it’s starting to wear a little thin now. I liked that Morgan was able to see through her facade, but she just played it off. It looks like next week’s episode will make her spring into action, and I can’t wait to see the looks on those Alexandrians faces!

The rest of the Alexandrians are having a much harder time making an impression. Deanna has understandably shut down after Reg’s death, and Jessie’s annoying son Ron is sneaking out to give trail Rick and Morgan. This whole storyline is dumb. Ron is annoying for sneaking out, Jessie is annoying for chiding Rick for touching her son (what?!), and Rick is a fool if he thinks he can have any kind of relationship with this woman after blowing her husband’s head off. Sure, he was an abusive jerk, but that kinda damage doesn’t heal overnight.

The “previously on…” scenes at the top of the episode ended with showing us the graffiti’d car that the Wolves tagged, so that leads me to believe that they’re the ones responsible for the horn sound at the end of the episode. Why would the show remind us of the Wolves unless they were going to work them into the premiere somehow? If we find out next week that it was some moron at Alexandria, then I’m gonna be pissed.

What did you guys think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– Rick immediately shutting down Father Gabriel’s volunteering for help was the highlight of the episode.

– We never saw Carl in this episode, huh? Wonder what he’s up to? Still hanging out with Enid?

– Those homes in Alexandria start at $800k?! They didn’t look that nice!