'The Walking Dead' Season 6 premiere: This insane world
Thank goodness nothing happened to Eugene's hair.
The postapocalyptic world is spinning out of control with a horde of zombies thousands-strong just miles away from Alexandria. Eugene's slick Billy Ray Cyrus mullet is the constant we need.
The Walking Dead's Season 6 premiere was strangely satisfying. It started right where we left off — the bloody aftermath of the deaths of Reg and Pete. Through black and white flashbacks and full color present day shots, we witnessed the immediate consequences of their deaths and where it brought the people of Alexandria — facing their largest, deadliest threat yet.
It's not cannibals again. Nor is it a one-eyed, rifle-wielding maniac with a penchant for human aquariums.
Nope, just a massive herd of walkers corralled in a quarry by semitrailer trucks left by those long gone. The more walkers, the more noise. The more noise, the more walkers. It's a vicious, stinky cycle.
'You can't talk to him like that. You can't touch him, not you.'
Rick and Morgan are off to a steady start, trusting each other just enough to make it through this threat. They discover the quarry of walkers when on a mission to dispose of Pete's body. They also rescue Pete's oldest son, Ron, from a few fast-moving walkers. Ron gets a stern talking-to after Rick makes the series' most epic tackle.
Though Ron is a surly, naive teenager in a beanie, he brings back a little humanity to Rick when he says he just wants to see where his father is buried. His father, Pete, was an abusive murderer, but he's still Ron's father.
'I don't take chances anymore.'
The episode revolved around Rick's plan to lead the herd of quarry walkers away from the path to Alexandria. Unfortunately, the semis holding in the thousands of corpses didn't last as long as expected. During a "it was supposed to be a dry run," one of the trucks falls from a cliff leaving a massive opening for the walkers to escape.
Flashback to a couple days after Pete and Reg's deaths. The community is still reeling, and many don't know how to feel. Rick and Deanna did what needed to be done, but this sudden violence is something very new to them. The few walkers and deaths they've experienced happened far enough away to keep safe.
The gaping wound left by Rick's violent, but necessary, outbursts is still raw for many. But in a world ruled by the dead, there's no time to be a wuss.
The next neighborhood meeting sees Rick explaining the severity of the walker threat. There are thousands, the trucks won't hold much longer and the exits lead the walkers straight to their front door.
The plan: set up guide walls of cars along the path they want the walkers to go and construct barriers to steer them away from Alexandria. Flares will distract them and keep them on the path while Daryl on his bike and Sasha and Abraham in a car will keep them walking.
Rick's team is all for the plan. Most of Alexandria is keen on it (do they really have any other choice?). But a few won't trust Rick as far as they can throw him. Meet Carter, one of the few who helped Reg build the original walls. He eventually agrees to the plan in the meeting, but hatches his own to "take this place back" from Rick. LOL, OK.
In a tense standoff after Rick smoothly wrestles Carter's gun away from him, Rick gives him the option to work with them. Rick makes his stand, "Do you have any idea who you're talking to?" His token, gritty drawl proclaims nobody will take this place away from him or any of his family.
The imminent threat of a walker threat grows every day, but Rick's people and the Alexandrians are still adjusting to a new way of life. Pete's widow/Rick's love interest, Jessie, struggles to comfort her grieving sons while preparing for gun and self defense lessons. She doesn't want Rick's guidance though. It's still too soon to seek his help.
Rick's people finally have stable shelter, plenty of supplies and a place to call home. Queen Carol seems to be adjusting just fine. She's become den mother, baking cookies and serving lemonade to the workers on the wall. All while wearing grandmotherly florals and chunky sweaters.
Maggie and Glenn seem to be the glue holding the rest together. Tara wakes up to find Eugene's hair is still in tact, but they lost Noah. Maggie explains Glenn's decisions to spare Nick's life, even after Nick's deadly decisions. Glenn gives people second chances and sees the good in them. Hopefully his decision doesn't come back to haunt him.
The only one not adjusting so well is Daryl. He harkens this "bed and bath" to a cage and still seeks to go out on missions to find new people against Rick's advice. Daryl is also concerned about the "W" walkers they keep finding.
'We have to come for them before they come for us.'
Sunday's season premiere was all about trust after devastation. Glenn has to learn to trust Nick again and keep him on the path to becoming self-sufficient. Rick's group has to keep trusting him and learn to have faith in the abilities of the Alexandrians. The people of Alexandria have to trust that Rick knows best when it comes to their safety. They need him to teach them basic survival and defense.
While building up the barrier walls, a few walkers make their way toward the group. Rick tells his team to stay back and let the Alexandrians have a turn at fighting. They fail miserably. It's like they don't even try. Whiny Carter wailed the whole time and shouted "help us!"
Rick and Morgan also have to get to know each other again. They're still the same men who met in King County all those months and years ago. But at the same time they're not. They've been hardened by the world. "I"m a killer, Rick. I am and you are, too," Morgan says.
Rick's plan was going so smoothly. They successfully guided the walkers away from the quarry and past the blocked road with Michonne, Rick and Morgan on the other side firing flare guns. Through the cracks in the metal wall, the three could see the thousands of mobile corpses. The growls and moans were almost deafening, as was the sickly squish of rogue walkers getting their heads smash on the metal like watermelons.
It was going great, until it wasn't. In the final stretch, everyone all met up to keep straggling walkers on the road. Newcomer, Heath (with mad hair game, according to Eugene), helped Glenn and Nick dispose of a group of walkers distracting the other thousand. Carter, Rick, Morgan and Michonne were watching their plan unfold from the safety of the trees. But a rogue zombie grabs a distracted Carter and eats half of his face. Carter can't do anything but wail at the blood gushing from his face. Rick tries to shush him repeatedly, then silences him for good with a knife to the head.
Michonne and Morgan are shocked at the scene, though they admit they know Carter's death was necessary.
Problem solved, but then it wasn't. Suddenly a loud horn blares through the woods, causing the walkers to veer off course. The last shots of the episode show thousands of walkers heading toward the source of the sound — it's coming from home.
You always think there's one more peanut butter.
First Time Again showed there can be forgiveness in a postapocalyptic world, but there's no forgetting. No one will ever forget watching Reg's blood stain the stones in Alexandria's meeting place or the sound and sight of Rick blowing Pete's head off.
Most importantly, Morgan will not forget about his protein bars. Especially the peanut butter one he thought Michonne took.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at email@example.com or on Twitter at @chelseatatham.