The Walking Dead: Season 6, Episode 1 “First Time Again” Review

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The Walking Dead Season 6 Premiere Recap (Spoilers)

The dead are back! The Walking Dead’s 6th season premiere kicked off with a solid opening salvo, proving there’s still plenty of life in this ongoing zombie saga. 

If The Walking Dead was simply about killing zombies in the most gruesome ways possible, the show would eventually get stale after the shock value wore off. Instead, it’s the evolution of Rick and co., both as individual characters and as a growing community which keeps the show from going past its expiry date. 

As much as the episode title “First Time Again” references Rick and Morgan’s relationship, it also speaks to the viewer’s perspective of the show. There’s a familiarity with these characters we’ve come to know over the years. We can still see the core essence of who they are at the same time how much they have grown and changed.

One reason why “First Time Again” worked is because it bridged the gap between the events of last season’s finale using flashbacks. Unlike some other premieres that had a lengthy time jump between seasons, it was important to address a number of matters after Rick executed Pete and Morgan arrived at Alexandria. It would have been a neglectful oversight had the premiere completely picked up some time later, glossing over the details.

The premiere ratcheted up the tension from the moment we saw the mega herd in the quarry. It also got me thinking what the heck is going on? Although the flashbacks slowed things down a bit, by cutting back to the herd corralling scenes the premiere maintained some level of tension throughout the extended hour and a half run time, much better than if events were depicted chronologically.

More than an exciting plot device, the mega herd is important in other ways. It’s good to get an explanation on why Alexandria was sheltered from the zombie apocalypse. It also reminded us of how vulnerable and incapable Alexandrians are if it wasn’t for Rick’s group. Most importantly it shows how Rick’s group have progressed in terms of their experience and community resources that they could even attempt to pull off what would have been impossible for them a season or two ago.

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I’m excited that Morgan Jones (Lennie James) is upgraded to the main cast. Even with relatively little screen time, Morgan is a richly drawn character. Lennie James has a great on-screen rapport with Andrew Lincoln. After Rick initially puts Morgan in precautionary custody, I liked the scene where Rick invites Morgan to stay in his home and hold Judith. It’s a warm welcome to the family moment despite their differences.

I’m also glad that Morgan serves as a gentle moral compass for Rick without it leading to a direct confrontation at this point. We’ve already done the Rick versus Shane story line, we don’t need a Rick versus Morgan stand-off. Morgan can still see the old Rick within, the man who wouldn’t shoot first ask questions later, similar to how he reads Carol like a book. I did find it odd how Carol mentioned she was getting shooting lessons from Daryl when in “No Sanctuary” she was already a badass, gun-toting Rambo. Or maybe she was still “in character” as the suburban housewife.

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The other part of the premiere focused on two tangential story lines. As Rick put it, Carter (Ethan Embry) is man who just isn’t going to change and he’s going to get himself killed one way or another. On the flip side, can Nicholas really change as Glenn hopes or is it just a matter of time before his old self does something dangerously stupid again? Carter is an annoying character yet he had some valid questions and his plan to take back Alexandria using force (i.e. killing Rick) wasn’t all that different from what Rick considered doing last season.

The Walking Dead premiere left us with an exciting cliffhanger. It would have been anti-climatic had the herd simply walked along the highway out-of-town. With the chaos and calamity that’s about to strike Alexandria, the stakes this season are raised very quickly.

Overall, “First Time Again” is a strong premiere. We got a good sense of where the characters are at and how Morgan fits into the picture. Hopefully, this season can keep up the quality over the full 16 episodes.  

Did this premiere do enough to get you excited for the new season? What do you think about Morgan upgraded to the main cast? Is the real reason Glenn wanted Maggie to stay inside Alexandria is because she’s pregnant?

Thanks for reading! Due to scheduling, I won’t be able to recap the next episode, but I should be back for episode 3.

About Sidekick Reviews

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Posted on October 12, 2015, in Comics, Television, The Walking Dead, TV Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed this premiere. The writers/directors have a vested interest in the show and it comes through in the different ways they approached this episode. I too was wondering what was going on at first but quickly caught on that the black/white were the flashback scenes. Greg Nicotero’s appreciation of old zombie movies was evident in how this episode looked. The massive walker herd was a fun thing to see!

    I love that Morgan is now a series regular. Though we haven’t seen his evolution as much as the rest of the cast, viewers still see his progression to the person he is now. I think Carol’s meek housewife act is starting to get a bit old and hope Morgan’s observation of her will be a catalyst to change things up a bit. I’m looking forward to what Rick decides about Daryl scouting for new people. Can’t imagine Daryl being content with having to sit around and do nothing.

    A strong start to the season and hope they can keep things moving along. Great recap!

    • Great to hear you enjoyed the episode. I’m always curious how some might see the episode in different ways, like some reviews I read feel parts of this premiere was a retread of the final act of last season’s finale. Still it’s great to have this show back and this premiere reminded me of why the show is enjoyable. I liked the approach to this episode too, the flashbacks were a bit of housekeeping, ie. filling us in on the details and the character relationships. The present day stuff also showed how far Rick’s group has come along and we haven’t seen a big herd dealt like that before.

      I liked that the black and white scenes made it easy to identify right away they were flashbacks. And like you said shows an appreciation for old zombie movies. I would love a flashback episode on Morgan, showing his progression and what happened to him. Now that’s Rick’s group is running the show in Alexandria, there doesn’t seem to be a need for Carol to act like someone she’s not. I think Daryl will probably bring the issue up again, he makes for a great recruiter and I’d hate for him to lose what he can contribute to the group. I’m also really curious when the Wolves will return and the mystery behind the horn blowing.

      So far the season is off to a really good start and let’s hope things keep going that way. Thanks!

  2. Really good episode. Laughed my head off when Morgan asked Michone if she had stolen one of his protein bars 😂. Despite the task at hand it was nice to see some humour amongst the gore. And yeah it wouldn’t be TWD if there wasn’t a consequence now that the walker army is descending upon Alexandria! Really enjoyed the style choices from the ep – flashbacks are in black and white almost telling you truth. You can’t pretend or hide as those people from Alexandria have been doing. Music was also very good – tense. Only Daryl can look that cool whilst riding a motorcycle with a herd of Walkers behind him.

    • Haha, yeah it always nice to get an unexpected laugh and I really like when shows call back to something that happened in the past in a funny way. The walker army going towards Alexandria should set up a solid next episode and I hope to find out who would sound off the horn. That’s a good point about the black and white flashbacks, I haven’t thought about that but it’s very true. Daryl’s a badass and a bit of a pied piper too haha. 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed this one. Seeing that huge horde of zombies was pretty awesome and I thought structurally the back and forth between flashbacks and current events was handled really well. Morgan being a regular is a huge plus too. Good start to the season.

    • Nice to hear you enjoyed the premiere, I think overall it was pretty well received by the fans. The ratings were killer too! It was a great way to start off the season with that huge horde of zombies. And Morgan should be a good addition to the mix. I’m looking forward to see what’ll happen next!

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