The Walking Dead has an enormous amount of pressure to deliver a quality television show. Each year it seems the madness for the show grows and they have to keep upping the stakes to keep everyone engaged. Season five’s first episode had some of the most gruesome and visceral moments ever shown on normal cable television. Not much could have topped that viewing experience. The first episode of season six didn't quite measure up to season five’s opening. It did however do a great job of being entertaining and setting up the rest of the season.
The opening scene at the quarry set the stage for everything to come. We were thrown into a chaotic scene and not given any reference for what was going on. The use of flashbacks to show the buildup to the first part of the episode was well done. The decision to show the flashbacks in black and white was an intelligent way of informing the audience what events happened in the past. If they would not have used this method the episode would have become confusing. This simple device separated the past and present and allowed the story to progress at a good pace. The action all happened in the present and was displayed with color and vibrancy. The past was shown in black and white which added a filter to the events.
The good character moments this week all happened in the past. Most of the great interactions where between Rick and Morgan. They started to see if they could co-exist and be friends with what they had become. Morgan is now the more stable individual, while Rick is more like Morgan in possibly my favorite episode of the series: Clear. The scene on the porch where Rick talks to him and gives him Judith was pitch perfect. You think Rick had a moment of sanity and humanity by not killing Carter. He actually just realizes he doesn't have to pull the trigger, the world he now lives in will destroy Carter. It’s a chilling moment, and shows just how much the world has destroyed the man Rick once was.
Though we do see some humanity leaking back into Rick. He doesn’t want to bury Peter, but does once he realizes what it will mean to his son Ron. The man was trash, but he was still the boy’s father and Rick is still a good enough leader to see the value in appeasing the boy. He also cares about Jessie and wants her to learn to protect herself. You can almost see joy in Rick’s face when Jessie says she is going to fight. It’s tinged with sadness since he won’t be the one to teach her, but he’s still happy about her wanting to fight.
Glen and Nicholas was the other big storyline of the episode. Glen probably should have killed Nicholas for the crap he has pulled. He deserves to die for trying to kill Glen and for being responsible for killing Noah. However Glen can’t bring himself to do it, because unlike Rick, Glenn still has his humanity. Maggie grounds Glenn, and he is probably going to become the moral compass for the show. Which might mean he could shortly be on the chopping block. I can see Glenn being the bridge between the people of the town and Rick’s group. He might become the overall leader with his new connection to Nicholas. The tractor store displayed just how loyal Nicholas has now become to Glenn. Nicholas is going to listen no matter what, because of the debt he owes to Glenn.
The other characters take a back seat this week. Daryl only got a few lines telling Rick they should continue the search for other survivors to make the community strong. It’s one reason I think they are going to repel the zombies now heading for the town. The plan may have failed, but I don’t think they would have had Daryl make these comments if the town was going to fall. I think they are going to survive the attack next week in an all-out zombie kill fest. After this they will regroup and discover where the horn came from. My thought is The Wolves have been watching and timed the horn blow perfectly to disrupt the herd. The show will switch gears in the third or fourth episode to build up the conflict with the mysterious group.
The only part of the episode I didn't really care for was the Sasha and Abraham story. The storyline seemed shoehorned and didn’t fit the overall tone of the rest of the episode. It’s understandable to show’s Sasha’s recovery with Abraham, but it just didn't flow or fit. It’s a small nitpick, but I think the story could have been cut out and the episode wouldn’t have lost anything. It almost seemed they were stretching for content to get the show to ninety minutes. They should have just given us more zombie kills instead.
There wasn’t a shortage of gruesome walker kills though. While not an over the top episode, the kills were well done. It was interesting to learn during Talking Dead last night just how they made up so many zombies for the episode. Some of the best kills where from the tractor scene and when Rick has to defend Peter. Morgan gets in on the action by fighting off a few walkers when the people of Alexandria aren’t able to defend themselves.
While this season’s opener didn’t have the high tension or gruesomeness of some of the past first episodes, it was still and enjoyable ninety minutes of television. I may have wanted just a bit more from the episode, but this is just having high expectations for the show. The next episode should be nothing but action and tension as the town has to repel the walker horde. This installment set up the season and what’s to come. It had good character moments and great special effects. In other words, just another entreating night of watching The Walking Dead. Here’s too many more!
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Comment and let me know. Share, subscribe, and like if you enjoy my long winded ramblings.