This review will look at the premiere episode for season 6 of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
When we last left the group on The Walking Dead, things in the small town of Alexandria were reaching climactic levels. In the final moments of season 5, we saw a good man die, and Rick was ordered to kill a man he’d been waiting to kill for several episodes. At the same time, Morgan arrived in the town after following Rick for quite some time. It was clear that the next season of the show would have a lot to handle. Will Alexandria become the new Woodbury and Rick become the new Governor?
The season 6 opener begins in a chaotic fashion. I had no idea what was going on until about 10 minutes in. At that point, everything starts piecing itself together. Throughout the episode, the viewer is switching between black-and-white flashbacks of the events that happened directly after the season 5 finale and in-color scenes of a risky plan that’s happening in the moment. At first I was slightly taken aback by the black-and-white flashbacks, but as the show progresses, the juxtaposition of the past with the present makes for some really interesting instances of foreshadowing and hindsight.
This episode mainly focuses on Rick, and that only makes sense following what he’s just done in the timeline. It’s evident through the show that Rick still has some re-humanizing to do. Now that Morgan is a constant presence for him, it seems that he’ll act as his moral compass of sorts. Of course we all know what that might mean for Morgan. There are points in the episode where Rick speaks negatively about “killers” and needs to be reminded that he’s a “killer” too. What makes for a “killer” in this new world?
The episode definitely seems to imply that Morgan will be becoming a key character in the season. He has moments with Rick, Michonne, and even Carol that show that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Carol may have a difficult time keeping her cover up while he’s around. At the same time, Daryl and Rick are starting this season off at odds with each other. While Rick feels that Alexandria needs to close itself off and not accept any new people, Daryl, who only started to feel acceptance in Alexandria after becoming a recruiter, feels that continuing to accept new members is the only way to keep the community strong. These differing opinions may cause problems in later episodes.
It felt like the overall theme of this episode, and possibly a good chunk of the season, is forgiveness. This is seen through several instances, including the relationship between Glen and the man who tried to kill him, a reminder that at one point Maggie and Tara were on opposite sides, and Rick’s ultimate decision about what to do with the body of the man he killed. There’s a whole lot of forgiveness that could still go around, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this theme carried on into other episodes as well.
As for me personally, I’m having a hard time trusting Rick’s decisions at this point. It feels like he’s overkilling every step of the way. He says he’s tired of taking chances, yet he continually takes chances in order to prove his point. It felt to me that Rick was taking advantage of Deanna’s grief over the loss of her husband in order to make huge decisions and act on them. It’s weird to see this man, who used to be so good, showing no remorse for some of the things he’s doing. I don’t think it will last long. He’s taken some steps back in the series before, and it’s likely we’ll see him do that again.
On an even more personal note, it seems I can’t make it through a single episode anymore without becoming hysterically worried that it will be the end of Glenn. I have terrible luck with my favorite characters, and Glenn is without a doubt my favorite character. He’s lasted much longer than I ever would have anticipated, and I’m starting to fear more and more that this luck is about to run out.
The cast and crew keep saying that this season is going to be relentless in terms of danger and heart wrenching moments. I’m sure this season will be no different when it comes to keeping audiences attention.