Each week, we comb through the guts of The Walking Dead, much like a horde of hungry walkers, to bring you the episode’s best moments, surprises, and other post-apocalyptic curiosities. This week: The slowest high-speed pursuit ever, hair metal, and let’s have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over.
Season 6, Episode 1: “First Time Again”
Do not adjust your television: Tonight’s premiere was presented nonlinearly with the immediate fallout of Rick shooting Pete in black and white and the modern walker moving action in color. It’s interesting to note that though he’s no longer involved with the show, The Walking Dead series creator Frank Darabont has affinity for black and white. In fact, in the early years of the show, AMC even rebroadcast episodes completely desaturated. And, of course, modern day George Romero zombies (which align with The Walking Dead’s rules) started out colorless in Night of the Living Dead.
Best pairing: For your next viewing party, we recommend picking up a bomber of Terrapin’s limited run, officially licensed The Walking Dead Blood Orange IPA. The drink itself is fairly hoppy, with moderate citrus notes, and quickly stood out as a stellar brew. Plus, when the zombie apocolypse comes, you can destroy their brains with the bottle’s glass shards.
Sneakiest foreshadowing: In one of the flashbacks, when Abraham drunkenly acknowledges Sasha, the blood splatter on his face makes a perfect “W.” We already know this is the Wolves’ symbol, and details like this don’t happen on accident. It seems like a safe bet to keep Abraham on the deathwatch.
Longest race: Glenn’s mustache has us thinking: How long until Carl can grow more facial hair than him?
We fell into the pit: We were promised “more walkers than we’ve ever seen before” this season, and they were delivered early on. What started out as a survivors camp quickly became the roach motel of zombies—they check in, but don’t check out. This is why Alexandria is so safe: Any nearby undead simply fall in the hole, attracted by the pit’s noise. It’s rare on this show to have everything wrapped up so nicely.
Keenest eye: Carol might be fooling the Alexandriates with her casserole-loving, wide-eyed housewife act, but not Morgan, who notices how she studies everything like a cop. Expect this tension to heighten, especially with Morgan’s continuing distrust of the Ricktatorship.
Most calm under pressure: Daryl is a clearly a master of zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, leading that horde painstakingly slowly without breaking a sweat.
Gabriel: I’d like to help as well.
Rick: No. Who else?
Biggest questioning of the Ricktatorship: No, not flashback-Carter trying to coax his fellow townspeople to murder Rick, but rather the disapproval shared by Michonne and Morgan after Rick silences a bitten Carter in the present day. Half of the man’s face had been ripped off, and his screams were leading walkers off the road. Not only would killing him end his pain, it would save lives. There’s a lot of things Rick does poorly for the right reasons, but this wasn’t one of them.
Wolf in sheep’s clothing: The Wolves are out there, and they know about Alexandria. That truck blocking the walker pit just happened to fall during the group’s dress rehearsal. A horn just happened to lure all the walkers back to Alexandria right on the verge of success. That’s a lot of coincidences, enough to make us question if a Wolf isn’t already inside the walls.
Biggest mystery: So who did take Morgan’s last protein bar? Never mind, it was probably Carl.
Best line: “Thank God nothing happened to your hair.” —Tara to Eugene
Best kill: Rick’s brutal slaughter of his own humanity. Because the show’s writers have made it very clear that will be this season’s theme. Seriously, we get it, okay?
Most disturbing image: When a walker gets stuck on the side of the big rig and half his skin is ripped off, we knew we were in for a Greg Nicotero shock-a-thon. The past few weeks of watching shiny new walkers on Fear the Walking Dead made us forget just how decayed Rick’s world is.
Episode MVP: Nicholas, for doing a lot of growing up during the season break. We expect to find a fully capable member of the team before winter. With all his past sins, however, he does owe a life debt to Glenn, and it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
And once again, where exactly does Rick fall this week on the calm/crazy scale?