A follow the leader episode. Deanna's dream was fought for, as everyone dug deep. Well, perhaps not everyone. The midseason 6 premiere of The Walking Dead titled, "No Way Out," was truly magnifique.
There has been five times so far in The Walking Dead series, when strangers are asked the three informal interview questions by Rick and his group. The first, when Rick met the crazy woman Clara in the woods in the season 4 premiere. Second, when Rick and Carol met Sam and girlfriend Ana during a supply run in season 4 episode 4. Third, the flashback scene when Glenn and Daryl first met Bob in season 4 episode 13. Then fourth, in season 5 episode 2, when Rick and his group first met Father Gabriel, asking him the three questions shortly after saving his life. And finally later, in season 5 episode 11, when Rick, Michonne, Glenn and Aaron are all in a car on their way to Aaron's community in Alexandria. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) had forgot to ask Aaron the three questions. Yet that's okay, because Michonne (Danai Gurira) took over.
"How many walkers have you killed?" asks Michonne. "I don't know, a lot," Aaron replies. "How many people?" Michonne asks further. "Two," Aaron answers. "Why?" Michonne asks, to conclude. "Because they tried to kill me," Aaron (Ross Marquand) replies calmly. And from that episode on, fans of The Walking Dead was introduced to the only member of the fortified Alexandria community who is capable in a crisis. Though after the midseason 6 premiere, that all is about to change.
Gone now, are the days when Rick had to plead for help from the Alexandrians, with the only exception of Aaron, to save their community from imminent peril. Such as exactly what had happened in the season 6 premiere during a crisis meeting within Deanna's spacious living room. Rick and his people, Daryl, Sasha, Abraham, and Glenn were all the first to step up. True, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) did volunteer then, but was quickly overruled by Rick. But that was then.
For in the midseason 6 premiere, directed Greg Nicotero, also the special effects wizard on the show, and written by Seth Hoffman, a long overdue paradigm shift had suddenly taken place among the surviving community of Alexandrians, who all previously were so used to abandoning others by retreating. Again, all except Aaron. Ask Tobin, as he and the rest of the construction crew had all left Francine to face walkers, but was saved by Abraham in season 5 episode 14. Then Deanna's son, Aiden, who on the verge of death finally confessed to Glenn, that it was he and Nicholas whom both had panicked and left their four fellow Alexandrians to die during a supply run. Not at all happening the other way Aiden had formerly bragged about. Both incidents happening in the same heart breaking episode that cost Noah (Tyler James Williams) his life.
All had seen Rick, who after carrying Carl (Chandler Riggs) to the infirmary with Michonne's help, brandishes a hatchet and goes outside to take on the walkers. Quickly after helping Denise with Carl, the ever faithful Michonne joins Rick. Then, Aaron, Heath and Spencer follow.
"Knock 'em away. Drive them down. We can beat them!" shouts out Rick, giving a war cry. Soon after, Olivia, keeper of the armory, and Eric whom both had taken safety inside a home, also enjoin in the fight. Others who've taken safety in their homes had watched the incredible spectacle, the likes of which they've never seen in Alexandria. A small number of people taking on a horde of walkers, or roamers as the Alexandrians call them. All witnessing the impossible becoming possible. All of which began, with Rick Grimes. With such a sight, encouraging more.
"Gabriel, what are you doing?" asks Tobin incredulously, whom among others inside the church, all saw Gabriel hand over baby Judith before enjoining the fight. "We've been praying together. Praying that God will save our town," says the episcopal priest. Then Gabriel adds, "Well, our prayers have been answered. God will save Alexandria because God has given us the courage to save it ourselves." And then he goes out, followed by Tobin. With more yet to come.
Meanwhile, Carol (Melissa McBride) tells Tara, Rosita, Eugene and Morgan all in the townhouse, "Rick's making a stand." All voice helping out, including Eugene. Rosita (Christian Serratos) then says, "Eugene, you don't have to." Quickly followed by Eugene (Josh McDermitt) adding, "That's incorrect. I do. No one gets to clock out today. And hell, this is a story people are gonna tell." Gotta hand it to Eugene. Because don't forget, Eugene's bravery did not start there. Yet goes back to season 5 episode 14, for after saving Tara (Alanna Masterson), Eugene is seen cranking up Aiden's music as he slowly drives a van to lure walkers away from Glenn and Noah.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) also arrive, whom both earlier had spotted Maggie (Lauren Cohan) atop a lookout post as walkers entered the east wall in the midseason 6 finale. Both team to save Maggie. Yet when Glen appeared to be a goner, Abraham and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) arrive. Both gun down walkers from atop a fuel truck, then Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) yells out to Glenn with glee, "Appreciate it, pal!" Then he continues firing.
Glenn then hops into the fuel truck alongside Daryl (Norman Reedus), who asks, "What the hell happened?" To which Glenn replies, "I don't know. I just got back," followed by telling Daryl that they could lead the walkers away. Yet Daryl had another idea. Now, one commenter about the episode had suggested that Daryl could have simply used a lighter instead of an RPG, after he released fuel into the pond in the middle of Alexandria. It is a midseason premiere after all. And it's The Walking Dead. Daryl has to be Daryl, who lets loose the RPG.
What followed was a continued battle royal, a montage of images quickly showing Rick and his group hacking away at walkers, as other walkers walked into flames attracted by the light. Images of the Alexandrians were also quickly shown, among whom were Tobin and Francine. The Alexandrians had stepped up, and dug deep that night. Which had been a long time coming. That's for damn sure. Though regretfully, some Alexandrians did not, the Anderson family.
It's understandable that teen Ron Anderson and his younger brother Sam are among the most maligned characters voiced by fans in The Walking Dead. After all, Ron's live was saved by both Rick, in the season 6 premiere, and by Carl, in season 6 episode 2. Followed by, the Grimes both trying to save them all, including their mother Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) in the midseason premiere. Especially, after Rick changing his mind in the season 6 premiere to bury Ron's father Pete, helped by Morgan (Lennie James), for Deanna did not want Pete buried at Alexandria. On top of that, Ron didn't help with his father's burial. Furthermore, just as Glenn covered for Nicholas in the season 6 premiere, Carl covered for Ron in the midseason 6 finale.
What's also great about The Walking Dead is that maligned characters have been given a chance at redemption. Such as what happened when Merle Dixon decides to release Michonne before he goes after The Governor. Such as what happened later to Nicholas with Glenn. And what had happened as Father Gabriel walked baby Judith to safety, and later joined in the fray. Unfortunately, both Ron and Sam weren't given a chance. For whatever reasons. Be that as it may, actors Austin Abrams as Ron and Major Dodson as Sam both deserve praise for their roles.
The Alexandrians can learn from Rick's group, whom all are like a tight-knit Special Forces unit. All have to come together not only to preserve Deanna's dream, but also to face Negan. A man whom we are constantly told is so odious, that he makes even Darth Vader, The Governor and Gareth all look like Snow Whites. The midseason 6 premiere gets five stars out of five.