The season 6 premiere starkly presented how two factions face imminent peril. There's the Alexandrians, who've always been naïve at best, and negligent at worst. And Rick's group, always exigent, and ready to go downtown.
That's Rick's group alright. For there's that unforgettable scene within Deanna's spacious and beautifully decorated living room, when both Rick's group and the Alexandrians listen to Rick's plan of dealing with a potential horde of walkers coming their way. To shortly afterwards, it's no surprise at all that those in Rick's group were the first to volunteer being in harm's way.
The plan, the horde of walkers that were found in a massive quarry by Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Morgan (Lennie James), would be released from being corralled by several large trucks. A truck to be driven for the release, followed by someone to gradually lead the walkers away from the vicinity of the fortified Alexandrian community, who would be Daryl (Norman Reedus) on a motorcycle. Another pace vehicle would assist Daryl, meeting him halfway at point red. Along the way, a team would take out the walkers held in a tractor store, preventing them from making noise that may lead away the horde (numbered to be at least 1,000 walker actors in make-up plus many more in CGI, as told by Greg Nicotero who directed the season 6 premiere). A scout team would meet at a rendezvous point marked by yellow balloons, Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Morgan, checking ahead by walkie, on the tractor store team's success on killing the walkers to insure smooth sailing. Also, flare teams would keep any walkers from straying along the road.
Point green would be the finish line, the fall back. While Daryl, with volunteers Sasha and Abraham in a pace car, continues to lead the horde the rest of the way now held within by ditches and ridges, for an impressive distance of 20 more miles. Thus making, The Walking Dead season 6 premiere episode titled, "First Time Again," without a doubt the most audacious episode so far.
Rick proves once more to being both a proactive and innovative leader. Along with also being obviously, a resourceful and relentless leader. For one can always go back for further proof, to season 3's finale episode 16, titled, "Welcome to the Tombs." When Rick's group at the prison enclave successfully fought the governor's people not only with weaponry, but also flashbang-smoke grenades while letting lose some walkers in the dark hallways. All because, he refused to hand over Michonne to the Governor. Still, we all knew the Governor, who had more people and greater firepower was going to take the prison anyway. Even then, Rick, along with Michonne, and Daryl pursued the Governor's people in retreat, and to also rescue Andrea. While Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), both dressed in riot prison armor gear, stayed behind just in case. Only to find out the Governor had slaughtered his own people who retreated, except Karen who played dead, who later becomes the love interest of Tyreese beginning season 4.
Again, the living room scene within the spacious home of Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), leader of the Alexandrian community was memorable, wonderfully shot. A captured scene which looked to be thirty people, either sitting or standing within the beautifully decorated living room, all listening to Rick. Such a scene, which also solidified Deanna's support of Rick.
What makes a great episode doesn't always have to involve thrilling action, but also what could be called 'golden moments.' Golden moments may involve action, but can be also quieter moments. The living room scene was the beginning of many such golden moments, capturing memorable dialogue as well as any character expressions of those within that living room.
So let's begin with Carol (Melissa McBride), who being among those after hearing Rick's plan, responds by saying, "This is...I don't even have another word for it. This is terrifying. All of it. But it doesn't sound like there's any other way." Such words may be believable if said by the Carol from seasons 1 to the end of season 2, but not coming from the Carol from season 3 onward. To us viewers, those words she said doesn't fly, for we know that Carol is still playing the ruse whenever among the Alexandrians. Her act, beginning ever since being among Rick's group while handing over their weapons on their first day entering the Alexandrian community. Still acting naïve about guns, still acting afraid at the hint of danger, yet of course this was the same woman who did a reconnaissance of the Terminus compound before freeing Rick's group.
Another golden moment involved Father Gabriel, being the only incapable and untrustworthy member of Rick's group. That is so far. Because it is after all just the beginning of a new season. "I'd like to help as well," says Father Gabriel among those in the spacious living room. To which Rick gives a speedy reply, "No! Who else? We need more." Rick's reply was beyond fast, like in light-speed nanosecond fast. The scene was also memorable in that the speed of Rick's reply seemed also a touch comedic, given the tense atmosphere among those in the living room.
And speaking about the character of Father Gabriel, played by Seth Gilliam, three cheers and hip-hip hoorays for Yvette Nicole Brown. The actress, comedian and singer reportedly came to Seth Gilliam's defense, as she hosted The Walking Dead fan premiere gala held at New York's Madison Square Garden on October 9 th, documented in the October 10, 2015 online article titled, "'The Walking Dead,' Fan Premiere: A Complete Recap with Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, and cast and Crew," by Alexa Harrison of Variety. For during a question Seth Gilliam took about his character, it is said that the crowd started booing. To which Ms. Brown responded by saying, "Listen here, we will respect the actors on this stage." Let's hope the crowd only meant to boo the Father Gabriel character, though continues to appreciate the actor Seth Gilliam.
Another golden moment involved no dialogue at all. Yet, there was still communication between two individuals among those in the living room, Glenn and Nicholas (Michael Traynor). For after Rick asked for more volunteers, Nicholas looked across the room at Glenn. Both eyes meet, then Glenn silently moves his head side-to-side as if to say, "Don't even think about it."
Which leads to another such moment about Nicholas, the Alexandrian who tried to kill Glenn in the season 5 finale. And that's the moment between Maggie and Tara (Alanna Masterson). "He got Noah killed?" asked Tara. "He did. He did more than that. He lured Glenn into the woods and tried to kill him," said Maggie. "What the hell?" Tara responds. And that's when Maggie also says that Glenn told her not to tell anyone, for Nicholas would be exiled and would die beyond the walls. And then Maggie says, "Glenn saves people. Even people like that. I couldn't accept it either. But then I thought about you. How we were on different sides of that fence on the worst day of my life. And now you're one of the most important people in the world to me. Things can get better. We can make them better." Of course Maggie is referring to the Governor's second attempt at the prison enclave in season 4 episode 8, titled, "Too Far Gone." The episode, which although Tara was reluctantly among the Governor's people who did the killing, she didn't. Especially after Tara looked on helplessly at the horror when the Governor decapitated Maggie's father Hershel. Yet about Nicholas, he does team with Glenn at the tractor store with also fellow Alexandrian Heath (Corey Hawkins). Nicholas is trying to redeem himself.
In the follow up AMC show Talking Dead, a poll question was asked, who is honking that horn? Is it Ron, teen son of Jessie at 20 percent, the Wolves at 68 percent, or a new threat at 12 percent? We realize that Ron is angry at Rick for killing his father Pete, but is it enough to also warrant attracting the horde of walkers? I think it's the Wolves. Long live The Walking Dead.