A Closer Look: The Walking Dead – “First Time Again”

The Walking Dead returned last night and gave us more walkers than ever as Rick and the gang tries to deal with an unbelievable new threat. But in doing so, did they forget about another threat? With an episode comprised mainly of flashback cycles and Rick and Morgan coming to meet each other’s new selves, it’s clear to see why this episode was titled “First Time Again”. So let’s take a closer look at everything else in this episode.

Episode Format – The Cycle Of Present & Flashback:

As the Season Premier, we knew it had to grab us from the get go; and what better way to start that than ‘in media res’. As the episode kicked off we find our heroes and the people of Alexandria standing over a “Quarry of Death” ready to enact a huge plan. Through the episode, we get noir scene flashbacks to show how all of our heroes got here as well as to parallel something that should have been set up prior. For example, Carter screws up the plan right before we get a flashback of Rick wishing he had killed him in case he screwed up the plan. . . Whoops.

In fact, the majority of the flashbacks were paced very well to see how everyone got to where they are now as well as what the overall plan was. It was this style that not only kept s glued to the action filled present, but also desperate for more flashbacks to see what exactly got everyone here. And as the climax grew gloser the flashbacks got closer to closer together until we once again heard Rick say “We have to come for them before they come for us”.

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This is important for 2 reasons. The first is that the episode started with a flashback to the final moments of Season 5. So by making the final flashback of this episode the first ‘present’ scene of this episode, you have this episode come beautifully full circle. The other importance of this scene is that we realize Rick had the wrong “Them”.

“We Have To Come For Them Before They Come For US” – The Wrong Them:

When Rick first utters these words, we see that he’s talking about the Quarry Walkers. What started as a small camp of cannibals turned into a massive mega mega herd of trapped walkers – drawn together by their growing sound of others. Rick knows it’s only a matter of time before they get loose so they have to act fast before Alexandria gets overrun. Though sadly, this plan takes on a very “you’ll meet your fate on the path you take to avoid it” moral as we learn at the end that Rick might have been focusing on the wrong “Them”.

We heard him and Darryl discuss the ‘W’ group for a moment, and yet they aren’t taken into consideration for this plan. We the audience only realize this at the end. We had multiple times when the plan could have screwed up – the store front walkers, the retaining wall holding, Carter’s screaming – and it’s not until the end that the plan really goes south when the truck horns start blaring. We know this is the Wolves as we’ve seen them use sound and trucks as weapons before. Does this mean the Wolves have already hit Alexandria? Was Enid truly a spy like we thought last season?

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By forgetting the Wolves, Rick and his group just made a dire mistake. And now instead of the walkers to deal with, they have people too. Though to be fair, letting those walkers loose – albeit in a different direction – wasn’t the best idea either. It would have been much better to figure out a way to put them down rather than move them like cattle. At one point I was hoping they’d lead them back around and drop them off the cliff; but alas. By keeping the walkers alive, they just added to their problems.

Things Taken From Ron:

A quick recurring theme this episode was how Ron kept seeing things “taken” from him by the Grimes family. First we see how he – and a few other residents – resent Rick for killing his father Pete even though Pete killed Reg. After this we see how Ron spies Carl and Enid holding hands. Finally, we see Ron overhear how Rick doesn’t want Pete’s body buried within the walls. How this is exactly going to pan out we don’t know yet, but there is set up for another possible Grimes/Anderson face off. Though we might not get to see it since Jessie refused Rick’s offer to teach her how to fight; and it looks like danger has already found its way to Alexandria.

Quick Bites – Easter eggs, References & Other Important Moments:

  • Apparently Maggie, Gabriel and Sasha’s prayer circle worked as we not only see Gabriel more accepting of his blame and Rick but also Sasha as a much more well adjusted individual. Sadly, these roles are replaced by Carter and Abraham – who now try to start a rebellion against Rick and have a death wish respectively.
  • “Thank god nothing happened to your hair” might have just been my favorite quote ever. Nicely done Tara!
  • Where did Morgan learn stick fighting from? Guess we’ll learn soon.
  • There seems to be a Michonne and Morgan partnership growing. I’m not going to go as far as say romance just yet; but there are certainly moments when they see more eye to eye than either does with Rick.

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  • Really Holly? You abandoned your post and left Eugene in charge? Did the Season finale Gabriel fiasco teach you NOTHING!!!!!
  • Third times the charm it seems as Nick is now pulling his weight and stepping up with the redemption. Though I have a feeling his real moment of sacrifice might still be coming.

It looks like the Season Premier isn’t really over as we come right in with another heart pounding episode next week. So stay tuned!

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