The Walking Dead – “First Time Again”
Season Six of AMC’s The Walking Dead begins with possibly the best opening episode yet. First Time Again is a crescendo of what The Walking dead does best; with the perfect balance of stomach churning action, deeply nervous moments and poignant characterisation from all of our usual suspects and some new players too. Rarely does the series have a perfect score in a single episode however, but this opener ticks all the boxes.
The creators of the show are notorious for trying new editing techniques and do so again as the episode shifts between monochrome and technicolour from scene to scene. Colour shows viewers the present, setting up season six, whereas the black and white allows for a glimpse into the immediate aftermath of season five.
Whilst in black and white, a cinematography choice inspired by the comics, we see Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Morgan Jones (Lennie James) rekindle their bond, however the newly ‘zenned’ Morgan appears to start questioning Ricks morality. Hopefully the writers don’t go down the villainous Rick route, as this is a lead character not always sympathetic. However with the first shot of the series being Rick’s face covered in blood as he puts down Pete with a shot to the face, its not looking good for Rick remaining completely sane.
Whilst in colour we see the survivors attempt to deal with a super hoard of walkers amassing on their door step. Again Rick has stepped up with a plan. A plan to lead the load away from the safe zone. However doubters start to chime already and a subsequent uprising is quickly quelled under the new ‘Ricktatorship’. The uprising is in the form of one man, Carter, who doesn’t do a great deal with his time in The Walking Dead bar become a thorn in Rick’s side which is quickly pulled out (or bitten and dispensed). The plan itself is genius and some clever plotting.
The operation is going smoothly with Rick, Daryl, Glenn and the others leading the pack, but this is The Walking Dead, where nothing goes according to plan. So as tens of thousands of dead march west of Alexandria the parade is duly rained on at the moment a horn is sounded in the opposite direction leading the walkers back. The question isn’t whether this was the purposeful act of a villain. The question is whether the evil is out-with Alexandria or within it’s walls. The episode ends perfectly with the horn sounding over the credits and then on a black screen, furthering the terror.
First Time Again was a great zombie-fest with moments of deep human struggle dotted throughout. The Walking Dead personified.