The Walking Dead has never been stingy about walker-filled setpieces, particularly as the show has progressed. But “First Time Again” is drowning in the undead, as a quarry full of them becomes the next major would-be threat to survival that Rick decides to take on before it actually becomes a problem.
After five seasons worth of stories, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the Rick who led his group into Alexandria is a Rick not willing to undertake such an obstacle without a plan. (ASIDE: For those following along, I am your newly instated TWD recapper for the season, and as I mentioned in my first Fear the Walking Dead recap, I have purposely not read the comics to focus on the show as its own entity. END ASIDE). “First Time Again” tests the limits of that plan, as the Alexandria group (plus a few newcomers) are forced into action earlier than expected, while also taking a look back at how the plan came to be. Unsurprisingly, it was not a simple process.
“First Time Again” opens up on that quarry, a disturbing pit of caged-in walkers as Rick directs the group around the area. Morgan is there, as are a few unfamiliar faces, but everyone’s listening to Rick…until a truck blocking off one of the quarry’s exit routes falls down a rock wall. Sure, it kills quite a few walkers, but it also gives the rest of them a prime route straight to Alexandria.
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So everyone shifts into high gear — a plan they expected to carry out the next day has to go into effect now, no matter the doubts some of the Alexandrians may have in Rick’s directives. There’s no choice but to follow through as the walkers begin to spill out from their open-air cage. Greg Nicotero lets the camera sit in place before the credits kick in, a ceaseless mass of walkers approaching with no end in sight. But Rick has an end in mind, and it will require everyone to work in perfect harmony to make that dream ending a reality.
It looks like there might actually be hope for that, but “First Time Again,” doles out Rick’s zombie parade mission in short bursts while jumping back to the interim between the season 5 finale and now, and differentiating between the two by showing the past sequences in black and white, while the present remains in full color.
The Calm Before the March
The deaths of Reg, his throat slit, and Pete, his face blown off, leave the people of Alexandria in a fractured state. Abraham drinks his way through body-removal duty, Jessie’s son Ron is coping with Pete’s death, Carl and Enid share a quiet moment, and Glenn returns injured with the also-injured Nicholas.
It’s not all terrible news within the confined walls of Alexandria. Tara has woken up, much to the restrained delight of Eugene (though she also unfortunately learns of Noah’s death), while Maggie has Glenn back and Rick is able to reconnect with Morgan. They are, as the title and dialogue within the episode suggests, meeting for the first time again. Rick tells Morgan he’s the type of guy who doesn’t take chances anymore, and that includes taking a chance on Morgan. So initially, he has Morgan isolated in a house while they can decide just how trustworthy this man is, but Rick’s sentiments about Alexandria certainly suggest he’s not in the most trusting mode. He tells Daryl he wants more security for the town and no more warm bodies brought in, especially with more of those carved Ws appearing on walker faces. Daryl disagrees, but for now Rick is sticking to what he knows will work.
NEXT: Rick and Morgan catch up. There’s a lot of that to do.