Talking Out The Dead: “First Time Again”

Thomas Crawford: I think I told you to start this, or maybe I was mistaken. You have had a crazy tough week so I’ll stop being selfish and start us off.

Wow… we are starting the new season like this? All black and white. Well not all black and white, but at least half the time. I know a lot of people probably didn’t like it. I did however. It felt like sort of an homage to the comics. Plus, people today don’t appreciate the use of light and dark in film, so that is a plus.

One thing that struck me about the first episode of Season 6 was the flashbacks. Can we really talk about the first episode without mentioning flashbacks? No names, but some people seemed to get a little irritated about it. I actually liked it. It set a certain feel that this episode was about explaining things, how it was and what was going on in the present.

We know that Rick killed Pete, quite emphatically. Also it was done at Deanna’s behest. I can’t blame the woman, she just watched him slice the throat of her husband. In that moment, she knew what Alexandria needed. It was Rick. A man that knew the horror of TWD world, and what needed to be done. Kudos to the actress, she said everything with a look, a nod, and a couple words.

I won’t dwell on that. However the murder of Deanna’s husband set a tone for the season. Even with a few spirits in me, I saw that. That could be a problem in the upcoming season. What do you think? Is she broken? Is her world shattered? I think her and Reg were trying to find order in the chaos. Reg was a rock, or at least appeared to be a rock. Without him, watching him killed could have repercussions, and just not on Pete.

Something that stood out was Big Red… sorry Abraham. Is he losing it? He seems to have a death wish. There was a moment he was tending to the body of Reg, and he gave a pour of whiskey to the fallen. The focus on him and the ring was also interesting. It wouldn’t be abnormal in most circumstances after Reg being murdered. Yet, it seemed more than that. Was Reg something of a friend to Abraham? Is he starting to think it is pointless trying to get close to people?

How about the tension between Rick and Daryl? Rick wants to leave people out, Daryl doesn’t agree. This seems to be something that might come to a head this season. Maybe or maybe not, but something to watch for I think.

Their relationship hasn’t been rocky since the first season. This is the first time in a long time that they just seem uncomfortable around each other. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Daryl sees something Rick doesn’t. Hope, I think. He at least sees something worth risking his life for at any given time.

Rick just sees safety, security, and a place where those who are in already are known. Those who aren’t in can fend for themselves. So this is the Rick Grimes we’ve all come to know? Maybe, or maybe he is pushing it too far? That is something that will need to be revealed in upcoming episodes.

I can’t stop writing until we talk about Morgan, the staff wielding wanderer. He seems to be the conscious of Rick during this episode. At least he seems to be the remnants of his conscious. Did anyone get a feel of “Kwai Chang Caine” from Kung Fu off of him? He is the staff wielding monk that brings justice. Maybe it was me, I watched Kung Fu a lot as a kid.

Overall, this episode had me enthralled. The quarry full of walkers trapped was just an afterthought. There was so much going on, I had trouble keeping up.

How about your thoughts? Was this a good opener? Did this episode gloss over too many details? Or did it really show what people are like in a terrible position?

Kelen Conley: As always, I’ll work my way through your questions backwards.

This episode was amazing. While I still think last season’s opener featuring the escape from Terminus was better, this was right up there. A quarry full of walkers? Black and white flashback scenes that catch us up to real time action? The Ricktatorship in full effect? A quarry full of now freed walkers? YAAAAAAAAASSSSSSS. And I don’t care if that reference won’t make sense to anyone in a few years.

I think this episode touched on everything it needed to, especially when it could have been a bunch of talking heads dealing with the fallout of Rick killing Pete when Deanna said so because Pete accidentally killed Reg in a drunken rage that was really meant for Rick. By moving the action forward while catching us up on the days that had passed since the Season 5 finale was brilliance by the writers.

I’m also hoping it signifies a leap in storytelling for the show. While you and I have come to love the slow episodes just as much as the action ones, TWD may have finally found a way around having to slow down to tell the story. While this present to flashback to present format won’t work every time, I think it shows a definite growth from the production side of the camera.

I love Morgan but at the same time I hate Morgan. I understand he’s achieved this place of peace since we last saw him in Season 3’s “Clear” but come on man! Unlike Rick, he’s seen everything happen from the start, he lost his family and his mind but somehow he’s made his way back, and he’s spouting about how all life is precious… ugh. I get why he’s this way, mostly because he’s the foil to Rick’s shoot first, ask questions later mentality. But in a way, he’s replaced Tyreese in the group. While I still blame Noah for Tyreese’s death, I thought the group got stronger without him.

I’m really hoping that we get a Morgan only episode to show his journey from “Clear” to being right in the head again. Maybe it will help me understand where he’s coming from more. But one thing that was definitely put on the table was that he will oppose Rick at some point this season and as we saw in this episode already, not all of Alexandria is ready to fall in line with Rick’s methods.

I’ve never watched Kung Fu but a quick Google search and I’m in complete agreement with you buddy.

I think both Rick and Daryl are right. Rick trusts no one; Daryl is willing to try to find the good in people. Considering that neither know of the Wolves’ presence yet, it’s pretty much potato potahto at this point. I can’t see this being any more than a tease though. Despite Daryl’s enormous popularity, he’s never been put in any kind of position to be a leader, which is what it would take to really challenge Rick on his stance. He’s a great second-in-command though and as the season progresses, he’ll fall back into his normal role in the group.

I think they didn’t want to have Daryl immediately fall in line with Rick’s word for once here. They spent a good bit of time with Daryl’s personal growth following Beth’s death and it would be a bit squandered if he didn’t rebel against not letting anyone into Alexandria. But like I said, I don’t expect this to be a major issue between them.

They’ve hinted at it before last season but Abraham has seen some shit. For the group to be welcomed into Alexandria and for Abraham to get a job that he really liked where he was the leader again (something I just thought of, before Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene joined the group, Abraham had been in charge. After the church, he took a back seat to Rick, similar to what Dwyane Wade did for LeBron James in Miami. He probably liked being in charge again), and life was gaining some sense of normalcy, he probably did take Reg’s death hard. And I’m thinking because it was yet another innocent person in his life that died needlessly.

He’s also in a place where he doesn’t have to be the strong one and can break down as well, probably for the first time. He’s obviously still a valuable contributor so I can see the group ignoring this for the most part other than Rosita and, thanks to their car trip, a back from the brink herself Sasha.

Let me throw this wild prediction out there: At some point this season, I could see Abraham and Sasha finding comfort with each other and Rosita would inevitability find out.

I think Deanna will be fine, especially with Maggie assigned to keep an eye on her. As someone who lost 2 of the 3 most important people she had left in a matter of weeks, she knows how to deal with loss and is still trying to cope. What I’m interested to see is what will happen when Deanna stops listening to Rick again, once she begins to mourn Reg less. Because when that happens, that anti-Rick mentality will start rising again in Alexandria, and now she could possibly have Morgan spearheading that campaign… that has me thinking that the Rick v. Morgan showdown is going to happen in the first half of Season 6.

One thing that Heather and I definitely noticed already though: They’re hitting all the cues for killing off a major character already and that major character is Glenn. What are your thoughts on that one?

TC: Okay, I definitely see some cues for a major kill off. Is it Glenn? Well, if they were going to do it, it would have made sense to do it last season. Though I will admit, Glenn dying while fighting with Nicholas would have been an extra dagger in the heart of fans last season.

So, is Nicholas really trying to redeem himself? I’m trying to be optimistic about this guy. However, I’m a cynic. Run off and leave me for dead, TWICE, you really can’t get on my good side. Glenn is a much better man than me. Personally, I would have ended Nicholas’ existence at end of last season when I had the chance. Couldn’t be too hard to make up a story, Glenn already did to explain their injuries.

Honestly, that may be Glenn’s downfall. I hate to agree, I love Glenn. I know a lot of fans are probably tired of the Glenn and Maggie thing, but come on. Glenn is just a good solid guy. He is the type of person that most of us “think” we are… but when push comes to shove, we really aren’t. If they are going to kill him off, I feel he deserves a good send off. I’m thinking Tyreese style, maybe even more.

So Abraham and Sasha… not so sure. I see them having a moment, maybe even having an intense moment together. They are both sort of at the brink. Will it explode into something more than two people dealing with the shitstorm the world has become? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t want to say for sure because I’m still really looking for Rosita to really come forward as a character.

Rosita and Abraham are together, we know this. However, at best she has just been pretty scenery. Sorry for being a chauvinist, but it is the end of the world. Rosita is walking around in cutoff shorts, a tank, and some pretty pig tails. She has lost that look so far but you know what I mean. I thought she was eye candy, and so did you, don’t lie. Where is her story? How about her stepping up, her interacting with Abraham, dealing with whatever is getting to him? That is something I would love to see play out. Plus, any more screen time for Rosita is always a plus (sorry, I’m a pig).

I sort of have to disagree about Daryl. You think it is a tease, but I hope it isn’t. He has really grown as a character since the beginning of the show. Let’s be honest, he was a side character to start off with that has grown in popularity. The writers spent a lot of time showing his dealing with the death of Beth, and how he has grown as a person.

Is he going to face off against Rick right away? Absolutely not. I think since the Claimers, he and Rick are more like brothers than General and subordinate. At the same time, brothers fight. Brothers disagree. Daryl faced off against Merle, just throwing that out there. I think this season might show Daryl facing off against Rick at some point.

I should point out; Daryl is not going to backstab Rick in any way. I just think a series of situations are going to come up, disagreements will heat up, and we will see some showdown before the season is over. Could Daryl be on the chopping block by the time this season closes? It is something that I’ve thought about. I don’t know for sure if the producers will risk the loss of a character that is so popular. Though it is telling, I think about Rick and Daryl facing off and Daryl being the loser. So how bad ass is Rick at this point that I don’t even consider him losing?

Back to Morgan. I totally agree, this character is so shrouded in mystery… and he was one of the first characters introduced in the show! What has this man gone through? We know to an extent, because his family is dead. We know he lost it for awhile, at one point he became a bandit type character. We also know he is very good with a bo/staff. He doesn’t mind knocking someone out, but hates killing.

I think me and you are going to be at odds with this character for the season. He is going to be a pivot point for a lot of episodes. You are right; he is sort of the conscious of the old Rick. I love the new Rick; shoot first, deal with it later. However, this show is more than just about surviving. It is about life, and living. I think Morgan represents more than just survival.

He displays this when he says all life is important. Again, not to make the Kung Fu reference, but it sounds like some meditative monk thought. You can defend yourself and live, without killing. On other hand, when you start to kill over and over, it becomes easier. At what point do you stop being a person, and just an animal trying to survive?

This is going to come up again and again I can tell, and so can you. Feel free to hate Morgan, but he seems to symbolize humanity. He respects life, but will kick your ass if you try and take what is his. Personally, I would love a flashback to see how he got to this point. Am I the only one that thinks he seems to be the only truly sane person left in TWD world? Again, disagree, I know because you love to yell at Morgan, just take it from me I think he is needed. One final thought: Is he going to be fighting against Rick this season, or is he going to help Rick figure out that there is more than just surviving? I’ll throw it back to you.

KC: I don’t want to hate Morgan but it just frustrates me that he’s putting so much energy into conserving life. I get it, just because there’s an apocalypse doesn’t mean that we should lose our humanity. But there has to be a time and place where you kill and where you shouldn’t kill.

Clearly, Rick checked out of that place after Terminus, the church, and being on the road before Alexandria. You blink funny and you’re as good as dead with him. You could do just about anything to Morgan it seems and he’ll still let you live when it’s all said and done. He might cripple you in the process, but you still get to live.

To take it one step further, let’s consider Rick The Punisher and Morgan Spider-Man (I know Batman would make more sense but we’re keeping it all the way Marvel here). Punisher guns down those he deems guilty despite what anyone says. I can’t tell you how many comics exist where Punisher and Spidey team-up and Spider-Man spends most of his time telling Punisher not to kill anyone. Spoilers… he does anyway much to Spider-Man chagrin.

Neither man is right but neither of them is wrong either. Morgan is wrong for leaving possible threats alive but if some hungry guy tries to kill him because he’s been on his own and on the road too long, yeah, Morgan shouldn’t kill him. Rick would have two bullets in his skull before he even looked at the guy’s face. But we also know that that person is no longer a threat to Rick and the group.

I hope Morgan helps Rick get back in touch with his humanity and his morals. There’s a time for Rick to be Wolverine and a time for him to be Captain America. He has to find a balance before he truly loses himself like Morgan did.

I agree that Rick and Daryl are more like brothers than soldiers in arms. But at the same time, until Daryl spent time with Rick and the group, he always followed Merle’s lead. When they couldn’t find him after the rooftop in Atlanta, Daryl found a new brother to follow in Rick. I would personally love to see Daryl taking more of a lead role at times, and as things happen this season, it could happen. Hell, if he and Rick could have a brotherly like scuffle over something; I’d be into that for sure. But Daryl by nature is a follower, and whether he’s following Rick or even Carol, a follower is what it seems he’s destined to be.

I don’t know if we’ll get the Rosita story we deserve my friend. How long has she been around, a season and a half? Unfortunately, you nailed it; she’s Abraham’s eye candy at this point. She blends into the background even more in Alexandria without her trademark look she started with. I do think that there is a bit of a B story that involves her, Eugene, and Tara though, so we may see some character development there. It would help if they got this mega herd of walkers where they needed to go first though.

It’s clear that Abraham is in a vulnerable place so it would make sense for Rosita to step up and try to help him. But it’s so early on right now and so action paced that it will be a while before we see if this happens. And the Sasha thing was empty speculation. I just know that Abraham is getting drunk by himself often and that could lead him into the arms of Sasha or another lonely resident of Alexandria.

Or he could propose to Rosita with Reg’s ring.

I really hate that you agree with Glenn being setup to die. I was hoping you’d try to talk me out of it. But the way he seems to have helped Nicholas turn over a new leaf, and the flashback with Maggie and Tara talking about what happened in the woods… it feels so ominous.

I’m glad they didn’t do it last season. For Glenn to be taken out by a coward like Nicholas after all he had made it through would’ve been the wrong thing to do. It would’ve also elevated Nicholas’ character I think, for Alexandria to have a true murderer in their midst. While that would’ve been an interesting angle, I’m glad that’s not the route they took.

Glenn is a good person, as good as Morgan is trying to be. But I don’t feel like Glenn’s good hurts the group like Morgan or even Tyreese’s good. If Tyreese kills Martin, then the Termites don’t follow them to the church, they don’t kidnap Bob and eat his leg (we know he was dead anyway because of the walker bite), and then Gabriel doesn’t see the group slaughter the Terminus survivors. Then Gabriel doesn’t lose it so there’s no extra reason for the Alexandrians not to trust the group and Rick.

We already saw that those two Wolves Morgan left alive in the season finale found Aaron’s pictures and they’ve obviously targeted Alexandria from what we’re given at the end of this episode. Morgan kills them and Alexandria is that much safer. I just think that everyone on the show would be better off by trying to be more like Glenn.

And the Glenn and Maggie thing doesn’t bother me at all right now. It hasn’t been a focal point since they found each other in that tunnel in Season 5. Hell, I wouldn’t mind if the story slowed down enough for them to have a moment together, even for one scene.

It’s truly crazy how much has happened so far and we’re only one episode into the proceedings. In fact, we may be in the middle of the greatest season of TWD ever. And I mean the one where when people argue about the show years from now, they’ll be like, “Season 6 was the best season, hands down, no ifs, ands, or buts about it!”

You better hold onto your butt.

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