“The Walking Dead” is back! Season 6 of the hit AMC series premiered Sunday night, reuniting viewers with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the rest of the gang at Alexandria. However, just because walls surround Alexandria, doesn’t mean the survivors are safe.
Episode 1, titled “First Time Again,” kicks off where the Season 5 finale left off -- with Rick shooting Pete (Corey Brill). However, the scene turns to black and white. The change in color signifies a sort of flashback to catch viewers up on the time lapse between the deadly events from last season and the new threat lurking beyond the walls -- a horde of walkers.
Let’s start at the beginning. Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) sits by a puddle of her husband’s blood. When Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam Jr.) appears she tells him he was “wrong.” All he can do is nod his head in agreement.
It’s a dark start, but there is one ray of light: Tara (Alanna Masterson). She’s awake after spending the final episodes of Season 5 in a coma. And while her friends are happy to reunite with her, they have to break the bad news about all the folks they lost while she was out.
Meanwhile, Rick is finally face-to-face with Morgan (Lennie James). However, there is no warm embrace involved. Although Morgan tells Rick he was right about it not being over, Rick warns him he doesn’t take chances anymore. He locks him up at an empty home in Alexandria as a precaution -- something that doesn’t sit right with Daryl (Norman Reedus).
And that’s not Rick’s only decision with which Daryl has a problem. After learning about the Wolves from Morgan, Rick decides they should stop looking for survivors to bring into Alexandria. When Daryl tells him he disagrees, Rick says the people outside the walls have to take care of themselves, “just like us.”
Visiting Morgan to let him out of his “cell,” Rick finds his old friend practicing with his bo staff. But when he asks about it, Morgan doesn’t appear to be too interested in opening up about his skill. He simply says a friend showed him how to use it “after everything.” It’s a different Morgan than viewers saw in Season 3 -- but he understands why Rick decided to lock him up.
“We got to get to know each other again,” Morgan says to Rick. “For the first time, again.”
Morgan’s not the only new face in Alexandria in episode 1. A car with survivors pulls up while Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is on gate duty. One man introduces himself as Heath (Corey Hawkins), an Alexandria resident who has been on a run for the past few weeks.
Rick shows Morgan around and gives the backstory of Alexandria. He explains how the people there don’t know how to survive, but that he’s hopeful they’ll come around to his ways. But will Morgan come around to Rick’s way of life?
He's definitely not familiar with this "new" Rick, a man who refuses to let Pete be buried inside the walls of Alexandria. Rick tries to explain his reasoning for killing Pete, but Morgan counters he could have been placed in a cell. Rick disagrees, saying the cells at Alexandria are not for killers, but Morgan tells him that that’s exactly what they are.
Morgan and Rick drive outside Alexandria to get rid of Pete’s body. However, they’re not alone. Pete’s son, Ron (Austin Abrams), follows them to see where his father is being buried.
Rick has no plans actually to bury Pete. He tells Morgan to leave the body, but that’s not who Morgan is. The two men get distracted though when they hear the sound of walkers. Morgan and Rick walk to the edge of a cliff where they discover an old construction zone below, and it’s full of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of walkers.
As the two take in the frightening scene, Ron accidentally makes himself known when he is chased by walkers. Rick manages to save him -- but Ron is not grateful. It’s a tense standoff and it’s made even worse when Rick begins to lecture him about safety. However, there is a bigger problem at hand -- the walkers. Rick figures out the cliff is the only reason why Alexandria managed to survive this long. While walkers did come to the walls, most of them were drawn to the cliff because of the noise. The three of them head back to warn the others, but not before Rick picks up a shovel to bury Pete.
Back at Alexandria, Rick is trying to convince the others they need to act quickly. While Rick’s group agrees with him, some of the other Alexandria folks don’t exactly trust him. Carter (Ethan Embry) argues all they need to do is secure the walls. But Deanna isn’t taking any risks. She tells everyone that they will be doing what Rick says.
Folks start volunteering, and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) wants to help. But Glenn (Steven Yeun) asks her to stay behind to keep an eye on Deanna, who the Alexandria folks need to see comeback. Meanwhile, Father Gabriel volunteers to help. However, Rick’s not interested.
“No,” he shoots him down. “Who else?”
Surprisingly Nicholas (Michael Traynor) raises his hand. And although both Rick and Glenn doubt whether he’d be able to handle it, they ultimately agree to let him go.
Carter still isn’t comfortable with Rick’s plan. He brings up Rick’s meltdown from Season 5, asking how they’re supposed to trust him after he shot a man in the face. Deanna shuts him down, but Carter insists they go over the plan again.
Rick’s crew does just that and Carter actually has some suggestions that help the plan. The folks of Alexandria get to work immediately, lining the road with cars and building a new wall to act as a bumper for the walkers when Daryl, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) drive them away from the safe zone. However, this new plan isn’t enough -- and Rick tells that to Deanna. He warns her people need to be armed inside the walls, and they need to be trained. He illustrates when a handful of walkers appear during the prep. Instead of helping Carter and the others, Rick instructs them to use their shovels to kill the walkers.
Rick was right -- the Alexandria folks don’t know how to fight. They beg for help, but Rick instructs his people not to assist them. However, Morgan does his own thing anyway. He runs in to help fight the walkers and others follow.
“You said you don’t take chances anymore,” Morgan tells Rick after the last walker is dead.
After the incident, it seems as if Carter doesn’t want to take chances anymore. He meets with a couple of other folks to hatch a plan to kill Rick before he kills them. But their plan is foiled by Eugene, who accidentally listens in while stealing food. Eugene is clumsy though. He drops a jar of food, alerting Carter and the others to his presence. Carter has a gun to Eugene’s head and is about to pull the trigger when Rick walks in with Morgan and Daryl. Carter tells Rick he’s planning on taking Alexandria back from him. But Rick proves to be more skilled. He disarms Carter and turns the gun on him but doesn’t shoot.
“You can try to work with us,” he tells him. “You can try to survive. Will you do that?”
Rick seems to be turning over a new leaf with Morgan there. He even invites his old friend to move into their house. But when Morgan tells Rick he sees the same man he first met in him, Rick goes off again. He tells Morgan he wanted to kill Carter, but knows somebody like that is going to die no matter what.
The night before Rick and the others go through the dry run, Rick pays a visit to the armory where Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) is working. It’s the first conversation between the two since he killed her husband, and needless to say it’s tense. She tells Rick she can’t talk to Ron the way he did, even if it’s something Ron needs to hear. But Jessie does promise she is learning how to shoot and is teaching her sons as well. “I am going to fight,” she tells him.
“We have to come for them before they can come for us,” Rick warns the others. Fans have heard this line during promos for Season 6 and now know what Rick to what was referring -- the horde of walkers trapped at a former construction zone. Tractor-trailers have blocked the walkers in … but not for much longer. As Rick attempts to go through a test run to rid the area of the undead, a trailer falls and puts their plan into motion. They have to act quickly because the walkers are headed straight for Alexandria.
Everyone plays an important part in this mission to secure Alexandria. The game plan is for Daryl to lead the walkers away from the safe zone on his motorcycle. Sasha and Abraham are also at the front of the line in a car to help keep the horde moving.
Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Morgan run ahead to keep the walkers in line at the turn in the road. They have a little while to wait, which gives Morgan the perfect opportunity to confront Michonne about something that has been bothering him.
“Did you take one of my protein bars?” he asks her.
Michonne denies taking it, but Morgan presses on.
“I could have sworn there was one more peanut butter left,” he continues.
“That’s how it is, isn’t it?” Michonne tells him. “You always think there is one more peanut butter left.”
While Morgan and Michonne banter playfully, Glenn is at a tractor shop with Heath and Nicholas. They need to kill the walkers inside or the noise might draw the horde away from the road. Unfortunately their plan to let one or two out of the door at a time doesn’t work because the door is blocked. Glenn is forced to break the window and face all the walkers with Heath at once, but in the end their plan works out. They race back to meet up with Rick and the others for phase two.
Everything seems to be going smoothly and Carter is man enough to admit it. He shakes Rick’s hands before running off to lead the head of the line. But before he can make it to the front, a walker grabs him and bites off a chunk of his face. His screams draw the walkers off the road, forcing Rick to stab him in the head. When Carter’s screams stop, the walkers return to the road. However, their plan hits another hiccup -- a major one. A horn begins to blow, drawing the walkers off the road again. The horn continues to blast, and Rick realizes it’s coming from home.
Is someone within Alexandria trying to sabotage the plan? Is the horn a cry for help from the safe haven? Or is another force at work here? Tweet your thoughts on “The Walking Dead” Season 6 premiere to @AmandaTVScoop.