Big apologies to Anne B–this recap first ran as authored by me. Totally a software error! –Deborah
It’s a new season of The Walking Dead, and our walker friends are staggering through a changing world. They’re more nuisance now than nightmare, downgraded from the constant threat of season 1 to an infestation. In First Time Again, we sense that Rick, Michonne, Glen, Carol, and the rest of the crew will face bigger hazards than a stagger of zombies — even one the size of Woodstock, swarming and growing in a nearby quarry.
As a containment system, zombies-in-a-quarry is, shall we say, flawed. It’s kept Alexandria safe so far, but the zombie horde is fast outgrowing its makeshift barriers (which consist of trucks parked at either end of the pit), and the breaking point is close at hand. Rick tells his Alexandrian hosts that it’s not a question of if the system will fail, but when. When he suggests “coming for them before they can come for us,” Deanna, brow furrowed above her thousand-yard stare, agrees with him.
Deanna is not okay. Having suddenly lost her husband in the fight between Rick and Pete, she breaks her grieving silences only to bark agreement with whatever harebrained plan her new sheriff is proposing. And as for that sheriff: Officer-King Rick Grimes is not really okay either.
Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?
Rick’s word is law in Alexandria now, and it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of the Grimes Administration. If you’re not for the Rickenator, you’re against him.
Rick’s old friend Morgan sees this change better than most. It’s not what he wants to see, so he tries to talk himself out of it. Using the example of how Rick could have killed Carter in their earlier standoff, Morgan tells Rick that he doesn’t think he’s changed at all. “We’ve just got to get to know each other again,” Morgan says, holding Baby Judith on his lap. “For the first time, again.”
Commander Grimes of Ricktopia has a different perspective on the Carter situation:
Carter’s just somebody that shouldn’t be alive now. I wanted to kill him, but I realized I didn’t have to do it. He doesn’t get it. Somebody like that, they’re gonna die no matter what.
This is not the Rick Grimes you knew, Morgan. He’s not even the Rick we knew.
Back at the quarry, Rick’s incomprehensible plan — which seems to involve luring the walkers into a kind of giant Walk To End Zombies, or something — is also the only plan. And that’s how Daryl Dixon, his motorcycle slowed to a crawl, ends up leading the world’s first Walk To End Walkers. The badass heartthrob of the survivor crew is Grand Marshal of the slowest, least happy parade ever, and he doesn’t seem to think it’s an honor.
Against all odds, the plan works — for a while. But then a horn sounds, from the general direction of Alexandria. The zombie parade takes this as a kind of order to disperse, and now they’re heading for Alexandria. I hope Carol’s ready, with a lot of cookies!
Final Episode Thoughts:
- Deanna is totally the hornblower. I think her general not-okayness has boiled over, into screw-this-shit-I’m-outishness. I think she torpedoed Rick’s plan, and not just because he’s being such a Governor. I think Deanna genuinely doesn’t want to be alive anymore.
- RIP, Carter. I noticed that Carter faced the threat of execution by absolving his possible partners-in-mutiny of blame. “It was only me,” he told Rick; this was noble. You were an okay guy, Carter! Shame about your face.
- For future reference, mutineers: Don’t hold your secret meetings with the door open.
- Morgan gets all the best lines. “Sometimes you’re safer when there’s no way out.” I’m not really sure what that means, but it seems like a cool thing to say if you’re hanging out with an old friend who’s developed some megalomaniacal tendencies.
- “Daryl’s been teaching me how to shoot.” No one takes the undercover badass game more seriously than Carol.
- This episode was funnier than most. “Thank God nothing happened to your hair,” a no-longer-comatose Tara tells Eugene; Glen later tells Heath, “I’m supposed to be delivering pizzas, man.”
- Is this the beginning of an increase in the show’s lighter moments? I really hope so. It’s not like there’s no precedent for that kind of thing.
- Morgan is missing a protein bar. Michonne does not have it. “See, I could have sworn there was one peanut butter left,” he muses. This is exactly why I can never bring myself to eat the peanut butter bar: what if it’s the last one?
- I liked the way Rick described the quarry problem. I felt that it was a neat allegory for climate change. Now if we could just get all the climate changes together for a parade …