Season 6, Episode 1:
First Time Again
- When a massive threat to Alexandria rears its' head, Rick takes command in an effort to save the town and train the inexperienced Alexandrians into competent warriors.
Due to the Anachronic Order of the episode, we have elected to list the plot summary in chronological order.
Various events are happening throughout Alexandria. Gabriel arrives at the site of the town meeting and finds Deanna sitting in the pool of her husband's blood. She turns to him and tells him he was wrong. Abraham goes to bury Reg's body and takes a shot of alcohol before staring in grief. Tara gets up and tells Eugene, Rosita and Maggie how happy she is to see them before Glenn and Nicholas arrive back from the forest. While they tend to the two men's injuries, Tara asks Maggie where Noah is, to no response. Carl goes to sit with Enid top of a shed and they hold hands while Jessie's son, Ron, stares at them.
Morgan goes to eat some dinner at Rick's house with him and Daryl. When he explains how he's taken on a new philosophy of considering all life to be precious, Rick tells him that he's not taking chances anymore. Daryl and Rick then talk about what happened with the trucks the previous day. Rick claims that they can't take in new people anymore, despite the former's attempt to argue otherwise.
Rick goes back inside and finds Morgan practicing with his stick. Morgan tells him he's not used to living in a community, but feels that sometimes it's better when there's "no way out". They go on a tour of the community and Rick explains how the people are learning to survive. He's distracted by Gabriel, who is digging two graves with Tobin. Rick tells them that he doesn't want to bury Pete's body, but when Tobin interjects, Deanna arrives and tells him to take the body out of the community and leave it in the forest.
They load Pete's corpse into the car. When Rick tells Morgan that he refuses to harbor killers in the town's jail, Morgan tells them that they're both killers as well. They drive a short ways into the forest and begin digging a grave but are distracted when they hear the sound of walkers in the distance.
A group arrives at the front gate of Alexandria, and Eugene refuses to let them in until the man introduces himself as Heath, who was out on a supply run with his group for the last two weeks. Eugene awkwardly introduces himself to the other two members, Scott and Annie, before they go inside.
Rick and Morgan go to the nearby quarry and find a massive herd milling about. Soon after, they see Ron, who followed them into the woods and is running towards them, pursued by two walkers. The duo effortlessly dispatch the walkers before staring out at the herd. Rick realizes that no walkers have come near Alexandria because they've been boxed in at the quarry by a blockade of transport trucks.
He tells Ron that he shouldn't be outside, and lectures him about not taking chances. On the way back, they finish burying Pete as Ron stares at his corpse.
Rick calls for a community meeting and tells everyone about what they saw at the quarry. Heath explains that he once saw the remnants of a group living in the quarry, who had presumably set up the blockade. Rick tells them that it's likely that walkers are starting to slip out, and the blockade won't hold. When Carter attempts to argue otherwise, Deanna agrees that it's the right call and Rick should enact a plan to draw the walkers off.
He tells the group that they'll block off one of the roads leading into Alexandria with cars and an RV, then route them away via Daryl and Sasha driving vehicles as distractions. Despite Carter's reservations, they agree to continue with their plan.
The group sets up the barricades the next day. Carol goes to Rick and tells him that he's the real one in charge before walking off. Maggie goes to Tara and reveals what happened with Noah and Nicholas' actions before affirming her trust in the group. Morgan meets Carol for the first time and figures out that she's not who she lets on. Rick apologizes to Deanna for Reg's death.
Soon after, Rick sees a pair of walkers coming out of the forest towards Carter and the untrained citizens. When they shout at him for help, Rick tells everyone to stay back and let the residents handle it. They panic and Morgan and Daryl run in to help. Rick realizes that the others aren't ready.
Eugene goes to get supplies later on, and inadvertantly walks in on Carter attempting to lead a coup against Rick with Tobin, Francine and several others. Carter pulls out a gun and intends to shoot him before Rick, Daryl and Morgan arrive. Rick disarms Carter and affirms in no uncertain terms that no one is going to take the community from them. He lets Carter go after the man admits it was his idea, and tells him he has to work to help the group survive.
Rick and Morgan sit on the front steps of the former's house and talk about what the future holds for them. Morgan holds Judith and tells him that he's still the same man that he remembers from King County, despite his changed philosophy. Rick admits that he wanted to kill Carter, but reasons that Carter is the type of man who will inevitably die because of his inexperience...
The next day, Rick reiterates the plan once again for the group — Tobin will get in one of the trucks and open the path for the walkers to come through, then Daryl (on his bike) and Sasha/Abraham (in a car) will draw them down the road, past erected metal barricades and continue heading south. Glenn, Nicholas and Heath will clear out a tractor supply store filled with walkers so they won't become distracted along the way.
The group turns in shock to see a cliff in the distance crumbling, and with it, one of the tractors holding in the herd - simultaneously freeing the walkers and also creating a large noise to lure the walkers out of the quarry. Despite planning to enact the plan the next day, Rick tells them they have to move out immediately. Rick and his team begin firing flares to lure the herd back their way, and Daryl, Sasha and Abraham begin drawing the massive herd down the road. Meanwhile, Nicholas proves his worth when he proves instrumental in helping Glenn and Heath clear out the walkers in the supply store.
Rick, Michonne and Morgan take up positions at the first junction, and fire off flares while standing behind the erected metal walls and RV. Despite a few tense moments where walkers bounce off the barricade, the herd keeps moving down the road.
Carter heads to the front, but is grabbed and bit in the cheek by a walker that comes out of the forest. Rick arrives and pulls the walker off him, but he sees walkers beginning to move towards the sound. Despite his attempts to quiet him, Carter continues to scream. Rick puts him out of his misery and the walkers head off, while Morgan and Michonne stare at him in a mixture of sadness and admonishment. Morgan admits he knows Carter had to be killed, but he wishes that Rick wasn't so quick to do it without hesitation. Michonne agrees.
Suddenly, a car horn starts blaring in the distance. Rick and the others stare in the direction, and realize what the walkers are heading towards. They all start running towards the sound of the noise, while the horde begins moving through the forest towards Alexandria...
- Adaptation Distillation: Carter's attempted coup is taken from issue #89 of the comic series, although in this episode, Carter is a Composite Character with the name of a late Alexandrian from the comics. The plot in the book involved Nicholas (who has had a HeelFace Turn by this point in the series), Spencer and Olivia. In the show, Nicholas is replaced by Tobin and Francine, Eugene (and not Glenn) is the one who discovers their plot, and everyone bails on Carter once Rick and the others arrive and see what he was planning.
- Anachronic Order: The episode intercuts between flashbacks (shown in black-and-white) and the group's plan to draw the horde away from the quarry.
- As You Know: Rick reiterates the quarry plan for the group in the opening, though (chronologically) it takes place at the end of the episode.
- Authority in Name Only: Discussed by Carol. She tells Rick that while Deanna may be the official leader, Rick is the one who's really calling the shots.
- Back-to-Back Badasses:
- Rick and Morgan, after they see Ron being pursued by walkers.
- Glenn and Nicholas prove to be quite capable, saving each other's back during the clearing out of the windowed building.
- Blood Knight: Abe gets a bit too jolly about helping keep some walkers with the rest of the herd.
- Book-Ends: The episode begins and ends with the group having to deal with an unforeseen complication in their plan (the truck trailer-barricade falling off the cliff in the opening, and the car horn blaring at the end).
- With Fear the Walking Dead, The season finale of Fear The Walking Dead, which aired the previous week, had Daniel lead a previously trapped herd of walkers from the Great Western Forum to a military outpost to overrun them. This episode begins with Rick and the others trying to lead a trapped herd of walkers away, only for someone unknown to try to lure them to overrun Alexandria.
- Butt-Monkey: Gabriel. Rick does not even want Gabriel helping bury bodies. When Gabriel volunteers to help, Rick immediately shoots him down without a second look.
- Canon Foreigner: Carter, an Alexandria resident who exists mostly to provide a counterpoint to Rick's arguments about surviving in the new world, and is messily dispatched by the end of the episode as proof that there are some people who just won't survive.
- Chekhov's Gun: Heath suggests using the metal plates Abraham, Tobin and the others picked up from the construction site to reinforce the barricades, and they end up using these to great effect while enacting their plan.
- Continuity Nod:
- While they're waiting for the horde to arrive at one of the barricades, Morgan brings up Michonne stealing a protein bar from his refrigerator when she visited King County.
- Abraham asks if Sasha is driving the distraction vehicle to get herself killed, recalling her Death Seeker tendencies in the previous season (and her haphazard slash at him in "Them").
- Tara has to be informed of Noah's death, as she's been out cold since "Spend".
- Maggie sadly recalls to Tara the day The Governor destroyed the prison and killed her father (and as she assumed, her sister) as "the worst day of [her] life."
- Glenn recalls his job as a pizza delivery man before the apocalypse began, as he last mentioned in "Vatos."
- Contrived Coincidence: The tractor-trailer barricade at the top of the quarry falls in a landslide while Rick is in the middle of explaining the plan to the group.
- The Coup: Played With. Carter attempts to lead Tobin, Francine, Spencer (Deanna's surviving son) and Olivia in a bid to overthrow Rick's authority, but after he walks in on them holding Eugene at gunpoint, they immediately claim it was all Carter's doing and he holds him at gunpoint while giving him a talking-to.
- Dare to Be Badass: Glenn tells Nicholas that he's going to teach him how to kill walkers more effectively with him. The next time we see them (chronologically), they seamlessly work together to take out the walkers in the store.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Abraham takes a drink of whisky while burying Reg's body.
- Foreshadowing: Morgan references "No Way Out", a pivotal moment in the comics that was adapted not long after this episode.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Gabriel is given more of this treatment by Rick.
- Gilligan Cut: Rick tells Morgan in a flashback that Carter is the type of man who will inevitably die when things get rough. The next scene shows Carter being caught and munched on by a walker before Rick puts him out of his misery.
- One walker pushes her way through the gap between the barricade of trucks, sloughing off her skin along the way.
- The camera also lingers on walkers smashing into the makeshift barricades by the road, who die after hitting it headfirst and falling into a pool of gore.
- Hazy Feel Turn: Rick spent much of the previous season on the cusp of (if not completely within) Villain Protagonist. This is brought to the fore in his interactions with Morgan, who has returned to a Lighter Shade Of Gray, almost messianic territory. Over the course of the episode, though, it appears that Morgan is a good influence on Rick. In the flashbacks, he gets Rick to back down from outright killing Carter when he finds the latter plotting against his group. In the present, Rick doesn't immediately kill a badly bitten Carter, but instead tries to get him to be quiet before finally putting him out of his misery.
- He Knows Too Much: Carter and his coup discover Eugene has overheard them talking and Carter puts a gun to Eugene's head. Before he can do anything though Rick and the others arrive and see him threatening Eugene, blowing the whole secret coup.
- HeelFace Turn: Unlike his comic counterpart (who was still firmly villainous at this point in the storyline), Nicholas becomes a badass who works seamlessly with Glenn and Heath to clear out a supply store that's full of walkers, and has earned Glenn's trust by the end of the episode.
- How We Got Here: The opening starts at Rick and the group getting ready to route the herd at the quarry. The rest of the episode cuts between flashbacks and the group enacting their plan.
- Mauve Shirt: Carter, who gets a bit of characterization and briefly becomes the planner for an attempted coup. He goes along with Rick's group, but ends up being bitten and screaming for mercy before Rick puts him down.
- The Mentor: Glenn has become one to Nicholas.
- Mercy Kill: Rick stabs the still-living Carter to put him out of his misery. And to shut him up.
- Non-Action Guy: Gabriel is trying to break out of this, but Rick orders him to stay out of the action.
- Oh, Crap!: Several times over the course of the episode.
- First, Morgan and Rick are out in the woods, burying Pete when they here something that turns out to be a quarry filled with thousadns of walkers, barely contained by parked semis.
- As they're preparing for their big pusch to clear the walkers out of the area, the group finds their hand forced when one of the semis falls off a cliff, freeing the walkers and launching the plan.
- Glenn's trio is trying to clear a convenience store with dozens of walkers inside, making enough noise to pull the herd, but their plan is derailed when it turns out there's a metal shutter behind the locked doors of the store.
- Finally, the group gets this at the end of the episode when they hear the car horn go off and the horde start moving towards them.
- Out of Focus: Maggie, Carol, and Daryl do not have large roles in this episode.
- P.O.V. Cam: From Eugene's perspective, as he spies on Carter's meeting.
- Promoted to Opening Credits: Lennie James (Morgan) and Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) are added to the opening title sequence.
- Reality Ensues: It hits several characters.
- Rick is proven right about how people who have lived in the safety of Alexandria without training to fight walkers would make them incapable of handling them when the time came. This is proven in both a flashback along with how Carter was incapable of taking down one walker on his own before getting bitten.
- While Gabriel is not banished for betraying Rick's group nor does Rick bring it up directly, Rick makes it clear that Gabriel's betrayal will not be forgotten even if he has made peace with some members of the group.
- Despite the death of Pete, Jessie is not about to go running into Rick's arms and clearly wants some distance from him despite recognizing he's right about having to learn to survive.
- Remember the New Guy?: Heath and the supply run group, who return to Alexandria after two weeks away from the community, and quickly introduce themselves to Rick's group.
- The Reveal: The reason why Alexandria has had very few walkers to deal with is because thousands of them have been corralled in a large quarry for the past few years, thanks to a few survivors barricading themselves in with the use of several 18-wheelers.
- Rousing Speech: Rick gives a short one to the group at the beginning of the episode.
- Spotting the Thread: Morgan immediately figures out that Carol isn't what she seems, and he points out to her that he notices how she watches people like a hawk and always looks like she's prepared.
- Title Drop: During Rick and Morgan's conversation about meeting each other again after so long.
- Too Dumb to Live: Rick could have killed Carter, but ultimately opted not to, because that idiot was practically a goner anyway.
- Trash the Set: According to behind-the-scenes materials, Andrew Lincoln punched a wall many times to get angry enough to shoot the confrontation with Carter that he left a visible hole in the wall. This hole was left in the final cut and can be seen as Rick threatens Carter.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Carter calls out Rick for forcing a handful of other residents to dispatch walkers on their own, without their help.