The Walking Dead Season 6 Premiere Recap: A Plan Gone Very, Very Wrong

Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.

When we last left our heroes, they were proving to the relatively untouched community of Alexandria that they are, in fact, heroic. But, if The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it’s that a haven’s safety is fleeting. In the season 6 premiere, we see how Alexandria may succumb to walkers, forcing the group to move on.

If I had to list Rick Grimes' favorite activities, they would be: shouting "CARL," taking out several walkers at once, and reminding everyone in Alexandria how unprepared they are for this whole zombie thing. They've still got fridges of food, man! No one knows how to fire a weapon effectively. It took Pete losing his shit and stabbing Deanna's husband for Deanna to authorize Rick to kill Pete — the community's first death. (Cue Ron Burgundy: "[B]Rick killed a guy!") This is Rick's world now. Deanna's more like a figurehead.

That means, in the premiere of season 6, things have to start going Rick's way. First of all, why is Alexandria so safe? Are they just that lucky that no swarms of walkers have unionized and knocked down the community's walls? Of course not. Rick puts on his detective hat and sets out to find the real reason. When producer David Alpert told Refinery29 at San Diego Comic-Con this year that the season 6 premiere will have "more zombies than any other episode," he was not kidding. Rick discovers there's a canyon nearby where thousands of zombies have aggregated and are unable to climb out. The spare walker makes its way to the gates of the town, but Rick thinks it's only a matter of time before a herd comes their way.

Rick tells Deanna that everyone needs to be armed inside the walls and trained to kill. He proposes a plan to lead them away from Alexandria by herding them with noises. He's all, "I don't take chances anymore," in that Grimesy voice of his. Except, trying to lead thousands of walkers feels like a major chance to me — and to the other characters. “I know this sounds insane," Rick says to the terrified group, "but this is an insane world. We have to come for them, or they come for us. It’s that simple.”

Fair enough. And, it may be the only thing that's simple anymore. Morgan, who's reunited with Rick after they amicably went their separate ways in season 1, questions the double standard by which Rick conducts the community. Rick and Deanna demand that Pete be buried outside the community's walls; they don't honor killers, here. And then Morgan's all, "I’m a killer, Rick. I am and you are, too.” It's a fair point. But every hour in this new world is a judgement call — and Rick's the one calling the shots.

You know who's really not into Rick being in charge? Carter. Oh, man. He hates Rick in charge! He tries to convince a few members of the community to kill Rick and let things go back to the way they were. (As if!) But, Rick finds out and, though he grants him mercy, Carter is ultimately bitten — and executed.

As you could have probably guessed, Rick's plan worked until the final few minutes of the episode. A horn sound starts coming from Alexandria, and the herd starts to change direction directly towards the community. We're left with Rick and Michonne scrambling back toward Alexandria, having realized their plan has failed. But, what was that horn sound? And will this be the end of their haven? Given the fate of literally every other "safe" spot they've found, probably.

That's the more immediate cliffhanger. The larger one, which may take a few episodes to address, is: How long will Rick remain in charge? For the most part, his crew falls in line, and Deanna has given him her full support. But Morgan seems wary of Rick, who has a newly inflated ego. There's a moment when he's holding a gun to Carter's head after he learns of the plot against him. "Do you have any idea who you're talking to?" he asks. It remains to be seen if Rick's team will keep him grounded, or if he'll wind up losing his shit, and someone else will step up to the plate.

What else happened? Oh, Eugene and his incredible head of hair are still around, providing moments of comic relief. And Carol is still playing the long-con game, acting like a sweet little lady who doesn't know a thing about walkers, how terrifying! I cannot wait for Carol to reveal herself in the midst of some kind of explosions and badassery.


More from TV