The Walking Dead returns with more zombies than it knows what to do with.
Rick and his dozen or so feral friends found shelter in a gated sustainable community called Alexandria. Father Gabriel betrayed them by talking shit about them to the community's leader Deana because he's Father Gabriel. Nicholas tried to kill Glenn out in the woods but Glenn got the upper hand and then let him live. Morgan, defender of life, showed up. Deana's husband Reg was killed by jealous jerk Pete and she gave the order for Rick to kill Pete in return. Unfortunately, Morgan saw that and was all like, "Tut tut tut, Rick." A van had written on its side "Wolves Not Far," which will probably mean something at some point.
We Hope You Like TV Like In The Olden Days
In a bit of unnecessary telegraphing, the show opens with the moment of Rick shooting Pete from last season, but it fades from color to black and white and then completely to black. Because it happened in the past and we're moving on. Got it? Every flashback will be in black and white, everything happening now in the story will be color. Wait, where are you going? WE CAN EXPLAIN THIS A FEW MORE TIMES TO MAKE SURE YOU GET IT! COME BACK!
Bring Me Your Huddled, Undead Masses
Alert Type: Massive Walker Herd Alert.
Issue: Rick is barking out orders near a large rock pit where what look to be thousands of walkers are collected. It's terrifying.
Complicating Factors: The walkers have been enclosed by several big rigs and a lot of rocks, but it seems some of them are getting through and it doesn't appear these barriers will hold forever. And then, just as everybody is there watching, a truck falls over a cliff and it's go time whether Rick and friends are ready or not.
Resolution: Uh oh, this is not a dry run, fuck it, WE'RE DOING IT LIVE! Enact plan Herd Dem Zombies! (Or, "Plan Ya Herd? Well Ya Do Now!")
Spoiler: The best-laid schemes of mice and men...
Let Me Open Up To You
It's been a while up in this here apocalypse. Things fall apart and decay. And whole torsos flap in the breeze and open up like a flappy flesh robe. This is part of life now.
In the first of many extended black-and-white flashback sequences, Deana is destroyed by the death of her husband (but not enough to fail to tell Gabriel that he was wrong); Abraham spends some time with a dead body and a bottle of liquor; a beaten-up Glenn learns with Maggie that Tara is back safe; and Eugene has a lovely moment when he comes to Tara's bedside, thrilled she's still alive. "Thank God nothing happened to your hair," Tara tells him. Then she jokes that it's getting creepy because he's still staring at her goofily. Meanwhile Carl and Enid hold hands atop the gate while Rick and Morgan get reacquainted. "I don't take chances anymore," Rick informs Morgan. Morgan agrees that you shouldn't. For now.
At The Zombie Parade
In the present, we learn that Rick has organized a huge project to get those escaping zombies out of that porous pit and lead them elsewhere. This is an involved operation involving flares, long lines of cars positioned bumper-to-bumper to create an undead marathon path and Daryl slowly heading up the parade on his motorcycle.
You Can't Fence Daryl In, He's Like The Wind, Baby
Rick tells Daryl, in a very tiny meeting outside, that for the time being, they're going to stop searching for more survivors outside the gates because, damn, people should know how to take care of themselves by now or die. Daryl's not too thrilled about this, seeing as he just got a new motorcycle and was planning to spend time not being indoors where there's dishes and water and clean clothes. Daryl lets Rick know he doesn't agree, but doesn't fight him or talk shit about it. He just stands there hoping his ripping heart can be heard.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Wanna Kill Yourself? Uh, Me Neither
Abraham keeps checking up on Sasha because, as someone who is crawling deeply into a giant bottle of depression, he seems to be the only one who recognizes how far gone she is about continuing living (especially now that Tyreese is gone). He volunteers to ride up with Sasha on their walker roundup mission and keeps asking throughout the episode whether she's doing this as a way of putting herself in a position to kill herself or act out her suicidal feelings, at least. Sasha keeps assuring him that this isn't the reason she's helping and that she's not trying to kill herself by throwing herself into dangerous situations.
We Used To Be Friends, A Long Time Ago
The re-friending of Morgan and Rick continues as Rick (who happens to be holding him semi-prisoner while they sort things out in a home across the street from his) walks in. Morgan is playing with his combat stick. Morgan says that a friend taught him how to use it. Then he tells Rick, "We gotta get to know each other again. For the first time. Again." But didn't we just...wait, do you mean when I just walked in or, should I come in again? Should I knock first? Oh, Morgan, you're already making life so much more complicated. I am Rick, by the way. You'll probably hate me, eventually.
Name: Heath. Age: Mid-20s. Occupation: Scout. Goal: To get through the gate and return home, which Eugene is guarding, annoyingly and as a sub for someone else. Heath's been away and didn't meet the new gang, but now he's back in time to hear Eugene say, "It's good to see someone like me. I fully respect the hair game." More hair jokes? Sample Dialogue: "I'm not gonna kill you. But the longer you make me wait, the more you motivate me to beat your ass, so..."
One protein bar, peanut butter. If you return it, there'll be no trouble. But I know someone took it. I know. Michonne says it wasn't her, and she probably thinks I'm joking, and perhaps I was a little, but what nobody knows is that the only reason I've come to this dumb town is to figure out who took it. Was it you, Rick? Or did a roamer take off with it? They can't eat peanut butter. Bring it back, please. I don't want to stick you. With my stick. Got my protein bar? Please return to Morgan, now relocated to Alexandria.
We Really Need A Crematorium
Situation: Rick, with Deana's blessing, has vetoed the idea of Pete being buried in Alexandria. So Deana sends Rick and Morgan to bury him out in the woods, improbably near the walker quarry, to "Let the trees have him." Whatever, M. Night Shyamalan.
What makes it awkward? As Rick and Morgan are burying the body, Pete's older son Ron shows up.
How is order restored? Rick tackles the boy before walkers can get to them and then the walkers fall over the cliff. But Ron's not super-grateful and ready to take life advice from the man who killed his father and is trying bury him away from their safe town.
Gaze upon it, the most metal thing that has ever happened.
That Time We All Had That Awkward Living-Room Meeting With Everyone In Town
In a lengthy town meeting flashback, we learn a few things, including Heath's knowledge of the large camp that turned into a walker pit that now attracts new zombies all the time with all the noise. Rick believes the blockades will give out eventually and they need to do something now to route them away. Carol, hilariously, pretends to be terrified so Rick's plan will sail through, but Carter thinks they could just bolster the area and keep the walkers where they are. Several people including Glenn and Michonne agree to help control the herd, but when Gabriel asks to help, he's shut down by Rick quickly. Carter keeps on antagonizing Rick, bringing up the time Rick waved his gun around and acted crazy until Deana tells him to stop. Heath offers to help and, against Glenn's none-too-subtle head shaking, Nicholas volunteers as well. Glenn is not thrilled. Later in a smaller committee meeting, Carter keeps poking holes in Rick's plan, continuing to doubt that they can control such a large group of walkers with just a line of cars. He even points to a road curve on the map where if the line breaks, the walkers will head straight to the town. Hey, that sounds terrible! Wonder if that's exactly what's going to happen on a show where things can always get worse.
Good Thing This Plan Didn't Spectacularly Backfire!
The barrier that Rick's crew built on a particularly sharp curve holds, and a barrage of flares helps to re-direct the undead. The barrier, made of sheets of metal, is strong enough to encourage head bashing of the grossest sort.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Glenn, Nicholas, and Heath vs. Tractor-Store Zombies
As the giant horde approaches, it's up to Glenn's three-person team to kill the noisy undead inside a tractor store so they don't distract the parade walkers. The only problem is the door they were going to use to take the zombies out one at a time is sealed from the inside. So instead, they have to shoot out a window and hope for the best. Heath doesn't like any part of this plan and Glenn has insisted Nicholas stay in the rear so he doesn't fuck up everything like his incompetent ass always does. The actual shooting starts out fine (hey, isn't that noisier than the zombies would have been?), but soon they're overrun and outnumbered. Things are looking bad until Nicholas steps up with his large knife and saves Glenn and Heath. Glenn is so grateful, he lets Nicholas take out one last walker.
Winner: Glenn, Nicholas, and Heath, but this should have been easier.
Cargan Or Morgol If You Prefer
In flashback land, we have several scenes, including one in which Daryl tells Rick that the way they strengthen their community is to keep bringing in survivors; and another in which Maggie fills Tara in on the whole Glenn/Nicholas situation, and seems to admire and pity Glenn for being a guy who gives people second chances. Carol keeps Rick abreast that despite what Deana thinks, Rick is really the one who should be in charge. And in one delightful exchange, my brain is blown by the idea that Morgan and Carol could one day be a romantic item. Look, I'm no shipper, I've been resisting even the notion of setting up TV characters romantically in my brain since around 2003, but oh my goodness would this pairing up make me so very happy. Morgan asks Carol if she worked with Rick as a police officer and when she asks why he'd think that, he says it's because Carol is always watching and always ready to go. Yeah, she is! Nothing would be nicer than the two baddest-ass characters on the show making time together. Unless, of course, it ruins both characters, in which case I am totally against the idea.
That Quote"I think I've still got some of his brain in my ear."- Abraham, charmer -
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Barely Armed Townspeople B-Team vs. The Undead
In a flashback, after a conversation with Deana about arming and training the citizens of Alexandria, Rick has the bad idea, as some walkers are approaching, of letting Carter and other civilians try to take them out with their shovels. That doesn't work at all as the non-fighters cower and plead for help, so Rick has to send in Morgan, Michonne, and others to do the killing. Guess Rick's well-armed-militia idea will have to wait. As soon as it's over, Morgan is right there to remind Rick that he's not supposed to be taking chances anymore. The judging eye of Morgan is upon you.
Winner: Non-dead humans, but only with the help of Rick's warrior pals.
He Just Wanted Water Crackers
As Eugene is hunting for pantry items including peaches, Easy Cheese, and water crackers (party at Eugene's house!), he overhears Carter, Tobin, and Olivia, among others, plotting to thwart Rick's leadership and perhaps even kill him. Actually, it's pretty explicit. "We kill him. Before he kills us," Carter says. Eugene drops some food and suddenly he's got a gun trained on him. But of course, that's the moment that Morgan, Rick, and Daryl show up and Rick quickly disarms Carter. "I would have set up some lookouts," Rick notes, "that would have been the smart thing." "Just kill me," Carter suggests. "I'm good," Rick replies. Surprisingly, Rick does not kill Carter or exile him. He just asks that they work with him. Morgan approves of this more humanistic side of Rick.
Dammit, Carter, this is no time to get cheeky.
Just Two Guys On A Porch With A Baby
The bonding of Rick and Morgan continues when Morgan sits on Rick's porch (because his house/temporary jail doesn't have one), then Rick goes so far as to invite Morgan to move in with his family and even hands Judith over, as some sort of make-up prize for Morgan's temporary incarceration. It's very sweet, what with Morgan holding the baby, when Rick says, "I know you, Morgan. Even if this is the first time," but even sweeter when Morgan recognizes the good that still left in Rick. "That's you in front of me right now," he says. Aww, Morgan.
R.I.P. Carter The Contrarian
After his cheek is bitten off, Carter can't stop screaming, which is a huge problem with a giant herd of walkers nearby. So Rick does what he has to do and kills him.
Morgan's not happy.
There's No Flare That Says, "Let's Go Out"
Opening with perhaps the worst pickup line of all time, "I was just getting some flares for tomorrow," Rick tries awkwardly to reconnect with Jessie, even though he just had a terrible run-in with her son out at his father's grave. Jessie puts Rick in line, telling him the he can't talk to or touch her son because he's Rick and that's just bad. When Rick tries to talk to her about training her sons with weapons, she says Rosita is already helping her and that she'll train her own kids, thank you very much. Sorry, Rick, unless things change a lot, this romance you think is happening is probably not going to happen.
Here's An Idea
Don't Put Off Zombie Killing That You Could Do Now
After the near-tragedy at the tractor store, we come to find out in a flashback that many people, including Rick, were there before and opted not to take out the zombies inside but to wait till later. Why on earth would you put that off when you're fully armed and have a bunch of people with you to do it? You were right there! Rick's lack of follow-through caused Glenn, Heath, and Nicholas to be put in danger later, but that's not surprising because Rick is the worst.
Wrap It Up
The plan to route the walkers 20 miles out seems to be going well and all the major obstacles. It's just then that a loud air horn is heard, coming from the direction of Alexandria.
The walkers break formation and start heading off the road and into the woods.
This could be bad.
Oh yeah, this could be really bad. Another Rick plan gone horribly awry.