TV Review: The Walking Dead Series 6 Episode 1: ‘First Time Again’

The Walking Dead returns with a zombie-filled, action-packed and visually stunning first episode, says


Image: Gene Page / AMC

Image: Gene Page / AMC

The Walking Dead is finally back and I couldn’t be more excited! During the break between the two series, we had been given Fear the Walking Dead in an attempt to sate our appetites for zombie-filled, action-packed programming and although it was much better than expected, it never could possibly have lived up to the main show. With this in mind, the first episode of series six seems just so much more intense and exciting throughout in comparison to the slow-burning companion series. ‘First Time Again’ is a visually stunning re-entry into the world of The Walking Dead and reminds fans of the show exactly what it was that made them fall in love with this franchise in the first place.

The transition between the series five finale and the first episode of series six was well handled through the use of flashbacks. When series five finished with such an immense cliff-hanger, the approach that they took in ‘First Time Again’ was completely necessary in order to address the questions hanging in the balance after Pete’s death, whilst also distinctively asserting the episode as part of series six. This structure ensured that ‘First Time Again’ didn’t just feel like another episode of series five and that it instead gave the impression of a distinct starting point for the direction within which series six will move forward in the coming episodes. The black and white shots were a little frustrating at points, considering that a large portion of the episode was set during this in between time-frame, but it did help differentiate these parts from what we might call the ‘current’ moments in the episode.

The zombie horde that was at the centre of ‘First Time Again’ was a great choice of subject matter for the first episode of the series. Not only did it allow for some visually striking make-up and special effects to be implemented, it also gave justification for why the Alexandrians had been safe for so long. The shot where the camera pans over the pit where they have all become trapped was fantastic and gave us a real sense of a large scale threat lurking outside the gates of Alexandria. Some people have criticised Rick’s logic for relocating the walkers, arguing that he should have just burned them all down whilst they were trapped in the pit or ensured that the barricades blocking them in were secure for the rest of time, but I think his decision to move them was sound. He even explained it himself, saying that even if they strengthened the blockade, it wouldn’t stop them forever and more and more walkers would eventually fall into the pit. Either way, they are now headed for Alexandria and we are mostly likely about to see one of the very exciting scenes from the comic books!

Aside from the actual plot of this week’s episode, one thing that I really liked about it was that it dispelled many of the rumours teased by the trailers for this series. The moment where Daryl and Rick have a disagreement about bringing new survivors into the camp is a great example of this, since in the trailer this scene had been used to suggest a large conflict between these two alpha-males, but in the actual episode, the exchange was a lot more amicable. This disagreement will most likely come into play later in the series, but the magnitude of this scene was certainly much less than the trailer suggested. You may criticise AMC for misleading viewers with tricks like this, but personally I feel that it was a good method to get people excited for the new series without spoiling too much of the content.

All in all, it is a fantastic feeling to know that The Walking Dead is back on our screens and I look forward to spending the next couple of weeks obsessing over my favourite group of post-apocalyptic survivors once again!

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