The Walking Dead’s season-six premiere is set up to make you think it is an ambitious piece of TV filmmaking. It jumps back and forth in time, putting the past in black-and-white, the present in vibrant color. The episode, titled “First Time Again,” is constructed as a daring, somewhat complex plan to corral and contain a large number of walkers, led, of course, by Rick Grimes.
It looked for a little while last season that The Walking Dead had finally come up with a woman who could match Rick for tough leadership. She came in the person of Tovah Feldshuh as Deanna Monroe, leader of the Alexandrians. Feldshuh is a singularly commanding actor, and Deanna an unusually forceful figure in the Walking Dead TV-universe. But though this is open to interpretation, I think Sunday’s episode proves — very pointedly at the start of a new season — that no one gets the upper hand with Rick around.
Rick is the John Wayne of The Walking Dead, but he’s not the simple, heroic John Wayne of hundreds of Westerns — no, he’s a specific John Wayne: the John Wayne of The Searchers. The one who is tragically arrogant, blinded by his sense of his own personal loss to insist that his way is the only way, and anyone who disagrees with him should get out of the way or be crushed.
Read more (Warning: Some spoilers ahead.): The 'Walking Dead' Season Premiere Wants To Be Spectacular