Ok folks – let’s be honest, do we even have words for last Sunday’s TWD6b premiere? Because, truthfully, it has taken me this long to have the wherewithal to process through it and even write anything! THERE IS JUST SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!
In the end, what really stands out (aside from the merciful death of a kid way too terrified to ever survive the zombie apocalypse to begin with) is the awakening that sweeps through the characters over the course of the episode.
Sam, RIP, realizes that he just can’t escape the monsters. When Gabriel leaves the group with Judith and Sam stays behind there is a small trace of hope that a new strength will emerge in him. But the truth is that Sam isn’t meant to go on. He will never survive the monsters. In the end, he is swallowed by them…quite literally.
Whether it is when she is being held captive or has finally arrived at the clinic, Denise awakens to her bravery. In the first days of Rick’s group arriving in Alexandria, and into the invasion of the herd, Denise is fearful and unsure. In these moments of desperation and need she chooses what she is going to do with her fear and allows her bravery to breakthrough.
Morgan’s awakening is one we all saw coming. Sadly. He wants to live peacefully without killing, but his wolf captive forces him to revisit his Zen conversion. When Eastman finds Morgan, the man has been broken down seemingly beyond repair. But Eastman sees life in the bereaved man and pulls him back from the brink of utter destruction. Now that Morgan has found life in desolation, he is desperate to cling to it. So when he has the opportunity to save someone that others may see as beyond saving, he grasps it. The wolf could be a way for Morgan to prove that there is good in everyone and that everyone is worth saving. Unfortunately, it seems that all the captive does is reawaken the lost man Morgan and Eastman had tried to bury.
Gabriel and the original citizens of Alexandria realize that they cannot hide in the dark of uselessly beautiful homes – poor facades blocking the nastiness of the world – or they can step out into the light and fight. They realize that they can die weak and afraid, or they can brandish their weapons and strike out against the danger closing in on them. As the wave of walkers threatens to drown them all, the citizens decide they will not go quietly. Screaming and clawing their way through the melee – hatchets, machetes, Michonne’s katana, axes, and shovels push back the invading masses.
And Rick. Grown so cynical and hopeless. A shadow of the man who put on his sheriff’s uniform and rode a horse to Atlanta with the hope of finding his family. He has lost all faith in anyone he could meet outside his group. He definitely has none in the people of Alexandria.
In the finale to the first half of the season, Deanna chips away at some of Rick’s hardened shell. Her fortitude and desire to fight but to also believe that the world CAN be rebuilt, seem to give Rick a suggestion of something bright. As the people of Alexandria pour into the streets beside him, hacking down walkers left and right, he is strengthened. His arms fly with renewed vigor. Bolstered by new hope, Rick fights with his comrades until the final burning walker falls.
Beaten, bruised, bloodied, but far from defeated, Rick sits at Carl’s bedside – a familiar picture to fans. The Rick of Alexandria seems to mirror the man who sat in Hershel’s spare bedroom waiting for Carl to awaken from his first gunshot wound. He talks to Carl about his hope of a new world. How he sees what Deanna envisioned and what she desired for humanity. As he speaks, he is not unlike an earlier Rick, pleading for his son to awaken and promising that the world does not lie in complete ruin. While Morgan’s awakening is a tragic realization of the presence of darkness, Rick awakens and begins to step back into the light.
Did you notice any other “awakenings”? I would really like to know what you thought! The rest of this season is going to be incredible. Please connect with me here and let me know all your TWD thoughts!
(images: Carl and Rick: enstarz.com cast fighting stance: huffingtonpost.com Sam: amc.com)