Aug 6, 2017
The Walking Dead: Rick Sees Everything in Black & White
The Walking Dead is back! The REAL one! And they’re so sorry you had to sit through that Fear the Walking Dead snoozefest that they’re bringing out the entire undead population of Northern Virginia to remind you what a zombie apocalypse is supposed to look like.
Pretty much from the opening shot, all is forgiven. There’s like a World War Z number of zombies out there. We’ve never seen the show attempt this kind of scale before.
We’re looking at a rock quarry that’s become a mile-wide mosh pit for the undead. Rob Zombie can eat his heart out. Thousands of them are down there, shoulder to shoulder, trapped and groaning. Since zombies are attracted to noise and their own kind, new ones continue to stumble their way into the quarry every few minutes.
A pair of abandoned 18-wheelers form a makeshift dam, keeping the zombie trapped inside the quarry. Whether the quarry workers did it intentionally back when the apocalypse began or an accident of chance resulted in those trucks getting lodged there, the result is a giant, tumultuous sea of zombies. And the dam is giving way.
Fortunately, Rick and crew are keeping watch and see it happening.
Unfortunately, they’re not 100% ready for it. They’re only here on a dry run of their plan to deal with the quarry zombies. Sorry, kiddos, rehearsal time is over. “Damn straight! We’ll do it live!” shouts Abraham, because in the world of The Walking Dead, memes are gone but not forgotten.
This is already more thrilling, nightmarish, and fun than all of Fear the Walking Dead put together.
But what’s this? That first scene was a flash-forward, How to Get Away with Murder-style, and we’re back in the past again – the 1920s, by the look of it. They haven’t even invented color film yet.
No, wait, we’re only a few weeks in the past, moments after last season’s finale went to credits, except it’s in black-and-white. Dude, are they seriously color-coding the flashbacks? Very unnecessary and distracting. Does this show think we’re too stupid to keep up with a few time jumps without getting all Dorothy-in-Kansas? We all watched Lost, you know.
Father Gabriel approaches town leader Deanna, but she’s entirely Team Rick now. Gabriel seems to be, too, but she’s not in the mood to listen to apologies.
Cut to Abe dragging Mr. Deanna’s body to the cemetery.
Cut to Rick’s love interest Jessie, whose teenage son Ron storms out of the house. You remember Ron, right? Yeah, me either, but there he is, acting like we should give a s%!# about him, so presumably he’s about to be important.
Cut to the infirmary. Hey, Tara’s awake! She’s still in a hospital bed, but awake is good. In walk Glen and Nicolas, covered in blood after their spat in the woods. Eugene dashes in as well, exuberant to see Tara with eyes open.
Cut to Ninja Morgan, who reminds Rick and the audience that they have a history together.
Cut to Abe, drunk and looking at Mr. Deanna’s wedding ring.
Cut to a color scene! The “dam” is open, and Rick’s plan is now in motion. Everybody shoots flares into the air to draw the zombies attention toward Daryl, who rides slowly (and noisily) down the middle of a two-lane highway. The zombie begins to follow him. Looks like he’s going to play the role of the Pied Piper.
And we’re back in black-and-white land. Rick tells Daryl that he doesn’t think there should be any more recruitment trips until they figure out who and what the “Wolves” are. Daryl sulks.
In color, Sasha is in a car, driving somewhere, saying vague things to Abraham that don’t make much since to us the audience, but they don’t really matter much, so whatever.
Back in the past, Ninja Morgan practices with his officially licensed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bow staff from Hasbro. Rick pops in to apologize that Morgan’s being locked up in this room, but ninjas never whine so Morgan’s totally cool with it.
Elsewhere, three people we’ve never seen before drive up to the front gate of Alexandria and demand Eugene let them in. He says no, because he’s not an idiot, but then he does it anyway, because he totally is an idiot. Lucky for him, they really are locals returning after a long away mission just like they claim to be.
Rick frets to Ninja Morgan that even though he’s firmly in charge now, it may well be too late to save these soft, squishy townies anyway. Then he wanders off to the town cemetery and throws a small hissy fit that Jessie’s dead husband is getting a proper burial. “We’re not burying killers inside these walls,” he demands. The gravediggers, including Abe, aren’t sure Rick has the authority to make that call, but Deanna shows up at just that moment to back him up. Jessie’s boy Ron is watching the whole scene through the bushes.
Rick enlists Ninja Morgan to dump the dead dude in the trunk of a car and haul the body off into the wilderness. Morgan reminds Rick, “I’m a killer. I am, and you are, too.”
In color, Rick, Ninja Morgan, and Michonne are standing around looking at a metal wall. Wow, look at ‘em stand there. Two legs on the ground each. Good work, guys! Not sure what the point of that was, but we’ve got a full 90 minute to fill tonight, and that filled 30 seconds of it.
In black-and-white, Rick is ready to dump Jessie’s dead hubby by the side of the road and head back, but Morgan gives voice to his conscience. Rick wants to argue that he doesn’t have a conscience anymore, but he doesn’t get a chance before he hears a suspicious noise. The two manly men search the woods briefly and discover they’re at the top of a giant cliff. Ron comes running wildly past them; Rick grabs him just in time to prevent him from flying off the edge like Wile E. Coyote, but the zombies hot on his trail aren’t so lucky. They go shambling off into the abyss.
In color, Daryl and his loud motorcycle are leading the zombie hordes down the highway without incident.
In b&w, Rick is in full-blown Ricksplaining mode, telling Ron that the only reason his little suburban paradise has survived this long is because quarry has collected almost all the zombies that were shambling their way. Furthermore, Ron needs to keep his whiny ignorant ass inside the city walls until Rick has time to beat a little post-apocalyptic sense into their heads. But Ron just wants to know where his dad is buried. And Rick’s heart grew three sizes that day because he picks up a shovel and helps Ninja Morgan dig a real grave for dear ol’ dad.
In color, Glen, Nicolas, and one of the new guys Eugene let into town are gathered in front of a roadside diner filled with zombies. If they don’t clear it out before Daryl comes riding by on his motorcycle, the noise from the zombies in the restaurant will break the Pied Piper’s spell and start drawing some of the horde off the highway. Our heroes can’t allow that; the entire zombie horde has to stay together for the plan to work, whatever the plan may be.
Glen tells Nicolas to open the front door and let only a few of the zombies out at a time, so that he and New Guy can kill them. Nicolas wants in on the zombie slaughter fun, but a harsh word from Glen makes him tuck his tail between his legs. Glen opens the door, and… nothing. The opening is completely sealed off with aluminum siding.
Back in b&w, New Guy explains to Rick that maybe they heard something about the quarry way back in the early days, but no one ever bothered to check back up on it. Another dude – some random, whiny civilian – suggests they just reinforce the city walls rather than embark on Rick’s bold, dangerous plan, whatever it may be. Deanna screams TEAM RICKKKKKKKKKKK!!!! and that shuts up all the opposition.
Off to the side, Glen urges Maggie to stay home and babysit Crazy Deanna rather than participate in Rick’s plan. He claims it’s because Deanna is too important and too fragile right now to leave alone, but we all know he’s only worried about Maggie. Meanwhile, the usual suspects volunteer to follow Rick. Even Father Gabriel wants in, but Rick shoots him down. Figuratively, for now.
In color, the zombie horde reaches that wall where Rick, Ninja Morgan, and Michonne are standing around. And scene.
In b&w, Whiny Civvie is whiny. He doesn’t think the makeshift wall where Rick, Ninja Morgan, and Michonne plan to stand around is going to hold. He’s quickly drafted into the construction effort.
In color, we finally see the purpose of the wall. It’s blocking off a crossroad to ensure the zombie horde keeps following Pied Daryl. Our heroes fire more flares to keep the zombies’ attention focused in the right direction.
In b&w, our heroes are building the wall. Daryl finally works up the courage to tell Rick that his recruiting trips make them safer, not weaker. Carol wanders over and, apropos of nothing, assures Rick that the townies can be coached up to survivor level.
Back home, Maggie catches Tara up on the whole Glenn/Nicolas saga. She says she’s tempted to kill Nicolas, but hey, she wasn’t that big on Tara to start out with, either. Tara promises to follow Maggie’s lead.
In color, Glen implements his master plan: He shatters a window, then he and New Guy gun down all the zombies as they shamble out. Genius!! Nicholas obeys orders to stay out of the way. As a reward, Glen lets him kill the final zombie. Awww, a sense a bromance coming on.
Still in color, Sasha and Abe are apparently riding alongside Daryl to help him keep the zombies’ attention. Abe sees a few zombies start to split away from the herd, so he jumps out kills them one by one, then hops back in. “What the hell are you doing?” demands Sasha.
“I’m living, darling. Just like you,” says Abe.
In b&w, Rick urges Deanna to issue guns to all the townies and get them all into survival training ASAP.
In color, a handful of zombies start to break away from the horde and head towards Rick’s position. Michonne hands shovels to some townies, and Rick orders them to take care of it. It doesn’t go well, but come on, how good would you be able bashing skulls in with a shovel your first time out? Rick and Ninja Morgan come to the rescue. Morgan’s more than a little pissed at Rick for taking risks with the townies’ lives.
In b&w, Eugene is gathering food from the community pantry when he overhears Whiny Civvie urging his fellow townspeople to mutiny against Rick. In his panic, Eugene drops a jar of food and is discovered. Whiny Civvie points his gun at Eugene and tries to summon up the courage to fire. But hesitation is death in this post-apocalyptic world, and Rick barges in at just that moment. Whiny Civvie is soon beaten to a pulp. With Rick’s gun to his head, Whiny Civvie tries to do the honorable thing and take the fall solo. He swears to Rick that none of the other townies had agreed to join him yet. Is it this moment of bravery that makes Rick relent and put his gun away?
In color, the zombie horde is now completely past the crossroads and still intact as single group. Whiny Civvie congratulates Rick and shakes his hand.
But don’t start feeling warm and fuzzy just yet. Moments later, Whiny Civvie gets surprised by a straggler zombie and bitten. Not surprisingly, he screams his f#&%ing head off. Half the zombie horde heads him and breaks off in his direction.
Back in b&w, Rick sets Ninja Morgan free from house arrest and invites him to live with the Grimes family. The two get to talking about Whiny Civvie’s mutiny, and Rick says, “I wanted to kill him… so I wouldn’t have to worry about what stupid thing he’ll do next.” But Rick realized he didn’t have to kill him because the townies too stupid to see the new world for what it is, “They’re gonna die no matter what.”
In color, Rick stabs Whiny Civvie in the back of the skull to shut him up. Then the rest of the crew uses the sound of gunfire to lead the wayward zombies back to the main horde.
In b&w, Rick pays a visit to his love interest Jessie. He doesn’t think they should pursue a romantic relationship just yet. Good thing, because she’s not inclined to, either. She tells him to stay the hell away from her kids, especially Ron. Rick tries to Rickplain, but she’s not the one who’s failing to understand the situation here. It doesn’t matter how right Rick is, Jessie’s kids are never going to listen to him or accept anything he has to say.
Elsewhere, we finally get to the point of the Sasha and Abe subplot. He wants to know why she volunteered to drive the car. “You doing this because you want to die?” asks Abe.
“No,” says Sasha.
So there you go.
Back in technocolor land… HOLY S#!&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE’S SOME SORT OF TORNADO SIREN OR SOMETHING GOING OFF!
Every single zombie immediately loses interest in Daryl, Sasha, and Abe. In unison, they all turn off the road and start crashing their way through the forest. Every single one of them. Rick and crew can only watch in helpless horror. They have no idea what the noise is, but they know where it’s coming from… inside the city walls.