The Walking Dead is back and Hannah Dunleavy got what she’s been wishing for: Lennie James. She takes a look at the series six opener. CONTAINS SPOILERS.
If there’s been one thought sustaining me through five ridiculously uneven seasons of The Walking Dead it’s been this: Lennie James might come back.
Twice, I’ve thrown up my hands and said: “I can’t watch anymore of this bickering about the laundry/characters driven by plot/zombies in wells/failure to give Michael Cudlitz or Seth Gilliam anything to work with/The Governor is still not dead bullshit.” Only to be talked back by friends with the promise, “It’s got loads better.”
All through this time, which could have been spent doing something potentially more interesting and almost certainly more fulfilling; I have clung to that one hope. Lennie James might come back.
Lennie James has come back. And Rick has a comical amount of plasters on his face. Season 6 is off to a good start.
“There’s some bonding. There’s a spot of light euthanasia. There’s the sort of dialogue that exists so the other person can say something profound or wry about their current situation like, ‘Don’t you always think there’s one more peanut butter left.’”
The 90-minute-long season opener, First Time Again, positions Morgan at its centre, which is no bad thing. OK, it means Maggie and Carol are largely relegated to the background, being given pastoral care and superspy duties (the latter of which seems redundant given the events of the last episode of series five, events euphemistically described by Eugene in the sentence, “We had a meeting.”)
And OK, the reappearance of Morgan means the writers can use his character to hold up a mirror to Rick and indulge in their favourite game ‘Would you take a look at how much this guy’s changed.’ Enough. Daryl couldn’t have been more different since he got leathered than if he washed his hair. But people don’t feel the need to say it all the time.
No matter, Lennie James. Doing a great job in the character’s third incarnation: a battered wanderer with a new-found appreciation for the preciousness of life and the good sense to know when to just kick back and enjoy an evening if you get the chance. In theory, this isn’t that different from Glenn or, indeed, Daryl now he’s started having feelings and whatnot. But while it’s possible to argue both those characters are having a better life, post zombie apocalypse, Morgan’s got the air of a man who hankers for days gone by, ones in which he picked up babies all the time. Lennie James. More power to your stick-twirling elbow.
Elsewhere, it was a mash-up of the aftermath of “the meeting” – helpfully shown in black and white, in case we are morons – and the corralling of a small town’s worth of zombies who’ve been living in an old quarry with a fun slide entrance.
There’s some wall building (and attention Walking Dead supremos, please take the opportunity to have a zombie Donald Trump bash against a wall very soon). There’s some bonding. There’s a spot of light euthanasia. There’s the sort of dialogue that exists so the other person can say something profound or wry about their current situation like, “Don’t you always think there’s one more peanut butter left.”
We leave on the sight of a metric shit-tonne of dead southerners wandering towards Alexandria, which is as effective a place as any to sign off. Next week there will surely be a thinning of both crowds. Gilliam’s Gabriel is ripe for catastrophe, plus the one-in one-out rule that seems to operate with former Wire actors means we must be due another arrival soon. (Maybe Bubbles has completed his slow shuffle down from Baltimore, untouched by zombies who assumed he was one of them. Again, Walking Dead supremos, get it done.)
There’s still an overabundance of alpha males, which might lead to some ‘natural wastage’ and a wealth of red shirts, so I suspect next week will be bloody.
Me? I think getting out of that car was a bad idea.1965 Views
Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.