The Walking Dead S6 E01 ‘First Time Again’ Strategy Fail

Mike GristTV Leave a Comment

Count the number of tiny bandages on Rick’s face. Go on count them.

5? 4? 3?

When it gets down to 1 he’s basically recharged and it’s clobbering time, like an Energizer bunny.

Ah I love the Walking Dead. Zombies, Rick Grimes, murderin’, gore, zombie conga, it just gets no better. I love the episodes that open with a time jump and I’m left wondering- wait, is this episode one? I love use of black and white. I love zombie cattle drives, and uncomfortable looks between Rick and the woman whose husband he executed, and diggin’ graves, and brain stabbing, and all the delicious Shane-esque survive-or-die immoral pragmatism.

But I do take issue with their strategy, from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great episode. The town of softies are starting to work as a team, and Rick is still agonizing beautifully over whether he should just kill them all to ‘save them’ or let them bumble along like a bunch of nappy-wearing babies in the face of the dead.

I love that they’re doing engineering. It’s about damn time. In previous seasons they didn’t take control of their environment at all. They were like cuckoos, looking for a nice, pre-existing nest to set up in. They found a prison and said- yup, looks good to me. Chain-link fence, that’s A-OK.


Now I’ve written two zombie books myself (third on the way 😉 ), and I’ve thought about these things a bit more. What they see at the quarry is something they should have been doing all along. Why didn’t they line the prison fences with semi-articulated trucks and trailers? Why didn’t they build up cold-rolled steel-plate walls in addition to the feeble fences? Why didn’t they go out and dig trenches, or make spikes, or set up a diversionary sound to draw the zombies away?

I think all that now.

SO- it was brilliant to see them start thinking big. The Wolves have been using zombies as traps. Honestly, they’re not that dangerous as long as you’ve got a motor, a high place, and enough ammo. they can be herded. They can be distracted. So leading them away, OK, it’s better than no plan at all, especially with one of semis ready to fall off the cliff.


It it the best plan? Frankly, no. Widen your gaze, Rick Grimes. That quarry was a perfect zombie pit. The only way out was a winding path up a shale road. Your choices are:

  • Reinforce it. It would be way less effort than setting up their U-bend turning fence on the road. All you need is a few more semis that you can park across the road, which will guide the zombies back into the pit like pinball flippers.
  • Blow up the road! This is the perfect solution. You go find TNT (it’s s quarry, they must have some somewhere) or you work with gunpowder or you harvest rockets from a military base and you blow the road to bits. Actually, you could even do this bit with picks and a drill. Destroy the road. Then there is no way out.


Kill the zombies. You can kill them at your leisure, picking them off with a slingshot. It can be target practise. Don’t waste ammo, just throw heavy rocks. Or wait for the pit to be heaving full, spray out gasoline and burn them all. That’ll be a helluva brazier.

A pit and execution plan like that will require minimal maintenance. You check in every now and then. It draws more zombies in and keeps your walled city safe. Once you trap them you kill them, thinning the herd. I don’t care how many people there were in the States, there’s no only so many roaming in that area. You kill enough and there will start to not be any more.

Catch and kill is the long term plan. That’s how you’ll reclaim the world. Not catch and release.

BUT, I forgive The Walking Dead. They have to continue to power up our characters, while the zombies stay the same, so that requires them to make mistakes to be in danger. And this episode offered cool visuals, and the first real effort at taking control of the environment in an ambitious way. I hope for more civil engineering works. I want them to use their BRAINS.

Who’s with me? Anyone stand by Rick’s decision to play City Slickers with the Walkers?

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