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‘Walking Dead’ Season 6 spoiler-free review of midseason premiere: Still-smart drama taking risks

Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Sasha in AMC's midseason

Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Sasha in AMC's midseason premiere of "The Walking Dead," season 6. Credit: AMC / Gene Page

WHEN | WHERE Season 6 midseason premiere airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC


WHAT IT’S ABOUT As walkers have overrun Alexandria, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) leads a small group of survivors from the besieged house, each wearing a sheet smeared with zombie guts. (Walkers are fooled by the unpleasant smell and therefore ignore them). There’s quite a crowd of zombies to get past, however.

MY SAY Eugene (Josh McDermitt) gets the best line in “Dead’s” return Sunday, worth repeating here. “No one gets to clock out today,” he says. “And hell, this is a story people are going to tell.” In a recent interview with EW, Lincoln called Sunday “our ‘Magnificent Seven’ episode.” That sounds like a story worth telling, too.

As fans who have been paying attention already know, Rick and company aren’t about to abandon Alexandria — at least yet. To go where? Up the river to Washington, that cesspool of political intrigue and infighting where nothing gets done and — besides — everyone in Congress has turned into a walker anyway?

No: Alexandria, with its nice walls and infrastructure, will do just fine. Some places are worth fighting for. That’s another hint — not spoiler — for Sunday.

But here’s the thing. Even bigger than Alexandria, bigger than Rick and friends, and in fact the biggest thing of all: Their future and especially the show’s future. TV series repeat themselves at their own risk, and for “The Walking Dead,” that risk is now a real and present danger. “Dead” even made a questionable call reprising those horrifying meat “coats” from season 1. (After all, why not use them all the time? Well, why not?)

And by abandoning Alexandria, that, too, would have been just one more in a series of hasty retreats beaten over the past six seasons. Been there, seen that. Plus, with diabolical Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) out there, there’s even more risk of repeat. We’ve already had the Governor (David Morrissey), Gareth (Andrew J. West) and Alpha Wolf (Benedict Samuel). Been there, seen them. How much worse could Negan be? (He arrives later this season.)

But “Dead” is a smart show. It knows what these risks are, the hurdles, too. At least part of the fun will be in seeing the lengths it will go to avoid them.

BOTTOM LINE You will not want to miss the opening three minutes.

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