Sure, we all had fun with the recently wrapped prequel spin-off "Fear the Walking Dead," but it's time to get back to the main course, original recipe "The Walking Dead" and our not-so-merry band of zombie apocalypse survivors, whose harrowing adventures enter their sixth season Sunday night. Here's what to expect.
Community living is hard:
Season 6 finds Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew still trying to make life work in the fortified suburb of the Alexandria Safe Zone, despite the violent blow-up that ended last season after Rick tried to assert control over the naive residents. This season, he's still trying toteach them how serious they have to be about survival, and he'll inevitably be butting heads with former U.S. Congresswoman Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), who wants to keep things a bit more civil. And while the team's main badass women — Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carol (Melissa McBride) — seem to have been softening a bit in their new gated community surroundings, don't necessarily believe it.
Here be zombies:
Some of the biggest complaints about the past two seasons have been about how the walkers themselves have been sidelined in favor of more living and breathing threats, but six seasons in, that's to be expected, as the shambling, ever-present threat of lethal biting becomes just a part of life. Don't worry, though, as this season will see an increase in menacing zombie hordes. And that increase kicks off the season premiere right off the bat, with Rick leading a crazy plan to deal with a quarry full of walkers — allegedly more in one episode than the series has ever featured. But we all know how Rick's big plans tend to go.
Wolves at the door:
Which isn't to say there aren't still non-undead threats out there to contend with. The latest, teased at the end of last season, are the Wolves, a few of whom infamously tried to take out Morgan (Lennie James), which was just a terrible idea. The Wolves will be out in fuller force this year, and they've got their sights fixed on Alexandria.
Don't get too attached:
"The Walking Dead" has always been careful about doling out deaths for its major characters, but with an ensemble of this size is helpful to remember that no one is ever really safe — even the more high-profile characters like Rick, Daryl or Carol. And a 90-minute premiere leaves a lot of room for casualties, so be prepared to say goodbye to someone before Sunday night is out.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter:@nedrick