People in Alexandria attempt to move forward. Alpha commands her flock with a violent hand.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 5: “Now”
Directed by Avi Youabian
Written by Corey Reed
* For a review of the previous episode, “Here’s Not Here” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Always Accountable” – click here
After a GREAT Morgan (Lennie James) centered episode, the series moves on with Episode 5 of the sixth season – “Now”
We start with Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh). She goes to the place where her husband Reg put up the first panel of Alexandria’s walls. After reminiscing shortly, sadly, she looks out towards the road where the walkers are shambling towards their safe haven. Meanwhile, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) comes barreling through, screaming for the gates to open. One of the more intense slow motion scenes yet on The Walking Dead. Even worse, Deanna looks as if the entire world has collapsed around her. In a sense, it has.
Once the credits clue up, Rick is lining everyone up. He’s saying things to reassure them, trying to keep the morale high. They’re going to band together, seal Alexandria up and make it safe, quiet, subtle. Can they do it? Will the people of Alexandria step up? Aaron (Ross Marquand) puts his hat in the ring for Rick, speaks highly of Daryl (Norman Reedus). He admits to, essentially, not knowing as much as Rick, Daryl and their entire group. But still, Deanna appears to have gone off the edge.
Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) is busy cleaning up her house. There’s a pile of dead Wolves out in the yard she plans to bury. Though, Rick shows up and tells her: “We don’t bury killers inside these walls.” At the same time, Olivia (Ann Mahoney) has troubles with everyone over at the food dispensary. All the residents say fuck it, taking what they will. Spencer (Austin Nichols) lays down the law and tells them going down that sort of path will make them the type of people they don’t want to become.
I really feel for Aaron. It took me a rewatch of a couple episodes lately to revisit some of his great moments. The fact those pictures ended up in the hands of the Wolves is such a tragic misstep. You can see how horribly it hurts him to have inadvertently played a part in The Wolves’ assault on Alexandria. Maybe redemption is coming for him? He and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are heading out together in search of Glenn (Steven Yeun), whose fate is still not set in stone.
Then we watch as Deanna scribbles away, noting on a big map places for ALFALFA, BARLEY, all sorts of crops, and buildings for education, et cetera. Furthermore, she jots down an Ovid quote: “dolor hic tibi proderit olim” (Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you). Afterwards, though, she and Spencer have a clash. They’ve got all sorts of rations over at their place, so Spencer only did what he did earlier to make it appear proper. What a snake.
Carl (Chandler Riggs) is hoping to find Enid (Katleyn Nacon). He has a bit of a showdown with Jessie’s son Ron (Austin Abrams). Little Carl has grown up. He knows his shit, while Ron is a dummy who knows nothing only that danger exists out there. Unlike Carl, he’s never had to shoot his mother, who just gave birth to his sister, right in her head.
A very sad yet empowering scene at the same time comes when Jessie finds a neighbour in a house nearby. The woman slit her wrists, trying to escape the zombie apocalypse coming down on their heads. But of course she came back. So it’s a depressing zombie moment, yet Jessie proclaims – after putting the lady zombie down for good: “This is what life looks like now; we have to see it, we have to fight. If we don’t fight, we die.” Excellent moment, which not only gives Jessie more power, she impresses some of the others. Namely Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever); she’s been wavering a little, such as in an earlier scene with Tara (Alanna Masterson). A look runs across Denise’s face that speaks volumes.
Back to Aaron and Maggie, making their way out of Alexandria on their quest to try and track down lost Glenn. AMAZING ZOMBIE EFFECTS! In a sewer, they run into a couple soggy living dead specimens. Such perfect makeup works, love the practical work here, as always. Even further, I find Maggie and Aaron have a nice dynamic going already. I’m excited for more of them, they’re both damn tough.
Ron goes to Rick and starts telling him about Enid, who’d sneak out from inside the walls to explore the outside world. The little shithead. He’s not doing this for any other reason than to stir things up. Not sure exactly what is going on with him, but I don’t like the way Ron acts. Rick starts teaching him how to shoot. I just do not like where this kid and his attitude are heading.
Surprise! Dr. Cloyd gives Tara a big smooch for helping out with a patient, giving her the confidence to keep going and push through the fear.
Then we finally get confirmation from Maggie: she is pregnant. At the last moment, she stops Aaron from opening the grate to head out into the wilderness outside Alexandria. Passionate speech from Maggie, great acting by Cohan. This entire scene is so intense and I found myself near tearing up. At the same time, I’m devastated because Maggie doesn’t have much, if any, hope left at all. She’s seen too many people die, especially her own family. No wonder. But she and Aaron embrace, they’ve got a bond. I feel as if he’s going to be a good friend to her from now, watching out, helping where he can. He is a good man who wants to do right by others. Again, their chemistry is awesome.
Deanna stumbles through the streets, hearing voices of past arguments, all sorts of things. Out from under one of the houses comes a Wolf zombie, one Carol (Melissa McBride) couldn’t find after she killed him in the attack. Deanna GOES TO TOWN on the zombie with a broken bottle, stabbing him repeatedly in the chest. Finally, Rick rushes out of the darkness to kill it off. She looks at him dead in the eye and says: “I want to live.” So this episode has really been a turning point. Seeing Rick and his group go through traumatic events alongside them, the Alexandrians have hit a corner, they’re coming through to discover they do have what it takes. At least when it comes down to the nitty gritty of it all.
My favourite scene comes when Maggie hops down off the wall with Aaron. They go to the panel where all the IN MEMORIAL names have been marked – of which Glenn is one, as is Nicholas. While we know the latter is dead, Glenn – I don’t think – is actually finished. But Maggie wipes his name off. In contrast to what I said before, Maggie does have hope. Aaron proves to be that good friend already by adding to her hope, encouraging her.
The finale sees Deanna getting her groove back, as well as Rick and Jessie getting much closer. And a final drip of blood running through a hole in the wall closes things off.
Excited to see the next episode, “Always Accountable”. Stay tuned for another one next week!