The Walking Dead, Season 6, Episode 5, “Now”
Written by Corey Reed
Directed by Avi Youabian
Airs Sundays at 9pm (ET) on AMC
After last week’s complex and meditative turn with “Here is Not Here,” we’re back to the chaos of the failed plot by Rick and co. to lead the massive herd of walkers away from Alexandria. While “Now” suffers from some flaws, it still ends up as entertaining and compelling filler. A lot of “Now” involves the Alexandrians playing a nice round of hindsight with one another. After spending a long time trying to perfect casseroles, reality pretty much came shambling at their door step, popping their bubble of comfort for better or worse.
Now that the raid has essentially failed and a good portion of Alexandria lies six feet under, the rest of the townies walk around “Now” displaying a keen sense of hindsight with one another. The big revelation, though, is not that Maggie is pregnant, but more so that Rick was right all along, and it took them this long to pretty much figure it out; when the chips are down, the Alexandrians are all basically in it for themselves. “Now” is somewhat reminiscent of the “Twilight Zone” episode “The Shelter.” Now that the dead are banging at their door, it’s pretty disappointing to see that they’re all really caring for their own, and aren’t at all interested in coming together to stick it out for the long haul.
One has to wonder if Alexandria really is worth saving, and if Rick can really turn this place in to a community worth having. Because after a long time, the town has done nothing but abandon their own and put on a smile for one another. It’s pathetic how, when Rick and his group were stuck without food, they did nothing but think of one another, while the Alexandrians are essentially shoving one another to get the last can of soup. “Now” is still much of Rick trying his damndest to take the plot to derail every walker to a new area, and desperately attempting to think of a new way to salvage what’s crumbled to pieces.
We find that Michonne and her partners made it back and is forced to deliver the terrible news to Maggie that Glenn has yet to return. It’s a powerful scene in that it’s kept mostly out of ear shot as Deanna watches her town just collapsing around her. Rick barely makes it back, hoofing it just as was expected, and returns to give the town a hard education in the apocalypse. Half of the herd is at their doorsteps and there is just little hope of escaping with their lives. It’s unsure how they’re going to possibly divert the entirety of the walkers at the moment, but what becomes important is making sure the rest of Rick’s team comes back while trying to ensure Alexandria is prepared to buckle down and really hold on tight, with the walkers blocking every possible exit from the town. Maggie’s sub-plot adds the emotional weight to the episode successfully, as she seems fairly certain Glenn simply will not make it back.
She has no idea of the circumstances that brought him at death’s door, but she wisely is prepared to go out and look for him, to bring him back, or perhaps exterminate him before he shows up at the doors of Alexandria as a walker. His fate is still undetermined, but the group finally doubts his ability to make it back by the skin of his teeth, as he’s been known to do since living in the Atlanta camp. What’s worse is that Maggie is pregnant, and she’s torn. Does she want to really see what happened to Glenn? Or is it easier just waiting for someone to show who may never actually come back to her? The sight of her and Aaron wiping the names from the memorial wall really speaks volumes about their ability to believe in Glenn’s survival instincts, but “Now” really doesn’t raise any flags about whether Glenn will return intact or alive.
There are some interesting developments introduced during the episode, with Denise somewhat getting the hang of being a doctor while also realizing her feelings for Tara. There’s also the unusual interest in hand guns from Jessie’s son that may or may not have consequences in future episodes. The sequence in the sewer is also great in highlighting how utterly nauseating the walkers can be. These moments really compensated for the episode’s weaker points. Like the rather misplaced fight between Carl and Jessie’s older son, which came off more awkward than entertaining. Also, where were Carol and Michonne during this episode? Why would Rick get information about the raid from everyone but Carol, the main savior of the town who did more than most of the group?
It’s unsure what Deanna is thinking at the moment. One moment she’s building plans for a new Alexandria, the next moment she’s shambling around and stabbing a walker with a broken bottle. One scene she’s arguing with her son, the next she’s banging the gates and riling up the walkers when Rick specifically told everyone to make their presences as quiet as possible. Nothing felt really even with her during the episode. “Now” is nonetheless a solid continuation of the arc for the first half of season six. One anxiously awaits the look at how the trio of herders fared, and how they’ll make it back to the town.