Ross Marquand Recaps The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Five: Now

9 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Walking Dead’ recap: Utter despair, then ray of hope for Alexandrians.

So terrified residents of the Alexandria Safe-Zone are understandably pessimistic about their chances for survival on “Now,” Episode 605 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The good news is that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) somehow outran scores of “walkers” who swarmed around him when his recreational vehicle wouldn’t start.

In the wake of a run of events that have offered some of the series’ grizzliest, most compelling stories, ‘Now’ is something of an oddity, an episode that initially suggests another adrenaline-heavy hour of intense action but never really delivers what it promises. While a number of dramatic gems are introduced the most exciting elements feel frustratingly out of reach. ‘Now’ thrusts Deanna and her failing leadership into the spotlight as she struggles to cope with the tragedy that has unfolded around her. It’s about how life is for them, “now.” And, of course, that was the title of the episode, taken from Jessie’s line “This is what life looks like now.” (As always, AMC gives you the episode name and makes you wait until the end to figure out what it means.) This theme is a little dull for us, the viewers, because this is what life has looked like for the past five seasons. But when her relationship with son Spencer takes a surprising turn, a glimmer of the old Deanna is revived and she rediscovers her much-needed survival instinct. Can you?” Throughout the episode, we watch as the Alexandrians finally come to terms with their apocalyptic reality: Supplies are limited and zombies are growling at the gates..

Can you?” Intrepid Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green) will return, Rick promises, just as soon as they lure those zombies away from Alexandria. “And Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Nicholas (Michael Traynor) are gonna walk back through the front gate after,” Rick adds optimistically. “They know what they’re doing.” Unbeknownst to Rick, Nicholas isn’t coming back. The past few instalments have built up a wealth of questions needing answers, so it’s something of a let down to see so many of them squandered or ignored here. This sent the Internet into a frenzy over whether the beloved character — who first appeared way back in the series’ second episode” — is alive or dead. What they need is you.” It’s yet another episode that deals with the skepticism surrounding Rick’s leadership—we’ve seen similar efforts in previous seasons to talk up Rick’s leadership chops. Maggie’s pregnancy is yet another sign “The Walking Dead” Season 6 is veering ever so close to Volume 14 of Robert Kirkman’s comic book, which means a lot of violence and death could be heading to the Safe-Zone.

Last week’s detour-isode didn’t shed any light on that, and neither did “Now.” What it did instead is unlike the handling of any other major character death: it was left open-ended. “I don’t get to know what happened,” Maggie tells Aaron, almost giving up, and almost talking to the audience. (Very meta, TWD.) “I have to live with that, you do, too,” she adds, twisting the knife. But after being nearly consumed by scum-covered sewer zombies, then spotting even more walkers massing by the tunnel exit, Maggie calls off her dangerous expedition. Based on the timing and pace of Season 6, the midseason finale will likely feature a the herd invading the Safe-Zone, setting off a series of epic events. Back in Alexandria, cynical Bruce (Ted Huckabee) leads a raid on the communal pantry so his family won’t starve during the brief time he fears they have left.

We got the first hint of Rick’s leadership style at the end of Season 2, when he finally told the group that everyone was already infected with the zombie virus—and that he’d known as much for a while. That’s when Spencer Monroe (Austin Nichols) echoes Rick’s inspirational words by making a plea to continue sharing and saving food in the belief that better days lie ahead. “Doing this (raiding the pantry) will start us down a road where nothing matters, where no one else matters,” Spencer cautions. “And then we’ll all look back at this moment right now as when we destroyed this place!” However, Spencer is soon exposed as a hypocrite when he steals food and alcohol for himself, much to the dismay of his mother, Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh). For a few brief moments it seems as though the struggling Deanna will have to rise to the challenge when the walkers arrive, so it’s disappointing that they spend the whole episode simply lined up around the gates. When Glenn and others protested he should have told everyone, Rick curtly replied, “Well, I thought it best if people didn’t know.” Later, as the group became scared while camping in the woods, and some insisted they needed to move out before zombies came for them, Rick put his foot down with what endures as perhaps his most memorable monologue.

As for Deanna, she begins to shake off a depression caused by losing two family members and thinking her dream of creating a safe zone was only an illusion. Where Deanna is well utilised is in her scenes with Spencer, her last remaining family member and part of the reason she shakes herself out of the slump she’s been in all season. He ended his chilling speech with a simple message: Anyone who wanted to stay with the group was going to play by his rules alone. “Maybe you people are better off without me. Tensions are also mounting among the Alexandrians, as half of the massive walker herd has now surrounded the compound, “20 walkers thick,” as Rick said.

Andrew Lincoln and Alexandra Breckenridge share a strong chemistry as Rick and Jessie respectively, a very different dynamic to his past relationship with Lori but one that feels believable for both characters. From their understated reunion scene (Rick’s first words to her alone are ‘We don’t bury killers inside the walls’, which is Walking Dead speak for ‘Glad you didn’t die. As we’ve seen repeatedly in this season, he has almost no problem letting however many people he deems necessary perish in the single-minded pursuit of his own plans and goals—as long as they’re not the few people he considers worth keeping alive. As Rick becomes increasingly Machiavellan—and at times mentally unstable—almost resembling a despot from Game of Thrones, one has to wonder: Why is he in charge, again?

When we first met her, Michonne was not a viable leader—she was closed-off, cagey, and—despite her close relationship with the group’s lost member Andrea—not clearly trustworthy. For a long time, we could have put her in the same bucket as gifted survivalists Daryl and Carol, both of whom are exceedingly combat-ready, but lack the big-picture tactical mind and desire it takes to lead. The moment, episodes later, when she subdued Rick’s foam-mouth ranting by knocking him out, should have sent a clear message about who the group’s real leader should be.

And although Michonne and Glenn’s attempt to make a break for Alexandria proved extremely lethal, Michonne shined as a tactician who knew when to boost morale, put skeptical troops in their place, and—most importantly—move on from lost causes. (Of course, next to Rick, who said for everyone to hear that Michonne and Glenn should sacrifice whoever necessary to make it out alive, anyone would look like a good morale-boosting leader.) The run was a fool’s errand no one could opt out of anyway, but Michonne led the charge as well as anyone could. But Orange Is the New Black, which is, like Walking Dead, an ensemble show, quietly moved Piper from lead role to ensemble member early on in order to invest more time in the more interesting backstories of its other characters; it made the show overall much better. AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire transitioned from spotlighting its clichéd male characters to focusing on their more fascinating female counterparts, which also gave the series some much-needed heart.

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