Season Six, Episode Five — “Now”
By Jarrod Jones. I’m not sure how he did it (and no, neither are you), but Rick made it home to Alexandria. Even with swarms of walkers closing in on our nutbag former deputy, Rick somehow navigated a couple of miles of famished zomberts. With a busted hand. On foot. So don’t worry your fool head about a durn thing, because it looks like this episode ain’t none too concerned about letting us in on the secret.
Which is a shame, considering the “how” of Rick’s survival would be vastly more entertaining than last night’s episode. “Now” drags us back from the bittersweet memories of Morgan’s Eastman misadventures to remind us of how banal staying alive in the walker apocalypse usually is. “Now” may be the weakest entry of Season Six yet, but there’s a few nuggets of hope embedded within: Rick is fixin’ to get himself some from Jesse (ostensibly a foregone conclusion, seeing’s though walkers don’t eat superficiality), Ron’s fixin’ to get his ass handed to him by Coral, and Maggie’s fixin’ to try on a pair of maternity pants. All in all, a pretty dismal hour of television that doesn’t even try to silence all of these damn Glenn Truthers out there. (Shut up! I hear you! You’re still wrong!)
WHAT WORKED: Deanna’s slowly working out her grief — watching her etch out plans for what Alexandria could grow into was the first glimmer of hope we’ve seen from her, possibly ever — but she has her nimrod son Spencer to contend with. Watching her dismantle her boy’s hypocrisy (over a purloined bottle of scotch: “if they all went in and raided the pantry and every knew it? saw it? that would be the end. but one person? one person, no one would ever know. so why not me?“) with but one look — no matter how much he sputters all over the place, the simp — shows me that Deanna is going to be vital to Rick’s agenda. Hopefully it ends better for her than it did for her husband.
Aaron’s got more than enough heart to guide Maggie through the doubt we’ve been waiting for her to deal with for the last two episodes. She’s more than strong enough to handle the search for her missing husband — the last five seasons more than adequately prove that — but it’s the quiet, patient approach Aaron applies to her gung-ho solo mission that truly gave her pause. Now do the right thing and don’t let these two hook up, show.
WHAT DIDN’T: You guys, am I the only person here who’s plum fed up with watching these nameless Alexandrians phone in their angsty, breathlessly inane performances? Watching these doughy white folks gripe at each other over rations, all claiming that their families are starving when they’re looking mighty healthy to me, is enough to make me roll my eyes all over the place. It reminds me of that bit in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, where all these white people come out of nowhere to argue about who should use the Joker’s detonator on that ferry. I care about these people why? There had better be a goddamned massacre on its way, because this show needs to trim the dead weight.
What makes things even worse is when they start Rick speachin’ at each other. Spencer (you know, that guy from Episode Two with the world’s worst sniper skills?) starts pipin’ up at a buncha folks over spare cans of yams or whatever and I’m all, “where’s my bourbon”. Jesse starts up with her orating bullshit a little later in the episode, and it’s vastly more effective than ol’ Spencer’s, but at that point, I was already too busy looking at all the emails I had to respond to the next day.
“The wall’s gonna hold together. Are you?” – Rick.
“People are dead. I was a part of that. And I have to live with that.” – Aaron, stepping up.
“Being afraid sucks.” – Tara.
“Come on, you sonuvabitch.” – Deanne.
BEST MOMENT: That kiss. No, I’m not talking about Rick and Jesse; that smooch is about as predictable as everything you’ll see in SPECTRE. No, the smooch between Denise and Tara was the one moment of “Now” that made me smile. Witnessing a real moment of tenderness is truly a rare thing in The Walking Dead, so I was plenty grateful to be able to share in the moment. “Yeah, being afraid sucks.” You said it, Dr. Denise.
EPISODE’S MVP: Aaron. Either Maggie’s grief is allowing her to be a class-A pushover, or Ross Marquand’s Aaron is more useful than we previously thought. Yeah, he dropped the bag (quite literally) back in Season Five, but Aaron’s making up for past sins with gusto. I’m just hoping this is one nice guy who doesn’t get his ribcage splintered open by hungry fingers.
BRAY OF THE DEAD:
– Um, pretty sure you don’t want to be looking upon Sturgess with a fond memory, Alexandria.
– Word to the wise, Aaron: you don’t “let” Maggie do anything. Hear?
– Deanna’s hastily-scrawled Latin? “Dolor hic tibi proderit olim.” “Someday this pain will be useful to you,” from the Roman poet, Publius Ovidius Naso.
– Oh, it’s no big deal, Spencer. We can just buy a new glass at Ikea–OH WAIT NEVERMIND. Ass.
– Coral vs. Ron in a slapfight! The price? Enid! (And presumably, bragging rights.) There can be only one (wee lad)!
– Looks like David’s wife took his absence harder than expected.
– Those Sewer Walkers (Poo Walkers?) were the freakiest zombies I’ve seen since Return of the Living Dead.
– Speaking of which, looks like Maggie’s gonna wash her hands for the rest of her life. Ew.
– Anyone else think for a second that rat-bastard Ron was gonna shove Rick over the wall?