The Walking Dead: Now

"This is what life looks like now."

We seem to be having an exceptional sixth season so far. While this episode wasn't as amazing and/or shocking as the last few, it continued what might be a series course correction toward optimism. Unless they're lulling us with false hope.

An actual love scene! It was even timed well, because I was ready for it. I've always found Andrew Lincoln attractive, and early in the episode I was thinking about how hot he looked now that he's no longer "psychotically bearded" and the band-aids are nearly gone. And Jessie has changed; I like her now. She walked into her own kitchen and didn't even hesitate to drag that bloody body out the door. And then she actually stabbed a walker in the eye, and it was a woman she knew. (On Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick said the walker was Betsy, who was married to the David who died in "Thank You". Betsy had committed suicide; her wrist was cut.)

Jessie has come out the other side. She saw that she needed to change in order to survive, and she told her friends in Alexandria that they needed to change, too. I totally get her attraction to Rick. He's the alpha male of Alexandria, and it's instinctual to gravitate toward a strong mate who will help you and your children survive. Rick will never beat her, and he'll kill or die to protect her. She could do worse. Yes, he executed her husband, but nobody's perfect.

While Jessie was turning into a Carol-in-training, poor Sam was so completely traumatized that he wouldn't even come down the stairs for a plate of cookies. And I don't believe that Ron has adjusted to anything. He ran to Rick in order to rat out Carl about Enid, and then... he asked Rick to teach him to shoot? Come on. An angry teenager who just lost his father isn't going to change that quickly. I hope Ron doesn't decide to jump Rick at some future point, because killing the man who beat her is one thing -- but if Rick has to kill her son, this budding relationship will be over. I even expected Ron to show up and freak out while Rick and Jessie were all over each other in the garage.

On a more positive note, I absolutely loved Dr. Denise figuring out how to help her latest patient (Scott) when all she really wanted to do was go home and read War and Peace. (Nothing symbolic about that title, huh?) Denise ambush-kissing Tara was one of the most adorable scenes they've ever done on this show. Hey, I thought they were setting up Denise with Eugene. This is better.

Tara: "What is it?"
Denise: "It's the end of the world."
Tara: "No, it's not."
Denise: "Yeah. Being afraid sucks."

While the Alexandrians were experiencing their trial by fire, Deanna, their former leader, was very much a reflection of her community. Initially wandering around in a state of mourning and shock, Deanna was jolted out of it when her son Spencer lashed out at her, blaming her for pretty much everything except the fall of civilization. But like Alexandria, Deanna rallied. She may not know that walkers won't go down unless you get them in the brain, but she has decided that she wants to live. That's most of the battle, right there.

Deanna told Rick that Alexandria needs him, not her. I think Alexandria needs both of them. Rick can hopefully keep most of them alive now that people are actually listening to him, but a community also needs someone smart to plan, to think about future sustainability. Deanna is good at that.

I thought maybe Spencer, who was justifiably proud of taking out that Wolf truck and saving the wall, had finally grown up after he managed to talk down the panicked raid on the pantry. But then he went back and raided it himself. (Spencer bullshits well; he's a shoo-in for elected office.) The second time through this episode, I noticed that the walker that attacked Deanna was much taller than she was, much like Spencer. I am betting that wasn't a casting coincidence. Deanna defeated her son's defeatism. Or maybe she just couldn't reach the walker's head.

The more I see of Aaron, the more I like him. At the beginning of the episode, Aaron backed up Rick, reminding everyone that if Rick hadn't tried the "lead them away" gambit, all of the horde would be at the gate instead of half. (Forty deep instead of twenty.) Aaron told everyone that he'd found his backpack with one of the Wolves, and what it meant -- and took the blame, even though it wasn't his fault. And Aaron wouldn't let Maggie go outside the walls alone, even when he knew that going with her could mean his own death.

The emotional core of the episode was Maggie's pregnancy reveal. It certainly explained why she didn't go with the rest of Rick's A-Team to deal with the walker megahorde, and why she gave up when she and Aaron reached that gate in the sewer. She is desperate to find out what happened to Glenn, but she isn't going to throw her life away. She knows Glenn wouldn't want her to do that.

In the end, Maggie and Aaron took Glenn's and Nicholas's names off the fence, much like the producers took Steven Yeun's name out of the credits. I'll admit I'm frustrated with the producers for continuing to play with us regarding the fate of one of the show's most beloved characters. Maybe what the producers ultimately do with Glenn will reflect the direction they plan to take this show. Will The Walking Dead continue to tell us that humanity is ultimately doomed? Or will the survivors find hope and come out the other side?

Notes from Talking Dead

The guests were Alexandra Breckenridge (Jessie) and Zachary Levi (Chuck, Heroes Reborn). Breckenridge was worried that the fans would hate her now that she's with Rick, and she shared that after that love scene, which everyone knows is uncomfortable and awkward to film, the sound department played the song, "Let's Get It On" to break the tension. Chris Hardwick said that there should be more sex during an Apocalypse, and I agree. Zachary Levi said what I was thinking, that Deanna and Rick should lead together. Levi also said he thought Glenn was alive, but what Gimple said about us seeing something of Glenn again might have meant the baby.

For the next three weeks, Talking Dead will air an hour late because Into the Badlands will be airing directly after The Walking Dead. The trailers for Into the Badlands haven't appealed to me and I'm very tired of seeing them. Am I the only one?

Bits and pieces:

-- We didn't see how Rick got out of the RV situation. I wonder why?

-- The Carl/Ron shoving and slapping match was almost comical.

-- Aaron suggested to Maggie that Aaron or Erin is a good name for a baby. He may have been teasing, but that may have been set-up. If Aaron dies before the baby is born, I bet it'll happen. Let's go for the poignant.

-- Deanna wrote "Dolor hic tibi proderit olim" on the plans. It's from Ovid and means, "Someday, this pain will be useful to you."

-- Sam has what I think of as "TV kid hair". He really needs a simpler and more adult cut. Except that they probably want him to look younger than the actor is.

-- Things I could do without: OMG, those two sewer walkers. Totally gagworthy. On this show, that's something.

-- What was that blood dripping down the fence? Had to be important or they wouldn't have showed it to us.


Rick: "The walls are gonna hold together. Can you?"
But will they? Twenty deep? I am remembering the fence going down at the prison. Take nothing for granted.

Rick: "We don't bury killers inside the walls."
But if that were true, most of the cast couldn't be buried inside the walls.

Jessie: "I used to not want to see the way things are. It's not that I couldn't, it's that I didn't want to. But this is what life looks like now. We have to see it. We have to fight it. If we don't fight, we die."

Next week, I am assuming all of the action will shift to Abraham, Sasha and Daryl. Will it include Glenn? Or will they make us wait three more episodes until the mid-season finale?

Three out of four pantry raids,

Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.


Anonymous said...

Ouch. I hated this episode so much. I would go as far as say it's in the running for worst episode of the complete series so far. And as much as I liked to see my negative opinion confirmed widely around the 'net, Billie's positive take is refreshing and more useful because of it. And I would rather try to change my opinion than hers, as having fun is far better than angrily fuming about what you just watched.

It's not even the Glenn tease still staying unanswered that got to me, as I don't care overly much about him anymore, plus I greatly enjoyed the previous episode. This week just felt like a really bad soap opera, aggressively boring and doing everything I fear.

The whole thing started off on the wrong foot with Rick's escape from the RV completely skipped over. Then came the absolutely shocking amount of dozens unknown faces appearing out of nowhere as Rick walked up to hold his little speech. Around 30 unwelcome, unnecessary anonymous extras. Just crazy where they hid out all this time, how they survived the Wolves' attack unscathed, managed to avoid quarry duty and everything. Can't they die already, please?

Then essentially nothing of any importance happened, only everyone behaving as a nuisance in some way, all the way to the pregnancy reveal. Now, a new life is of course a wonderfully joyful ocassion in the real world, and would especially be incredible in an actual apocalypse. But I coulnd't help but look at it as a baby character being the absolute worst that could happen for a TV show, particularly one which doesn't habitually fast-forward several years ahead. Just look at the situation with Judith. Never growing up, forever staying a baby since early season 3, completely disappearing from almost all of the episodes since filming with actual babies is just not easy.

sunbunny said...

I didn't like this one. Not just because WE STILL DON'T KNOW ABOUT GLENN but because I really don't care about the Alexandrians at all. Aaron is probably the only one I'd be legitimately sad to see die. Eh, maybe Denise now too. They've just been living in their protected little bubble so seeing them deal with all this trauma was sort of like "get over it." "Our" group has been through a lot worse. It felt weird to see the Alexandrians quibbling over soup after seeing Daryl and Beth live off of snake meat. Half the episode I just wanted to scream "grow up!" at my screen.

Possibilites for Glenn: he shows up alive (PLEASE), we see him as a walker, or we never see him again, which is honestly the worst of the three, for me, at least.

Jessie/Rick just feels too much like Lori/Shane to me and it's making me feel icky. That whole thing about gravitating toward the alpha male because he's the best chance of survival is...blech. Understandable? Maybe. But still a pretty gross thing to portray onscreen, let alone twice on the same show. Especially because Rick JUST killed her husband. In front of her. Yes, he was an objectively terrible person but wow.

Both of Deanna's sons turn out to be dicks. Well done on the parenting front.

Ron is definitely going to be trouble.

Sorry this comment is so negative. I really do love the show. I just love it so much more when it focuses on the characters I care about the most.

sunbunny said...

Oh! And Anon: re: Judith. I usually hate it when babies are introduced on shows because they're never seen and it's awkward (i.e. Emma on Friends) but, while Judith is often offscreen being babysat by whoever I think she's a really important symbol for the show. She's hope. She didn't fare as well in the comics from what I understand but by keeping her alive and safe I think the show is maintaining the idea that things can get better and life can and will go on.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a fine episode. Seeing the aftermath of wolves attack was important for the story but I would like to get the plot moving faster in the next episodes.

I was just wondering why can't they handle the zombies one by one through the gate like they did in the prison?

Paul Kelly said...

Yeah, I agree anon -- I was thinking the exact same thing. They should be killing the horde outside the fence through the gate. I was also a little puzzled by Rick's admonishment to keep quiet -- only to see him later on in the episode in full view, mere feet from the walkers, talking at a normal volume.

I'm enjoying this season too, and am experience none of the annoyance that other people seem to be. I don't even give a shit that we don't know Glenn's fate yet. It's pretty standard drama show fare, isn't it -- to have something dreadful happen and then have us wait several episodes for a resolution? If the episodes in between were boring, I'd probably being getting peeved, but I'm finding the other story elements pretty compelling at the moment. I don't necessarily care about the other Alexandrians -- although I'm warming to Jessie, and have always like Aaron -- but I'm enjoying watching them either crumble or come to terms with the new status quo.

Logan Cox said...

Thank you for translating the latin that Deanna wrote. Makes that scene even better. Loved what they did with her character, and all of the Alexandrians this season really. Really hope they don't opt for more doom and gloom and hopelessness at the end of this season.

Jess Lynde said...

Logan, they are totally going to opt for doom and gloom and hopelessness. That’s what this show does. That’s why we didn’t close this episode on love connections or Deanna rediscovering her will to fight, but on ominous something or other oozing through the metal plates, which can only mean it is going to come crashing down soon. The pantry looters had the right of it: eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow most of you will die.

In that same vein: it seems a pretty sure bet that Jessie’s toast now, and Rick’s gun lessons for Ron will probably lead to him shooting someone Rick cares about (accidentally or otherwise). Carl? Judith? Because as we all know by now, helping other people in this ‘verse and giving them a chance only leads to tragic fallout. See also last week: Eastman saving Morgan (and dying for it), and Morgan’s sad attempts to carry Eastman’s message forward by letting clearly dangerous and irredeemable murderers live (and getting lots of innocent, presumably decent people killed in the process). No good deed goes unpunished. It is making it increasingly hard for me to enjoy and appreciate any seemingly positive developments, because the whole time I’m thinking “Well, two or three episodes from now it is all gonna get torn apart (probably literally), so what’s the point?” I really want to enjoy Tara getting a love interest, but I can't. Dammit, show. You've really poisoned the well for me with this Glenn business. I guess we'll see if they turn it around somehow, but I'm not optimistic.

I’m with sunbunny on the Rick and Jessie thing. It is icky, disturbing, and gross. It is a good thing that Rick is ready to open himself up to that kind of connection again, and I’ve got nothing against Jessie as a character on her own (even though we’ve already seen this story with Carol), but this is a completely unhealthy relationship. From both perspectives. He keeps creeping on her not because of who she is, but because she reminds him of Lori and the life he lost, and then he murdered her husband in front of her like five days ago! And now he’s getting what he wanted in the first place. Ick. So skeezy!

P.S.: Notice that none of the zombie herd mess is Rick’s fault according to the writers! It was Aaron’s fault and Rick’s plan is the only thing that saved them. Sheesh.

Vanessa Gonska said...

Why aren't they doing ANYTHING to get the herd away from the walls? I get very frustrated with the story yet cannot stop watching.

Jess Lynde said...

Yeah, as down as I am on the show right now, I still can’t quite let go. I’ve loved it too much for too long to just walk away. I’m starting to fully realize I’m in a really bad relationship --- as Paul once told us long ago --- but I’m still hoping it will work out. :)

It’s like Jessie’s little speech: I could always see the way things were, but I didn’t want to see it. So instead I’ve kept going along with the show, hoping things would get better if I just gave it enough time. But now I’m coming to terms with the fact that it will never get better (until maybe the last eight episodes ever), because the show is what it is. I kept hoping it would change, and evolve into a different phase. But most people, I mean, shows don’t change. And now I’m angry at it for being what it always was --- which is part of what I fell in love with in the first place --- and bitter that it isn’t what I was hoping it would become. I have to laugh at myself, actually.

I’ll try not to post too many bitter, frustrated comments as the season continues, but I couldn’t resist chiming in with some others expressing frustration this week. :)

Paul Kelly said...

"But most people, I mean, shows don’t change. And now I’m angry at it for being what it always was --- which is part of what I fell in love with in the first place --- and bitter that it isn’t what I was hoping it would become."

Hilarious comment, Jess. The confusion is real.

kb said...

Was an ok episode for me. Not the worst of the series but definitely the worst of this season. I'm lukewarm on the Rick/Jessie thing. Don't love it or hate it. I'm with most of you guys in that I just don't care about the Alexandrians that much. Aaron is pretty much it. Love him, and to clarify a comment from someone here, Aaron was not taking blame for the herd. He was defending Rick by letting the people know that the truck holding the herd in place gave way and they were coming so if it hadn't been for Rick the town would likely be facing all of the walkers not just half. Aaron took responsibility for inadvertently leading the Wolves there. I'm still a little annoyed we didn't get closure on Glenn, nor did we see Daryl or the others still out there. Hopefully next week??

kb said...

p.s. so thrilled that Jeffery Dean Morgan will be in the cast!! I've missed Dean and Sam's dad since I don't watch any other shows he's on.

Billie Doux said...

kb, I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan and I was excited to see that announcement, too. Except I'm a bit upset that he's going to be a bad guy.

kb said...

Billie, I'm a little upset as well but at the same time very curious what he'll do with the role since it seems so out of character for him. I haven't read the comics but from what I do know Negan is the worst of the worst.

Nick said...

Didn't Rick say at one point the reason why they're not clearing the Walkers is because they're a layer of protection if the Wolves comes back?

Lydia said...

The dumbass Alexandrians are a little less annoying than they used to be, but they're still dumbasses. I get why the writers wanted to do this whole Alexandria thing, I get that they contrast with our group, but as lots of others mentioned over here, it's really hard to care for their struggles when Rick's group's all "been there, done that", so many seasons in, I don't see the point of rehashing the "getting to terms with the gritty new world we live in" plot line. It's simply lazy writing. The only Alexandrians I care about are Aaron (I love everything they do with him, so naturally I keep fearing they're going to kill him off brutally), and Tara's new love interest. I guess I kind of like Deanna too. I hate Jesse, typical damsel in distress swooning for the alpha male, boring as Lori. Rick's thing for her is creepy, disturbing and lame. Rick has too much on his mind to be getting into a relationship right now, but if he has to have one, it should be with Michonne, because they have great chemistry and it would make sense and not be creepy and honestly I thought they were hinting at it earlier, but then they shoved Jesse in and now I'm like bleh guess I was wrong.

I like so many characters on this show, but most of them don't get enough screen time and on top of that they keep giving us new characters. It's frustrating, what's also frustrating is that Maggie's pregnant when her husband's probably dead. So predictable, so pointless.

Ugh. But I'm still on the bandwagon, especially since the previews showed more Sasha, Abraham and Daryl action. This show really does feel like a bad relationship I can't seem to get out of. Lol.


What happened at the RV? How did Rick Superman his way out of that one??


What's Jesse's son who clearly has a crush on Carl upto?

Speaking of Carl, he's too old for this show now. The timelines are so messed up like when did your 11 year old son hit puberty? And I don't like him as much as I used to anymore.


Nicholos is an asshole and an idiot who doesn't deserve his name on the wall, especially if he got poor Glenn killed.

Aw. I love Aaron. Have I mentioned how much I love Aaron??

Don't care for Deanna's son tbh. Even though he's hot.

When do all these people shower? They all look like they smell terrible.

Awww Tara and what's-her-name are very cute. Please don't kill either of them.

The end of the world does, indeed, suck.


Come on. Rick needs to be with Michonne. Why don't more people ship this?
What's the ominous blood mean?

Okay, I'm done lol. Buh-bye! Nice review.

Marianna said...

I think the assumption is that Rick ditched the RV and ran for Alexandria, the direction the walkers were already headed so they stayed behind him, which was why he showed up with a horde of walkers following him.

Was it really necessary to write the names of the people whose fates are uncertain yet? They couldn't wait a day and see what happens?

The letting one walker in at a time wouldn't have worked because the walkers were 20 deep. You would never be able to get the gate closed once you opened it.