All good things must come to an end I guess. Okay, so “Now” is not a bad episode of The Walking Dead, but it does seem like a clear comedown, following the excellent “Here’s Not Here” from last week and the three episodes that started this season off with a real jolt. Should it be expected for every episode to be excellent? Well one should hope so, but understandably “Now” seems to be a transition episode moving some characters around in the midst of this new stage of the million walker march that began this season. Of course, this show always has these sorts of episodes and they have been done better and worse over time. As usual, it comes down to who was involved.
Listen, I’m all for exploring the Alexandrians and that’s the part of what excites me about where we currently are in this series, but these actors and the things required of them did not work out that well this week. Thankfully, this episode does not have another Alexandrian red shirt question Rick’s authority and wind up dead a scene later, but it does have a group of them immediately fall into the most base of solutions to their issues and it put a bad taste in my mouth.
In a show like this, we don’t have time to explore every character, but more needs to be done with handling them and the plots they are involved in. To back up, Alexandria is now surrounded by a horde of walkers. The citizens are apparently stupid enough to feel they are immediately doomed and want to take all the supplies they want, so they can at least eat a big meal before dying. Between the speed of decent and the acting on display, this is all just ridiculous.
Fortunately, Spencer, the Alexandrian who attempted to stop the Wolves from getting in by taking out the truck that crashed into the wall, did his best to talk down the citizens. Deanna, who is mute for most of the episode, smiles at her son for talking some sense into the people. This is later ruined by Spencer randomly appearing drunk, because the show suddenly needs him to spell out Deanna’s character to her.
I’m writing a lot about the Alexandrians so far and there were good things to come out of this episode elsewhere, but they really did make up a lot of “Now” and it stuck out because of how much of a downshift things seemed to take. With no walker action or great characters to deal with, we simply have a bunch of whiny characters that don’t lead to anything new, beyond a continued understanding that the town is unprepared for the horrors that happen in this walker-filled world.
Rick does the best he can in this episode. He gets to speechify a bit, deals with Porch Dick’s son Ron and even makes out with the Widow of Porch Dick (No, I don’t watch Talking Dead often, but that nick name for Pete, the dead drunk doctor, sure did catch on). There’s probably a lot to say about the implications of Rick’s creepy relationship with Jessie, but better wait and see where things go with that one.
The best stuff came from the female cast members and Aaron (Hey, good name for a baby indeed!). We caught up with Dr. Denise and her situation has slightly improved. She’s still somewhat unsure of herself, but manages to save a patient and kiss Tara. Of the relationships currently seen on this show, this one is the most promising, so we can only hope for the best on that front.
Then you have Maggie and Aaron. Obviously many were most excited by this team up as it would hopefully lead to further development on the who shot J.R “is Glenn dead?” angle this show has made into a thing. Well, some may have been let down by the lack of information this episode, but it was a good showcase for Maggie, who has dealt with plenty of loss in her life, but at least makes it work when given the chance. Given the lack of expression concerning the whereabouts of her sister last season, I am happier to accept the emotion put behind her thoughts on Glenn here.
In the grand scheme of things, not much happens with Maggie, aside from an encounter with some nasty walkers in the sewer, but her final decision to hold off on leaving to go find Glenn (along with the pregnancy reveal that many already figured out) was a good way to go. It’s the kind of thing that is helped by my familiarity with Maggie, as opposed to random Alexandrians, but in an episode where people are mostly complaining about their current situation, this one at least made the best of who was involved and where there scenes took place.
“Now” is an okay episode of television. The Walking Dead has been consistently very good so far this season, so hopefully this slight bump only means more excitement will come next week. It’s not about being action-heavy, so much as it is getting a lot out of the survivors we follow. This was an episode that honestly lacked most of the heavy-hitters that help this show along. Ideally, this segmented perspective will come together in a great way at the end of the first half of this season’s run, but for now, we just have to deal with damage control at Alexandria.