Talking Out The Dead: “Now”

Thomas Crawford: The beginning of the episode seemed to suggest something crazy was about to start. A wide eyed Rick was running towards the town of Alexandria with a massive swarm of walkers in hot pursuit. Overall though, this episode really had a tough time keeping my attention.

First, I think I should say with that many walkers, I like using swarm better than horde. Swarm seems to describe something like a mass of insects. There is no individual leading the group and they attack as one. The movements are chaotic and hard to predict. A horde makes me think of an ancient Mongol Army invading. They have a purpose, a direction, and a series of leaders. Maybe it is just semantics but I felt like throwing that out there.

Moving on to the episode. I have to admit that I was disappointed for many reasons. One was the fact that the last time Rick was seen, he was in the RV. The RV wouldn’t start, and the swarm was closing in fast. That was where we last saw him.

The man had just run a mile or more to get to the RV. He had to kill a few walkers along the way. He engaged in deadly hand to hand combat with the left over Wolves. Then, the RV wouldn’t start. He seemed exhausted, demoralized, and was about to be surrounded.

Then, magically he is running towards Alexandria. Forget the fact the RV was several miles away from Alexandria. Forget the fact the man was tired and gassed. How did he get out of the RV? I know it seems like a fine point. However, the point of that ending was the cliffhanger. I think the writers might have gotten a little lazy. They figured the fans would be so overwrought about the Glenn issue, we wouldn’t remember how the show actually ended. Read above, Rick was pretty much surrounded.

Maybe it is a little harsh. Perhaps this is something that should just be forgiven. After all, there is only so much time in each show to tell the story. However, that is still something that is going to bug me as I think about this episode.

After the adrenaline pumping start… we get talking. Let’s be honest, some talking is needed. There were some interesting moments with Maggie and Aaron in the sewers. However come on, this was an episode that did nothing but talk, and didn’t seem to go anywhere. I know I’m probably being too harsh but hear me out.

What exactly did this story do? Maybe I missed it and I will take that into consideration. We find out about Maggie being pregnant, Aaron feeling guilt over leading the wolves back, Denise the new doctor isn’t certain, and Ron and Carl are typical teens, being dumb over a girl.

Aaron is guilty, so the town forgave him, like at once. Wasn’t there supposed to be some outrage? They just stood around and looked down. Even Rick didn’t seem to care all that much. Way to sell it people of Alexandria.

Aaron tries to help Maggie through the sewer tunnels so she can find Glenn. A dumb but typical move in the series is running off to find loved ones when surrounded. Heading through the tunnels we find out that sewer water and decomposing walkers make for some disgusting times.

They figure out they can’t get out, and Maggie ends up crying. She admits she is pregnant. That was sort of a surprise. However, was it supposed to be a shocker? Maggie and Glenn are married. They have been relatively safe for a couple weeks in Alexandria. It just didn’t hit me like a bombshell that they might have gotten a little alone time.

Denise is the new doctor and isn’t sure if she is up to the job. I think she needs to get her grown up pants on. She is the only one that can do it. Okay maybe that’s a little mean. However, what is the point of this entire event?

They didn’t really dwell on why she wasn’t confident in her ability, unless I missed it. The scenes really didn’t drive up my sympathy for her, if that was supposed to happen. Nope, Tara came in and gave a pep talk.

After one pep talk and searching through one book, Denise finds the answer to treating the wound that had her up in knots. Then Denise gives Tara one of the most awkward looking on screen kisses I can remember. Was that platonic? Was that a thank you kiss? Was that a, “Hey, you are beautiful” kiss?

I understand it was supposed to be a little awkward. That looked seriously awkward. I don’t expect like a heavy romantic kiss in that context at all, don’t get me wrong. I just thought, maybe a little chemistry? Perhaps a little acting?

Oh yes, Ron and Carl are dumb. They are surrounded, trapped in the town, and Carl wants to go find Enid. Bravery? Nope, I’m going with hormones and a weird sense that he is like Rick. Sorry Carl, you aren’t quite there yet. He apparently has a short term memory thinking he can do anything his dad can do.

Ron is dumb because he is mad at Carl… who “stole” his girlfriend. He needs to understand that she just isn’t that into him. Think about it Ron, would she have run to Carl and then taken off if she even liked you? Like I said, dumb. By the way, Ron needs to learn what happens to snitches. Just saying.

There were some other things that really didn’t get me all into this episode. I’m going to throw it over to you for your thoughts. Are we in disagreement? Did you like this episode? Not saying it was horrible, but just really sort of a letdown after the first four episodes.

Kelen Conley: I agree with you. After all that action and the Morgan backstory, this was a really meh episode. I guess the idea of progressing the action portions of the story just didn’t appeal to the writers. I think their goal is to make us care about the Alexandrians more but they failed miserably.

You definitely called Ron having a couple screws loose after Rick killed his dad. Add that to his hormones going crazy thanks to adolescence and we have a real problem on our hands. I doubt Enid was ever truly his girlfriend, especially after seeing all the things she’s been through in “JSS”. There’s no way she’d let herself get close enough to Ron to even remotely agree to that title. He probably fancies her as his girlfriend like some teenage boys are apt to do but we don’t normally come out and say these things out loud. TWD world affects everyone differently, so I’m sure a filter is the least of Ron’s worries.

Carl is cruising for a bruising. He’s been acting like his shit doesn’t stink since he came into Alexandria and someone is going to make him pay for it at some point if Ron doesn’t do it first. He’s definitely forgotten his experiences while Rick was unconscious right after the prison. He’s a kid and these things tend to happen but I really hate to see what his next lesson is going to end up being.

I’m so with you on Denise. She’s just another character that I don’t care about. Maybe they thought it would add suspense if the new doctor of the town had no idea what she’s doing? I don’t need to see her fail and complain and fail and complain before Tara gives her a verbal pat on the back so that she can find the answer. This did nothing for me.

And that kiss was horrible. The only reason they did it was because someone said, “Hey! Tara’s a lesbian. We don’t want anyone to forget that!” Um, we didn’t. She’s reminded Eugene of that a few times in a humorous way. We don’t need to sic her on the first available woman she lays eyes on.

I think what they were trying to sell was that was Denise’s first kiss from a woman. Hell, it could have been her first kiss period. So not only is she a sympathetic character because she’s now Alexandria’s only doctor, she also gets to start this adorable relationship with Tara that will warm viewers up to her even more! No. I don’t think so.

I hate that Maggie’s pregnant. So now that Glenn is dead (which I’m starting to believe isn’t the case as we still have no body), let’s make Maggie pregnant? The writers hate this character. They’ve killed her friends and family at the farm, Hershel, Beth, (probably not) Glenn, and now we need another baby in the picture? There’s no way the baby survives to term, none. The fact that Judith has to be dealt with is enough but two babies?

The sewer walkers were cool to look at but they weren’t a credible threat past helping to keep Maggie and Aaron in Alexandria. It’s a moot point that most of the main characters won’t die while dealing with a walker but I like to have a little suspense about it. Sure, Aaron could have died down there but that would’ve been a little unfair to his character after what he helped the group do last season.

Did you notice that this was the first time we’re seeing Aaron this season really? I think he may have shown up in the flashbacks leading up to the quarry exploding in “First Time Again”. But for someone who found the group and brought them to Alexandria and befriended Daryl and had such a big role in the Season 5 finale, this is not how I wanted to see him.

I get being upset that he led the Wolves to Alexandria but he and Daryl were stuck in a major trap that they wouldn’t have escaped without Morgan’s help. It’s not like he and Eric went for a picnic and forgot to bring the pictures back. That is worth being upset over. I’m really bummed by this portrayal and I hope we don’t see it anymore this season.

And we got gypped on what happened at the RV man. They could have skipped all of Denise and Tara’s scenes in favor of showing how Rick escaped the RV. For him to be up shit creek to him now running, practically unscathed, back to Alexandria is complete highway robbery for viewers. Perhaps because of all action from the road in “Thank You”, the writers didn’t feel the need to go back there before they progressed the story but they missed a golden moment to show off how bad ass Rick Grimes can be. I hope we get to revisit those missing moments before the season is over.

I don’t care for anything Jessie did this episode enough to talk about it, so I won’t.

And how about what terrible parents Deanna and Reg were? Aiden was a complete jackass, it got him killed, and he almost took Tara with him. And now Spencer stops the Alexandrians from raiding the pantry so that he could take food? Why? Is this supposed to make us feel sorry for Deanna now? This season has done an absolutely awful job at making any of the Alexandrians viable characters that I can see being on the show for a long time aside from Aaron, and they’re even screwing him up.

It almost feels like the writers want to get past Alexandria to tell the next part of their story, which I completely understand. But I don’t like that all these characters are getting screen time with no results coming from it. I’d rather see what those janitors that the group found taking care of the elderly are up to personally.

This was definitely a bump in the road for an otherwise well done season thus far.

TC: This was definitely a bump to say the least. I hate hating on this episode because I feel like I can understand what the writers are trying to do. They are trying to introduce these characters and give them some personality. Sadly, it just seems to be falling flat with me.

I agree totally with the whole Jessie thing. I think they were trying to build up some support for her as a strong character, but I wasn’t buying it. I feel like now that her and Rick are sort of connecting, she is on the chopping block. Sad to say but I’m not sure I’d miss her.

I know that you have constantly been pushing for a Michonne and Rick get together. So maybe you would be happy if Rick’s new interest just suddenly left the picture. Yes, I know that isn’t going to happen. We are supposed to fall in love with Jessie and hope they manage to work things out somehow. Sorry it isn’t working for me. Yes she was abused, and yes Rick helped her. He also murdered her husband and has done some very violent things in front of her. Truthfully I don’t see this relationship going anywhere but temporary comfort.

I know, me being the relationship expert is sort of ironic. I guess it just isn’t believable, but if they try to force this Jesse and Rick connection, I’m going to be sorely disappointed. One thing I have always liked about the show is that there seems to be some realism with the relationships. Things aren’t always perfect, people second guess, enemies suddenly find themselves having to be friends to survive, but it feels real. It might be me but this Rick and Jessie thing seems forced.

The Deanna thing, really just seemed pathetic. Like you said, both her sons are pretty shameless assholes. Now that we know that, I find myself feeling some sympathy for Deanna. However, it isn’t enough to constantly see the show returning to her wandering around in a daze, looking at rubble, and banging her fist on the wall. What is with the fluid coming out of the hole? I guess I didn’t really understand the significance of that either.

Yes, she has lost a lot. Yes, Deanna has a right to be a little out of it. However, this episode flashed to her more times than I think a lot of past episodes have thus far. I don’t know, it just felt forced to me as well. Perhaps that is a good overall feeling to this episode. It just felt forced and like we were being pushed to think and feel things.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. I think we both agree that this episode was less than stellar. I am also very aware that after the first few episodes, there was bound to be one that let us down off the high. I think for some it was the backstory of Morgan. For me, it was definitely this episode.

I haven’t really written a lot but I think we have both covered our thoughts on this episode. I’m going to throw it back to you and let you finish it up. Did you think that the writers got lazy and are trying to force some things? Am I totally wrong about how in most episodes a lot of relationships develop almost organically, while this just didn’t seem to be the case here? Maybe I am overthinking it and should just try to let the slow down cool my heels?

KC: It’s hard to keep the words churning when there was so little to cover in this episode, so I don’t blame you. I don’t think it was so much a lazy episode as a filler episode. They weren’t ready to resolve what happened to Glenn yet and didn’t want to get back to Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham yet, so they had to work with what they were given. With that being the case, what we got was a lot of forced interactions and pointless dialogue. I don’t think you’re overthinking it, I just think you have to grin and bear it (fun fact: I accidentally just typed “Glenn and bear it”. I’ll be here all week).

I have no idea where that fluid is coming from. Did Spencer drunkenly fall over the wall since he was on watch? If so, that would be extremely lazy to go through all this trouble to show what kind of headspace Spencer is in, just to kill him off camera. Not that I care enough to see him die on camera, but if there’s a resolution, they might as well show it to me at this point. I’m sure the fluid and/or blood means something significant but when we’ll find out what it really means is up in the air.

They really don’t know what to do with Deanna and don’t want to kill her yet, that’s all I can chalk her behavior up to. She hasn’t done anything helpful since Reg got killed and the Wolves invaded. She’s just a filler character just like most of the Alexandrians are filler characters.

I can’t help but feel Alexandria is turning out to be only a brief pit stop in the show. I really thought we’d be here for a while but it seems a return to life on the road is inevitable.

And speaking of short term, that’s exactly how Rick and Jessie’s relationship is going to end up. If they were truly ready to introduce a new, possibly permanent love interest for our man Grimes, they wouldn’t have given her so much baggage. Married with 2 kids when they introduced her and now she’s down to widowed (thanks to Rick) and both kids seem to have lost their grip on reality. Unless the show has the balls to kill both Ron and Sam before they’re ready to lay the Alexandria storyline to rest (they don’t, they can’t even kill Glenn), Jessie just has too much going on. Even if Sam and Ron died and she lived, she’d turn into a basket case on the road, just like all the other Alexandrians probably would.

Rick’s right; the Alexandrians never had to truly deal with this new world thanks to all the walkers chilling in quarry. A credible threat to their lives every single day would doom them from even being able to move. So I’ll go ahead and say that Jessie and her kids won’t make it much further this season.

And I give up on Rick and Michonne because it’s never going to happen. If they were going to make my dreams come true, the time was in the Season 5 finale and they were more concerned with showing us how Father Gabriel put on his big boy pants and killed a walker all by himself and then decided he wanted to kill Sasha when she came to him for help (I’m still bothered by how they’re both super okay now just a few days later). Plus, I think Glenn and Maggie is enough interracial loving in their eyes; to put their main character with a sexy, dark skinned bad ass… to quote my main man Short Round, “…no time for love. We’ve got company.”

This far into the series, we have to expect that every episode won’t be perfect. I’m just hoping things recover from the super boring place that “Now” spawned from.

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