Season 6 of “The Walking Dead” took a step back from the impending threat to Alexandria last week to break down the backstory of Morgan (Lennie James). While it was a telling episode that explained how Morgan became the peaceful, bo staff-wielding man he is today, it didn’t touch on the horde making its way to the safe haven -- or the lives that were left hanging in the air.
Episode 5 of the AMC series brings viewers back to the current situation at hand -- a community destroyed by violence and their lack of preparedness. The attack from the Wolves opened their eyes to what needs to be done in the future in order to survive, but it also started to crack some of the residents. And the discovery of the horde of walkers outside the wall did nothing to reassure them that they can live a normal life within Alexandria.
This week’s episode, titled “Now,” begins with Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) in a complete state of shock. Between the death of her husband and the attack on the community, the leader of Alexandria is starting to lose hope. And a yell from beyond the wall does nothing to improve her outlook.
“Open the gates!” a man screams.
It’s Rick (Andrew Lincoln)! When “Walking Dead” fans last left him, he was injured inside an RV with the horde surrounding the vehicle. Rick somehow managed to escape and hustle the remaining distance back to Alexandria. He barely beat out the horde and made it within the walls. Rick promises the others that the wall will hold -- but can the people inside hold it together?
The residents are turning against each other and blame Rick for what has happened. But Rick remains optimistic. He tells them that the others will walk through the gate and that everyone will survive the horde if the community stays “quiet as a graveyard.” Aaron (Ross Marquand) defends him as well, confessing to the group that his backpack full of photos is what led the Wolves to their home.
Although some – like Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) -- are trying to return to normal, others “don’t see the point” in playing nice anymore. Since they’re surrounded by walkers, the community has to ration the food. But most residents don’t agree with starving if they’re going to die anyway. They attempt to steal more supplies from the pantry until Spencer (Austin Nichols) gives a passionate speech.
Meanwhile, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) doesn’t care about anything other than finding Glenn (Steven Yeun). When she spots people writing Nicholas's (Michael Traynor) and Glenn’s names on the wall as a type of memorial, Maggie makes the decision to search for him. Aaron discovers her plan before she can leave, though. He encourages her to reconsider, but when she refuses he tells her he’s going to help her.
Elsewhere, Deanna seems to have a new outlook on life. After watching her son defend the community and encourage the people to stay strong, the widow put her grief on hold to map out an expansion of Alexandria. The new area would allow for education, training, elections and energy resources. At the bottom of the map she wrote the following message: “Dolor Hic Tibi Proderit Olim.” It means “someday this pain will be useful to you.”
Unfortunately her positive outlook doesn’t last long. She finds Spencer in the kitchen getting drunk with supplies that he stole from the pantry.
“They were right and you know it,” he tells his mom. “We’re all going to be dead real soon.”
Deanna tries to stop him from continuing, but it only gets worse. He blames her for everything -- including the death of his father and brother.
Spencer’s not the only one playing the blame game within Alexandria. Carl (Chandler Riggs) stumbles across Ron (Austin Abrams), who is still bitter about everything that unfolded between Rick and his dad. To make matters worse, Carl questions him about Enid’s (Katelyn Nacon) whereabouts. He knows that she went over the wall, but Ron thinks that she’s dead. Ron warns Carl that if he goes after Enid, he’ll tell on him.
“I’ll tell your dad, then somebody is going to die,” Ron fires at him. “You saved my life and now I’m saving yours.”
Carl walks away -- but Ron isn’t done. He runs to Rick to tattle on him and asks if he could learn how to shoot a gun.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Aaron venture out to find Glenn. Maggie explains that if Glenn is alive he’ll need her help. And if he’s dead? She doesn’t want to be “waiting on him.”
Aaron takes her underneath the neighborhood through a sewer in an attempt to get past the walkers surrounding the wall. However, they don’t avoid the walkers completely. They encounter a couple of sewer walkers that are so badly decayed that Maggie’s unable to get a good grip. She nearly gets bit, but is saved by Aaron.
Unfortunately they don’t make it much farther. Despite Aaron’s determination to get past a few walkers outside, Maggie yells at him and tells him that it’s over.
“I’m pregnant,” she explains. “He didn’t want me to go out there and I said yes. And if I would have gone, if I was with him, maybe I could have helped him. I don’t know if he’s alive. He would have shown me by now. That’s what Michonne [Danai Gurira] said. I just want to see his face. I can’t -- I don’t get to know what will happen. I don’t get to know why it happened, what I did right or wrong. Not now. I have to live with that. You do too.”
That’s not the only emotional moment during episode 5 of “The Walking Dead.” Denise (Merrit Wever) continues to struggle with her new role as town doctor, unable to figure out how to help Scott (Kenric Green). She receives some encouragement from Tara (Alanna Masterson) and is able to eventually treat his gunshot wound infection. She thanks Tara by kissing her.
Rick on the other hand, acts as a support for Deanna. She’s attacked by a rogue walker within the walls and takes out her frustration on it. When Rick aids her in stabbing the walker in the head, Deanna confesses that she wants to live and wants Alexandria to remain standing.
“You need to lead them,” Rick tells her. But Deanna disagrees.
“They don’t need me, Rick,” she says. “What they need is you.”
The episode ends with Maggie and Aaron erasing Glenn’s name from a memorial wall that the Alexandria residents set up. Meanwhile, Rick goes to Jessie and confesses that he’s afraid that the others stuck outside the wall might be dead. Jessie tells him that they could still be alive, but that the community as a whole has to keep moving. She believes that although this is what life “looks like now,” there is still a future.
“There’s gotta be,” Jessie says. “Tell me there’s more.”
Rick doesn’t speak, but instead pulls Jessie in for a deep kiss.
But is there a future at Alexandria? A line appears in the wall. Is it just blood running down the metal? Could the stress of the walkers be forming a crack? Or could somebody potentially be cutting through the wall? “Walking Dead” fans will have to tune in next week to find out.