UK VOD TV review: The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 5 (Now)
Neil Brazier | On 09, Nov 2015
It’s a day of fear for the residents of Alexandria, as hundreds of walkers descend upon their home. The slower pace of the show continues, though, allowing more time to process what has come before and to prepare for what lies ahead; there are still questions about what is going on outside the walls, but it’s the people inside where the focus lies.
Despite this being the sixth season of The Walking Dead, it could almost be the first, as the residents of Alexandria are only really beginning to experience the zombie apocalypse for the very first time. They know the world has ended but they’ve been living happily within their walls for so long, they have become unaware of the threats. Now surrounded by a moat of walkers, the realisation has begun to sink in that they are in very serious danger. The adrenaline is rising and it’s affecting them all in different ways.
Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) has been struggling since the death of her husband; once the community figurehead, she now wanders aimlessly around the compound reminiscing of the good times and the horrors that took them away. There are signs that she wants to fight her way back to normality and here she is given a chance to vent her anger, although perhaps she could have directed it better. Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) has accepted that this is what life has become, but her youngest son, Sam, hasn’t – even the lure of freshly baked cookies is not enough to tempt him downstairs. Other Alexandria residents prepare for death in their own ways, mostly involving raiding the pantry or painting the names of the fallen on the walls.
Episode 5 brings a hefty amount of character development with it, from Spencer (Austin Nichols) taking a more authoritarian lead, to the residents of Alexandria perhaps finally bowing to Rick’s greater experience. Even Tara (Alanna Masterson) is given some extra time and a bite of the story that will tie her in closer to her new home.
Nonetheless, Now does contain some moments of terror. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) poses that “The walls can hold together, can you?” and while he’s talking about the mental state of the Alexandrians, there are some notable scenes where we have to keep our own nerve. In fact, Now features one of the most disgusting close-combat zombie encounters this season.
Even the pre-title sequence for Episode 5 gets your heart pounding straight away. Much like Episode 3 (Thank You), it finds fright in the simplest thing: running from danger. That opening intensity does subside, though, and it doesn’t really pick up again; after the opening three episodes, a change in pace was always inevitable, but having it back to back with the quiet Here’s Not Here does leave us vying for a bit more excitement. Still, with the two groups slowly starting to find their way back to one another, things can only pick up, especially with the countless undead outside the walls, trying to find any way in they can.
The Walking Dead Season 6 is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. You can also buy and download it on pay-per-view VOD.
Additional notes (contains spoilers)
– It seems almost a certainty now that Glenn has survived his fall into the sea of walkers after his name on the Alexandria wall was first painted on and then washed off – that metaphor didn’t pass us by! Maggie’s confession that she is indeed pregnant will prove us right, or by Season 7, we’ll have a new baby named Glenn running around Alexandria.
– Maggie herself is regretting burning her last photo of Glenn and struggling to deal with his disappearance hence her planned exit. Aaron, also full of guilt from the Wolves attack, is probably best placed to go with her, although both of them did pledge to never do anything dangerous again. The couple’s journey through the sewers provides some hope – a ray of light in an otherwise dark, erm, sewer.
– Those sewer zombies were incredible and a further evolution for the make-up staff since the last water-filled zombies of Hershel’s farm back in Season 2. They almost fell apart in Maggie’s hands and for a moment we thought she was going to reach up into its brain and rip it out. Top work from Greg Nicotero and his team.
– You can be years into a zombie apocalypse and still the age old “I’m telling your Dad on you” strikes fear into teenagers everywhere. But can we trust Ron? Does he still harbour resentment for Rick killing his father? Should we believe him that Carl has stayed within the walls? If Carl is anything like his father, he’ll be out there hunting Enid or sharing a tortoise with her, while Judith is left staring out the window.
– Speaking of Ron, how will he react to learning about his mum and Rick sharing a kiss? Is it too soon for Jessie to be moving on or was it a moment of weakness having just killed her first human and walker? Relationships never seem to last in the zombie apocalypse: they just have to look over the road at Maggie to know that.
Photo: Gene Page / AMC
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