Spoiler Warning for this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead”

Deanna Monroe (Photo courtesy of AMC.)
Deanna Monroe. (Photo courtesy of AMC)

Alexandria has become a literal prison for the characters on “The Walking Dead.” This episode serves to help develop several characters and to lay the framework for some major events later in the season. With threats both inside and outside the walls, the citizens of Alexandria finally realize that a normal life is simply not possible. “Now” has a few minor problems, but stands strong overall.

We begin the episode with a sense of relative calmness as everyone begins to clean up the remnants of the Wolves’ attack. Michonne explains to Maggie why Glenn did not return; this moment sends Maggie down a dark path for the rest of the episode. Suddenly, Rick’s voice can be heard screaming “Open the gate!” as the massive herd of walkers follows closely behind. He manages to slide in as the walkers begin pounding on the walls and gate; they can be heard all throughout the episode adding to the general sense of fear.

The fear is felt very clearly as everyone gathers for a meeting to discuss what will be done now that the herd has surrounded Alexandria. Rick gives a speech declaring that the walls should hold, but that precautions should be taken such as keeping noise and light to a minimum. Aaron (Ross Marquand) tells everyone that Rick is not to blame for what has happened and shares his belief that he is to blame for the Wolves attacking; last season, Aaron dropped his bag containing photos of Alexandria to which the Wolves later found and used to attack. The character of Aaron was a major highlight of this episode as he attempts to maintain some semblance of hope. Deanna is shown to be struggling and wanders away from the meeting as worried Alexandrians look to her for leadership.

A large focus of the episode is placed on Deanna, who lost both her husband and son last season. She realizes that her hopes and dreams of growing and evolving Alexandria into a thriving society may not be possible. At the pantry, several disgruntled and scared Alexandrians try to take the remaining supplies. Olivia attempts to put a stop to everything, but Spencer steps in and gives a powerful speech about how taking the supplies will definitely lead to their demise. Later in the episode, however, Deanna discovers Spencer drunk and realizes that he has stolen from the pantry himself. She confronts him about it, but he shares that he also believes that they will all be dead soon. He begins lashing out at Deanna, blaming her for the deaths of his father and brother; he also believes her to be wrong for allowing the Alexandrians to be so sheltered from the world. As the episode progresses, Deanna is shown to be more hopeful and willing to live. One scene shows her drawing plans on a map for a garden and wall extensions. She also comes in contact with her first walker, which she furiously stabs with a broken bottle; this walker represents the demons faced by Deanna and her willingness to fight back with anger. She also tells Rick, “I want to live. I want this place to stay standing.” Though, she essentially abdicates her role as leader of Alexandria to Rick. This episode marks a massive shift in her character and I’m really excited to see where she goes from here. Tovah Feldshuh absolutely stood out in her portrayal of Deanna.

The Grimes and Anderson families are slowly beginning to merge, as Rick and Jessie’s relationship begins to take shape. This is one of the major drawbacks to this episode. The character of Jessie has already proven herself to be strong and interesting on her own. She gives an impassioned speech to the Alexandrians about how they must fight if they want to survive; this speech shows that she is capable of being both a leader and a hardened survivor. She also shares a lighthearted scene with her younger son, Sam, who is afraid of leaving the upstairs of their home. However, the romance between her and Rick feels extremely forced, awkward and unnecessary. By linking her to Rick, her character is weakened as it appears that her primary role is to help serve Rick’s story; hopefully, Jessie is given a proper storyline later on in the season.

Jessie’s other son, Ron, begins to lash out at Carl due to Enid’s mysterious disappearance. Carl wants to go out and look for Enid, but Ron protests and an extremely pitiful fight erupts between the two. Ron quickly alerts Rick about what Carl was planning, however, this storyline is relatively minor and doesn’t lead anywhere in this particular episode. Surely this tension between Ron and Carl will grow and become more important later in the season.

At the infirmary, Denise is shown to be treating an injured Scott, who appears to be dying from infection caused by his gunshot wound. Denise is completely overwhelmed and shares with Tara that she wishes another doctor would show up and relieve her of her duties. Tara’s positivity and motivation pushes Denise to work harder and make more of an effort; Denise slowly begins to come to terms with the fact that the citizens of Alexandria are counting on her. She treats Scott’s wound and makes her way to find Tara where an unexpected romantic relationship forms. Being that this is the deadly world of “The Walking Dead,” this new relationship may not last long and may lead to more heartbreak for one of the two. Both Tara and Denise are extremely interesting, so hopefully they will manage to survive the walker herd; it’s refreshing to see Tara being developed more after being thrown in the background for most of Season 5.

Aaron and Maggie (Photo courtesy of AMC.)
Aaron and Maggie. (Photo courtesy of AMC)

The more tragic and emotional storyline revolves around Maggie, who, after receiving the uncertain news about Glenn, begins to shut down. Some of the Alexandrians create an “In Memory” list on the wall of the deceased citizens, with the names of both Glenn and Nicholas being added. Maggie, decides that she must find out for herself if he is alive or not. However, Aaron will not allow her to go without him. He reveals a route out of Alexandria that he believes to be safe; this route turns out to be a sewer system. Maggie is hesitant to allow Aaron to join her, but he insists. The duo make their way through the darkened sewers where they are attacked by two waterlogged and rotted walkers who almost manage to bite Maggie, but Aaron saves her at the last minute. At the end of the sewer tunnel, Maggie realizes that they cannot go out looking for Glenn as they will likely be seen by the herd. From this, Maggie breaks down and shares with Aaron the fact that she is pregnant. Lauren Cohan’s gripping performance made this scene especially heartbreaking as Maggie realizes that she will most likely never see Glenn again. She shares her guilt of allowing him to go outside the walls and tearfully tells Aaron, “I just want to see his face.” The two make their way back and Maggie is later shown wiping Glenn’s name off the wall, displaying that she believes him to be alive. The friendship between Aaron and Maggie is definitely a highlight; Aaron jokingly hints that the baby should be named after him. Maggie’s pregnancy sets up some very exciting possible future storylines.

The end of the episode shows Deanna at the gate as walkers pound and try to break through; a small crack is revealed to be forming in one of the wall panels. What will happen when the walls start crashing down and the herd gets in? This episode, while not the best of the season, helps to spotlight several characters. However, some characters such as Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) and Father Gabriel are extremely underused. Glenn’s true fate is still unknown and the herd proves itself to be a major and frightening threat to our characters. Next week’s episode will focus on Daryl, Sasha and Abraham as they deal with the other half of the herd. What dangers will they face? Be sure to tune in to “The Walking Dead” next Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Jeffrey Kopp is the Community Editor of the Niner Times. He is a senior double majoring in Communication and Political Science. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead."