Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Now”:

Let’s get the requisite discussion out of the way: no, there weren’t any actual answers on the Glenn front this week, despite the fact that “Now” repeatedly hammered home the fact that we don’t know the full extent of his ordeal, as well as the worthiness of keeping hope alive. Even then, the multiple mentions likely served for our benefit, rather than the characters themselves, if only to build up enough contextual uncertainty around the situation to pay off somewhere down the line.

In any case, it isn’t particularly surprising of The Walking Dead to pad out Glenn’s fate yet another week, considering we endured a similar delay with Carol in Season 3, and obviously the narrative needed to check in on Maggie at some point. As many had also predicted, the news of Maggie’s pregnancy adds a particular sting* to the situation, one that Lauren Cohan does expectedly strong work in selling, and adding the affable Aaron into that mixture made for effective means of communicating that emotional outpouring.

*The dialogue seemed to tread around as best it could the absurdity of Maggie burning Glenn’s picture in Season 4, back when she said he’d never need another. Granted, it wouldn’t help wanting to see Glenn’s face one more time, there were a million and a half other reasons a photo of a loved one might prove useful in one situation or another.

“Now” seemed to place a heavy focus on Alexandria residents overall, settling in for a much slower present-day hour than Season 6 has delivered so far, and long-overdue at that. The Walking Dead isn’t so bold as to tell an entire storyline from the perspective of lesser-known or valued characters, but tonight at least offered us some insight into Deanna’s current mental state, also adding a bit more depth to more notable residents like Jessie or Dr. Cloyd. The Alexandrians themselves all have a tough time processing the new way of life, and it was interesting that “Now” twice chose to punctuate the search for hope with romance, both the requisite kiss between Rick and Jessie, and the much more unexpected pairing of Tara and Denise.

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We also got the chance to go a bit more in-depth with Ron, even balancing out his Porchdick Jr. rivalry with Carl by showing a more pragmatic side. Whiny teen bitterness over Enid notwithstanding, Ron seemed reasonably genuine in his roundabout way of keeping Carl from venturing outside the walls, and later asking to train with Rick. It’s certainly possible the boy has his own designs on a longer con to kill Carl, but it was nice to have at least some scenes without wanting to throw beer cans at his head.

I can understand why “Now” might frustrate fans in the long run, whether by padding out Glenn’s fate another week, or keeping things lower-key with a focus on less valuable characters, but Season 6 thus far needed at least some time to catch its breath in the present day, and take the community’s temperature in the wake of another hardship. I wasn’t particularly enamored of last week’s decision to fill in Morgan’s largely unneeded backstory (and for 90 minutes, at that), so if the first half of Season 6 needed a wheel or two to spin toward the back half, this was how I’d rather it done. So much of what we’ve seen thus far hammers home the idea of Alexandrians as weaklings and redshirts anyway, and “Now” gave us some decent opportunity to actually care about a few.

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AND ANOTHER THING …

  • Rick later admits a reason for not wanting to bury the dead, but why not simply toss a few corpses over the wall? Wouldn’t really aid or deter the walkers either way.
  • Guns are out of the question, but is it really so implausible to fashion a long enough spear to pick off a few dead while we wait? Why not take out a few through the gates, as was the regular at the prison?
  • Morgan puts in a brief appearance at the beginning, and I believe I caught Eugene in the crowd, but did anyone spy Carol anywhere this week? Obviously, not everyone can appear in every episode, it just seems especially odd to keep her entirely off-screen this week.
  • I’ll also presume that Morgan hasn’t told anyone of his captive, if we didn’t see Rick interrogating the Wolf this week.
  • What was Deanna mapping out in her study, before Spence drew her attention? Crops?
  • In the comics, Denise was revealed in a relationship with Heath, hence some of the surprise here, but were there any indications of an attraction between she and Tara?
  • It was hard to make out on the screener, but one of the bolts at the wall came loose, right?

The Walking Dead will return next Sunday night on AMC with “Always Accountable.”

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