The Walking Dead 6.5: Walkers at the Gates
“I just want him to live, and for the roamers to go away, and for the doctor to show up at the gate, so I can head to my apartment and keep reading war and peace…but here comes the end of the world.”
–Dr. Denise Cloyd
Alexandria governess, Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh) climbs up to the top of the gate’s look out point. She observes the quiet, desolate town streets beyond the gates. The camera follows Deanna’s lead, as she turns around to assess her new surroundings. Dead bodies are being pulled out from various crevasses after the wolves abruptly disrupted their peace. In the distance she overhears Michonne in form Maggie that Glenn may be dead, “He said if he got stuck, he would send us a signal.” Pause, brilliant sound mixing/editing as Dianne looks out across Alexandira, as Michonne’s voice goes from an undistinguishable whisper to a clear voice of mourning. Resume action, “Open the gates,” cries Rick, as he leads half the walker heard right to Alexandria’s walls. Deanna turns to get a better look at the abrupt intrusion; no more desolate neighboring town streets. She sees it now, feels the fear overtake her in an instance. This opening sequence perfectly contrasts Deanna’s return to the gate in the night during the final scene. She’s just taken down a walker, blood sprayed all over her face (very “Rick Grimes”, if you may). The moonlight bounces off the tarp, covering the gate, illuminating walker shadows that are now at their gate. In an act of acceptance she bangs on the gate, they may be here, but she’s not going anywhere.
Episode five, Now, is yet another break from The Walking Dead action onslaught…but I would say it’s one break too many. Often, television episodes are criticized for suffering from pacing issues, but in this case it’s more about poor seasonal arc management. Every episode can’t be action packed, breaks are necessary. They allow storytellers to explore the physical and psychological effects of such brutality. That being said, last week viewers were given a mega-seized Morgan stand-alone episode. Episode 5, would have been bettered received and more poignant if it directly followed episode three. Especially considering, Now, repeats the same emotional beats found in Here is Not Here; with the Alexandrians finding hope in their new world.
“Well here I am, clueless on the floor…I think he’s going to die and I’m so scared about what’s happening in here, that I can’t think about what’s happening out there and that’s actually good…and I don’t know what to do with that.” –Dr. Denise Cloyd
Back in episode two, we met Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Weaver), during the wolves attack; she franticly tries to save lives…even though she’s only a psychologist. She’s one of the few Alexandrians, who we’ve come across that I really like. Not to mention, she all but stole the show in this episode. “You’re still here,” says Tara (Alanna Masterson) as she finds Dr. Denise Cloyd throwing medical books across the room as if in the midst of defeat. Pause, did anyone else flashback to Glenn meeting Tara back in season four, episode ten, Inmates? Glenn bravely makes his away out of the walker-overrun prison yard, when he sees Tara frozen in place by her own fear. “It’s not that I don’t feel it…you know being afraid sucks,” says Tara as she leaves Denise to take in her words. This scene stuck out from the rest, because of Merritt Weaver’s performance. Genuine panic flickers across her face, as she looks up to Tara. Denise’s resolve to get up off the floor comes after a rousing speech from Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge), “I used to not want to see the way things are…but this is what life looks like now, we have to see it, we have to fight it.”, Denise returns to her medical books and well “hot damn,” there’s a way to save her patient’s life. She then kisses Tara, while relishing in her newfound hope.
Is Glenn dead? Maggie (Lauren Cohan) sure as hell won’t be able to find out any time soon. She finds herself being accompanied by Aaron (Ross Marquad) on a mission to go find Glenn. The problem is that there are now walkers at the gates. Aaron decides to help Maggie on her mission, because this is his penance for leading the wolves to Alexandria. He leads her through the sewers to bypass both the walls and the walker heard- Oopps there’s no light at the end of this tunnel. They’re still too close to the walker heard for them to make it out alive. Aaron insists on moving forward, but Maggie puts her foot down, because she’s pregnant. Mystery solved, Glenn lives on in a sense. Maggie’s pathos throughout the episode is very understated, as her pathos subtly uncoil while underground, “I just want to see his face…I can’t,” she cries. The fear of the unknown. The pair return to camp and take watch at night. Maggie abruptly leaves to remove Glenn’s name from the in memoriam wall. This is now…there’s nothing certain about then, it’s all to be continued.
Episode Rating: 8