TWD: S6E5 — "Now": Plato, Hawthorne, or Nāgārjuna? Take your pick.

Let me just say, work has been so busy lately I feel like one of the original cast of the show safely (er) ensconced inside the walls of Alexandria. While I may not have zombies waiting to eviscerate me, well, I have a horde of clients awaiting their “deliverables.” Lord, if only I could “put a pin in that” because, you know, “we can’t boil the ocean.” Why can’t I create a “synergistic synergy?” Maybe then I could “land this plane.”

In other words, after these past two weeks, if the zombipocalypse were to happen I’d probably smash my own skull in against the corner frame of my cubicle. But I digress.


Deanna’s eyes through the cold open are, themselves, open but unseeing for all they take in. Cut to the scrim being slung back across the gate. Is this episode (this season?) an allegory?

Between the shifts Deanna and Jessie make in this episode, one could easily argue this is a take on Plato’s ole cave rigamarole. And there’s plenty of grist for that.


To wit, when Rick says, “We’re safe for now,” I can’t not think of this Gutters strip:

Illustration for article titled TWD: S6E5 — Now: Plato, Hawthorne, or Nāgārjuna? Take your pick.

Or, is this a take on Hawthorne?

When a random woman says, “This place is a graveyard,” I said to the screen, “I mean, c’mon, should we ‘behold the whole earth one stain of guilt, one mighty blood spot?’”


Thank God for Aaron’s confession to the group about his unintentional culpability in the Wolves’ attack. And that’s about as good as a segue away from Puritanical guilt as I can manage after working 25 hours in the past two days.

So, when Aaron and Maggie are playing TMNTs and tromping through Alexandria’s surprisingly large suburban sewer system, he says, “This ladder must have fallen a long time ago.” Given these two characters’ literal location, the metaphorical significance of this is key. If truth, or acceptance, is to be found in the community’s refuse, then what shit are you going to be chasing after if you refuse to accept the truth?


Needless to say, I was glad when Maggie stops Aaron. It’s bittersweet, but it’s the right call. Maggie, unlike almost everyone in Alexandria save Aaron, has been outside the cave. So, it’s not surprising that her sharpness of sight suffers, for while, when she is down in the sewer. Once her eyes adjust—you know, after sloughing through the sludge walker’s ribs and viscera—she sees the truth of their situation clearer than Aaron, who is blinded by his guilt.

But back to Deanna. She’d better be thanking Spencer’s makeshift Blue Apron delivery, which she drops in front of the zombified Wolf, tripping him. Though they way she stabs him with the broken bottle, I’m glad Spencer isn’t within arm’s-length of her. The symbolism here is a bit anvilicious. Honestly, after Deanna’s cardiac baptism, I’d feel confident if she had my back gripping only a mellon baller.


On to my larger point, this show is more and more seeming like a Buddhist allegory. Hear me out. If life is suffering, and if the now is all that truly exists and is all these characters have, and if the walkers they have to kill are not sentient, then karma is not at play.

What is at play, though, is the co-arising of those who are still alive. This was most viciously demonstrated by the Wolves incursion, by Nicholas’ gratitude, by Jessie’s stylist’s vengeance, by that most gruesome fight choreography between Carl and Ron, and by Rick and Jessie.


It’s a shame that this world’s hungry ghosts have mouths that can actually bite and throats which can actually swallow.

Hopefully, next week I’ll be more coherent.

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