Episode Title: Conquer
Original Airdate: 3-29-15
I was afraid I might be writing this post with tears splashing down my face. Alas, the season finale wasn’t as heartbreaking as Norman Reedus forewarned, but it was still an intense 90 minutes.
As I hoped last week, Morgan returned, and for much more than a post credits stinger scene. After disarming two scavengers calling themselves the Wolves, who happen to be the ones behind the ominous W’s seen carved into various Walkers’ foreheads over the past few episodes, Morgan makes it clear he is no longer insane and has become a ninja. Daryl and Aaron are tracking a guy in a red poncho for potential recruitment when they lose him, but find an abandoned food warehouse. Upon opening one truck to load up on supplies, a trap (which we later find out was set by the Wolves) is released and multiple trucks open to reveal at least a hundred Walkers. The pair take refuge in a tiny car, with little hope of escape, but as Daryl is prepared to make a run for it to give Aaron a fighting chance, Morgan shows up and saves them both.
Glenn sees Nicholas hop the fence and follows him. Nicholas shoots Glenn in the shoulder and the two fight. Several Walkers pin a weak Glenn to the ground as Nicholas runs off. However, Glenn somehow escapes them and attacks Nicholas again, but when he has the upper hand, decides not to kill him and the two help each other back to town. Father Gabriel goes for a walk outside the gates, hoping to be killed, but when he happens upon a Walker enjoying a fresh meal, Gabriel decides to kill it and put its victim out of misery. When he gets back to town he is told to close the gate, but doesn’t, on purpose. Sasha goes to see him to discuss her grief, but Gabriel says it’s all her own fault. The two fight and she nearly shoots him, when Maggie walks in and stops it all, forcing Gabriel to finally come to terms with his own guilt.
Meanwhile, Rick wakes up after being knocked out by Michonne during the confrontation with Pete. He is told Deanna will hold a town meeting to decide his fate later that night. He and Carol determine that if it comes down to it, they will take the town by force. Michonne says that she will always be with Rick, but wants things worked out as peacefully as possible. As Rick is on his way to the town meeting, he notices the gate is open and tracks a couple of Walkers that found their way in. At the meeting, many of the group defend Rick, saying they never would have made it that far without him. As Deanna grows more impatient, Rick arrives carrying one of the dead Walkers and gives a speech about how the people of Alexandria will die if they do not step up and learn to really live in this new world, and he will be the one to show them how. An angry, and probably drunk, Pete interrupts the meeting and in a scuffle kills Deanna’s husband, Reg, with Michonne’s sword. Deanna then tells Rick to kill Pete, which he does, as Aaron and Daryl return with Morgan in tow.
So my predictions last week were very wrong, but I am completely okay with that. I knew Walkers would breech the walls somehow, but I expected more of them and I certainly didn’t see Gabriel being the one to let it happen. I’ve been wondering where they would take his guilt and Sasha’s grief, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they came up against each other. Hopefully, the two can let it go and move forward now.
What is Glenn made of? Apparently the Walkers aren’t’ terribly interested because he gets away every single time, when anyone else would be totally dead. Of course many think he should have killed Nicholas, but it’s not Glenn’s style. I just hope it doesn’t come back in a bad way next season.
For a long time I’ve thought four characters were completely safe, at least until the very end: Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl. Rick and Carl, because it’s really their story, and Michonne and Daryl because they’re fan favorites, and the show runners don’t want to risk losing devoted fans. However, I was genuinely scared Daryl might be done. The bleakness of the scene coupled with the rumor that Reedus put his Atlanta house up for sale recently had me holding my breath, until Morgan saved the day. I’ve really enjoyed the progression of Daryl this half of the season. He’s actually shown more in his scenes with Aaron than he has in several seasons put together, so for that, and more, I’m glad his number wasn’t up.
Tidbits: Carol threatening Pete was amazing. She is amazing. She is becoming my everything in this show. The framing particularly grabbed me here, emphasizing the height difference in the two actors, yet her power over him was intoxicating. Tara woke up from her head injury during the explosion a few episodes back, which makes me happy because I really like her. Rosita is getting a bit more screen time which is also a plus. I hope they develop her a bit more. And Abraham and Eugene have finally made their peace with one another, something I’ve wondered would ever happen.
As for Rick, he seemed to be back to his usual self once he woke up. He seems to know that his outburst and gun-waving were stupid and I was genuinely glad when he was able to throw down a Walker’s body at the meeting and rant to the residents of Alexandria that they need him, because clearly it’s true. His executing Pete in front of a newly peaceful Morgan might have huge repercussions that will come out in next season’s premiere. I hope their relationship gets a good amount of screen time, as the two have changed so much since meeting in the pilot.
Finally, we finish off with the Wolves set up as a big obstacle for at least part of next season, much like Terminus in last season’s finale, but if the Group can’t take those two weirdos down easily enough, then I may have to quit watching. Though with their ability to set such elaborate traps, they might be able to outsmart our heroes for a little while.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the finale. With all the death this season, I was glad our Group survived the episode, and wasn’t terribly distraught when Pete killed Reg, and definitely not when Rick killed Pete. I’m far more interested where their deaths will push the story for next season. Come back next week for my final thoughts on the entirety of Season 5.