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The Walking Dead “Conquer” 

The Walking Dead “Conquer”
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

What an incredible season finale! Is everyone still breathing? Yes? Good, because we have A LOT to talk about. From Glenn and Nicholas’ confrontation in the woods to Daryl and Aaron’s close call with a swarm of planted walkers to Morgan’s fight with two of The Wolves, there was a lot going on in the final episode of season 5 of the The Walking Dead titled “Conquer.” I’ve never been more anxious watching an episode of this show before. Extended to 90 minutes, we were given a well-paced episode that built on the already existing tension with each passing scene.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The finale opened with the terrific scene of Morgan’s (and our) first encounter with members of The Wolves. Not only do they carve the letter “W” into walkers’ heads, but they have done it to themselves as well. The unnamed “wolf” with the gun gave Morgan a little history lesson before telling him how they would take everything he has and then kill him. Well, Morgan was having none of that and revealed some expert fighting skills he’s picked up along the way.

I was frustrated that Morgan didn’t kill them. Haven’t we learned anything from horror and thriller movies? You should always kill the bad guy(s) when you have the chance. Killing the bad guys is something Rick and Carol understand. The only difference between them is that Carol kept a level head throughout their whole adjustment in Alexandria, while Rick let his emotions take over his actions.

I don’t understand why Maggie didn’t tell anyone in the group about Gabriel’s “Judas” behavior. My only explanation is that she was worried Rick and the others would retaliate and kill him. Maggie might not be as hardened as some of the others yet. She at least tried to explain to Deanna and Reg why Rick’s actions the day before shouldn’t be held against him. I understand Deanna’s thinking. She was holding on to the idea of what Alexandria was meant to be.

At least Carol scared the crap out of Pete during her little visit. Carol’s journey has been magnificent, and I loved the juxtaposition of their heights as she held a knife to Pete’s throat. She may be much smaller, but she’s definitely more powerful. Not only was she standing up for Jessie, but she was also standing up for herself. She wasn’t this powerful woman when Ed was still alive. This was her moment to take the power back from Ed through Pete.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Miles away from Alexandria, Daryl and Aaron were tracking a stranger in a poncho. Aaron told Daryl about the woman and two men who were exiled from Alexandria. I have a feeling they will come back into play eventually. After losing the poncho man, they came across multiple trucks supposedly containing cans of food. I was immediately suspicious of these trucks. How come they were all closed? Surely others had come along before and taken the majority of the food.

My suspicions were confirmed when it all turned out to be a booby trap. Each truck opened up unleashing “W” marked walkers. Even after they got themselves inside the car, I still wasn’t sure how they were going to get out of there. As much as I didn’t want them to die, I found it slightly annoying that Morgan happened to get there just in time. That’s lazy writing to me. Also, why weren’t the walkers breaking through the car windows? We’ve seen them do it before. Again, lazy writing. Aside from that one issue, Morgan saving Daryl and Aaron finally brought us one step closer to seeing the Rick-Morgan reunion we’ve been waiting so long for.

I have to admit that I got really nervous for Glenn after his scene with Maggie. Something bad always happens after someone says I love you on this show. To be honest, I’ve been worried about Glenn for a while. There was something in my gut that made me think Glenn was going to die. The scenes that transpired between Glenn and Nicholas played with the audience’s expectations perfectly. I thought Glenn was done for when Nicholas shot him. Nope, he was still fighting back. Then, Glenn had a bunch of walkers on top of him. Nope again! Somehow, Glenn managed to make his way out of that and beat up Nicholas. I really wanted Glenn to shoot him, but that’s not who Glenn is. I just don’t want his decision not to kill him to come back to haunt him.

Even more than Nicholas, I wanted Gabriel to die so badly in this episode. Gabriel seemed prepared to die when he walked outside the gates with no weapons. When push came to shove, Gabriel couldn’t stop being a coward. He chickened out when he tried to commit suicide by walker. Then, Spencer had to be an idiot and have Gabriel close the gate. What was with Gabriel in that moment? He looked dazed, like he didn’t even register what he was told. He just left the gate wide open!

Again, I wanted Sasha to kill Gabriel after they fought about her killing Bob. The acting in this sequence was brilliant. Even though he’s the most annoying and frustrating character, I was glad Gabriel finally admitted that he was the sinner by allowing his congregation to die. Maggie got the gun away from Sasha and then they all prayed. They were missing one hell of a confrontation at the town meeting though!

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

While the others were discussing Rick’s bad behavior, Rick was taking care of business by killing walkers who had gotten into Alexandria due to Gabriel’s failure to close the gate. I loved how Rick dropped the dead walker in front of everyone at the meeting. Rick needed to make them understand what’s at stake, what they’re not prepared to handle. Rick didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he had to show them and make them understand that their way of living was going to get them killed.

Of course Pete showed up, probably drunk, with Michonne’s katana. Instead of Rick, Pete accidentally slit poor Reg’s throat. That was all Deanna needed to get on Rick’s side. She simply said, “Do it”, and Rick shot Pete in the head. Unfortunately, this was the exact moment when Daryl and Aaron returned with Morgan. The last time they saw each other, Morgan was the crazy looking one while Rick was the sane one. Their roles have been reversed with Morgan looking at Rick with bewilderment.

We got two additional scenes after the credits: The first showing Michonne about to return the katana back above the mantle. Then she decided it was time to start carrying it with her again. The second scene showed the poncho guy, who had been killed by the two “wolves” we met earlier, now walking around as a walker while the camera showed a car with the message written, “wolves not far.”

Season 5 left off on a great note by reuniting Rick and Morgan. I also appreciated that the writers didn’t feel the need to kill off a major character simply because it was the finale. There was enough drama and anxiety to keep the audience on their toes. I think it was really smart to introduce us to a couple members of The Wolves. It gave us a sneak peek at the kind of people Rick and co. will be dealing with next season. Alexandria better get ready because The Wolves are coming to huff, puff, and blow their house down.

Quick Notes

– I’m glad Abraham and Eugene were able to make up.

– Tara has grown on me as a character, so I was relieved when she opened her eyes.

– I never saw Rick’s group and Deanna’s group as enemies. Deanna just needed to see what this new world truly was.

– The unnamed “wolf” was seriously creepy with his monotone voice and matter of fact attitude.

– The Wolves seem very organized with their booby traps and walker wrangling via music and lights.

Questions to Ponder

– What happened to Morgan to make him all zen-like?

– How many “wolves” are there? Do they have another agenda besides stealing and killing?

– How soon will The Wolves descend on Alexandria?

– Are the three people exiled from Alexandria a part of The Wolves?

– Will Jessie be grateful toward Rick for shooting Pete?

– Did anything or anyone else get through the open gate that the group (and we) haven’t seen yet?

The Walking Dead will return Fall 2015 on Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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