What an amazing Season 5 finale for The Walking Dead. The sense of uncertainty is just as palpable as in any other of the show’s finales, but the “danger” is vastly different, making this a truly unique conclusion.
To start things off, we learned what the mysterious “W” that’s carved into some Walkers’ heads represents. “Wolves.” And that’s what a group of two (maybe there’s more) baddies are calling themselves. For the moment, their story doesn’t tie into Sasha, who’s been venturing outside the gates of Alexandria quite often, nor does their story relate to any of the members of Rick’s tribe who’ve gone into the woods. Nope, right now the Wolves have only encountered Morgan (remember him?), and Morgan quickly handed their asses back to them in total badass fashion.
Now, it’s amazing to see the “new” Morgan, and it’s unbelievable that without having witnessed much, we can fill in the blanks and have full character development. If you remember, Morgan was a whimpering man without the balls to shoot his Walker wife. He was also protecting his son, holed up in an abandoned house. Then, in Season 3, when his son, Duanne, was bitten by his Walker mother, Morgan was forced to put her down, and Morgan went pretty nuts. Today he’s a badass loner wielding a staff with the same proficiency as Michonne has her sword.
The show has been teasing us with Morgan since the end of Season 4, and it’s very cool how the show bookended Season 5 with him.
From what I just said you can surmise that Morgan makes it to Alexandria, only it’s not the warm welcome from old friends that he gets. Instead, he gets to see Rick kill a man, in what looks like cold blood, during a town meeting, which causes Morgan to gasp. If you haven’t noticed Rick’s drastic shift in character through the seasons, then Morgan’s reaction should have felt like a brutal slap across your face.
We’ll have to wait to see how Morgan reacts to Rick’s actions and if he’ll see that it was an action that Rick had to take.
Speaking of that action, Rick killing Pete, didn’t it feel like sweet vindication when Deanna gave the OK? Yeah, it sucks that her husband, Reg, had to die, but that’s what it took to prove Rick right in his assessment that in this world you have to immediately get rid of a potential threat, in this case Pete, before the threat can cause more damage and/or harm. And no sooner than Pete slit Reg’s throat did Deanna realize the truth to Rick’s teachings.
Rick’s standpoint makes sense, but is it the only way? Is there no reform? Is there no way to make amends? Will these questions be answered in how Gabriel is dealt with? No doubt that there will be consequences for leaving the gate open! Perhaps Deanna will lead the mob in his lynching.
We can, however, thank Gabriel for providing the means for Rick’s tardiness and dramatic entrance at the town meeting. Because Gabriel left the gate open Walkers were able to enter and Rick was the only person to discover this and then hunt down and kill the… and boy did it get bloody! And when he finally showed up to the meeting he threw down a Walker like a sack of potatoes, thus proving his worth… and that shit can and will happen.
Backing up for a moment on the subject of the consequences of inaction against those who pose a threat; consider that Morgan stuffed the two members of the Wolves into a car instead of killing them. If he had killed them, they wouldn’t have come upon and killed the red poncho guy that Daryl and Aaron were tracking.
Nicholas proved to be as big of an ass-wad as ever. After literally feeling threatened by Glenn’s survival advice last week, Nicholas took it upon himself to lure Glenn into the woods outside Alexandria and try to kill him.
How many of you thought we’d seen the last of Glenn? I think I felt a tear well up in my eyes.
Silly people; Glenn is tougher than that. After leaving Glenn under a small pile of zombies, Nicholas got jumped by Glenn, who then contemplated putting the jerk out of his misery. The fact that he didn’t only proves that the idea of Rick’s group being the new baddies is ridiculous. This point is also reinforced by the fact that neither Maggie nor Sasha killed Gabriel, instead opting to sit and pray with him. Seriously, Maggie overheard him say some pretty incriminating stuff to Deanna and he said some horrible things to the troubled Sasha who came to him for spiritual help and guidance. Plus, he left the gate open. It might have been “bad,” but 86ing either of these assholes would have been totally justified.
Shortly after Rick woke up from Michonne’s KO punch, members of the tribe were there to find out what was going. Carol among them, but she played dumb about the guns so as to not let the others in on her, Rick, and Daryl’s raid on the arms room. When Rick asked her why she played it that way, she said that she wasn’t sure if Michonne was still on their side. Of course, Rick confided in Michonne, who reassured Rick where her allegiances lie.
Carol’s explanation as to why she’s been playing her role inside Alexandria was interesting; essentially she called the residents children and that children like stories. Carol’s face-to-face with Pete was also pretty intimidating; she is one crafty woman.
Whatever the Wolves are or what their game is, they definitely know how to set a trap, well enough that not even Daryl detected it. It was pretty cool the way Morgan came to their rescue and put his good deed on a moral highground. Then the coincidence of Morgan showing his map and Daryl seeing Ford’s note to Rick. Isn’t it beautiful how all that came together?
Actually, this whole episode wrapped things up pretty nicely. There’s still a level of uncertainty, like what will happen to Nicholas and Gabriel, but for the most part Rick won.
If you stuck around for the Easter Eggs at the very, very, very end of the episode, you saw Michonne decide not to return her sword to the fireplace mantel. Symbolic? Off course it is!
Until Season 6… err… Fear this summer,
Rock Hard \m/