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'The Walking Dead' recap – S5, Ep.16 – Conquer #TheWalkingDead

The Walking Dead - Conquer - Rick and CarlThere was a certain amount of uneasiness heading into this season finale. All season the writers have been throwing one twist after another on us loyal viewers and just when it appeared things had calmed down, another character would shockingly get killed off.

And what better way to leave viewers agonizing over the next season than to kill a beloved character or leave them in a very precarious situation? The writers played on those expectations expertly wrapping what’s been the series’ best season with some big teases (who’s going to get killed?) while paying off some long developing storylines.

The Walking Dead - Conquer - The WolvesInstead of immediately turning to Alexandria, we catch back up with Morgan, who’s been on a mission to reconnect with Rick since early this season. Talk about persistence! Morgan’s campfire meal gets crashed by a guy sporting the infamous ‘W’ marks on their forehead claiming to be a wolf turned into a man. So he’s not a White Walker from the Wall then… Morgan avoids a sneak attack by another ‘wolf’ and uses some impressive stick-fu to knock them out. Making a rookie mistake though, he places them in a car and leaves them alive. Rule No. 1 in walker world — if someone tries to kill you, don’t give them a second chance to get it right.

Speaking of, Rick awakens all bandaged up. Michonne, Glenn, Carol and Abraham want to discuss his outburst. Carol plays dumb questioning why Rick about why he brought a gun into the city. She suggests Rick just tell them a story to explain it away since the people here are children “and children like stories.” Carol is going ham tonight and has clearly grown tired of playing polite for the sake of these naïve Alexandria citizens.

The Walking Dead - Conquer - Glenn, Carol and AbrahamGlenn and Michonne question if Rick wanted this all along. They realize he’s threatening their chances of an illusion of a normal life, but know deep down he’s right. Carol returns to Rick later explaining she’s not sure if she trusts Michonne and Glenn to do the right thing if everything goes bad.

One person they won’t have to worry about not pulling the trigger is Sasha. Only catch is she may be too far along in her visit to Crazy Town to make it back in time to help. She has set up a massive grave for her walker kills and in a visual that really conveys the title perhaps better than any other scene, she lays atop them looking hopelessly into the sky.

Carol visits Pete, now in a separate house from Jessie. She reminds him that Tara’s recovery depends on him checking up on her and will kill him if he doesn’t. Carol has no time for Pete and pulls out her knife begging him to come after her as no one would believe she just straight killed him. To keep her happy homemaker façade going with the rest of the residents, she brought him a casserole, but warns him “I want my dish back clean when you’re done!” I’ll only accept runners-up for this season’s MVP as this was all Carol.

The Walking Dead - Conquer - MaggieMaggie tries to convince Deanna not to kick Rick out, but Deanna doesn’t appear all that convinced. Her husband, Reg, tells Maggie this civilization only works when people aren’t sent away and he’s going to tell Deanna that Rick has to stay. Rick doesn’t do much to help his case though as he visits Jessie just as Pete sees them talking from his window.

Nicholas is plotting some payback on Glenn, who notices him suspiciously climbing over the wall. Glenn is normally much smarter than this, but he goes after Nicholas and promptly gets shot in the shoulder. Looks like those who had Glenn dying will win the betting pool. But since Nicholas is a big Alexandria pansy, Glenn — bullet wound and all — is still able to fight him to a standstill and after a scare with some walkers, has his gun at Nicholas’ temple. Nicholas starts begging and crying for mercy (I thought he was made of sterner stuff), and Glenn gives the coward a break and helps him back to the city. Noah, you are not avenged!

The Walking Dead - Conquer - Nicholas and GlennAbraham finally makes peace with Eugene in one of the episode’s best quieter moments. Rick’s been conflicted with lying and wanting to take the city over to protect everyone, but confides in Michonne about the extra guns. She assures him no matter what, she’s with him, but she just doesn’t Rick to start anything. He makes no promises, Michonne.

Daryl and Aaron are rolling on another recruitment drive. Aaron admits Alexandria has sent some people off, but he doesn’t want to see that happen again suggesting he may excommunicated if he brings in more bad recruits. Was Aaron the AD of Syracuse University in his pre-walker life? They spot a guy in a red poncho, but lose sight of him after they stumble into a food warehouse complete with trailers presumably filled with non-spoiled can goods.

The Walking Dead - COnquer - Daryl and AaronInstead of pudding and lima beans, they’re stuffed with walkers looking for a meal. Daryl and Aaron barely escapes getting chomped on long enough to get into a car, but their options are limited. Daryl figures it’s a lost cause and says he’ll run out and distract the walkers while Aaron makes a run for it — but first, he wants a cigarette. Aaron (and all of TWD viewers) say that’s a terrible plan. They’ll rush out together. It’s pretty much impossible to dislike Aaron at this point. Turns out no one needs to make a desperate sacrifice tonight though as Morgan, the master of Stick-Fu, comes to the rescue. Aaron offers Morgan the recruitment pitch, but Morgan says he’s lost and pulls out the map Abraham left for Rick. Are things really going to work out this smoothly? Of course not.

Gabriel goes outside the city walls and aimlessly wanders until he spies a walker chomping down on a meal. This victim had rotten luck as if he’d only gone left instead of right he could have been enjoying a shower at Alexandria and flirting with Jessie. Gabriel appears ready to end it all and tells the walker he’s ready, but he can’t even get himself killed right, chickening out and killing the walker before crying in the road. Gabriel fits in perfectly with the rest of Alexandria.

The Walking Dead - Conquer - Rick walkingAidan’s brother, Spencer, says he needs to talk about his grief and asks Gabriel to lock the gate up to lock up, but because he’s Gabriel, he doesn’t bother fastening the gate. This won’t come back to bite anyone at all…

As the others have the town meeting to decide Rick’s fate, he notices the gate’s unsecured and walker blood indicates that some got into the city. Instead of the more logical approach of yelling for everyone to be on the lookout, Rick runs around trying to find the unwelcome guests.

Sasha comes to Gabriel’s church looking for spiritual counsel, but he’s not in the counseling mood and tells her they’re all to blame for the tragedy that’s befallen them. I’m not a counselor, but I’m pretty sure this is awful advice. They start fighting, but Sasha quickly gets the upper hand and draws her gun on him.

The Grimes’ Gang testifies to Rick’s character and how he’s kept them alive and created a family. Deanna mentions Gabriel’s conversation about how they will ruin Alexandria and Maggie goes off looking for him. She’s able to convince Sasha not to kill Gabriel, who confesses he let the others die back at the church. Maggie, who’s been struggling with her faith since her father died, leads the three in a prayer circle to neatly wrap up a strong subplot. Besides, Gabriel needs to die in a much more satisfying manner.

Rick finds a trio of walkers and brings one to the town hall meeting to vividly display how moronic Alexandria residents are in keeping themselves safe. Rick said he questioned how many of them he was gonna have to kill to save their lives and it appears they fully understand how badly they need Rick Grimes now.The Walking Dead - Conquer - Rick

Well, almost everyone. Pete arrives with Michonne’s sword and no time for discussion. Carol tells Rick to hold back to let it play out, which leads to poor Reg trying to calm Pete down and getting sliced across the throat. As he dies in Deanna’s arms, she tells Rick to do it. And without missing a beat, Rick shoots Pete just as Daryl arrives with Morgan. Good to see ya buddy!

The W’s have the guy in the red poncho (this one’s on you Morgan) and are annoyed to find their trap has been sprung. They kill red poncho and set the trap back up. On the other side of the car Daryl and Aaron ran into is an ominous message ‘Wolves not far.’

The Wolves have come to The Walking Dead and just how crazy will they make life for Rick and the citizens of Alexandria? Should be a fun ride.