**Season finale spoilers ahead. Huge ones. So don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the episode yet. Go watch it first. Then read. **

 

Another season of The Walking Dead is now finished, and in many ways this season was the best season that the show has ever done. Conquer was the end of a long road for Rick and the other survivors. It brought them finally to a point where they and the residents of the Alexandria Safe-Zone understand and accept one another.

Ever since the group of survivors found themselves in Alexandria there has been the sense that something was off for the survivors. They struggled to adjust to the seeming absence of threats in Alexandria. But as Rick proved in tonight’s season finale the threats don’t stop just because there are walls and other security measures. And the residents of Alexandria, especially Deanna, learned what Rick has been trying to tell them all along. You kill or you die. Things will never go back to the way they were. Rick was willing to kill to make them understand but tonight it wasn’t Rick killing people that made them realize that. It was Rick killing walkers, and Pete killing a member of the group. Rick and the group did “conquer” the safe zone and now they can work with Deanna to make it as safe as possible.

No One Dies

We had to say bye bye Pete and Reg Monroe.  The season finale was a whopping 90 minutes long, so fans assumed from the beginning that meant a core cast member was going to die. The extended length combined with the appearance of a surprise guest on Talking Dead immediately following the finale seemed to confirm that fans would lose a beloved cast member. But amazingly enough no major cast members were killed, although there plenty of close calls that made fans scream at their TVs and throw things. One of the biggest moments of anxiety for fans came when Glenn was out in the woods. But the episode started out with the return that everyone had been waiting for: Morgan.

Morgan

2It was fantastic to see Morgan again, and he looks like a brand new Morgan. He’s no longer the ranting lunatic setting traps and writing incoherent notes that he was way back in the “Clear” episode. Now he’s on the path to find Rick. In the show opening scenes a man with a W carved into his forehead approaches Morgan, who is sitting in front of a fire drinking coffee.

Morgan asks him why he has the W in his forehead. The man explains that back when the area was originally settled the natives would put bounties on the heads of the wolves in the area because of overpopulation. When people killed the wolves they got a reward. So, the people with the Ws carved into them are wolves that presumably are being killed for a price. This perfectly sets up the wolves to be the major threat to the Safe-Zone in Season 6.

They converse for a few minutes while the man with the W in his forehead tells Morgan he is going to take everything Morgan has and he is going to take Morgan too only Morgan won’t be alive. Morgan is calm, lucid, and deceptively unconcerned. Turns out that Morgan has gotten some pretty awesome ninja skills along the way. He defeats both the man in front of him and another one who has slipped around behind him. He leaves them in a trunk of a nearby car, alive, and continues on his way.

Daryl and Aaron

1Morgan appears again later on, just in time to save Aaron and Daryl from what was most likely a suicide mission. While they are out scouting they see an old factory with semi trucks in the parking lot. They decide to investigate to see if there is any food in the truck and possibly a pasta maker for Mrs. Needermeir. But the entire thing is a trap. When they open one of the doors on the trucks three other truck doors swing open releasing a herd of walkers. Daryl and Aaron look like they are going to be overrun.

They manage to squeeze into a small car but they are quickly surrounded by hundreds of walkers. They plan to say in the car until some sound or movement draws the walkers away but they find a note in the car that says the car is a trap and the wolves are coming. So they release they have to get out. Daryl is ready to make a suicide run to distract the walkers while Aaron slips off in the opposite direction but Aaron says no, that they will go together. Aaron tells him that whether they live or die they are going to do it together. Daryl agrees and as they are just about to start running for the fence Morgan appears and helps them kill enough walkers to get free.

Grateful for the assistance and impressed with Morgan’s skills they offer him a place at the Safe-Zone. Morgan tells them no, that he’s looking for somewhere else. He mentions he is lost and pulls out a map hoping they can help him find his way. The map he pulls out is the map that Abraham gave to Rick that says that the new world is going to need men like Rick Grimes. Morgan then knows he’s on the right path. Daryl and Aaron set out with Morgan for the Safe-Zone and the three appear at the very end of the episode in the Safe-Zone.

Michonne

Back at the Safe-Zone Michonne is guarding Rick in a small room that is being used as a detainment center. Pete has also been detained in a different house. When Rick wakes up with a bandaged face she asks him why he’s acting the way he’s acting. He tells her that she doesn’t see how dangerous the place really is. Michonne asks where he got the gun but at the moment he was going to answer Carol comes in. She tells Michonne that Rick took the gun from the armory. She says nothing about the gu ns that they buried, even to Michonne.

Michonne wants to believe the Safe-Zone can be a utopia for them that she can’t seem to bring herself to see the obvious and growing threats. Later on in the episode  Michonne, along with Maggie, make impassioned plea that the people of Alexandria will let Rick stay despite the fact that he beat someone up. Later in the episode Rick tells her the truth about Carol stealing the guns and the three of them burying guns outside the walls in case things went bad. Michonne tells him that she will always back his play and asks why he didn’t tell her before. He says that she needed to believe in the things Alexandria is trying to accomplish. Later on she is about to put her katana back on the wall but she changes her mind and puts it back into her holster.

Carol

Carol once again proves what a great leader and tough chick she is. She tells the others and Rick to tell the Alexandrians what they want to hear at the meeting because they are all children and children like stories. She also has some great quips in this episode. There were rumors that Carol was going to die in tonight’s episode so fans were very relieved when Carol made it to the end of the episode alive.

In a moment that must have been very cathartic for her she goes to the house where Pete is staying. She brings a casserole for appearances sake and tells him that he needs to go check on Tara. She then pulls a knife on him and threatens to cut his throat. In her quiet conversation with him she points out that she could kill him right where he stood just because she didn’t like him and no one would blame her. She said that all she would have to do is tell people that he attacked her and everyone would consider her killing justified. By standing up to Pete fans felt that Carol was also standing up to Ed and they cheered for her.

Glenn and Nicholas

4Glenn saw Nicholas climb over the fence and disappear into the woods so Glenn followed him. As Glenn is walking through the woods looking for Nicholas a gunshot rings out and Glenn falls. Fans around the world screamed as it looked like Glenn had been killed by Nicholas. But he was only shot in the shoulder. The two fight and Nicholas throws Glenn under a pile of walkers and runs, because he is a no good coward. He comes back later to see if the walkers have killed Glenn. Glenn has defeated the walkers and is nowhere to be seen. It’s dark at this point and as the two fight the meeting that will decide Rick’s fate is starting. Glenn finally beats Nicholas and puts a gun to his temple. Bleeding, hurt, and angry about Noah’s death and Nicholas’ lies Glenn struggles not to pull the trigger. It may have been a tough decision for Glenn but everyone at home was screaming, “Pull the trigger Glenn!” because they wanted Nicholas dead. But Glenn proved himself to be the better man again and didn’t kill Nicholas.

Sasha and Father Gabriel

8Sasha’s been lingering in Crazytown a little too long. Her obsession with hunting walkers is becoming a real problem not just for her but for the others because her recklessness puts them all in danger. Early in the episode Sasha is shown hauling walker bodies on a cart. She dumps them in a mass grave and then gets in and lays on top of them. Is Sasha wishing she was dead? Or is simulating death the only way to quiet her demons? Either way it’s eerie and haunting.

Father Gabriel the traitor is clearly suffering from some self-loathing. At one point he goes outside the gates trying to commit suicide. He walks up to a walker and tries to allow himself to be eaten but he can’t. His self-preservation instinct kicks in and he kills the walker. He returns to the Safe Zone angry at himself. When he is asked to shut the gate behind him he doesn’t, which is how walkers get inside later on.

While the meeting about Rick is going on Sasha comes to Father Gabriel and confesses that she is struggling and doesn’t know what to do. She asks Gabriel for help. But Gabriel, proving once again his weakness as a human being, refuses to help her. He tells her that she deserves her suffering for the things she has done and that she is going to suffer forever as payment for her sins. Clearly Father Gabriel was projecting a little there. He tries and succeeds at provoking Sasha into fighting him and it looks like he is trying to commit suicide-by-Sasha. Maggie appears at the church just in time to stop Sasha killing from Gabriel. She talks them both down and all three end up praying together.

Some fans were annoyed by this turn of events because they really want Gabriel dead for betraying the group. But the group letting him live and wallow in his own misery proves to the people of Alexandria that really the group does have a code and they will strive to follow that code.

Tara, Rosita, Eugene and Abraham

Eugene, after finally growing a pair a couple of episodes ago, continues to develop as a decent character. He refuses to leave Tara’s bedside because he feels responsible for her being hurt. When Abraham comes to check on Tara Rosita gets Eugene and Abraham to sit down together next to Tara’s bedside. They work out the issues that had been festering since Eugene revealed he didn’t have the cure for the zombie virus. Tara wakes up near the end of the episode, which is very good news.

The Meeting

By the time the meeting rolls around it seems like Deanna is ready to exile Rick for his actions. Rick is strangely absent and not there to speak in his own defense. His friends speak for him and try to convince the people of Alexandria that Rick is looking out for them. Rick, wild-eyed and covered in blood, shows up with the body of a dead walker. He tells Deanna it was inside the gates. He gives an impassioned plea for the people in the town to realize that they need to be tougher and better prepared for threats from humans and walkers alike.

Just after he finishes talking Pete shows up, drunk, and armed with Michonne’s kata. As he walks into the garden where the meeting is being held Reg, Deanna’s architect husband, tries to intercept him. Pete slashes Reg’s throat with the katana. As Reg is bleeding out Deanna grabs him and Abraham grabs Pete. Watching her husband bleed to death Deanna tells Rick to do it, and Rick kills Pete. Now Deanna has lost a husband and a son because she didn’t want to take Rick’s advice. After shooting Pete in the head Rick looks up to see Daryl, Aaron and Morgan standing in front of him.

9As the season finale wraps up it seems that the gravity of the situation that they live in has finally become real to the people of Alexandria. Rick gives some great speeches that prove the Ricktator is still very much present in the post-apocalypse world. All in all this season finale was everything fans and didn’t kill off any of their beloved characters. Even though the episode was 90 minutes it was over in a flash, which is a great testament to the amazing writing and directing of the episode. It’s bittersweet that after such an amazing episode, which may be one of the best they have ever done, the season is now over. Season 6 begins filming next month in Georgia.

Fear The Walking Dead

In the meantime fans will have the companion series, Fear The Walking Dead, to keep them busy. The first TV commercial for the new show aired during the season finale and it looks very exciting. The preview showed a typical morning commute in LA traffic with a voice on the radio talking about how 5 more states were documenting cases of a strange virus and warning people to stay home if they were feeling sick. As the voiceover talked about the virus a walker was seen shambling out of a culvert.