The Walking Dead season finale – ‘Conquer’

So I generally don’t like to do week by week episode re-caps (as I was watch like 8-9 shows during a normal TV season), opting to talk about premieres or mid-season/season finales. But well The Walking Dead just finished season 5 with a bang, the best episode of season 5 imo and of the best finales in the whole series, an excellent episode overall.

Things really came to a head in the season with the culmination of the Pete-Rick fiasco and Deanna being forced to have a ruling about Rick, which was the main plot of the episode, getting resolved right at the end. The finale balanced a good 5-6 storylines and did that quite well though, with Morgan finally being revealed, hot on the heels of Rick and co, Daryl and Aaron out looking for new potential Alexandria recruits and inadvertently almost running into the Wolves, but running into Morgan.

The wild bunch of people with a penchant of carving Ws’ into walkers and using them as traps, also we see Sasha still going slowly crazy and doing her thing, parallel to the father Gabriel who is also a raging douche and I suspect will be offed fairly soon. He’s had interesting, meandering story arc this season and seemingly wanted to die this episode, wondering out to give himself up to a walker but opting not to, he also stupidly doesn’t shut the gate properly, ironically leading to the Walkers coming into Alexandria and Ricks’ argument being more re-inforced. Gabriel had a tense moment back in Alexandria after he taunts Sasha, talking about Bob and Tyreese, trying to get her to shoot him which she may have done, though she’s stopped in the end by Maggie, the tree of them looking like they’re praying by the end.

Is Gabriel now a good man, coming to terms with what he’s done and over his guilt? Possibly, though in Walking Dead style, if he is finally in a good place, he’s likely to be the the next one on the way out, in a random mishap probably (crossfire in a shootout maybe).

And also, Glenn and Nicholas’ tension boiled to the surface with Nicholas plotting stupidly to try and trick and kill Glenn outside of Alexandria, though for now that arc seems to be concluded with Glenn one-upping him because he’s Glenn. And choosing to spare his life, still, a moment of forgiveness for a man that probably didn’t deserve it, to Glenns’ credit. I love how the episode gave a fair amount of time to each story and the characters included in them.

Something helped by the finale being 90 minutes long of course, there was enough time to give to each story arc, scary Carol again made an appearance, re-assuring Rick of what he had to do while threatening Pete, as she does now. Michonne had a lesser role in the episode, again disagreeing with Rick but going along with what had to be done, though by the end it’s safe to assume she’s probably on board with Rick after Pete comes out swinging, literally. Those conclusive moments in the end represented the big shift in power with Alexandria with Deannas husband being accidentally killed by Pete and no one wanting to do anything next, though everyone knew what had to happen.

Deanna gives Rick the go to shoot Pete, which he does and in that, Rick takes charge and will presumably be ‘leading’ Alexandria, or at least be a leader to them in the way that he and the gang feel the Alexandrians need strong, capable leadership.

Season 5 has been good at that in general, bringing a more minimalist and thoughtful approach to each episode as a whole.

This season has felt a lot like season 1 and that of course is a goo thing, with obvious things like Rick donning the police uniform and shaving the mountain man beard but also in style and tone, the shots have been a bit more creative – like with Jess and Rick talking, us seeing Rick in the mirror and not seeing in the shot properly. Or with more close ups on individuals’ when they’re out fighting walkers, to sort of represent their internal struggle and weariness of fighting the damned creatures. It’s all very artistic and again, a good thing, season 5 has managed to excellently balance the action with the character drama that drives the show and it’s made for great viewing.

If season 6 can be as good as 5 then we’re in for a treat, if it can be better then it would be the best season of the show yet, it seems like we’re getting set up for an Alexandria Vs The Wolves show down but I don’t think the story will be that simple, we’ll of course get twists, turns and surprises along the way. Morgan being re-introduced into the story is awesome and seeing him right at the end just as Rick offed Pete was great timing, how will Morgan see him now? What will even happen between them? How and why is Morgan like a wandering sensei/ronin?

So many questions that I’m looking forward to see getting answered in season 6.

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