Do I bother with a spoiler alert? No way! If you didn′t yet watch The Walking Dead season 5 finale, ′Conquer′, which aired last night on AMC-TV, reading this recap and review will not matter. The 90-minute episode was packed with so much drama and action that it commands being watched, over and over again. Yes, Rick Grimes does kill Dr. Pete. So what? We knew that was coming ever since the ′porchdick′ first greeted Rick. But who knew that our old pal Morgan was some Zen, Jedi Master? He kicked major butt with his staff of justice. Meanwhile, Sasha continues down the path of crisis and Glenn has another duke-out with the cowardly Nicholas. Carol even bakes another casserole, this time for Dr. Pete, and delivers it with a warning and a taste of her Suzi-Home-Maker trench knife. If that is not enough, we also had a teaser for the new spin-off series, Fear The Walking Dead, which begins this summer.
As we last left our intrepid group of survivors, Rick was shaking up life in the walled-community of Alexandria. He wanted permission to kill Dr. Pete from the head honcho, Dianna Monroe, before Pete kills or injures his wife, Jessie. Rick has apparently decided that he deserves to have Jessie as his wife instead. Michone ends the stand off with a hard thump to Rick′s skull. Both Rick and Pete had been brawling and they look like they spent a weekend in Las Vegas together inside a sack of alley cats.
While they lick their wounds, the finale actually begins with a woodland encounter between Morgan and one of the dreaded Wolves. The Wolves are a gang of bad guys whom we have seen signs of in earlier episodes. Now, Morgan comes face to face with one and is nearly ambushed by a second. He quickly dispatches both with a long staff of hardwood, giving the Wolves a hard time. As Clint Eastwood once said in ′Pale Rider′, ″There′s nothing like a good piece of hickory.″
Not far away from Morgan, Daryl and Aaron are looking for good guys to recruit. They come across a fellow in a red poncho who uses wild leeks to ward off mosquitoes. Somehow, this is proof to Aaron that Red Poncho is a ′good guy′. Obviously Aaron is not a fan of Star Trek for then he would know that wearing a ′Red Shirt′ equals a quick death. They lose the trail but find several trucks full of zombies, captured by the Wolves to protect their stash of food. Our two heroes find themselves swarmed and trapped in a car until Jedi Morgan arrives and saves them. Aaron pitches Morgan to join them but he declines, asking for directions instead. Daryl examines the map Morgan hands him and realizes that Morgan is a friend of Rick′s.
Sasha starts out her day burying her latest ′kills′, then decides to join them in the grave. Seems that she is only happy around the dead these days. Father Gabrielle also seeks death but is still too cowardly to embrace it. After returning from a failed, suicide walk, Gabrielle leaves the front gate open. Sasha later seeks him out for penance but Gabrielle refuses. A scuffle ensues as they tango with a loaded rifle.
Much of the episode is a lead to a public forum to be held by Dianna to discuss exiling Rick. Waking up after his brawl with Pete, Rick confesses to Michone, Glenn, Abraham and Carol that he screwed up. How he is still acting as he had while trapped in the boxcar back at Terminus. He then outlines a plan for the meeting to seize control, even taking Dianna and others hostage at knife point. Guess he didn′t get enough sleep as he woke up still on the crazy side of the bed. Carol works her magic to hide her role in the ′Kill Pete′ conspiracy, but I suspect that Michone and Glenn may see through her by now.
This distracts Glenn who follows Nicholas over the wall into the woods. Nicholas has the gun that Rick had hidden in the junk-pile blender and intends to kill Glenn. But his first shot only wounds Glenn. They fight and Nicholas leaves Glenn to a group of walkers. Glenn is too hard to kill and escapes to ambush Nicholas, whom Glenn beats up and takes prisoner. If there was any redemption last night, its was the touching scene in the infirmary when Eugene and Abraham reconcile while Tara recovers from her wounds. They later join others at the town hall meeting.
Rick was heading there, too, until he noticed the gate being open. A trail of blood can mean only one thing, trouble! Rick searches for intruders while the meeting gets underway. Naturally, those of Rick′s group do not want him exiled. They recount their stories of how Rick had saved them. They also attempt to inform the Alexandrians just how dangerous the ′real world′ is. Dianna tells all about what Father Gabrielle said in the last episode, of how Rick and his group are very bad people indeed. Maggie goes to find Gabrielle and interrupts Sasha from shooting him. Rick finds several walkers and dispatches them. He arrives at the meeting with one in tow as proof that his way is the right one. That the people of Alexandria have been lucky so far, but they′ll need to step up and accept the challenge of surviving in the world as it stands.
The tone at the meeting seems to be swinging Rick′s way until Dr. Pete shows up with Michone′s katana sword. Pete wants Rick gone, one way or the other. Bad enough after the fight with Rick that Dianna finally forced Pete to move out of ′his′ home, like he had a mortgage on it. Jessie wants nothing to do with him any longer, too. Now comes the final humiliation, the whole community has to protect Dr. Pete from Rick. Well, they say it takes a village! A struggle ensues and Pete misses Rick and instead slashes the neck of Dianna′s husband, Reg. Abraham tackles Pete and holds him down as Dianna spazzes out. She tells Rick to ″DO IT!″. Rick does it, capping a pill into Dr. Pete′s empty skull. Before the gun smoke clears, Rick looks up to see Aaron, Daryl and his old buddy, Morgan, standing in shock over the carnage. The final scenes show the Wolves looking at photos taken from the knapsack Aaron had dropped during the swarm. One photo is of Rick and Carl. Meanwhile, Michone almost returns her katana sword to its place over her mantle, but changes her mind and decides to start wearing it again.
So ended The Walking Dead season 5 finale. Dang! We have about six months before a new episode! Is Morgan happy to reunite with Rick, or has he lost all respect? Will Morgan stick around and join the community of Alexandria? Will Dianna step aside and give Rick full control? And what about Sasha? Is she going to go completely insane? Plus we have many questions involving Daryl, Carol, Michone and the rest of the group. All of which now must wait until October before we learn what is next for The Walking Dead.