I’m sorry for the lateness of this recap, but someone left the gate open and I had to kill a whole bunch of walkers before I had the peace and quiet to sit and write. (I assume it was Gabriel, even though he’s not a real person.) Another jam packed finale capped off a season that saw our survivors lose a lot of family members in seemingly worse scenarios than ever before, move from the false safety promised by Terminus to the shelter of a church with a most irritating pastor, and end up behind the walls of Alexandria, a community with their own set of problems. The 90 minute coda of season five illustrated how the tides simply had to start turning.
Things kicked off with our old pal Morgan, the survivor we’ve seen a couple of times before at pivotal times for Rick and have gotten small glimpses of this season walking solo through the woods. There’s a gap in Morgan’s story, because when we see him here, he’s obviously in a far better state both mentally and physically than he was in “Clear”. He is approached by a super creepy looking guy pointing a gun at him and with a “W” scrawled on his forehead. (He honestly reminded me of a post apocalyptic version of Roland Orzabal from Tears for Fears. Strange, I know, but I put his picture here so you can see if you agree.) He calmly engages the guy in a very scary conversation about settlers putting bounties on animals before the Wolf and his henchman try to kill Morgan. They end up getting their asses kicked by a very zen, very well-trained Morgan before he resumes his walkabout.
Rick is recovering from his knock down drag out with Pete, and appears to have slept for days. He pow wows with Carol and Michonne about what to do next and they put together a plan for how to approach the town meeting Deanna has set for that night. Carol goes off to terrify Pete (banished to a house separate from his family) and suggest he check on Tara while brandishing a knife. When she left, he threw a small hissyfit…a preview of things to come. (Tara, by the way, woke up. Her hospital room was the scene for Abraham and Eugene’s reconciliation, thanks to Rosita.) Rick also confessed to Michonne that he, Daryl and Carol had kept their gun theft from her. She cemented their bond as a group, regardless of this and her knock out punch of last week.
Maggie and Glenn finally have a moment together to reassure each other that things are going to work out and Maggie then goes to tell Deanna that there’s no way that she can banish Rick after inviting his whole group in. Reg backs her up regarding the fact that Michonne was the one who actually stopped the madness. What’s most curious about Maggie is that she still hasn’t told anyone what she overheard Gabriel saying to Deanna.
Glenn spies Nicholas climbing the wall and follows the low life, who manages to shoot Glenn in the shoulder. Luckily, that’s hardly enough to take Glenn out, and he ultimately gets the better of Nicholas (and a bunch of walkers) in a fist fight. When he has the chance to end the guy, though, he doesn’t. Remember Glenn’s struggle with his own humanity? Yeah, that’s ongoing.
Daryl and Aaron are off tracking a guy wearing a red poncho (which may as well have been a red Star Trek shirt, since he eventually got offed by The Wolves) and happen upon what turns out to be booby trapped food trucks, filled with walkers, not canned goods. Surrounded by walkers, they end up trapped in a car. Daryl volunteers to take the lead in fighting them off so Aaron can run for the gate. But before he can do it, Morgan shows up and saves the day. Thank goodness, because I have a feeling that Dead Daryl would have broken the internet. After all three men get to safety and Aaron invites Morgan back to Alexandria, he shows Daryl his map; the one that Abraham left Rick at church, telling him to come to D.C. Daryl has a flicker of recognition, even though he and Morgan have never met.
Gabriel wanders out, unarmed, into the woods, (“the word of God is the only protection I need”) ready to sacrifice himself to walkers for lunch. But, somehow, not only does he not get bitten, he manages to snap a walker’s head off without so much as getting his white shirt dirty (seriously, who wears white in the apocalypse? Doesn’t seem practical.) Later, after he leaves the gate open, he is visited by a troubled Sasha, a woman who spends her days digging mass walker graves and then lying in them when she takes a break from shoveling. She is looking for absolution and a shoulder to cry on but Gabriel refuses to provide it. I think that makes him the worst priest ever. Things escalate to the point where Sasha could take him out but Maggie arrives to bring things to a halt. The three of them end up in the strangest prayer circle I can ever recall seeing.
Rick spies the open gate from his bedroom and immediately springs into action. While he’s killing the walkers that have made it inside the gates, the meeting goes on without him (or Glenn) and Maggie, Abraham, Michonne and Carol all speak on Rick’s behalf. After squeezing one walker’s throat until its head literally explodes all over him (Zombie-gasm?), Rick comes into the meeting with a walker slung over his shoulder and gives speech about learning to stand up and fight all outside threats, alive and undead. “They’ll hunt us, they’ll find us, they’ll try to use us, they’ll try to kill us, but we’ll survive. I’ll show you how.”
Just then, all hell breaks lose. Pete arrives with Michonne’s katana and murder on his mind. In trying to break things up, Reg gets his throat slit! While he bleeds out in Deanna’s arms, she gives Rick the signal to kill Jessie’s husband, and the town’s only surgeon. Just as he puts a bullet in Pete’s head, he looks up to see his long lost pal. Hi, Morgan!
We now have until October to speculate as to what’s next for the collected Alexandrians. Will Rick and Jessie couple up? Will Deanna still be in charge? And will someone please put Gabriel out of his misery?