(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s “The Walking Dead” unless otherwise specified.)
Hello, loves…it has been far too long. While I have been immersed in the rich layers of life in the IRL, my thoughts have been, quite often, with my fave show, and my #TWDFamily, all over the world.
This is the moment I have been waiting for, when I finally get to sit, focus, and endeavor to conquer “Conquer.”
We have much to discuss with The Walking Dead’s Season 5 finale, Episode 516, but before we do, dear readers, let us take a moment to look back on TWD’s Season 5, and honor those we have lost...family, friends, foes, both living and undead (and even an inanimate object or two), while we raise our glasses, our bottles, our mugs, and serenade our dearly departed with a classic by Neutral Milk Hotel, “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea”:
(At this point, before, I would have inserted this classic song, via the beloved Grooveshark widget embed, into this post; but alas, loves, Grooveshark is no more… I grieve, as we had some good jams, and Grooveshark made the music available to many, for free. I did know that Grooveshark was embroiled in some legal trouble, as free music sharing does raise the issue of compensation for the artists… I knew that one day, Grooveshark may be gone. And, like so many of our beloved TWD characters, gone it is.
R.I.P. Grooveshark…we had some good jams.
And now, (drum solo, please), dearest readers, may I present: Neutral Milk Hotel’s, “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea,” via the new tunes tech: Spotify ❤
So pimp, right? At this point, I am not sure if playlists will be available for immediate listen if the reader doesn’t have an account with Spotify. If not, hopefully you can create a free account, and access the playlists, perhaps with some advertisements thrown in. If you are on the Spotify premium plan, you can listen to my shit uninterrupted. I do apologize for any inconvenience this change of events may cause. Change happens, and once I recovered from my shock at having my existing playlists be wiped from existence…
… I realized the opportunity was there for a serious upgrade. And so, upgrade I did.
One of the many perks of “said upgrade” is that my playlists will now be available on mobile devices for those who have the Spotify app, so now, those readers may enjoy the playlists on their phones, tablets, etc., which they could not do before, with the previous tunes tech. ❤
And so, dear readers, if you will, cue the music, and raise a beverage for:
The WD Season 5 Hall of Fame Neutral Milk Memorial ❤ R.I.P. and cheers, and much love to:
Beth Greene ❤
Bob Stookey ❤
Noah’s mom ❤
Noah’s Lil Bros ❤
Lil Bro Walker ❤
Rick’s Beard ❤
Bob’s Leg 😦
Alex (Technically a Season 4 casualty, but Alex did enjoy a brief posthumous cameo in Season 5, so we include him here.)
Friends With Benefits Walker ❤
Joan Walker ❤
The Bus ❤
The Mission to D.C. 😦
Walkers Interruptus ❤
Hey, Where’s The Party At? Walker ❤
I Died In A Barn Walker
Rick’s Little Bit Of Flare Walker ❤
Wild Dog Pack 😦
The Owl Sculpture
I Wanna Eat Francine Walkers
White Walker ❤
Poor Girl Tied To A Tree Walker ❤
Hostage Walker ❤
Leonard Nimoy ❤
The Walking Dead’s Episode 516 opens with a shot of a car, hood smashed in, abandoned in the woods. The sun is low on the trees, suggesting either the dawning, or the darkening, of another day.
In the next shot, we see a small campfire, surrounded by rocks, with a small metal grate placed over the flame, and a metal cup placed on top, presumably to heat water.
The young man leans forward slightly towards Morgan. “Looks good,” he says, sitting on the rock across from Morgan, still pointing the pistol at him.
“Hi,” says the young man. He peers closely at Morgan, waiting for a reaction.
Morgan does not respond right away, looks over his shoulder, casually, in both directions, checking to see if anyone else is there. He looks back at the young man.
“Hello,” Morgan says. He motions to the gun the young man points at him. “You may want to lower that,” he suggests, mildly. The young man does not respond, nor does he lower the gun. The two men regard each other in silence over the campfire.
In response, the young man narrows his eyes at Morgan. His mouth sets to the side, somewhere between a smile and a grimace. He cocks the pistol he is pointing at Morgan, who does not seem afraid of the young man or his gun.
“You know the first settlers here? They put bounties on wolves’ heads,” the young man begins.
(Editor’s note: Putting a bounty on wolves’ heads is a practice that has actually resurfaced, in the United States, in recent years. In the U.S., federal protections for wolves are being systematically stripped away, state by state, across the country, leaving hunters and poachers free to kill wolves and wolf pups on sight alone, without provocation, with the intention to decimate the species. Congress is considering passing a bill, at the time of this writing, to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species. Google this issue, visit the Defenders of Wildlife online site http://www.defenders.org/the-war-on-wolves/delisting-disaster, and write to your elected officials if you want to protect the future of this iconic species, and tell them in reinstate federal protections for wolves.) #SaveTheWolf
The young man continues, telling Morgan, “(The settlers) brought the natives into it, made them hunt (the wolves)…didn’t take them too long to kill them all.”
In reply, Morgan turns his attention back to the young man, looks at him a moment before answering.
The young man sits back and processes this a moment, then smiles, uncertainly. “Are you shittin’ me?” he asks Morgan.
“That’s a lot,” Morgan exclaims softly. The young man nods. “I work at it,” he says, amends, “We do…sometimes we find camps, run through them. We have traps, too.” The young man pauses, muses, “It’s different…it’s not like meeting like this…as equals.”
As he tells Morgan this, the young man’s manner is very matter-of-fact, conversational, reporting the information simply and truthfully, like a child would. The young man seems like he is no older than a post-teen, early twenties tops.
In response, Morgan looks casually over his other shoulder, checking again to see if anyone else is coming up on him. He looks back at the young man, regards him.
“I miss movies,” the young man muses. “I used to–put that down,” he orders Morgan, who has lifted his mug to take a drink of his soup.
“Because I want it,” the young man replies, frowning. He blinks slowly, then says to Morgan:
Morgan looks at the young man, says nothing, and slowly, deliberately puts his mug down. When he returns his attention to the young man across from him, Morgan’s look has changed…his smile, and friendly manner of before, are gone.
The young man resumes talking, “Some of the tribes, around here, they thought that the first people were wolves, transformed into men…and, now, well, you know…‘Everything gets a return,’ right?”
(The implication here, I think, is that the men, the people, once they die and reanimate (as walkers), are then transformed back into an incarnation of wolves…savage, wild, predatory creatures who hunt the living in packs.)
Morgan smiles, slightly, and nods, slightly, at the young man, looks at him a moment.
Morgan knows the attack from behind is coming, and he is quick to evade the young blond man who leaps at Morgan from the bushes behind him, swinging a curved scythe down at the spot where Morgan was sitting. The pointy end of the scythe strikes only rock as Morgan whirls aside, grabbing his staff in one deft motion…and with that, the #MorganStyle kung fu beatdown begins…
Morgan then brings his staff end down, so it rests in one hand, standing tall beside him, like a shepherd’s staff. It is a posture of peace, and power, an unspoken message of, “Run along now, wolfboys, and don’t make me kick your ass again.”
Morgan sidesteps the young man’s attack, and brings his staff down, blocking the scythe’s blade, then delivers a series of quick strikes upside the blond wolfboy’s, well, everything, and then sends blond one’s dark-haired little bastard compadre back into the dirt with two fierce blows, one with the staff, followed by one downward blow with his gloved fist.
“Just go,” Morgan says again. The young men, of course, do not listen.
Suddenly, the dark haired one screams,“Now!” and both young adversaries rush Morgan at once, from opposite sides.
Morgan bends and picks up the handgun, hears a walker approaching. He points the gun at the walker and pulls the trigger repeatedly, gets only clicks.
Before we move on, kudos and Deadies to the following mavericks (I am giving out mad Deadies this post because it’s the WD Season 5 finale, people, and attention must be paid, props must be given, and the love must be shown!)
First Deadie goes to Greg Nicotero, directorial and special effects prodigy, who directed the TWD Episode 516, “Conquer,” as well as other groundbreaking episodes in Season 5: “No Sanctuary,” “What Happened and What’s Going On,” (just to name a couple of my personal favorites).
Standing ovation, Greg Nicotero. You really brought TWD Season 5 to a whole new level, and set an unprecendented standard of excellence to television as a whole.
Suck on that, Emmy snubbers.
There are many who say that Season 5 is, hands down, the best season yet of The Walking Dead television series. In many respects, I fully agree. I personally feel Greg Nicotero is a huge reason for this season’s artistic excellence on all levels, and I imagine anyone working directly with the project knows this to be fact.
Much love, many thanks to Crazy Uncle Greg from us at barnfullawalkers. Thank you, Crazy Uncle Greg, for bringing the love, and the pain, and for being so beautifully twisted, genius, and spectacular. You are bringing it like Bukowski.
Next Deadie goes to our man, Lennie James, who plays Morgan Jones, kung fu badass who walks the way of the peaceful warrior. I do not know if Lennie James has been studying martial arts for a long time, or if he had to immerse himself in a quick study for this role, but damn, that man is pure poetry in motion. Style. Speed. Grace. Power. Poise.
And, impeccable acting, time and time again, in every project I have ever seen him in, and especially as Morgan Jones in The Walking Dead.
(I was a huge Morgan-and-Duane fan from the first moment I met them in the TWD pilot episode, Season 1’s “Days Gone Bye,” when Duane clocked Rick in the back of the head with a shovel, and he woke up, bound, in Morgan and Duane’s house.
As I watched WD Season 1, I kept asking Rick, on the screen, “Rick, have you tried to radio Morgan yet today? Call Morgan and Duane! They need to know where you are so they can meet up with you!”
Look, people, I knew Rick was super busy in Season 1, reuniting with his wife and kid, getting cuckolded, road tripping back and forth to Atlanta, trying to get to the CDC, but I was always super worried about Morgan and Duane.
I never stopped thinking about them, and I was kind of mad at Rick for dropping the ball on keeping in touch with Morgan like he said he would. I got over it, of course. I can’t stay mad at Rick Grimes for long, and who would want to? That’s just crazy talk, people!
I must tell you, however, when I watched Season 3’s “Clear,” when Rick, Carl, and Michonne found Morgan, and we found out what happened to Duane, it messed me up, hard…I won’t go into the sordid deets, but suffice it to say that the entire rest of that night was awash in bourbon and tears. I was haunted. I wore a black armband for days after under my work attire. It wasn’t pretty.
But, as hard as “Clear” was for me, I was mesmerized by Lennie James’ performance in that pivotal episode.
I remember hearing an interview with Andrew Lincoln on Talking Dead, and Andrew Lincoln said that he and Lennie James filmed the Morgan-to-Rick soliloquy scene in “Clear” on Andrew Lincoln’s birthday. In the TD interview, Andrew Lincoln said that the way that Lennie James delivered that monologue was the best birthday present he could have asked for.
For me, personally, Duane being alive and well would have been the best present I could have asked for, but alas, that was not to be…Kirkman said no, so I abide.)
R.I.P. Duane. ❤
So, much love, Lennie James, and mad props. You are an amazing actor, a talented martial artist, a total master, and a total pimp.
And, the last of the First Round of Deadies goes to genius composer, Bear McCreary, who delivered another incredible score, bringing the Morgan kung fu asskicking scene in the woods to new heights. Pure perfection, really. Once again, kudos, Bear McCreary.
Speaking of kudos, and sheer awesomeness, let us now return to Episode 516, where we see another beloved character, doing one of the things he loves best, being a beautiful badass on a bike…
Behind Daryl, Aaron follows in a car that has seen better days. Daryl, then Aaron, pull over on an abandoned dirt road, shut off their vehicles, and gather their belongings. After a quick look-around, the two men slip into the woods.
Meanwhile, back in the Alexandria Juvenile Detention Center…
Rick blinks awake, peers around at the darkened room. There are rays of sunlight pouring through some small opening, or window, and Rick tries to sit up, painfully. He laughs a little, softly, to himself, shaking his head before giving it up. Shielding his eyes, he starts to lie back on the cot, when he is surprised by a voice in the room.
“What’s so funny?” we hear Michonne’s voice ask.
“You were here the whole time?” Rick asks her, hoarsely.
“All night,” Michonne answers, succinctly. She asks again, “What’s so funny?”
“This,” Rick replies, sitting up with some effort, motioning to the room around him, “is like the train car. After the whole thing…I’m still there.“
“Deanna wanted you in here,” Michonne replies. “Calm things down.” Her manner is terse, annoyed. “Rosita patched you up, Carl came by for a while, sent him home.”
Michonne’s tone and manner with Rick right now seems to be like: “Hey, remember your kids? Your people? Or did you forget about all that while you went off chasing after your own little drama story of, ‘Let me get all up in Jessie’s biz and fuck it all up for everyone else?'”
Then, Michonne stands, brings her chair a few steps closer to Rick’s bed, sits down again, looks at Rick. Classic interrogation room style.
“Rick,” Michonne asks, “what are you doing?” Rick shakes his head slightly, does not reply, rubs the back of his head.
Michonne knows this, looks away, rolls her eyes, takes a deep breath. “They put Pete in another house,” she informs Rick. (And yes, they should have done that way sooner…but who exactly was going to enforce that, before Rick Grimes came along?)
“I couldn’t tell you about the gun,” Rick continues.
Michonne fixes him a look, replies, “Nooo, you couldn’t…” Her tone quietly calls bullshit on Rick. I tend to agree. The gang is a tribe, a family, and after all they’ve been through, true family shouldn’t keep big secrets like that from each other. Go down in folly, whatever, but go down together, get checked before you wreck it for everyone.
“You wanted this place,” Rick says.
Michonne narrows her eyes at him. “We needed to stop being out there.”
Rick looks around the room. “Well, we’re here,” he says, stretching his leg out on his prison cot.
(Like I said, people, I love the man, and we all know that Alexandria is rife with bullshit on many levels, and I do love when Rick Smash! comes out to play and fuck shit up, but I find myself siding with Michonne on this one.
The gang needed to get to a safe place, and change is something that happens slowly, not all at once. Rick and Carol have been enabling each other’s drama and crazy, big time, which is, of course, completely delicious on many levels…but once it was clear that Deanna Monroe and her people were not malevolent, merely clueless, perhaps Rick and Carol could have dialed it down a little, and given it some time, let things play out.
I know the storyline here is all about Rick Smash! having a hard time readjusting to society, but is plotting a hostile takeover within the first week of being at the choice new digs really necessary? Dude, you’re a dad…when was the last time you cuddled your baby girl, or have you been too busy being all up in Jessie’s grill to even think about your own family?
In my opinion, Rick is being pretty self-obsessed, all about his own drama, and he is being a bit of a brat right now. While I love Rick, this isn’t all about him, and his actions are having a direct, negative effect on the rest of the righteous gang.
Talk to me, people…I would love to get readers’ thoughts on this one.)
The door opens then, and Glenn, Carol, and Abraham file into the room.
Carol continues her award-winning performance. “That was stupid,” she admonishes Rick. “Why’d you do it?”
Glenn says that Deanna is planning on having a meeting tonight, for anyone who wants to. “To kick Rick out?” Abraham asks. “To try,” replies Carol.
“We don’t know that,” Glenn points out. He turns back to Rick, tells him that Maggie is with Deanna right now, and is going to try to find out what exactly the meeting is about.
As Rick takes all this in, Carol begins coaching him. Her voice is shaky, betraying her worry for Rick. “At the meeting, you say that somebody was being abused, and no one was doing anything about it. You say you took a gun, to make sure that Jessie was safe from a man who wound up attacking you. You say you’ll do whatever they want you to, just tell them a story that they want to hear.”
Carol looks over towards Glenn, says, “That’s what I’ve been doing since I got here.” Glenn looks down, puzzled, like, “Wait, have I missed something, here? What the fuck is happening with everyone?”
Michonne turns to Carol now, her arms crossed. “Why?” she asks.
“Because these people are children, and children like stories,” Carol replies.
From behind, Abraham chimes in, looking at Carol, but addressing everyone in the room, “What happens after all the nice words, and they still try to kick him out?”
Glenn informs them, “They’re guarding the armory now.”
“We still have knives,” Carol muses, aloud. “That’s all we’ll need against them.”
Apparently not, because Rick begins to plan aloud, “Well, tonight, at the meeting, if it looks like it’s going bad, I whistle. Carol grabs Deanna, I take Spencer,” and then, Rick points his finger towards Michonne, “and you grab Reg…”
Rick continues, working out his super cray “Hostile Takeover of Alexandria” plan aloud, “…Glenn and Abraham cover us, watch the crowd…”
Wow, great plan, dude. It only has about 1,000 major, gaping holes in it. I’m sorry, but what the hell are he and Carol talking about? Knives v. guns? Have either of them checked in with the the rest of the gang, to see what they think about this? What about Carl and Judith?
Michonne tries to interject some sense into all this. “We can talk to them,” she asserts.
“We will,” Rick assures her. “But, if we can’t get through, we’ll take the three of them and say we’ll slit their throats.” (Hmmm. Well, Rick, I’m sure that will be a real turn-on for your new gf, Jessie, and I’m sure her sons will be so impressed with their NewDad’s take-charge attitude.)
“Like at Terminus,” Glenn says.
“No,” Rick asserts. “We just tell ’em: They give us the armory, and it’s over.”
Glenn looks at Rick. “Did you want this?” he asks him.
“No,” Rick replies. “I hit my limit, I sna-…” Rick gestures to his head, does not finish the thought in words.
(Well, that’s something, anyway…first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that you have one…and that you did, indeed, screw the pooch on this one, Rick Smash! P.S. You are still looking majorly cute though, all beat up and bandaged and bratty in your prison bunk 🙂 )
And with that, Rick Grimes turns away, towards his pillow, and dismisses them. “And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to sleep some more.”
And, speaking of brats…
Reg comes in to collect Maggie, tells her Deanna’s out on the porch. Maggie follows him out to where Deanna is waiting. As Maggie walks out, onto the porch, Deanna looks up from some papers in her hands. Her manner is more businesslike than warm towards Maggie, and she asks, “What do you need to talk about, Maggie?”
Maggie faces Deanna, answers, “The meeting tonight.”
Reg, who seems to greatly dislike conflict, tries to interject, reassure, but Deanna talks over him.
Deanna looks at Maggie. “Tell me what that means,” she says.
Deanna looks down. Maggie continues, “And, now you want to put the decision on a group of very frightened people who may not have the whole story. That’s not leadership.”
Reg explains to Maggie that the meeting is just a forum, to give people a chance to say their piece…
Maggie explains, “(Rick) was frustrated…the things he’s seen? The things he’s lost…the things we have all lost.”
Maggie looks at Deanna. “We’ve lost so much more,” she dares to say.
Deanna looks back at Maggie, angrily. “Rick took a gun, and he pointed it at people.”
“He didn’t pull the trigger,” Maggie replies. “That’s a metric, that he didn’t pull the trigger?” Deanna asks incredulously.
“Yes,” Maggie asserts. Deanna is clearly getting agitated, and Reg steps in, faces Deanna.
Deanna looks at Maggie. “I’m going to do what I have to do, Maggie,” she tells the young woman. Maggie looks at Deanna a moment, then stalks off. Reg calls after, then goes after, Maggie, as Deanna turns back to the papers in her hands.
“The cave men… were all nomads, and, um, they all… died. Then, we evolved into this,” and Reg gestures around, to the buildings, the homes around them, “and we lived.” Maggie looks at Reg, listening, and he comes down a couple more steps until he stands at Maggie’s level, facing her.
“Civilization starts when we stop running,” Reg says, his hands in his pockets. He shrugs. “When we live together…when we stop sending people away, from the world, from each other.”
Meanwhile, just outside the steel gates of Alexandria…
The next shot we see is of Daryl and Aaron, making their way through the woods. Daryl notes that somebody came through that way a while back, and Aaron is quick to say that if they see the people, they hang back, set up the mike, “Watch, and listen.”
“For how long?” asks Daryl. “Until we know,” replies Aaron. “We have to know.”
Aaron confirms yes, they did. “What happened?” asks Daryl. Aaron tells him that it was early on…it was three people. Two men, and a woman.
“I brought them in,” Aaron tells Daryl, “and I had to see them out.” The two men continue through the woods, the cool air misting their breath. Aaron tells Daryl how he, Aiden, and Nicholas drove the exiles out, far away, gave them a day’s worth of food and water, and left them.
“They just went?” Daryl asks. “We had their guns…all their guns,” replies Aaron.
Back in Alexandria, Carol is sitting on the edge of Rick’s bed, shaking his sleeping form. “Wake up,” she says, softly.
Rick starts awake, sees Carol sitting there, and sits himself up.
“Michonne stopped you…she knocked you out,” Carol says.
Rick looks away a moment, then back at Carol. “I deserved it,” he admits.
Carol doesn’t agree. “It was stupid,” she says, disgustedly. Rick looks at her. “She’s with us, Glenn is,” he asserts.
Carol looks at Rick. “I didn’t tell them about the guns, just in case,” she replies.
Rick leans his head back against the wall, then looks back at Carol.
(A couple of thoughts, before moving on. I replayed Carol’s response to Rick quite a few times, and she clearly said, to my hearing, “You said you don’t want to take this place,“ which confused me. I can’t really understand, after repeated playbacks, what exactly Carol’s saying, but I think I am picking up what Carol’s putting down. To me, it sounds like Carol’s still riding the train of, “Let’s take this fucking place.” It’s kind of the only interpretation that makes sense to me, in the moment, and as I’m sleep deprived and on mad deadline right now, a lot doesn’t really make sense in my world, right now…so, really, I have no idea.
Another question…is Alexandria really that bad, that Carol thought that Michonne was stupid to interfere with Rick’s Fifty Shades of Cray moment out in the street, the day before? If Michonne hadn’t interfered, and knocked Rick out, where would Rick’s standoff have ultimately led to? Would Carol have pushed Sam off her, run to get her guns, and come out, barrels blazing? What exactly is their grand takeover plan, here?
Is their plan to kill Deanna, Reg, Spencer, and all the other Alexandrians in charge, and then offer the other citizens a choice, join us or die? Are Rick and Carol really up for slaughtering any resistant elders, innocents, children, to take over a peaceful, established community that took them in, that appears to truly mean them no harm, as clueless as the Alexandrians appear to be about the true state of life outside the walls? Especially when they are not sure if all of their people, their best people (like Michonne, Glenn, Daryl, Abraham, Maggie, Rosita, Sasha) would be on board with this plan to begin with?
And, what does Rick think Jessie would say about all of this? How was he planning on explaining this to her? “Oh, it’s simple, babe…I just kill your abusive husband, we take over your community, and then, you are riding high as First Lady of the Ricktatorship! What was that you said? What about your sons? Oh, they’ll be cool with it…their biodad’s a real dick!”
How would Rick’s own son, Carl, feel about this plan? What about the inherent danger a hostile takeover would be to the most vulnerable Alexandrian citizens, like Baby Judith? A loud gun battle within the walls of Alexandria would bring every walker within a twenty mile radius, hissing and pounding on those walls…and don’t even get me started about potential living threats who may come knocking!
And, how does Carol think that Daryl will feel about this plan? As Carol and Rick plot and plan, Daryl’s with Aaron, 50 miles out, looking for others to recruit into the Alexandria community. Does Carol think that Daryl will approve of this hostile takeover, or that Aaron’s just going to sit back and accept this order of things upon his return, especially if his boyfriend, Eric, is one of the dissenters, and gets killed for his refusal?
Sorry for the rant, gang. I, of course, love all the hot crazy in theory, but when it comes down to it, I say: Bad plan, sorry, can’t back you guys on this one.)
Anyway, back to our story…
50 miles away, out on the scout, Daryl and Aaron have spied a lone man, wearing a red rain poncho, carrying a backpack. They watch him through their binoculars.
After a moment, Daryl bids Aaron, “Come on,” and they begin to follow the man, keeping a safe distance behind.
Back at Alexandria…
Maggie comes up, and Glenn asks her what the verdict is…Maggie tells Glenn it’s what they thought.
Maggie assures Glenn. He manages a small smile, nods. Maggie sees something is bothering Glenn, asks him, “What?” He does not reply. Maggie sits down next to him, asks again, “What?”
The weird just keeps on happening, it seems, because in the next scene, we see Spencer, at the main gate, opening the door for Gabriel. Spencer asks Gabriel, “Sure you don’t want a gun, Father?”
Rick, meanwhile, has made it to his house, opens the door, and is greeted immediately by Carl. “Dad!” Carl exclaims, relieved, and rushes forward to give his dad a hug.
Carl asks Rick if he’s ok, and Rick assures him he is, apologizes to Carl as he continues walking through the living room. Carol tells his father he heard about the meeting, and Rick is quick to issue the order, “You’re staying home.”
Rick looks at his son for a moment, then answers, “Yeah.”
Rick looks at his son a moment, walks over to him, faces him.
“You have to tell them,” Carl says. Rick protests, “I tried to tell them last night.”
Rick leans in towards his son. “I don’t know if they can,” he says softly. He asks Carl, “Does that make you afraid?” Carl shakes his head, then looks at his dad again.
“For them…you have to tell them,” he insists, looking earnestly into Rick’s face. Carl’s right, and deep down, Rick knows it. The Alexandrians may be clueless about some things, but they are basically good people, and both Carl and Rick have grown to care about certain members of the community very, very much.
Rick looks at his son, and nods.
Meanwhile, about 50 miles away…
“Sometimes, they (people) slip away, it happens,” Aaron continues. He looks through the fences, at the tractor trailers, then at Daryl. “But, you don’t come across something like this every day.”
“You saw it last night…there’s bad people out here,” Aaron says.
“We need more people, we do, and when we find them, we’ll need to feed them,” Aaron points out.
Daryl thinks about this for a moment, then agrees, “All right.” He takes his knife and raps on the metal fence, calling over the walkers that are milling around outside the inner fencing, blocking the way to the trailers.
As they approach the backs of the trailers, each emblazoned with colorful images of cans, vegetables, laden fields, Daryl keeps watch while Aaron, beaming, crouches, opens his backpack. and begins unscrewing something low on the back of one of the trucks.
As he works, Aaron tells Daryl that he doesn’t like giving up either, but, you know, the guy is in a red poncho…
Daryl finds a good-sized length of rusty chain, and he bids Aaron to follow him out the open side of the trailer, away from the crawling walkers. Daryl encounters three walkers in his path, and he chainwhips them in badass bullwhip style…
Daryl and Aaron run to the only refuge from the walkers they can find, and abandoned car that is sitting in the middle of the lot. As they dive in and try to shut the doors against the crush of walkers, Aaron slams his door on SquishNasty Walker’s head, squishing it nasty…
After a couple of tries, Aaron finally gets the car door shut, and then the two men are trapped in a closed car, as the walkers swarm the outside of it.
Aaron, alarmed, looks at Daryl, who looks down at the note. Shit.
And, speaking of fucked creek…
After the second knock, McBeaty gets up, goes to the door, and opens it. Carol strides in, carrying a casserole.
Still holding the casserole, Carol informs McBeaty, “You need to check on Tara. You treated her, you’re a surgeon, you need to do that.”
McBeaty points to the door. “Get out,” he growls at Carol, beginning to walk back to the dark living room, presumably to sulk some more (as I am sure that Deanna Monroe, Inc. cleared out all the alcohol in McBeaty’s detention mansion).
As I watched Carol casually reach for her knife, still holding the casserole, I could only think: McBeaty, McBeaty, McBeaty… remember when you tried that line, just yesterday, on Rick Grimes? Remember how that turned out?
As I remember it, as soon as you uttered the fatal words: 1) your wife basically jumpstarted the process of quitting your ass and leaving you for another man, 2) that said man threw you through a window, and, 3) you got your ass beat on some hot asphalt in front of the entire town of Alexandria.
“I could kill you right now,” Carol informs McBeaty, holding the knife under his chin.
With one quick swipe of her knife, Carol deftly draws the barest drop of blood from under McBeaty’s chin, and shows it to him on the tip of her blade.
Carol regards the tall, shaken man in front of her. “The way this has played out, you have a chance,” she informs him. “You’re here, your wife’s…there,” and New Carol motions her head towards the end of the street.
Ah, so very good, New Carol…a low bow to you, most honorable master. ❤
Meanwhile, out in the woods, Glenn is following Nicholas, keeping some distance behind. Nicholas scurries deeper into the woods, and after looking around, Glenn follows behind.
Glenn approaches the site cautiously, taking in the sight of the walker, and the bloody chain Aiden and Nicholas used, to try to keep the walker tethered, so they could torture it for their sport when they weren’t feeling so good about themselves, back in the day.
Glenn hears a noise in the bushes, and draws his knife, looking around. A loud shot rings out, and Glenn is hit, the bullet grazing the top of his shoulder.
But when Nicholas reaches the spot where Glenn fell, he only sees drops of blood on the grass and leaves…Glenn is gone.
You tell him, Nelson:
Ah, this next scene…so beautifully done. One of my all-time favorites.
Jessie assures Rick that it happened during the fight. McBeaty has been in Lockdown Mansion, down the street, and hasn’t had a chance to lay a hand on her since.
Jessie then says that they shouldn’t be seen talking right now…but it’s pretty hard to tear themselves away.
After another moment, Rick turn to go. As he turns away, Jessie calls to him, “Don’t turn around, Rick.”
Aaron looks at Daryl, says, gently, “You were trying.” Daryl looks ahead, thinking a moment, then replies, “I had to.”
Aaron shakes his head. “No, you didn’t.” Daryl doesn’t respond. Aaron continues, “Listen, I saw you out there with your group, in the road…and you went off, on your own, by the barn. The storm hit…you led your people to safety.” Daryl is silent, listening to Aaron’s words.
Daryl does not reply, and then it is Aaron’s turn for self-reflection, and self doubt. As the walkers continue to hiss and paw at the windows, Aaron looks down, muses, “You were right. We should have kept looking for that guy in the poncho.” Aaron shakes his head. “I shouldn’t have given up. You didn’t.”
Aaron looks at Daryl. “We go for the fence. We do it together…whether we make it or not, we do it together. We have to.” ❤
( A Padawan Hero Deadie for Aaron, here, and a Most Excellent Newcomer Deadie to Ross Marquand, the actor who plays Aaron. He even does impressions! ) 🙂
The car door is flung open, and we see who the rescuer is…Morgan!
Aaron introduces himself, and Daryl. Morgan introduces himself, “Morgan.” Daryl regards Morgan, puzzled.
As Morgan and Daryl regard each other, Aaron begins talking, quickly, reminding them that whoever set that trap will be coming back, at some point, and that they have good news…they have a community, with electricity, and walls. Aaron tells Morgan he is welcome to come with them, if he likes.
Some ways away, another type of music is in the air…a singsong bird whistle carries hesitantly through the woods as Gabriel walks along, clad simply in a long-sleeved white shirt with dark pants.
Gabriel seems to find his resolve more and more with each step towards the walker, who is pretty busy in the moment, and who does not yet notice Gabriel behind it.
Eat Me Walker stands and begins lurching towards Gabriel, whose eyes are wide with fear, but who continues to step towards the fast-coming walker…
Gabriel pushes the walker back with its first rush at him, and it takes him one more second of considering his course before he does what any other person, sane or not, would do if he/she wanted to continue living…he defends himself.
Gabriel takes a large rock and smashes it into Eat Me Walker’s gnashing, reanimated head, spattering its brains all over the ground. The only thing I could think in the moment, watching this scene, was, “Well, where was all that brawn and bravado before, Gabriel, when Rick and the gang could have really used another killing machine in their many righteous battles against the undead, and your ass just hung back, and watched, and sniveled? You better be jumping up and getting up in there next time…just sayin’…time to be a helper, Gabriel!”
Gabriel lifts the rock high, and brings it down on the poor man’s head, killing him for good.
Abraham turns to go. “I’ll come by later,” he mutters, trying to duck out the door. “He’s asleep,” Rosita says. Abraham stops. Rosita smiles at him, as if trying not to laugh. “He’s asleep, sit,” she says. Rosita turns back to writing as Abraham quiety closes the door and begins to gingerly step over to Tara’s bed.
After taking a second to stare down at Eugene, determining if he really is asleep, Abraham begins to ease himself slowly into the chair beside Eugene when…
Eugene jolts awakes, sees Abraham beside him. He peers over at Abraham, who is turning back from shooting Rosita a look…Abraham and Eugene regard each other a moment.
Eugene continues, “She also cracked open my gourd to considering implications I hadn’t… I’ll remark on those at this time.”
“My bet was that you needed that,” Eugene continues, still looking over at Abraham. Abraham is kind of staring ahead, at Tara’s sleeping form, taking it all in.
“And I mean both, emphatically and in equal measure,” Eugene concludes.
Eugene hurriedly tries to assure Abraham that his apology is “utterly and completely unnecessary,” when Abraham reminds him that:
Meanwhile, Spencer, who is pulling gate duty, hears a rap at the gate, peers through an opening in the tarp covering the fence, and sees Gabriel has returned.
Gabriel does not reply, just looks like his usual spooked self, and Spencer turns to go, then turns back to Gabriel. “Do you think we could find some time to talk later?” he asks the priest. “About Aiden? There’s just some things I need to say, and I’m not sure who I can say them to.”
Gabriel whispers something like, “I see,” which really isn’t the most comforting or reassuring reply, but Spencer seems like he’s already onto number next. There’s a meeting to get to, and it’s a big one…they’re gonna be talking exile and shit.
“Cool,” Spencer says breezily, and turns to go, then turns back to Gabriel, motions towards the gate. “Can you get that?” Spencer asks Gabriel, and like someone half asleep, Gabriel whispers, “Yeah…”
“Thank you,” says Spencer, turns, and strides off towards the meeting. Gabriel turns and pulls the gate closed, half-heartedly, and is already walking away as the metal door bounces against the frame and begins to roll back open…unlatched, unlocked, unmanned…open.
Meanwhile, out in the woods…
Nicholas goes for what he knows, reaching for his pistol and firing upon the walker , rekilling it instantly. Glenn knows this is the moment to strike, and he tackles Nicholas against a tree.
The noise attracts the attention of Aye, Aye, Aye Walker, who ambles up crookedly with a high-pitched, gurgling snarl, “Aye…aye…aye!”
Rick sits a moment, then turns to Michonne, and starts to confess the truth. He looks pretty adorable, abashed, not really able to meet her eyes at times as he comes clean with her.
Rick, still holding out the gun, looks at Michonne, who still does not reach for it.
“Well,” he jokes, “you did hit me over the head.”
Rick takes this in, gets up from the bed, walks over to Michonne. He stands before her, faces her.
Michonne tells Rick, “I think you can find a way.” Rick looks away, in a moment of resistance, or embarrassment, as he hears aloud what he probably already knew, deep down, to be true.
Michonne turns to leave. “Don’t be too long,” she tells Rick, who stands silently, mulling over her words.
Rick sits on the end of the bed, unsheathing a long, machete-style blade, weighing options, remembering words that Bob had told him, back on the goods run at the food bank:
As Rick stands and looks at the gun in his hand, Bob’s words continue to come back to him: “You’re gonna be back in the real world.”
We hear Bob’s laugh, then his reply: “Naw, this is a nightmare…and nightmares end.”
Rick is pacing around the room, thinking, deciding…as he looks out the window, something outside catches his eye…something very amiss.
Meanwhile, we see Gabriel, gate-jacker, returning to his makeshift chapel, where a surprise visitor awaits him…
Meanwhile, the town meeting is waiting to begin…Rick is not there, nor is Glenn, Gabriel, Nicholas, Carl.
We see a shot of the assembled townspeople, seated in chairs around a fire. We see Michonne looking around, surely wondering where Rick is, where the others are.
In response, Deanna Monroe turns back to the assembled citizens, says again, “We’re going to start.”
“We’re going to talk about what happened,” Deanna begins, “not the fight, not what precipitated it. We’re dealing with that. We’re going to talk about one of our constables, Rick Grimes. We’re going to talk about how he had a pistol…”
The scene shifts to the darkened woods outside the walls…
The scene shifts again, to the darkened streets of Alexandria…
Meanwhile, in Gabriel’s chapel…
Gabriel turns to face Sasha. “You don’t deserve to be here. What you did, can never be undone.”
Gabriel does not let up, however, and the hurtful words keep coming.
“Stop it! Stop it!” screams Sasha, rushing Gabriel, shoving him up against the wall.
Rick, meanwhile, is racing through the yards, searching…a couple of dogs from inside the houses begin barking, obscuring the sounds of something coming up behind Rick…
At the meeting, Michonne is trying to explain reality to the Alexandrians. It’s hard to know if the lot of them are picking up what she is putting down…
“And after being out there, and then not being how you were out there, it can drive you crazy. Rick just wants his family to live. He wants all of you to live.”
In that very moment, in another part of town…
Back at the chapel…
…and out in the dark woods…
And, back around the fire, the Rick Grimes Testimonials continue…
Rick, meanwhile, has his hands full, as Blow Yer Top Walker has him pinned underneath as it snaps at Rick’s face…
As Glenn takes another, then another shot at Nicholas, out in the woods…
Case in point, elsewhere in town…
Rick, underneath Blow Yer Top Walker, continues to press into the underside of the walker’s chin, upward into its brain, pulling the trigger, and exploding Blow Yer Top Walker’s head in a gorish spray of fetid blood and brains, all over his face. Rick sputters, pushing the dead walker off him, and lying there with walker blood and goo all over his face and front.
And, speaking of terrifying people…50 miles away, at the canned food distribution center…
The poor man pleads with them, but the Wolfboys pay him no heed. “They’ll hear you,” the dark-haired one tells him. “It will take longer to reset.”
The dark-haired wolfboy turns to the blond one, as their latest victim, a newly deceased addition to their walker army, slumps to the ground, his life’s blood streaming out of the gash in his throat. “Welcome home,” the dark-haired one says, as the wolfboys turn to regard the savage walkers, fenced in, snarling, beyond the gate.
After a much-needed commercial/beverage re-up break, we are taken back to Alexandria, where Maggie is talking to the group about Rick Grimes.
Maggie continues, “And all of us, who were together before this place, no matter when we found each other, we’re family now. Rick started that.”
Maggie looks around at those gathered, at Deanna. “This community…you people…that family…you want to be a part of it, too.”
After Maggie finishes speaking, Deanna steps forward. “Before we hear from…anyone else, I would like to share something in the spirit of transparency.”
Deanna rubs her hands, pauses, then with fingers laced, thumbs tapping together, continues: “Father Gabriel came to see me the day before yesterday, and he told me that our new arrivals can’t be trusted, that they are dangerous, that they would put themselves before this community.”
Deanna continues, “And, not one day later, Rick seemed to demonstrate all the things that Father Gabriel said.” Deanna looks at the group assembled, concludes, “I had hoped Father Gabriel would be here tonight.”
As Deanna moves to sit back down, Jessie speaks up.
“He’s not here,” Maggie confirms.
“Neither is Rick,” Deanna fires back.
And, neither is Noah…and for that, out in those dark woods, Glenn wants to make Nicholas pay…
And back in the chapel…
Meanwhile, 50 miles away, a surreal moment unfurls…and the plot thickens.
Back at the meeting…
Out in the woods, pistol to his head, Nicholas is terrified, pleading, blubbering…
Back at the chapel, pointing her rifle at Gabriel, Sasha is struggling with her own moral dilemma…
Maggie looks down at Gabriel, her face showing her compassion for the priest’s anguish. She kneels down, and looks at Gabriel.
Meanwhile, at the town meeting…
“But,” Rick continues, “we’ll kill them. We’ll survive. I’ll show you how.”
“But I’m not gonna do that…”
Rick turns to Deanna. “I’m not sorry for what I said last night…”
And right on cue, here comes Mr. Bad Luck himself, Dr. Petey McBeaty…
Reg, being the kind, kind soul that he is, rushes forward, between McBeaty and Rick, trying to talk McBeaty down. “Pete…you don’t want to do this!”
McBeaty growls out, “Get the hell away from me, Reg.” Reg, being a good, reasonable man, continues to try to talk sense into a furious, probably drunk, madman. (Let’s face it…if McBeaty broke in and stole Michonne’s katana from their house, he probably took the booze, too!)
Deanna frantically tries to call Reg back, but before she can get him to back away from McBeaty, luck does indeed run out for Reg…and Deanna. 😦
Wow. Done. It has been a long, epic, and sometimes arduous journey to get this last post out. Life, and all that. Thank you for reading, and for being patient, and a special thank you to all those who kept checking in these last two months, to see if I had posted yet. It was like a blue jay pecking at my open wound (completely intentional reference to Seth McFarlane’s hilarious western spoof, A Million Ways To Die In The West…once again, I say, thank you, Seth McFarlane!) to see my sad stats page, knowing I was letting readers down.
All apologies, loves, and I do hope, with my finale post, and with my homage to WD Season 5, that I brought it in a way that was worth the wait. Let me know. Give me a shout. Much fun to be had this summer, with social media, new music tech, and new spinoff series, Fear The Walking Dead.
Start of the turn? In L.A.? I am so there! Not writing about it (unless someone wants to hire me for recap/synopses…give a shout! I can be brief, and not use cuss words…really!) but maybe a pic or two, a playlist with each episode. I have lots of fun on social media, always throwing random stuff out in my continuous worship of pop culture, so keep posted with barnfullawalkers this summer:
Happy summer, loves, and enjoy the playlist. Lots of fun to look forward to…stay tuned, and keep in touch…I may be showing up in some TWD chatrooms, waxing poetic about Richonne and shit…and if I pull it off, a new graphic header just in time for Season 6!
I dedicate this post to my sister, Peg. Thank you for supporting me, and believing in me. I love you.
Season 5 Finale Playlist:
Carl Douglas, “Kung Fu Fighting”
KRS One, “Sound of the Police
DMX, “What’s My Name?”
Prodigy, “Smack My Bitch Up”
Ty Segall, “Shoot You In The Head”
Royal Blood, “Little Monster”
The Soft Moon, “Insides”
Cold War Kids, “Relief”
Father John Misty, “True Affection” (for Rick and Jessie)
West Indian Girl, “Get Up”