(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.
Inside the car, we see Morgan sleeping.
.. sits up, smiles…
…as he looks up, sees his rabbit’s foot, hanging from the rearview mirror…it seems to have kept him safe for another night. I am assuming that this rabbit’s foot belonged to Morgan’s son, Duane, who was bitten by his mother-turned-walker, Jenny Walker. While watching this scene, I imagined that Morgan started every day by taking a moment to remember his son, his wife, his family. The rabbit’s foot was an item that Morgan lay on the altar back at Gabriel’s church (right before finding the map to D.C. with Abraham’s note to Rick written on it) as he knelt in prayer at the altar. It seems here, from Morgan’s serene countenance, that he has found some peace within himself since Rick, Carl, and Michonne last encountered him in Season 3’s “Clear.”
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.
Morgan takes the cup from the fire, rips open a packet of instant soup or something, and pours the contents in the cup. As he stirs his breakfast, the shot pans out…
…and we see another figure approach, a young man with dark hair, who steps forward upon a rock, across from where Morgan sits. The young man balances playfully on the rock a moment before stepping down. He appears to be pointing a handgun at Morgan. Morgan says nothing, does not acknowledge the young man’s presence.
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.
“What’s the “W” for?” Morgan asks the young man, who bears a “W” mark on his forehead.
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.”
The young man then taps the “W” on his forehead. “They’re back, now,” he informs Morgan.
Morgan regards the young man, and all his posturing, with amusement.
He looks down, biting back his laughter…
…and as Morgan looks away, composing himself (and rechecking his periphery), the young man prompts, “Thoughts?”
In reply, Morgan turns his attention back to the young man, looks at him a moment before answering.
“Every thing gets a return,” Morgan replies.
The young man sits back and processes this a moment, then smiles, uncertainly. “Are you shittin’ me?” he asks Morgan.
Morgan shakes his head earnestly. “No, I shit you not,” he assures the young man. The two men share a laugh at this.
Still laughing, the young man sits back, regards Morgan. “I like this…just talkin’,” he says. Then his face becomes somber again. “I don’t get to meet new people very often,” he tells Morgan, figuring, “Maybe, once every two weeks.”
“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.
The young man continues, musing, “Little chats in front of the fire, with a stranger…that’s the closest thing to movies, now.” Morgan keeps his eyes on the young man, nods warily.
“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.
Morgan’s hand pauses, the mug stops mid-sip. He lowers the mug. “Why?” he asks the young man, puzzled, free hand turned up in question.
“Because I want it,” the young man replies, frowning. He blinks slowly, then says to Morgan:
“I want everything you have…every last drop.”
“Can I keep a little of it?” Morgan asks, testing the young man. “Just to get me through a day or two, you know, just to keep me alive?” I feel like Morgan is testing the young man, to see how much of a danger he really is, testing if the young man has any empathy or compassion left inside him at this point.
The young man looks at Morgan. His eyes are devoid of any feeling or compassion. “I’m taking you, too…” the young man says, slowly.
“…and you won’t exactly be alive,”
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.
“You can have my supplies. You can have everything,” Morgan offers the young man.
“There doesn’t need to be any ugliness,” Morgan continues, “but I can’t allow you to take me away.”
“I will not allow that,” Morgan says, gently, firmly.
Morgan reaches down for his wooden staff, only to be stopped by the sound of the safety being released on the young man’s gun.
“Don’t move,” the young man commands, and Morgan’s hand freezes mid-air, above the staff.
Morgan turns back towards the young man, his hands raised in a gesture of surrender.
The young man motions Morgan back, still pointing the gun at Morgan.
“Just…be still,” the young man says to Morgan. Then the young man’s eyes harden a bit, and a small smile returns to his face. He says it again…
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…
After Morgan leaps away from the young assailant’s first strike, he grabs his staff and whirls around, delivering a swift blow to the dark haired young man, knocking him to the ground.
Morgan ducks low to evade another wild swing from the blond wolfboy’s scythe, and the young man’s balance is thrown off again…
A swift strike from Morgan’s staff into the young man’s lower spine sends him toppling forward into the dirt.
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.”
As the young men come to a shaky stand, the dark-haired one regards Morgan with a new respect, and fear.
The blond one menaces forward, glaring at Morgan. “You should just go,” Morgan warns them. “Now.” The blond young man growls, “No,” and lunges for Morgan 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.
It is truly satisfying to watch Morgan kick some wolf-poser ass, with style, grace, and restraint, in the way of the master. #kungfupimp
Morgan then whirls with pimp flourish, twirling his staff expertly as he changes direction, readies his stance. His young opponents struggle to come to another shaky stand… they flank Morgan, pause, wait for their opportunity to strike again. This next time, they will both rush him at once, and Morgan knows this, waits for the attack.
“Just go,” Morgan says again. The young men, of course, do not listen.
The young dark haired one draws his knife. It seems the two wolfboys aren’t used to having to work this hard to subdue other victims…
…as they crouch, reading Morgan, readying for the next attack. The blond one seethes as he looks at Morgan. This time, it’s personal.
Morgan softens his gaze downward, as if at a focal point in front of him. Watching this scene, I was reminded of young Luke Skywalker, wearing eyeshields, learning to tap into The Force and block an attack with his lightsaber, without relying soley on his sense of vision to guide him. Morgan seems to use the point in front of him to access his peripheral vision equally on both sides, to be able to feel and read sudden movement from either end, and respond accordingly. “Please,” he asks, once more. His unspoken message is clear: Go now, young wolf posers…don’t make me do this.
Suddenly, the dark haired one screams,“Now!” and both young adversaries rush Morgan at once, from opposite sides.
It’s time to shut it down. Morgan sends the dark haired boy into the dirt, unconscious, with one or two swift high strikes to the head…
…Morgan whirls to the other young man and sends him out with a high, then low, strike, from each end of his staff, bam bam! There is no more movement from either of the young men. #knockedthefuckout
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.
The damn gun was empty the whole time?
Nothing to be done but sully the staff with some walker brains…Morgan pulls a cloth from his coat pocket and wipes his staff clean of the undead mess on his chosen weapon.
In the next shot, we see Morgan carefully lay the unconscious blond man on top of his dark haired counterpart in the back seat of the abandoned car he himself had spent the previous night in. (Enjoy your nap, wolf-posers, and btw, those “W’s” you drew on your foreheads look really fucking stupid. Wearing a “W” on your forehead doesn’t make you a wolf, or a primal tribesman, or anything remotely cool like that. It just makes you look really dumb, like you’re fronting wolf while acting like sadistic, demented assholes.) “W” clearly stands for “wack” and “Whatever, weirdos.”
Morgan shuts the young feral felons into the back seat, and then leans across the front seat of the car, honking the horn 2 or 3 times, ostensibly to alert their “tribe” to come look for them. We see that Morgan’s way of dealing with the men is very different from the way Rick Grimes would have handled them. Morgan could easily have killed his young assailants, or left them to be killed by walkers, but didn’t…he seems to value their lives to the degree that he took the time and effort to move them to an enclosed, protected place, where they wouldn’t be prey to walkers as they lay unconscious. Morgan then looks up at Duane’s rabbit’s foot, hanging from the rearview, and smiles at it once again before tearing the lucky charm from the mirror, taking a quick look around, and slipping off into the forest, in search of Rick Grimes.
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…
Daryl Dixon. ❤
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 Grimes wakes up in lockdown.
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.
Shielding his eyes, caught unawares, Rick looks up at her.
Girlfriend is not looking pleased.
“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.
Oh, Rick, does your head suddenly hurt sooo bad that you can’t answer the question? I love the man, but Rick Grimes is kind of being a total drama king right now.
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?)
“You could have told me what was happening,” Michonne tells Rick.
Rick turns the baby blues up to max volume, looks at Michonne. “It moved fast…and then, Noah,” he says, by way of explanation. (Whatever, dude. That’s code for, “I was seeing everything through my one-eyed monster, and now, here I am…here we are.”)
Michonne ain’t buying it, and, really, neither am I.
“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.)
In response to Rick’s drama king “Well, we’re here“ comment, Michonne regards him coolly, replies, “Well, you just said you weren’t.” Rick looks at her like, “D’oh!” Oooo, burn, Rick Grimes!
The door opens then, and Glenn, Carol, and Abraham file into the room.
As Glenn, Carol, and Abraham stand, watching, we hear Michonne’s voice ask Rick, “Where’d you get the gun?”
Before Rick can answer, we hear Carol’s voice chime in, quickly, ” You took it, right?” (And thus begins the Carol’s Gonna Save Her Own Ass part of this program…)
“From the armory?” Carol prompts, looking hard at Rick, like, <“Um, I ain’t getting exiled along with you, dude…just sayin’.”>
Carol continues her award-winning performance. “That was stupid,” she admonishes Rick. “Why’d you do it?”
The First Carol Commandment states: First and foremost, thou shalt save thy own ass.
Rick looks away, turns up his hand like a shrug, then looks back at Carol, locks eyes with her. Then, Rick says, “Just in case,” cocks his head to the side. Michonne watches all this, studies Rick closely through narrowed eyes.
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.”
Rick takes this all in, his fingers working. How are you enjoying this nice little war you’ve started so far, Rick Grimes? Any 20/20 hindsight kicking in yet?
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…”
Listening to this, Michonne’s like, “What the shit?”
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.)
Rick looks over at Michonne after delivering this announcement. (I guess no good deed really does go unpunished, does it, Deanna Monroe?)
“Like at Terminus,” Glenn says.
“No,” Rick asserts. “We just tell ’em: They give us the armory, and it’s over.”
Glenn’s look says it all. Yeah, ok, dude. One question… do you hear yourself right now? WTF?
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.
Instead, Rick opens his arms in mock surrender, announces to the room, “I screwed up!”
(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 🙂 )
Rick looks around at the others in the room. “And, here we are,” he says. (Um, yeah, Rick, you said that already. He really does seem to know that he’s kind of fucking up the second chance they’ve been given, and the choice new digs for everyone else.)
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.”
Two words: Hot Brat.
And, speaking of brats…
Looking out a window, Maggie watches Gabriel, the holy brat, take his priest’s frock down off the clothesline.
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.
“I want to talk to everyone about what happened, and what we need to do about it,” Deanna says, firmly.
“If it includes sending Rick away,” Maggie says, looking Deanna in the eye, “It’s not going to work.”
Deanna looks at Maggie. “Tell me what that means,” she says.
“You let Rick in. You let all of us in.” Maggie looks at Deanna a moment before continuing. “You talked to us; you decided.”
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…
…and Deanna says that she will make the final decision, as she has done since the beginning.
Maggie explains, “(Rick) was frustrated…the things he’s seen? The things he’s lost…the things we have all lost.”
Deanna raises her eyebrows at this last part. “The things he’s lost?” she asks, softly.
Reg looks over at Deanna, like, “Uh oh...danger zone.“
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.
“Michonne stopped him, Deanna,” Reg reminds his wife, gently. “Michonne did.”
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.
“Maggie!” Reg hurries down the stairs after her. Maggie whirls around to face him. Reg stands on the steps, looks at the young woman before him, collects his thoughts a moment before speaking.
“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.”
Reg looks at Maggie. “That’s what I’m going to tell her…that’s what I’m going to tell everyone.”
Maggie looks at Reg, silently expressing her thanks and gratitude, before walking off. Reg, man, you’re awesome. Solid gold. ❤
Meanwhile, just outside the steel gates of Alexandria…
Sasha is doing the lonely work of cleaning up the walker bodies she rekilled up in the tower. She loads another corpse on her cart and pulls it towards a deep pit that has been dug for walker burial.
Sasha looks down at the bodies in the pit, then turns and tugs at the body on her cart…the body is stuck, and is hard to dislodge, and Sasha herself slides into the pit with the dead walkers.
After a moment, Sasha lowers herself down until she lay on top of the pile of walkers in the pit…
…and the shot pans out as Sasha closes her eyes, opens her arms, and surrenders to the strange peace of lying on top of the fallen walkers. A really dark concept, creating a really beautiful shot, Nicotero-style.
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.”
Daryl continues to stealth through the woods, tracking as he goes. “You sent people away?” he asks Aaron.
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.
“Davidson was their leader,” continues Aaron, as he follows Daryl through the woods. “Smart as hell, strong…I thought they’d work out. They didn’t.“
“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.
“I can’t make that kind of mistake again,” Aaron tells Daryl.
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.
Carol gets right down to business. “It’s good what happened last night,” she says. “We have more cover now…all of them think you’ve been ‘found out.’ They think it’s over.”
Carol holds out another handgun to Rick, and after a moment, he takes it.
After taking the gun, Rick looks at Carol. “Why didn’t you want to tell them we had more guns?” he asks her.
“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.
“I don’t want to lie anymore,” Rick says.
Carol looks at Rick. “You said you (don’t?) want to take this place, and you don’t want to lie? Oh, sunshine, you don’t get both.“
Rick shakes his head, taking in the full import of Carol’s words.
(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.
“What’s he doing?” Aaron asks, as they watch the man bend down, pick something from the ground, and rub it vigorously on his hands, then his face.
Watching the man, Daryl remarks, “Wild leeks…looks like somebody knows how to keep mosquitoes off him.”
After a moment, Daryl bids Aaron, “Come on,” and they begin to follow the man, keeping a safe distance behind.
Back at Alexandria…
Rick steps out of juvie, blinking in the sunlight…
…and begins to walk down the sidewalk, where Tobin and two other men stand. Tobin is wearing a rifle on his shoulder, a new development in Alexandria…the armory is being guarded, and it seems that Rick’s quarters are under watch as well.
Rick and Tobin greet each other as Rick passes. It is safe to assume the men with Tobin are armed as well, and Rick is most certainly packing his heat. When I first watched this episode, I thought Rick was carrying his pistol openly on him, but rewatching it, I am not sure if it’s open, or hidden, but it most certainly is on him.
Deanna looks up from her papers and watches Rick pass, with some alarm showing on her face.
Rick passes by Deanna, makes eye contact with her, but neither one greets the other as Rick passes.
Seems like Rick could have taken the opportunity to greet Deanna, or apologize for the previous day’s events, but I guess that’s not happening…
Glenn sits on the porch, waiting for Maggie to return from her meeting with Deanna as a shady lurker watches him from the shadows….
Nicholas Lurker watches Glenn, hatred in his eyes…he surely has his handgun on him.
Maggie comes up, and Glenn asks her what the verdict is…Maggie tells Glenn it’s what they thought.
Maggie assures Glenn that she will go and talk to people today, before the meeting, plead Rick’s case.
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?”
Instead of voicing his real thoughts, Glenn puts his hand on Maggie’s knee, smiles, tells her, “I love you.”
Maggie looks at Glenn’s troubled face. “We’re gonna work it out,” she tells him. “I know it.” They look at each other, and Maggie smiles bravely at Glenn. “I’ll see you there,” Maggie says, and the young couple parts ways.
After Maggie leaves, Glenn sits a moment more on the porch, thinking…a sudden noise makes him look up, and he sees…
… Nicholas, climbing up, and over, the fence. Glenn stands, looks around, then sets off after Nicholas.
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?”
Looking intense and spooky as all get-go, Gabriel replies, “I just want a quick walk.” He looks around, adds, “The Word of God is the only protection I need,” before heading out.
As he closes the gate, Spencer’s look is like, “Ummm…ok.”
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, please talk some sense into your father.
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.”
“That’s what it is, now, right? Home?“ Carl asks. The question stops Rick in his tracks, and he turns around to face his son.
Damn. Even with bandaids and shit all over his face, Rick Grimes is just one fine-ass looking man.
Rick looks at his son for a moment, then answers, “Yeah.”
Carl looks at Rick. “They need us,” he tells his father. “They’ll die without us.“
Rick looks at his son a moment, walks over to him, faces him.
“I may have to threaten one of them,” says Rick. “I may have to kill one of them.” “You won’t,” Carl asserts. “I might,” counters Rick.
“You have to tell them,” Carl says. Rick protests, “I tried to tell them last night.”
Carl looks into his dad’s eyes. “You have to tell them so they can hear you,” he tells his father, wisely. (I love Carl in this scene!)
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.
Rick Grimes has some of his finest moments when he is getting schooled by his son. ❤
Meanwhile, about 50 miles away…
Peering through binoculars, Daryl and Aaron spot a couple of tractor trailers which look promising for a major food score.
As Daryl surveys the trucks through the fence, Aaron laments, “We checked the forest, we checked the roads…we can’t find him.” He is talking about the man in the red jacket, who they spotted earlier. They have been searching for him, in vain, and ended up here.
“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.”
Daryl points out that if they do this now, it means they’ve given up on finding the man with the red jacket. Aaron replies that home is 50 miles back…it’s time to go.
“You saw it last night…there’s bad people out here,” Aaron says.
“That’s why we gotta keep looking for the good ones,” Daryl maintains.
“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.
After making quick work of rekilling the walkers through the fencing, Daryl and Aaron pull open the gate, and make their way towards the trailers, sitting abandoned in the loading area of the canned foods distribution center.
It seems like an ideal score...too good to be true.
As they approach the tractor trailers, Daryl and Aaron don’t seem to notice that each trailer has a couple of empty cans, with holes punched through and strung up alongside, or under, the trailers. The cans catch the wind, and seem to be some kind of noisemaking or alert mechanism.
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.
“Whoa!” Aaron exclaims, looking delighted. “Wasn’t sure I’d see one of these!” Yep, too good to be true…
As he works, Aaron tells Daryl that he doesn’t like giving up either, but, you know, the guy is in a red poncho…
“You can see him from a mile away!”
Aaron pulls up a license plate from Alaska…triple bonus score!
As they stand in front of the three trailers, Aaron happily remarks that even though they may have lost track of the man they were tailing, finding trailers full of canned goods is a pretty great find… Daryl agrees, squats down to pull open one of the trailer doors…the sliding door seems to set off some kind of chain-reaction mechanism, and all at once, all three doors slide open, and what they reveal inside is not quite the bounty the two men were looking for.
Sometimes, it seems, the universe has quite a twisted sense of humor…
…and triple bonus score is merely another name for…
Walkers begin to pour out of the trailers, snapping and snarling, while other walkers, without arms or legs, hang on hooks, helplessly gnashing their rotting teeth...just what is the deal with these torso walkers?
Daryl and Aaron make a run for it, only to find their way blocked by another large group of walkers…it seems the trailers open at both ends once the booby trap mechanism is set off.
Daryl and Aaron must fight through the first wave of walkers…Daryl uses his knife to spear through the walkers’ rotten skulls…
…while Aaron uses his newfound Alaska license plate to slice through the walkers’ brains, like a walker-killing MacGyver.
There are too many walkers to fight through, and Daryl and Aaron dive under one of the tractor trailers for momentary cover.
The walkers, however, are not far behind them, clawing their way, hissing, towards the men.
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…
I have no idea how the WD special effects mavericks achieved this particular effect, but kudos to them…so seamlessly realistic.
Daryl then spears his knife into a walker that has come up on Aaron. Aaron must be taking notes, because he machetes two walkers upside the head in pimp padawan style as the men run for cover from the walker horde that is closing in around them.
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.
Back inside the truck, hanging from hooks, the Torso Walkers are all like,”Goddamn it…we miss all the fun shit!”
Well, this sucks.
Aaron says the glass should hold a while…right? Daryl says he thinks so, comes up with the idea to cover the windows, so the walkers can’t see them in there, and eventually lose interest…if they can find something in the car to cover the windows, maybe they can ride it out, or maybe somebody else will come along…
As Aaron and Daryl look around the car for something to cover the windows with, Aaron finds a crumpled note, saying, “Trap. Bad people coming. Don’t stay.”
Aaron, alarmed, looks at Daryl, who looks down at the note. Shit.
Fucked creek, without a paddle, this is. #yodaspeak
And, speaking of fucked creek…
We hear a knock on the door, as we see McBeaty sitting alone in his dark, solitary mansion…it sure is gloomy and lonesome when there’s no one around to terrorize, huh, McBeaty?
After the second knock, McBeaty gets up, goes to the door, and opens it. Carol strides in, carrying a casserole.
“What the hell are you doing?” demands McBeaty. (Wow, McBeaty, you have quite the way with all the ladies, don’t you? What these Alexandrians have yet to realize is that a Carol casserole on the doorstep seems to be the equivalent of a dead canary…)
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 dunno, McBeaty, maybe next time, you should try another angle…that line doesn’t seem to work very well in your favor!
“I could kill you right now,” Carol informs McBeaty, holding the knife under his chin.
“I could,” Carol continues. “I will…”
“And who would believe I did it because I didn’t like you? No one,” Carol singsongs, holding the pointy end of her knife right up under McBeaty’s chin, twisting it for effect. McBeaty’s breath becomes shaky.
(It is truly comical to see this tiny woman holding a huge knife to this big man, who is breathing hard now, truly shaken.)
Carol keeps the knife point under McBeaty’s chin, not letting up. “They’d believe you tried to hurt me…they’d definitely believe that,“ she informs him.
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 brings the knife down, invites McBeaty, “Come at me.” McBeaty takes the barest step forward, then thinks better of it. “No?” asks Carol. McBeaty wisely doesn’t move, doesn’t answer. “Yeah?” taunts Carol. McBeaty stays still and silent as a stone. “No,” concludes Carol, with some regret in her voice.
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.
New Carol sizes up McBeaty. “You’re a small, weak nothing,” she says, disgustedly. “And with the world how it is, you’re even weaker.”
New Carol tells McBeaty, “Play your cards right, and maybe you don’t have to die.” She then shoves the casserole hard, into his gut, turns to leave, then turns back once more. “I want my dish back clean when you’re done.” And with that, New Carol walks out the door. McBeaty stands there a moment, in shock, before dropping the casserole to the floor, and in an impotent rage, storms into the other room and starts trashing it. “This isn’t my house,” he seethes. “This isn’t my house!” Loud crashing ensues.
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 peers at the rekilled remains of Houdini Walker (forgot about you in the memoriam, bud…sorry!) R.I.P. Houdini Walker
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.
Glenn winds back, falls to the ground.
Nicholas rushes forward from his cowardly hiding spot in the bushes. (Nicholas! You bastard!)
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.
As Jessie tries to clean up the broken mess of her living room window, we see a gentleman caller has come to pay a visit…
I love this look on her face when she looks up and sees Rick coming up her porch stairs. Alexandra Breckenridge does an amazing job in this scene, this episode, and of course, Andrew Lincoln…well, there are no words, even for me. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted. Michael Satrazemis, director of photography, director Greg Nicotero, of course…Deadies all around for this scene, another classic TWD moment.
“You should go,” Jessie says to Rick (translation: You should go to my bedroom, with me, now!)
“I just wanted to check on you,” Rick says, gently. #constabledreamy
Jessie and Rick share a sweet moment, looking at each other, not saying anything…in words, anyway.
Rick leans forward, noticing. “Your eye,” he says, concerned. Jessie is indeed sporting a black eye from McBeaty’s savage backhand when she tried to pull him off Rick, and break up the fight.
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.
“I’m not sorry I did it, no matter what happens, or what I have to do,” Rick tells Jessie (which is pretty much the most perfect thing he could say in this moment). #swoon
After another moment, Rick turn to go. As he turns away, Jessie calls to him, “Don’t turn around, Rick.”
Rick stops, waits. He doesn’t turn around.
“You were right,” says Jessie. Rick turns his face slightly towards her, before walking away.
And down the street, from inside a house that isn’t his own, we see McBeaty watching this interaction.
Cue the sinister Bear McCreary music…
50 miles away…
Inside the car, Daryl looks at the walkers outside the window, then looks straight ahead, gives a little laugh as a funny thought occurs to him. “Huh!”
Aaron looks over at Daryl. “What?” Daryl explains, with a shake of his head, “I came out here to…I feel all closed up back there (in Alexandria).”
Daryl looks towards Aaron, then slightly away as he marvels, “Even now…it still feels more like me.”
Daryl sadly muses that back at “those houses,” he was really putting himself “on.”
Aaron winces as the pain of Daryl’s sad statement hits him. Daryl feel his importance as someone who can contribute to his group out in the wild, but is overcome with self doubt finding his place in a walled, polite society, housed in homes that would have never been an option for someone like him before the turn.
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.
“That was it,” Aaron says, remembering. “That’s when I knew that I had to bring you people back.”
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.”
After a moment, Daryl pulls out a cigarette, puts it in his mouth, and reaches in his jacket, fishing for a light.
“I’ll go,” Daryl offers. Aaron turns, looks at him in disbelief. “I’ll lead ’em out, you make a break for the fence,” Daryl says, gesturing beyond the car’s windows.
Daryl then lights his smoke, inhales deeply.
“No, no, no,” Aaron counters. “This was my fault.”
Daryl looks at Aaron.
“It wasn’t a question,” rebukes Daryl, “and this ain’t your decision. Ain’t nobody’s fault.”
“Now, just lemme finish my smoke first.” (A very special Deadie right here, right now, for our man, Daryl Dixon: The Most Beautiful, Tender Hero, Always Award) Daryl Dixon, you are the most beautiful, tender hero, always. ❤
“No,” whispers Aaron. “You don’t draw them away…”
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! ) 🙂
Daryl looks over at Aaron, regards him with the barest of smiles, and a new respect. “All right,” he agrees. He takes one more drag of his smoke, asks, “Ready?”
“Yeah,” Aaron replies, softly. Daryl says, “We’ll go on 3.” Aaron grips his machete, and Daryl draws his knife, begins to bounce himself in the seat, readying himself for battle as he begins to count, “1…”
As Daryl counts, Aaron, gripping his machete, turns and locks eyes with one of the walkers, outside. 1-2-3 Walker seems to be smiling at Aaron, as if it knows what is about to happen…
“…2…!” Daryl counts, and as if on cue, 1-2-3 Walker’s brains are suddenly dashed against the car windows, to Aaron’s shock and surprise.
The car door is flung open, and we see who the rescuer is…Morgan!
Brandishing his trusty wooden staff, Morgan continues taking out walkers, buying Aaron and Daryl a moment to get out of the car and begin battling walkers themselves.
Aaron brings his machete down on a walker’s head…
…as Daryl stabs at the walkers, and Morgan takes them out with his staff. Between the three of them, they are able to clear a line to the gate and quickly get outside, pulling the gate closed behind them, barring the walkers’ way.
As the walkers rush the fence, Aaron, Daryl, and Morgan take a moment to process the fact that they just escaped, with their lives, against all odds. They did it!
Aaron turns to Morgan, ecstatic. “That was…” he begins, bowing his hands towards Morgan, unable to find the words. “Thank you,” he says, simply.
Morgan receives Aaron’s thanks, and praise, humbly.
Aaron introduces himself, and Daryl. Morgan introduces himself, “Morgan.” Daryl regards Morgan, puzzled.
“Why?” Daryl asks him. Morgan looks at Daryl.
“Why?” Morgan replies. “Because all life is precious, Daryl.”
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.
“I thank you,” Morgan tells them, politely and sincerely, “but I’m on my way somewhere. Fact is, I’m lost.” Morgan begins fishing in his coat pocket for something, says, “If you could tell me where we are,” and hands a map over to Daryl…
…who takes the map Morgan has handed him, and looks down to see Abraham’s note to Rick: “The new world’s gonna need Rick Grimes!” ❤
Daryl looks down at the map, then up at Morgan a couple of times, trying to wrap his head around this. Morgan returns his gaze in an open, friendly manner, his eyebrows raised in silent question.
🙂 Cue the sweet Bear McCreary piano music
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 be dressed in white for some sort of ritualistic Eat Me self-sacrifice, and is whistling, presumably, to attract walkers. Judging from Gabriel’s face, however, he may be whistling because he’s really, really terrified and doesn’t quite know what to do with all that.
Gabriel approaches a clearing, and what he sees beyond it warps his little singsong whistle into some shrill, discordant notes…he makes himself step closer…
…towards the walker feasting on some poor doomed somebody in the road.
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.
Gabriel opens his arms and calls out, “I’m ready!“
That gets Eat Me Walker’s attention, and it turns to face Gabriel.
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…
Arms open, walking towards the walker, Gabriel repeats, more uncertainly this time, “I’m ready.”
Eat Me Walker lurches towards Gabriel, whose face begins to look more and more like, “I’m not ready” for this…
“No, fuck this, I am definitely not ready for this! Fuck. This!”
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.
Crying, hating himself, Gabriel pulls at Eat Me Walker’s hanging noose end until the walker’s head pops off its rotten neck.
So much for self sacrifice. Never been a big fan of it, myself.
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 walks over to Eat Me Walker’s chomped victim, who lay convulsing on the ground…
Gabriel lifts the rock high, and brings it down on the poor man’s head, killing him for good.
Gabriel breaks down, sobbing. He collapses in the road, crying in real anguish. The Renegade Deadie goes to our man, Seth Gilliam, who is killing it once again as Gabriel, the tortured priest! (I do hope that Seth Gilliam can start living closer to the rest of the TWD cast during Season 6 shooting, and not be an outsider any more…closer digs would be way more fun.)
Meanwhile, back in Alexandria, Abraham comes to visit Tara, bearing hand cut flowers in a jar…
…and stops short when he sees Eugene’s dozing form, slumped in one of the visitor’s chairs beside Tara’s bed.
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…
…Rosita deliberately pushes a metal pan off the counter, sending it clattering loudly to the floor. “Whoops, “ Rosita mock laments. Abraham freezes in mid-sit, his face saying it all. She got him good, and they both know it.
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.
“Good afternoon,” says Eugene. Abraham says nothing.
First Abraham, then Eugene, turn their gazes back to Tara, sleeping in her bed. An awkward moment passes, then Eugene speaks up. “She saved my life,” he says, of Tara.
Eugene continues, “She also cracked open my gourd to considering implications I hadn’t… I’ll remark on those at this time.”
Eugene turns to Abraham. “You got us here. All I did was craft a top shelf lie, to which a person of strength and heroism could apply their talents.” (Editor’s note: The Top Shelf Lie is an amazing name for a mullet.)
“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.
“I thank you,“ Eugene says, simply and humbly, and bravely. Abraham turns to face Eugene.
Tears in his eyes, and a shake in his voice, Eugene looks at Abraham and says, “I am sorry.” Awww! ❤
“And I mean both, emphatically and in equal measure,” Eugene concludes.
After a moment, Abraham looks back at Eugene…
…then looks away again. As Rosita and Eugene watch, Abraham seems to really struggle with saying the words: “I’m…sorry, too.”
Eugene hurriedly tries to assure Abraham that his apology is “utterly and completely unnecessary,” when Abraham reminds him that:
“I almost killed you.” Abraham’s voice betrays his anger at himself for losing his shit on Eugene so hard after Eugene confessed his big lie.
“Yes,” Eugene concedes, “there’s that.” The men look at each other for one more awkward moment, then both turn back to look at Tara.
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.
Spencer rolls open the gate. “You’re back,” he greets Gabriel. “Good. Just wanted to sneak off to the meeting.”
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.”
Spencer looks shyly at Gabriel, confesses, “I don’t really have anyone here, right now, if you know what I mean.”
Oh, I think Father Gabriel knows exactly what you mean, Spencer!
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 is running through the woods, buggin’ hard, trying to find Glenn, who he shot, and lost…he sees a figure moving through the trees, raises his gun.
The moving figure, however, turns out not to be Glenn, but Je Ne Sais Quoi Walker, whose face alights as it spies Nicholas, and begins to stride towards him with a certain, undead, je ne sais quoi flair to its shuffling step.
Nicholas pulls out his knife as the walker approaches, but seems to lack confidence in his hand-to-hand walker takedown skills…
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.
Glenn, being shot, has the definite disadvantage of being wounded, in pain, and losing blood, but he manages to land some good shots at Nicholas…
Nicholas gets some good shots in on Glenn, and does the dick maneuver of jabbing a finger or thumb into Glenn’s bullet wound, causing Glenn to cry out in pain. Glenn tackles Nicholas to the ground…
…and manages to stomp the inside of one of Nicholas’s legs, hard, most likely breaking the bone. Nicholas gets the advantage once again, ending up on top of Glenn, punching him again and again, jabbing poor Glenn’s wound. Glenn screams out in pain.
The noise attracts the attention of Aye, Aye, Aye Walker, who ambles up crookedly with a high-pitched, gurgling snarl, “Aye…aye…aye!”
As Aye, Aye, Aye Walker comes up, Nicholas rolls off Glenn and flees, leaving Glenn at the mercy of the she-walker and two other undead fiends…Nicholas, you bastard!
Aye, aye, aye! Watching this finale episode, my WD buddy and I were super freaked at this scene, which ended with the shot fading out, to the next scene, or commercial. I turned to my WD buddy and said, “They’re not going to take Glenn down with a fade-out!”
Rick is sitting alone, looking down, thinking. Michonne comes up behind him, watches him a moment. “Rick,” she says, softly, “you ready?”
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.
“Daryl, Carol, and me…we worked it out together. Carol took three guns from the armory. I still have one, she still has one.” Rick turns to look at Michonne, who is digesting all this information.
Rick takes a deep breath before continuing. “We lied to you, because I wasn’t sure how you’d take it, what you’d do.”
Rick holds out the gun for Michonne to take. Michonne, however, makes no move to take the gun.
Michonne tosses the constable’s jacket on the bed, fixes Rick with a look. “You think I’d try to stop you?” she chides gently.
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.”
“That was for you,” Michonne replies, “not them.”
Rick takes this in, gets up from the bed, walks over to Michonne. He stands before her, faces her.
“I was afraid you’d talk me out of it,” Rick tells Michonne. “You could have.”
Michonne’s face softens as she looks at the big adorable dummy in front of her. “We don’t need them (guns) here,” she says gently, shaking her head. “I don’t need my sword.”
Michonne looks up at Rick, looking like The Most Beautiful Wise One (and you know that’s a Deadie, and you know it goes to Michonne/Danai Gurira!). ❤
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.
“We can find a way…” Michonne continues, “and if we don’t?” Michonne pauses a moment to let her next statement sink in, “I’m still with you.”
Dammit, Richonne, why? Why?? It could have been so amazing! I am trying to be supportive and unconditional with the whole Ressie thing, but you two, together, would have been the sexy superhero team-up of my dreams… <sob!>
Continuing to be a beautiful oracle, Michonne tells Rick, “Something’s gonna happen…just don’t make something happen.”
Rick takes the wisdom, and the lesson, in. He tries to hand Michonne his handgun one last time, and she presses it back towards him.
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:
“And you’re gonna find yourself in a place where it’s like where I used to be…and if you let too much go along the way, it’s not gonna work. “
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.”
Rick’s own words to Bob come back to him as he tucks the handgun into the back waistband of his pants, “This is the real world, Bob.”
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.
Alarmed, Rick grabs his jacket, and rushes out of the room.
Outside, Rick walks quickly towards the gate, which is open…he checks all around the fence, peers outside, then sees…
…blood and gory bits left on the slide-latch part of the gate…Rick looks down at the ground, sees drops of blood in a line leading into Alexandria.
Rick quickly pulls the gate closed, latches it locked, and turns to scour the streets of Alexandria…
…for uninvited, undead intruders!
Meanwhile, we see Gabriel, gate-jacker, returning to his makeshift chapel, where a surprise visitor awaits him…
Gabriel and Sasha look at one another a moment, then Gabriel walks silently up to the front of the chapel’s altar. Sasha looks down miserably towards the floor in front of her as she talks. “I came here…because I don’t know what to do…I’m losing my head.”
“Can you help me?” Sasha asks, still staring towards the floor, unable to look at Gabriel, tears in her eyes.
Gabriel turns to regard the woman seated in his chapel. “No,” he replies, cruelly.
Meanwhile, the town meeting is waiting to begin…Rick is not there, nor is Glenn, Gabriel, Nicholas, Carl.
Deanna Monroe’s face looks grim as she waits with Reg and Spencer.
Maggie is trying to keep cool, but glances over towards Deanna. You can tell she’s worried. It doesn’t look good for Rick, his not being there. And where is Glenn?
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.
We see Jessie, sporting a black eye, most certainly freaking out inside, but outwardly keeping it together pretty damn well, and looking pretty cute doing it.
After a moment more, Deanna announces to the assembled townspeople, “We’re going to start.”
“Can we wait?” Maggie’s voice is soft, but firm. “There’s still people coming. Glenn…Rick.” (Awarding a Maggie For President Deadie to Maggie Greene/Lauren Cohan here, for bringing it in Season 5, and looking gorgeous doing it!) ❤
In response, Deanna Monroe turns back to the assembled citizens, says again, “We’re going to start.”
Deanna turns to look at Maggie. “It’s already dark,” she says, petulantly. Man, these Alexandrians really have gone soft behind these walls!
Deanna turns and begins to make her case to the assembled. She orates grandly, and it is easy to imagine her before the turn, taking the stage, or the floor, and addressing the public, or her fellow members of Congress.
“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…”
“… he stole from the armory…”
“…about how he pointed it at people…”
“And, we’re going to talk about what he said.“
Deanna lays it on thick as she shakes her head and mock laments, “I was hoping he’d be here.” (It made me think that Deanna considered it a personal affront on Rick’s part, and a show of disrespect for the Alexandrian way, his not being at the meeting. It seemed to me that while Deanna considered herself an impartial judge, she had, on some level, already made up her mind about how she wanted to handle Rick, with this perceived insult at the forefront of her consciousness.)