Warning: Spoilers ahead for those who have not seen the season 5 penultimate episode “Try.”
In my review of last week’s brutal episode “Spend,” I said a major sh*tstorm was brewing with absolutely nothing going right for Rick and Co. in their new-found Garden of Eden. The community leader’s son, Aiden, had been killed, the Godly Gabriel morphed into a Judas and threw the group under the bus, and things were about to explode between Rick and Pete Anderson. What more can happen, right? Well, plenty. While tonight’s episode isn’t full of action sequences and there’s no additional deaths, all of these storylines will converge and begin to cross paths, building up to what I anticipate being the mother of all finales next week.
It didn’t take any further than the opening scenes to tell us clearly that Alexandria is no longer the paradise it was when Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his family walked through the gates hopeful and ready for a new beginning just a few days prior. The dark side of Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh). begins to seep through, and she’s no longer the nice, confident, smart lady we saw in “Remember.” Even though Aiden was a complete ass, he still was Deanna’s son, which is something Carol (Melissa McBride) being a mother herself can completely relate to. So, Miss Betty Crocker/Carol makes the Monroe family a casserole and leaves a sympathy card reading “We’re truly sorry for your loss.” Deanna responds with absolutely no emotion by leaving the casserole and burning the sympathy card. Now, I understand that Deanna is hurting and people who are grieving often cannot see things clearly, but her actions are disturbing because it seems to indicate she blames Carol and her group for Aiden’s death.
In the meantime, Daryl (Norman Reedus) is out on a run with Aaron (Ross Marquand), and 2 big things happen that immediately set off alarm bells for me. First, Aaron notices that there seem to be more walkers nearby than there had been before. Second, Daryl spots a light off in the distance which means they have company and aren’t alone. Uh, oh. My stomach began to sink, and 2 words came to mind: Herd and Wolves. Double whammy.
Both are probably nearby, and this is all before the opening credits!
There are 4 separate storylines going as we edge closer to the season finale, one of them being this mysterious group we are calling The Wolves. Assuming the Wolves are the same people who have been carving W’s in the foreheads of walkers, we’ve seen their footprint all the way back near Richmond, VA where it appeared that Noah’s family and community had been slaughtered by this group. And, with Daryl’s discovery in last week’s episode of a similar walker with a W etched in this forehead, the group seems to be fairly mobile if they are now in the area of Alexandria. Even with the discovery of the lone walker, we still didn’t know how long ago it was done. That walker could have been branded weeks or months ago, and the Wolves could be long gone. Well, we finally get confirmation tonight that this assumption was more like wishful thinking. While Daryl and Aaron are out on their run, they come across a mutilated walker with its torso missing. In addition, there is a dead woman tied to a tree that had been disemboweled, and guess what else? There’s a W carved in her forehead. Okay, this is major because this seems to confirm that the W is carved while the person is still alive, kind of like a branding, and then, if you screw up and piss the group off, they throw you to the wolves — no pun intended. But, the scary part is Daryl notices that the woman’s wounds are fresh, which means these sickos are nearby. Daryl and Aaron — I think this is your cue to get the hell out of dodge and alert the rest of the group.
Back in Alexandria, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) is having issues of her own. She still seems to be a dark place, trying to deal with the emotional scars of having lost both Bob and Tyreese (and we also learn the guilt of having told Noah that he wasn’t going to make it). After her shift at the lookout tower, she decides to vent her frustration by taking a stroll in the woods, popping off any walkers who happen to wonder by. However, a very large group appears out of nowhere, but fortunately, Michonne (Dania Gurira) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) had gone looking for her and shows up in the nick of time, saving Sasha after she ran out of ammo and had been knocked down by a walker. The point here is this a very large group of roamers — much larger than what they had seen before — which once again smelled of a horde nearby. Stay tuned. This will become important again towards the end of the episode.
Besides all of this, let us not forget Rick and Carol’s vendetta against Pete Anderson (Corey Brill) because the sh*t is about to get kicked up into everyone’s faces. Carol finally is able to have a more intimate conversation with Sam where she gets all but confirmation that Pete is, indeed, abusing Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge), which she immediately relays to Rick. One particular incident involved Sam hiding in the closet while Jessie was on the living room floor unconscious and bleeding with PorchDick Pete outside drinking as if nothing was amiss at all. About this time, Pete walks by and while I do think Pete is bad, Rick is the Dick in this situation and his behavior is totally uncalled for.
Yeah, keep walking — Rick to Pete
Of course, Pete just stares with a confused look on his face like, ‘What in the hell is your problem?’ (and rightfully so!!).
It seems clear to me that Rick has already decided what he’s going to do, but at least he does take the time to bring Deanna into the loop. After all, she is the leader of the community. So kind of you Rick to let your boss in on the fact that you’re thinking about killing someone in her community! Here we get the famous scene from the comics of Rick and Deanna (in the comics, it was Douglas Monroe) talking about the situation at Alexandria’s little cemetery. Rick relays his concerns about Pete, and Deanna responds, “I’d hoped it would get better,” indicating she knew about the abuse all along and did nothing about it. And why? Because Pete Anderson is Alexandria’s only doctor, and to be blunt, they needed him.
Pete’s a doctor, a surgeon. He saves lives, he may be saving Tara’s — Deanna to Rick
Should have known it was something like that.
Rick presents 2 choices: separate Pete and Jessie, or he will have to kill Pete. This is when Deanna goes against Rick for the very first time, and she makes her intentions very clear. She’s not going to tolerate Rick turning Alexandria into the Wild West and gunning down members of the community. After all, Alexandria is civilization, and in a civilized society, you don’t just kill somebody if there’s a problem. If he goes through with it, she won’t kill him but she will send him away. Even with this threat and the ramifications his actions may have on his family and their future, Deanna walks away and we know exactly what Rick’s thinking. He’s going to do it, and he doesn’t give a crap what Deanna Monroe has to say about it. After all, he’s the Ricktator, right? Some things never change.
Rick’s next stop is, of course, Pete and Jessie’s house. He tells Jessie he can help her, and while initially she refuses, she almost changes her mind when he tells her that Sam has been asking how to get a gun — almost. But, then, one very crucial thing happened: Jessie asks Rick if he would do this for anybody else. He pauses, but finally admits that he wouldn’t — he’s doing it especially for her. This is what Jessie needed. She’s got the assurance that she’s got Rick — someone to protect, love, and be there for her and her sons. So she gives the green light.
About this time, Pete walks in the door, and the scene gets very ugly very fast. A huge fight erupts, and we get another famous comic-book scene of Rick and Pete barreling through the living room window. Whoo, doggies! The sh*t is about to get real! Now, the fight is in the middle of the street, and everyone in Alexandria hears the commotion and comes running.
This is where Rick loses it, I mean completely loses it. For the record, I don’t agree with what Rick is doing. With all the similarities with the Shane and Lori arc, it’s obvious Rick is in lust, and it’s completely clouding his thinking. Plus, what gives him the right to come in this community (which HE was invited in, in the first place!) and start fights, make accusations, and threaten to kill its people? Deanna rushes in to try and break up the fight, and Rick responds by pulling a gun on her — a gun that he wasn’t supposed to be carrying in the first place! Rick then goes on a rant about how everyone in Alexandria don’t have a clue of what they’re doing, making him look like a lunatic and definitely certifiable.
You fight or you die! I’m not going to stand by… — Rick
And, then someone steps up and sits this crazy loon right on his ass, and it’s Michonne. You go, girl! The woman knocks Rick out stone cold with a rock, and just in time. Thank you, Michonne, because I don’t know what Rick would have done if you hadn’t shown up.
This is the end of the episode, and so, now what? First, I personally think Pete is a goner — I just don’t know if Rick will be the one who pulls the trigger. Sam having that red balloon tied to his toy boat concerns me because I’ve got a bad feeling a gun is on that boat. I also think Sam now has the gun after that creepy scene of the red balloon floating away. Either way, I think we are heading for a firefight showdown, which will likely create a chain reaction of events involving 2 of our other evolving storylines — the Wolves and the nearby horde. Gunfire could alert the Wolves to the safe zone’s location leading to an attack, and of course, it certainly could get the attention of more walkers. In fact, the noise from the fight between Rick and Pete and the breaking of the window glass reeled in more roamers, and Sasha had trouble keeping the situation under control as more and more walkers piled up against the gate and began banging on the walls. Can you imagine the number they will attract if there is a big firefight?
That’s 3 arcs that are converging, but at the beginning of the review, I mentioned 4. The 4th one involves Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Nicholas (Michael Traynor). In the comics, Nicholas isn’t quite as bad, and it’s particularly unsettling that they have changed the character so dramatically and what’s more, they’ve pitted him against Glenn. Glenn has humiliated Nicholas and threatened his manhood time and time again, and tonight, he even tells Nicholas that he shouldn’t go outside the gates again (I.E. — he’s not capable of dealing with what’s outside these walls).
Those 4 lives, that’s on you. Noah, that’s on you too. They are dead because of you. People like you should be dead, but the walls went up just in time. Don’t you ever go outside these walls again, by yourself or with anyone else — Glenn to Nicholas
Something tells me Nicholas may be looking for some revenge, and that scene of him digging up that buried gun has me particularly concerned. To be honest, I’m more worried about the outcome of this particular storyline than any of the other 3. Michael Cudlitz had said in a recent interview that the season finale will be sad but it will also “make fans angry.” Well, Nicholas killing Glenn would definitely be heartbreaking and also make people pretty damn mad. Hopefully, that won’t happen, Nicholas will get what he deserves, and Glenn will be proclaimed a hero. But, until that actually plays out, I’m going to be a complete wreck.
Regardless, folks, the stage has been set for what I call a perfect storm. And, in fact, you could even call this episode the calm before the storm. Yes, we got a little bit of action towards the end with crazy Rick completely losing it, but I think that will pale compared to what is to come in next week’s finale where we will see the fallout of all of these threats coming together. Brace yourselves, everyone, we are about to fly into the eye of the hurricane.
The 90-minute season 5 finale of The Walking Dead airs next Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.
5,16 “Conquer” Sneak Peek:
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com