No Chris Hardwick, that is not how you end a season.
After the first two seasons of “The Walking Dead,” fans assumed that every season would probably end with a giant wiping of the slate with several character deaths. Along with past seasons, the Season Five finale proved that is not entirely so.
After Rick’s meltdown in front of the people of Alexandria, whether or not to excommunicate him has come into question. Rick spends much of the episode talking with members of his group about what he should do and say at the meeting that will decide whether or not he will be forced to leave.
Father Gabriel spends the episode deciding whether or not he even wants to live in this new world with the group. He plots to get Rick’s entire group excommunicated, and he shares a few harsh words against the group in the process. At the end of the episode, him and Sasha, another character who contemplates whether or not she wants to live, find themselves brawling with each other. Sasha overpowers him, but as she stands over Gabriel while holding a gun, Gabriel begs for her to end his life. Gabriel’s actions against the group are hypocritical because he himself made conscious decisions that cost people their lives. Although this episode was interesting character development for Gabriel, Seth Gilliam, the actor who plays Gabriel, is not sincere enough to make it believable. I think I speak for most fans when I say I would prefer that he have been made into zombie chow.
Glenn finds himself battling Nicholas in the woods throughout the episode. Afraid for his own life, Nicholas believes that he has to kill Glenn in order to not be expelled from Alexandria. He shoots Glenn in the shoulder, beats him, and leaves him for the zombies, but Glenn survives, and takes down Nicholas. Despite having the chance to kill Nicholas, Glenn spares. The attacks on Glenn appear to be nothing more than death fake-outs that were meant to keep the audience interested. Like with Father Gabriel, Nicholas should have died. I understand that the writers are trying to show that just as the citizens of Alexandria are becoming more accustomed to a harsher lifestyle, Rick’s group is becoming more civilized. However, killing Nicholas is a necessary evil as his actions have caused multiple deaths, and because he literally just tried to kill Glenn.
Daryl and Aaron spend the episode trying to find more recruits for Alexandria. Unfortunately, a trap left behind by the mysterious “W” group leave them trapped in a car with hundreds of zombies surrounding them. Like with Glenn, the writers chose to have another death fake-out, by making us believe that Daryl was going to sacrifice himself to save Aaron. However, being the captain of perfect timing, Morgan shows up and kills the zombies using his new weapon of choice, a staff. The scene was cool, but I doubt that even Kilik from “Soul Calibur” could have killed all the zombies with his staff. After being rescued, Daryl discovers that Morgan is looking for Rick, so he takes him back to Alexandria.
During the meeting to decide Rick’s fate, Rick discovers that several zombies managed to break through because of Gabriel’s negligence. Rick kills all the zombies, and heads to the meeting. After Rick’s group speak on his behalf, and Deanna leans more toward excommunicating him, Rick shows up to tell them what happened. After explaining the situation, Pete confronts Rick with Michonne’s sword. As Deanna’s husband Reg tries to calm the drunken Pete, the sword accidentally slices his throat open causing him to bleed out and die. Realizing that Rick was right all along, Deanna finally gives Rick permission to kill him. Being that Rick was the only character in the episode to not show mercy, this could have been a powerful scene, but it suffers from two major problems.
First off (and this is not a nitpick), a samurai sword, especially one that has been used extensively and has not been professionally sharpened in years, cannot just cut into a person’s neck like a lightsaber through butter. The second is that Pete is an alcoholic, but he is not an idiot. He knows that he needs Rick gone, so why the hell would he do something so colossally stupid to screw it all up? Even after Rick’s little speech at Alexandria, his fate was still 50/50. If Pete would have been sober, and said a somewhat reasonable argument, he could have gotten Rick excommunicated. However, then we wouldn’t have gotten the ending with Morgan watching a bloody Rick shoot an incapacitated man. The episode ends with the mysterious “W” group AKA The Wolves finding the photos of Alexandria showing that they will attack there next.
As far as endings go, “The Walking Dead” has had far more anticlimactic and disappointing endings (Seasons 3 and 4 come to mind). The episode tries to achieve character development and it does have a few cool action scenes. However, it also takes zero risks. Similar to Season 4, this finale ends on a cliffhanger with The Wolves on the prowl. If The Wolves plot ends in a single episode like the Terminus plot, than fans will most certainly be pissed.