The Walking Dead Fifth Season Finale “Conquer” Recap and Rating Poll

by on 03/30/2015

This is it! Everything this season has led Rick and company to their current precarious position in Alexandria, where it seems like the veneer of safety and civilization might be beginning to crack. What’s underneath, and more importantly, will Rick’s group survive it? Before we begin, remember to check in on our special forum for this episode’s discussion.

The episode begins on a shot of a crashed car in the woods. Inside, it’s Morgan! Yes, they finally picked up on that teaser.

He wakes up and smiles at his lucky rabbit’s foot hanging from the rear-view mirror. He then sets up a fire outside and makes himself a quiet hobo breakfast and some coffee.

A dirty man with a gun comes up and sits down. He holds the gun on Morgan. The man has a W carved into his head. He tells some story about how settlers put bounties on wolves heads and killed them off, but “they’re back now.”

There’s some really strange small talk. The guy calmly explains how they run through camps and trap people, but he’s enjoying chatting with Morgan “as equals.” But the upshot is that he wants “everything you have” and that Morgan won’t survive it.

Morgan listens, tries to warn the guy off, says he won’t allow that. Morgan moves toward a weapon and the guy pleads with him to “be still.”

Another man with a W on his head suddenly comes out of the woods and tries to kill Morgan. Morgan does some karate ninja stuff with a stick and beats both bandit’s asses. He gives them another chance go and they don’t take it, so he knocks them out.

A walker is drawn to the commotion. Morgan picks up the first guy’s gun and tries to shoot it, but it turns out it wasn’t loaded all along. So, he slams the walking in the head with his staff.

Morgan puts the unconscious men in the car. He then blows the car horn, apparently to attract walkers. Then he takes his lucky rabbit’s foot and leaves.

Next we see Daryl riding his absolutely bitchin’ new patched-together motorcycle, with Aaron following behind in a a car. They stop somewhere.

Rick wakes up. He’s covered in bandages from his fight with Pete. He remembers what happened and laughs.

Michonne is sitting in a chair across the room and asks “What’s so funny?”

Rick explains it’s like the train car, and after the whole thing he’s still there.

Michonne has been keeping watch over Rick all night in the room. Deanna had him put there to “calm things down.”

Michonne asks Rick what’s he’s doing. She says she dealt with the Pete and Jessie problem by putting Pete in another house, which, yeah, might have been a better solution than killing Pete.

Rick tries to explain himself. He says it all moved fast. He says he couldn’t tell her about the secret gun that Rick pulled on everyone in Alexandria.

Michonne agrees that she wouldn’t have understood. She says we had to stop “being out there” and Rick sarcastically says “Well, we’re here.” Michonne just says “You just said you weren’t.”

So, Carol, Glenn and Abraham enter. Michonne asks Rick where he got the gun and Carol, who actually stole the guns, leads Rick along by telling him that “you took it right?” Carol says it was stupid and asks why he did it. Rick plays along to preserve their conspiracy and half-heartedly says he took it “just in case.”

Deanna has called a meeting to discuss what to do with Rick. Carol tries to coach Rick to tell them a story that they want to hear “because these people are children and children like stories.” She says if they still try to kick Rick out they can take the Alexandrians, even if they have to use knives.

Rick makes a plan to seize Alexandria if the meeting looks like it’s going bad by taking its leaders hostages. Michonne is not keen on this plan.

Rick admits that he didn’t intend things to go this bad. That he screwed up. Then he goes back to sleep.

Maggie makes a case for Rick with Alexandria’s power couple Deanna and Reg. She says kicking Rick out isn’t going to work. Deanna is skeptical and tells Maggie she’ll do what she has to do. Maggie tries to storm off but Reg stops her.

Reg says cavemen were all nomads, and they died. Civilization is about not sending people away. And he’ll make that case at the meeting.

Sasha is out by the burned out houses at Alexandria’s walls. She’s taking dead walkers out and burying them in a mass grave. Depression seems to overtake her and she just lays in the pit on top of the walkers and closes her eyes.

Aaron and Daryl are tracking some possible recruits for Alexandria. Aaron tells of how early on in the community’s history they sent people away.

The exiles were Two men and a woman, led by a man named Davidson. Aaaron recruited them but they didn’t work out. So they took them out far away from the town with a day’s worth of food and water and left them. That’s why Aaron watches recruits so carefully, because he doesn’t want to make that kind of mistake again.

Carol wakes Rick up. She’s still on the conspiracy kick, she says it’s good that Rick attacked Pete because now everyone thinks he’s been found out and it’s over. It’s not over, though, and Carol proves it by handing Rick another of the three guns she stole.

Carol says she didn’t say there were more guns “just in case,” and it’s clear that she doesn’t trust Michonne and the others.

Rick says he doesn’t want to lie any more.

“You said you don’t want to take this place, and you don’t want to lie? Oh, sunshine, you don’t get both,” Carol says in a gently scolding, motherly tone.

Through binoculars, Aaron and Daryl watch a man in a red poncho rub wild leeks on himself to keep mosquitoes away. Daryl seems impressed with his survival skills.

Rick walks down the street, getting the stink eye from everyone in Alexandria, including Deanna.

Nicholas is still not over being insulted and told he can’t leave Alexandria anymore by Glenn, even if Glenn correctly pointed out he’s the worst supply runner ever and a coward who got Noah killed. He is secretly watching him as Glenn sits on the porch.

Maggie comes to Glenn and tells him it doesn’t look good for Rick, but she’s going to try to talk to people and try to solve it.

Glenn says he loves her. Maggie says they’ll work it out. Glenn doesn’t seem sure. After she leaves he sees Nicholas climbing the fence and goes to check it out.

Father Gabriel, wearing a clean white shirt, has Deanna’s son Spencer open the compound gate for him. Spencer offers a gun but Gabriel refuses. He says just wants a quick walk.

“The Word of God is the only protection I need,” Gabriel says.

Rick comes home to Carl. He apologizes and tells Carl he can’t go to the meeting. Carl tries to make a case that Alexandria needs them.

Rick tells Carl he might have to threaten or kill some of the Alexandrians. Carl is not on board. He begs Rick to tell them in a way that they’ll listen.

Daryl and Aaron have lost the guy in the red poncho. They debate giving up the search to raid a food warehouse instead. Daryl wants to keep looking, but they decide to enter the food warehouse gate and go for the food.

There are suspicious cans tied around the food trucks. Aaron finds an Alaska license plate for his collection on one of the trucks, that’s a pretty tough get in Virginia. He tries to make Daryl feel better about giving up on red poncho guy.

Daryl opens one of the doors of the food trucks. It’s a trap. All of the doors of the nearby trucks are rigged to swing open and all of the trucks are filled with walkers. Some of them are just the walker torsos that match the arms and legs the Wolves have been leaving behind, hanging from meathooks, but there are plenty of the ambulatory kind, too.

Daryl and Aaron run away, but there are way too many walkers. Aaron is forced to use the Alaska plate as a weapon. They crawl under the trucks to try to dodge some of the horde and we can see that some of the walkers that follow them have Ws carved on their heads. They crawl out, and after some gory fighting they make it to an abandoned car in the parking lot and get the doors closed. But there are hundred of walkers swarming.

In the car Daryl and Aaron decide that if they can cut up the seats and block the view so the walkers can’t see them, eventually they’ll wander off. Great idea, but Aaron finds a bloody yellow note in the seat that says it’s a trap, there are bad people coming, and emphatically warns “Don’t Stay!”

Pete is sitting in the dark in his new house. Carol comes to the door and knocks. When Pete answers she’s brought a casserole, and she tells him he needs to check on Tara.

Pete just gets mad, so Carol pulls a knife.

“I could kill you, right now. I could. I will. And then who would believe I did it because I didn’t like you? No one. They’d believe you tried to hurt me,” Carols says. She puts the knife right in Pete’s face, nicks him a bit with it and tells him to “come at me.”

He’s too scared, so she tells him he has a chance, even though he’s a “small, weak nothing.” But maybe he doesn’t have to die. As she leaves she tells him she wants her dish back clean when he’s done.

Pete drops the casserole and walks into another room. You can hear him breaking stuff and yelling “This isn’t my house.”

In the woods Glenn tracks Nicholas to the walker that Nicholas and Aiden had hanging up in an earlier episode as punishment for walkers killing four of their friends and fellow supply runners. The walker that got a bum deal, because those people actually died because of Nicholas and Aiden’s cowardice.

And then Glenn gets shot.

Yep, Nicholas tags him with the gun he was holding onto, the one with the J on it he found after Rick hid it in a trash pile. Fortunately he’s a crappy shot, so Glenn is only winged a bit in the shoulder and gets away.

Rick goes to check on Jessie, who is fixing the window Rick and Pete jumped through in their fight. Rick tells her he’s not sorry he did it, no matter what happens or what he has to do.

Jessie tells Rick he was right as he leaves. We see Pete angrily watching this from his house across the street.

In the car Daryl and Aaron try to figure out what to do. Daryl sees some humor in the horrifying situation. He says he felt all closed up in Alexandria and even now, with hundreds of walkers pressing in on a death car, he still feels more like himself than he did in those houses.

Aaron tells him he was trying. He reveals that the reason he chose to bring Rick’s group back at all was because he saw Daryl lead them to safety. And he says that Daryl was right, they should have kept looking for the guy in the red poncho.

“I shouldn’t have given up. You didn’t,” Aaron says.

Daryl lights a cigarette and says he’ll lead the walkers away so Aaron can make a break for the fence. But Aaron won’t let him. He says they’ll fight together whether they make it or not.

“All right,” Daryl says and they get ready to go on what is surely a suicide run.

And then the eye of a walker pressing on Aaron’s door explodes as something is shoved through it from behind. Someone opens Aaron’s door. The guys pile out and their savior is Morgan, absolutely whipping walker ass with his staff.

The three of the fighting together are enough and they make it away and out of the gate, which they close behind them.

After thanks and introductions Daryl asks Morgan why he helped.

“Why? Because all life is precious, Daryl,” Morgan says with a smile.

Aaron invites Morgan to join Alexandria, because of course he does, he’s awesome. Morgan turns them down because he’s “on his way somewhere” and shows them the map to Washington that Rick left behind, the one that Abraham wrote “The new world’s going to need Rick Grimes” on and Morgan found in Father Gabriel’s church.

Father Gabriel, whistling through the woods, comes upon a road where a walker is eating someone. He just walks up to it and says “I’m ready.”

The walker obligingly attacks, but Gabriel changes his mind at the last minute. This walker was apparently a suicide or at least someone who died by hanging, so Gabriel grabs its noose and uses that to rip its head off, then squishes the head with a rock.

He checks on the walker’s victim, who is horribly mangled and suffering. He gives him mercy with the rock as well and then collapses, crying.

At Tara’s hospital room Rosita and Eugene are watching over her. Abraham arrives with some flowers. When he sees Eugene is sitting by Tara’s bed he says he’ll come by later, but Tara points out Eugene is asleep sitting up.

Abraham takes a chair at Tara’s bed next to Eugene. Rosita intentionally drops a metal pan to the floor with a loud clatter and says “Whoops!” with a smile.

So Abraham and Eugene now have to talk. Eugene says Tara saved his life and she showed him that it was really Abraham that “got us here.”

“All I did was craft a top shelf lie. To which a person with strength and heroism could apply their talents. My bet was you needed that. I thank you. I am sorry. And I mean both emphatically and in equal measure,” Eugene says.

Abraham says he’s sorry too, for almost killing Eugene, and they seem to be healing their relationship.

Father Gabriel returns just in time for the meeting. Spencer asks him if they can talk some time about Aiden. Gabriel says he’ll see. Spencer leaves him and asks him to close the gate. Gabriel, in a daze, kind of shoves it but leaves it open.

In the wood Nicholas comes upon a walker. He considers taking it out with a knife but, he sucks, so instead shoots it with his pistol. That’s Glenn’s opportunity to come out of nowhere and tackle him.

Glenn kicks ass, but he’s wounded, and Nicholas gets him down. He’s killing Glenn when a female walkers comes up from behind. Nicholas jumps off and lets the walker attack Glenn. Several more join in.

Michonne comes to get Rick at Rick’s house. Rick admits his conspiracy to steal the guns and take over Alexandria if needed, and admits he lied to Michonne. He tries to hand over the gun.

Michonne won’t take it.

“You think I’d try to stop you?” she asks. She says she knocked Rick out to stop his attack on Pete “for you, not them.”

She tells him they can find another way. But if they don’t, she’s still with him. She lets him keep the gun.

Rick looks at the machete he killed Gareth with. He hallucinates or remembers a speech Bob gave him about holding on to his humanity because one day he’ll be back “in the real world” and “nightmares end.”

Rick puts the gun in his waistband. He looks out the window and notices that the gate has been left open. He runs out to close it. He thinks there are walkers inside, because there’s blood on and around the gate.

Rick runs through the streets looking for the rogue walker.

Gabriel sees him, then heads into his makeshift church. Sasha is inside and confesses she’s there because she doesn’t know what to do. She asks for help. Gabriel just says “No.”

At the meeting, Deanna starts without Rick or Glenn because it’s already dark. Carol says she’s sure he’ll be there and they can work it all out with a smile.

Nicholas wanders around in the dark woods. Rick runs around the woods. Sasha says she wants to die and Gabriel says she deserves to. She takes that. But starts ranting nasty stuff about Bob and Tyreese and she goes nuts, attacking him while screaming “Stop it!”

Rick finds the sneaky walkers.

Michonne gives a speech about how being out in the apocalypse can drive you crazy. She should know. She says Rick just wants them to live and who he is is who they’re gonna be if they’re lucky.

Rick starts killing the sneaky walkers. Sasha knocks out Father Gabriel, but she accidentally discharges a shot from her rifle in the struggle.

Glenn catches up to Nicholas and knocks him down. You really think a gunshot and half a dozen walkers can take him out?

Carol gives a heartfelt defense of Rick. It’s not exactly honest because she says “people like us need people like him.”

A sneaky walker has Rick down, but he gets his gun out and drives it into the walker’s jaw through sheer brute strength.

Glenn gives Nicholas some more beating for good measure.

Abraham gives a profane but still stirring defense of Rick that hinges around a rather icky metaphor.

Rick gets the gun high enough and blows the walker’s brains out from inside. It looks like a firecracker went off inside its head.

The poor guy in the red poncho? He’s been caught by the wolves and they’ve taken him to their food truck trap. Red poncho guy is begging, but the guy that held up Morgan is telling him to just “be still.” He gets red poncho guy to turn around and then cuts his throat.

“Welcome home,” he says.

Maggie gives a good speech about how Rick is a father and a man with a good heart who has created a new family around their group. She says this community should want to be a part of Rick’s family as well.

Deanna says she needs to share something. She tells everyone what Father Gabriel told her about how Rick’s group can’t be trusted and would put themselves first. And then Rick seemed to demonstrate what Gabriel had said.

Since Gabriel is not there, Jessie asks if Deanna taped him. Maggie excuses herself to go look for Gabriel.

Glenn has Nicholas down and is yelling at him about how Noah died because of him and how he tried to tell Nicholas how it has to be. He puts a gun to Nicholas’s head. At the church Sasha is doing the same to Gabriel.

We get a look at how the Wolves reset their trap, using music and lights to lure the walkers into the food trucks.

Rick, covered in gore, returns to the group meeting with one of the walkers he has killed and tosses it in the middle of the circle.

Nicholas begs for his life, admitting he was scared and doesn’t belong out in the apocalypse. He cries, and Glenn can’t bring himself to kill him.

As Sasha gets ready to kill the priest, Gabriel just says “Do it.” But Maggie arrives and takes the gun away.

And then we see that the real devil Gabriel hates is himself, for locking his congregation outside.

“You should let her. They died. They all died because of me,” he says, sobbing.

Maggie takes his hand.

“They did,” she says, and helps him to his feet.

Rick points out the obvious, that there wasn’t a guard on the gate. Spencer mumbles something about abdicating his responsibility for the safety of everyone there to a psychotic, clearly confused priest.

Rick makes a speech about the dead and the living are going to try to get inside and hunt the people of Alexandria. As he talks there’s a montage of scenes including: Carl and Judith watching Maggie’s music box; Glenn helping Nicholas home; Maggie, Gabriel and Sasha holding a prayer circle; Tara waking up in her hospital bed as Rosita watches and smiles; the wolves’ trap and the “be still” guy looking at Aaron’s black and white “brochure” pics of Alexandria, which Aaron has unfortunately left behind.

Rick says they’ll kill the threats and that he’ll show the Alexandrians how to survive. He drops the conspiracy and admits he was thinking how many Alexandrians he had to kill to save their lives.

“But I’m not gonna do that. You’re gonna change,” Rick says. He tells them they’re not ready, but they have to be because luck runs out.

Most of the people seemed inspired or at least scared, except for Pete, who shows up carrying Michonne’s sword and starts shouting “You’re not one of us!”

Reg tries to calm him down and Pete cuts Reg’s throat with the sword. It sorta seems to be an accident in the way Pete shoves him, maybe. But he sure does die, gurgling and drowning in his own blood. Pete starts yelling about Rick “This is him!” and Deanna cries.

Deanna turns to Rick and says “Rick … do it.” Rick turns and shoots Pete once in the head.

And at that moment Morgan, Mr. “all life is precious” shows up and looks really disappointed. Rick’s got a lot of splainin’ to do.

Michonne goes to put her sword back on the mantle, but thinks better of it and resheathes it, then puts it back on her back.

We see the red poncho guy, now a walker, wandering around the food storage facility. He walks past a car, which has a warning spray-painted on the side.

It says “Wolves not far.”

And that’s it, another season down. See you in the fall, or late summer if you’re checking out the spinoff. Of course, we’re always here talking about everything The Walking Dead at our forum.

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