The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 16 "Conquer" Season Finale Review

The Walking Dead Season 5 Finale Conquer Review

Phew! Talk about an intense season finale. I have to admit I was on pins and needles through-out the hour plus run time.

Before we get to the nitty-gritty details there are several takeaways that made this finale work in terms of capping off the story lines that have been building up. Resolution on the Pete story line not only ended with a bang but it resulted in Deanna and co. getting on board with Rick’s program.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled reaction and recap of The Walking Dead Season 5 Finale.

We Still Have Knives

With the two factions seemingly coming together, the timing could not be better. The people of Alexandria can only be lucky for so long. They need to change their ways in order to overcome a current and upcoming threat. The current threat is themselves; their inexperience, their foolishness and opposition to Rick’s point of view. The upcoming threat, of course, are the Wolves who are as intriguing as they are sinister.

The resolutions were tricky to pull off because there is a fine line between events happening too coincidentally, as if you could sense the writer’s hand at work, versus a series of events naturally unfolding. The two scenes that stick out the most in this regard would be Pete severing Reggie’s throat which in turn gave Rick a justified reason for executing him and Gabriel leaving the front gate open which later served to prove Rick’s point on Alexandria’s vulnerability.

Both of these plot devices weren’t an issue for me because of how they were set up. Previous episodes have shown Pete to be a violent and impulsive alcoholic. Add to the fact that Carol emasculated him at knife point and seeing Rick pay a visit to Jessie must have sent him over the edge.

Plus, I assume Pete was sequestered at Michonne’s home which is where he got her Samurai sword. If you’re someone who likes looking for symbolism, it’s interesting that even when Michonne puts her sword away above the mantel it still comes into play, like it’s a part of life in this world that the survivors cannot ever escape from even behind the Alexandria walls. There’s also the scene that had Rick only shown in the reflection of the unbroken window section, which sort of brings to mind a quote earlier this season, “Rick, you may have been wrong but you were right.” 

From the time Rick’s group first entered through the gates, we’ve seen how lax the people of Alexandria are in guard duty and in overly trusting others. So leaving the gate open and unguarded is symptomatic of what’s wrong with Alexandria. Every time Gabriel came on-screen I was filled with frustration. I even said out loud, “I wouldn’t even trust him to close the gate!” just moments before Gabriel left it open behind him.

While there were resolutions, not every loose end got tied up neatly. Somehow, someway both Nicholas and Gabriel managed to live another day. It speaks to Glenn’s humanity to let Nicholas live after given every reason to kill the treacherous coward.  If Rick or Carol were in Glenn’s position, Nicholas would have been a goner. It would have totally sucked if Glenn died because of a loser like Nicholas.

I would have liked to have seen how Glenn survived but I imagine that among the number of scenes that mirrored each other, Glenn probably killed that walker on top of him similar to how Rick did. But I’m not sure how he could have escaped the other walkers coming down on him.

Vast Oceans Of Sh*t! 

We seen the handy work of the wolves in the mutilated corpses they’ve been leaving behind, but to see the Wolves in the flesh was creepy as hell. The opening scene had a great mixture of suspense that disguised a lot of exposition on who the wolves are while showcasing what a bad-ass Morgan is. As mentioned by the friend I was watching this with, Morgan in these scene is reminiscent of Denzel Washington’s character in Book of Eli, especially with the way he’s using his ears more than his eyes to anticipate the Wolves next move during the fight. 

The Wolves’ booby trap that Daryl and Aaron sprung is pretty ingenious. I expected a bunch of walkers to be inside the trailer but it was freaky scary how it triggered all of the other doors to open too.  My kill of the week is Daryl chain whipping the top of three walker’s heads off in a single swipe. Once again The Walking Dead comes up with clever and deadly scenarios for our survivors to escape from. Morgan may have easily dispatched of two wolf pups which in some ways may have negated their level of threat but this inventive booby trap puts them back up there. And who knows how many more Wolves there are and what other devious tricks they have in store?

Last episode ended with Michonne knocking Rick unconscious which led many viewers to question who’s side she’s on. The writers did a good job of explaining Michonne’s position. She’s the voice of reason whom Rick should have confided in from the start; however, the last few episodes would have been a lot less dramatic if Michonne was there to offer Rick another path to the same goal.

The town meeting turned out to be a better conclusion than I anticipated. Both Abraham, for bluntly speaking why he believes in Rick, and Carol for continuing her charade as Ms. Mom are amusing to watch. It was also a great moment when Deanna said “Rick, do it!”. For Deanna to finally see eye to eye with Rick on this issue is a right step for them moving forward as co-leaders but unfortunately she’s had to lose a couple of her family members to realize it.

In most episodes there is a memorable line or two. In this finale, the writers are on fire with the number of great quotable lines. Here’s a couple of them. Carol: “I want my dish back clean when you’re done.” Rick: “I was thinking how many of you do I have to kill to save your lives. But I’m not going to do that. You’re gonna change.”

“Conquer” is a great, satisfying finale aside from a couple of characters getting a stay of execution. This wasn’t exactly the tear-jerker that I was led to believe which isn’t a bad thing at all. Had Glenn died I would have been more angry than sad. Because of the extra long finale, I was expecting something bigger or crazier to happen but I can’t say I wasn’t thoroughly entertained.

The Alexandria story arc brings about a resurgence to The Walking Dead. Great to see the gang will be sticking around this place for next season. I feel like I’m scratching the surface of the finale in this post, so feel free to comment below and I’ll discuss with you further.  Last but not least, BIG thanks to YOU for supporting these recaps with your views, likes and great comments all season long!

Are you disappointed that Glenn let Nicholas live? What do you like or dislike about this finale? 

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