The Walking Dead season finale: excellent or disappointing? (spoilers)

Spoilers follow for the finale of The Walking Dead, which aired last night
The hour and a half finale of the fifth season of The Walking Dead aired last night. While I enjoyed it, there were several filler scenes which could have been cut to bring the show back to its standard time. I particularly didn’t care about Father Gabriel’s nihilism at all, nor did I care about Abraham and Rosita’s posse, who were bonding over Tara as she recovered from her injuries. Eugene’s dialog still feels so forced, and that group seems ripped from the comics and not as “real” as the rest of the characters.

One character who does seem genuine despite his incredible turnaround is Morgan, who swooped in and saved Daryl and Aaron from a hoard of walkers who had descended on them in a trap. When Morgan reunited with Rick in a key moment, there was satisfaction and a hope that he would bring the peace and perspective that the group lacks. Morgan represents a sort of bridge between the people of Alexandria and Rick’s group: he lost his sanity while surviving alone among zombies, but he came out the other side with a renewed respect for life. I really hope he sticks around. On The Talking Dead last night, actor Lennie James would only say that he’s set to appear in at least one episode of season six. He explained that his whole return was so cloaked in secrecy that he had to stay in separate accommodation from the other actors in a B&B in a small town.

Instead of a full recap, which you can find multiple places including People and Access Hollywood, I’m just going to do bullet points along with my thoughts.

  • Morgan is back, but he thinks “all life is precious” so instead of killing the two “W” lowlifes that came to murder him for a bounty, he whacks them out with a ninja stick and then puts them in a car.

  • Rick and the group aren’t sure how to handle the big meeting with the Alexandria residents that is likely to get Rick exiled. They prepare for a showdown while Carol recommends subterfuge. “These people are children and children like stories.”

  • Maggie tries to advocate with the Alexandrians for Rick to stay. She gets assurance from leader Deanna’s husband, Reg, who says they need to reach a compromise together for civilization’s sake.

  • Daryl and Aaron spot a resourceful looking guy in a red poncho and then find a storehouse with several trucks presumably full of canned goods. It turns out to be a trap set by the W group and the trucks are full of walkers. They retreat to a nearby car for shelter and find an ominous note inside that bad people are coming. Morgan comes with his badass stick to rescue them. Later, Morgan shows Daryl Rick’s map that he’s saved.

  • Nicholas shoots Glenn in the arm while they’re out in the woods. They fight, Nicholas leaves Glenn for dead to the walkers because that’s what he does, and Glenn somehow escapes. Glenn fights with Nicholas again and achieves the upper hand, but then shows him mercy when he begs for his life. The last we see of them, they’re struggling together to get back to Alexandria.

  • Rick is supposed to go to the meeting that will determine his fate, but he sees that the gate is open and a handful of walkers have come in. He ends up pinned beneath one and killing it in very close range. He carries the incapacitated walker to the meeting, throws it down and explains that the gate was open. (You can watch that scene here.) Deanna realizes that it was Father Gabriel who left the gate open and that he’s not to be trusted. Rick explains his position, “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 going to change. I’m not sorry for what I said last night. I’m sorry for not saying it sooner. You’re not ready, but you have to be. Right now, you have to be. Luck runs out.

  • After Rick gives his speech, domestic abuser Pete comes running in with a machete, making Rick’s point for him. He ends up mistakenly slitting Reg’s throat. Reg bleeds out and Deanna is distraught, looks up at Rick and tells him to “do it.” He shoots Pete dead in front of everyone. Right then, Daryl, Aaron and Morgan come. Morgan looks pained and Rick has a sense of recognition to see his old friend.

  • Meanwhile depressed Sasha goes to Father Gabriel for help. Instead of getting spiritual counseling she’s blamed for Bob’s death. Simpering Father Gabriel feels sorry for himself for letting his congregation die and has a death wish. Maggie comes in right when Sasha has her gun pointed at Gabriel. The last we see, they’re all sitting there praying together. Give me a break!

  • The red poncho guy gets killed by the W scumbags that Morgan spared. We see one of them return to the storehouse trap, find Aaron’s backpack and see the photos of Rick and the gang.
  • Overall I thought that more people needed to die this episode. I know that sounds cold, but there have been so many deaths of good people that I wanted balance with more a**holes biting it. Yes Pete got killed, but that was inevitable. Father Gabriel and Nicholas are unnecessary and will surely continue to cause trouble. It would have been more fitting if they both got killed. I think the “all life is precious” sentiment was the theme for this episode and helped hammer home the point that Rick’s group, however flawed, is more fair and humane than the people who have been sheltered.

    I take issue with how fake Carole is. She’s doing what she has to do to survive, and on The Talking Dead actress Melissa McBride explained that her behavior is tied to Carole’s past as a domestic abuse victim walking on eggshells around her husband. Carole’s duplicity is being overdone, I think, and that’s due to the script more than McBride’s portrayal.

    Walking Dead does not return to AMC until October (presumably), but we’ll be able to get our zombie fix quicker. Last night they also aired a trailer for “Fear The Walking Dead,” a new spin off set in LA in the early days of the zombie apocalypse. We’ve heard some casting details already and now we know that “Fear The Walking Dead” is set to air this summer. I wish they had given it a more original title, but they have such great name recognition they must not want to risk it.

    Here’s the trailer for “Fear The Walking Dead”



    Photos credit: AMC. Frontpage photo via Daily Mail

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    59 Responses to “The Walking Dead season finale: excellent or disappointing? (spoilers)”

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    1. mimif says:

      I was disappointed. I was kind of hoping everyone got killed/eaten so I wouldn’t have to endure this trainwreck of a show anymore.

      Also, are will we be graced with a Going Clear post today, pretty please?

      • QQ says:

        Mimif You know you and I had a Hatefest Imessage situation last night about it but it bears repeating: this show doesn’t have the Balls to follow through with something like offing Glenn or Darryl or exiling Rick or Maggie killing Gabriel or anything really Novel if they are already veering this far off the books or saying “F*ck it” to any character development whatsoever.

        Also Give me a Whole Morgan Show alone, that opening scene was the most Interesting thing all season

        • mimif says:

          +the entire country of Africa. I know I’ll keep hate watching it but for the love of all that’s holy, DO SOMETHING. And tease shooting Glenn doesn’t count.
          P.s. Morgan is hottt.

        • TX says:

          +1! I wish this show had been like Breaking Bad- had a clear vision and a set number of seasons. Nothing can really “happen” when there is no conclusion to drive towards.

          And yet….I watch lol

    2. Amelia says:

      Does Rick have enough stitches in that header pic?

      • mimif says:

        Oh those are stitches? I thought they were just a lot of “I’m with stupid” post-it notes.

        • Amelia says:

          Or he had a really bad morning shaving.
          Got to get in and out of the bathroom before the walkers turn up.

        • QQ says:

          I cackled SOOOOO loud and so Long when I saw that Mess, that my BF kept shushing me

      • claire says:

        LOL. I thought the same thing! Apparently, it’s an ode to the comic. Those little tapes are exactly the same spots as drawn in the comic for these scenes. Looks fine in comic; looks weird on TV.

      • Kori says:

        I was snickering and my hubby explained those are the band aids you use on lacerations as opposed to cuts. You need to pull the ragged edges of the skin together. And that’s what Rick would have after such a brutal fight–split open skin. Pete too. So realistic but sort of silly looking. But I bet they don’t leave a scar for next season. Just like Rick doesn’t have a bullet hole. (Thank you shirtless scene a few eps ago!)

    3. inner stillness says:

      One day I’m going to start from season one and watch this show to see what the hype was all about.

      • kcarp says:

        I did. I watched it and was so disgusted by Lori, I almost stopped. Then I got bored about season 3 and just read summaries. Then at the season 5 break I started watching and got hooked. I hate the Gore but I like the characters.

    4. Tiffany27 says:

      So………..I’m over this show. I just hate everyone (not Michonne, she’s awesome) and I can’t figure out why. Morgan was the only highlight last night.

    5. Senaber says:

      I’m glad it wasn’t AS gory. It was really starting to turn into a show that I was no longer comfortable watching. I like the more quiet psychological-perspective episodes.

      And can I just say that I now have a bit of a crush on Lennie (Morgan) after watching TTD?!?

      • Liv says:

        Yes! So cool how he was like “Just leave. You can’t take my life.” And then boom, he comes at them just with a stick. And then he rescues Daryl and this other guy. So awesome. I’m very excited how he fits in in Alexandria!

        • Kori says:

          I think Morgan can be a clear voice like Hershel was. But even more so because he’s seen the other, crazy, side and come through. He knows what’s out there but has found his humanity again. He could be a bridge between Rick’s group and the Alexandrians.

    6. JaySay says:

      Am I the only one who thinks TWD is just AWFUL? The acting is overdone (so much DRAMAAAAA and clenching fists) and the scripts are just so obvious and forced. I laugh more than I’m scared or grossed out (like in the last episode with Carl’s little romantic scene with the girl in the hollowed out tree and zombies all around them. HAHAHA that was hilarious). The show used to be better so I get how people are invested in the characters (I still sit through it with my husband for some reason so) but ughhhh I cringe way too much when I watch it.

      • QQ says:

        No Jay, That’s me Too, when it gets Maudlin on a character- That one is gonna bite it-, people STAY poorly written like writers don’t know you can advance both Plot and character development at the same time?

        I sit with My Bf cause we CERTAINLY aren’t gonna pork/sleep or nothing at that Time block between 9-11

    7. Ellie66 says:

      Loved it! The only thing is why are they not worried about all these walkers with a big arse W carved in their forehead? Has nobody noticed? Morgan coming back is great (in the books Michone and him get together) I hope that happens next season. All and all for me it was great and I cannot wait till October!

      • Senaber says:

        Morgan and Michonne would be a hottttt couple.

      • Liv says:

        Morgan and Michonne forever!

      • Kori says:

        Different groups have seen it at different times. But Aaron and Darryl got a big look at it in the last 2 episodes—and how nuts I whoever is doing it is. (Torture, dismemberment, gruesome traps, killing for the sake of it). And now Morgan too. They can all compare notes.

    8. shizwhat says:

      I love the themes this show explores and the way the writers knit all the details together so that the more you watch it, the more you get out of it. For example, Rick once said something about the windows of society and then shortly after he was throwing Pete out a window. I love zombies but I love how the show is more than that… I couldn’t really watch 6 seasons of tricky zombie slaying and people dying indiscriminately. I want to see how things work after a zombie apocalypse, what the world would be like, what situations people would find themselves in, what is society really, what are morals, how does situational ethics work, how do you survive, is there one way to survive etc. I go hard for the survival aspect!

      • Pandy says:

        Me too. I love a good zombie kill but I’m really interested in the survival aspect.

    9. Sayrah says:

      I think it was a bit of a letdown. I still love the show but I expected more to happen.

    10. Jackson says:

      Very disappointing. It was anti-climactic. Disjointed. Dare I say….boring. TWD needs a few more episodes per season to flesh out dialogue. The idea of the group being in this little fancy bedroom community all of a sudden was very interesting. However, the execution of the idea fell incredibly flat. And hello, has Maggie told no one what she overheard from Gabriel? And I’m supposed to buy this instant attraction Rick has for boring what’s-her-name? How many people even live in that place? They couldn’t have thrown a few more extras into the ‘big town hall meeting’ which turned out to be laughable. If that’s all the people who live there then just take the place and be done with it already. The only character of interest the last half of the season has been Carol. Kick ass, cookie monster, wash my dish bitch, Carol. Last season’s finale was great. This season’s finale was lame.

      • FingerBinger says:

        Anti climactic is exactly what it was. I think the writers blew their loads with the mid season deaths of Bob and Beth. Then the deaths of Tyrese and Noah. I’m assuming there was some apprehension about killing off more regular characters.

        • Jackson says:

          Yep. The episode in which Beth was killed….now THAT would have been a worthy season finale.
          And ITA re the number of deaths. I kept thinking ‘slow down’ because no one is going to be left.

        • mimif says:

          Also, I get that the actors need to promote the show, but quit with “the back half is going to be the BEST EVER” or “there will be so many tears…” because the only thing that made me cry about the back half of season 5 was how cringeworthy and boring it was. That said, I’d still do Ricky Grimes. Post-it stitches face or not.

    11. NerdMomma says:

      I may be the first actual fan of the show to comment. I thought this season was getting really bad, with some of my absolute favorite characters getting killed. In fact, they killed off some characters I had the most hope for in terms of character development, and that made me mad. But the episode last night was amazing. I disagree, I don’t think Father Gabriel’s storyline or the Abraham storyline is filler. I LOVE when the show has lots of stuff going on rather than just one big plot line for an episode. I think everyone is really showing the breakdown of their humanity and sanity and it’s very raw and real.

      I’ve been saying all season that I totally wouldn’t mind it if Rick got killed. Michonne has been creeping up in terms of leadership though, so I’ll just say I’m rooting for Michonne to take the reins of this group and for Rick to slide down to her second in command. His utility has faded.

      This show currently has some of the most complex, flawed, interesting female characters of any show I have ever watched. When the female characters are talking to one another, they are absolutely NEVER talking about men (the Bechdel test). To me, that’s amazing.

      • Kori says:

        And it’s funny because the women used to be dreadful on the show. Totally helpless. Now they kickass all over the place. Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, Rosita, Tara and especially Carol–leaps and bounds better than old-Carol (great development there), Andrea (they ruined her so that was a mercy killing really) and especially Lori. Even Beth was showing progress–I think they made a mistake there.

    12. epiphany says:

      Disagree about Carol. She’s pretending to be a bland housewife in order to appear as a non-threat, and hide in plain sight, as it were. She only lets her badassery show when she’s one on one with another character. It’s a brilliant strategy and has worked very well. Most of what they know about how Alexandria operates is due to Carol’s subterfuge.
      I only hope now that Pete’s dead that they don’t develop a romance between Jessie and Rick. They have zero chemistry, and that whole thing about Rick “saving” her was so contrived. I want Rick to have a love interest, but not with anyone currently on the show.

      • ScrewStewrat19 says:

        +1 I totally agree with you about Carol. She’s got Alexanderia figured out and she’s playing them for fools. I love her

        • Liv says:

          Me too. Carol really changed so much over the episodes. Remember when she lost Sofia? Or was with Ed? She really made it. So cool that she became a leader after being so wrong killing off Tyrese’s girlfriend.

      • sionainne says:

        Very well said, agree totally about Carol. IMO she is the character who has grown the most on the show and I love her. I still hold out hope that Rick and Michonne will get together. I think Carl would be cool with that, too. Michonne suits Rick so much better than Jessie, but I doubt it will happen since I think we will have to watch Jessie”s evolution: realizing that Rick was right all along and then getting tougher (and hopefully eaten by walkers), etc.

        • Cora says:

          I’ve been rooting for a Michonne/Rick hookup, too. I think they’ve got great chemistry. I’m not feeling the Jessie storyline at all. I hope someone eats her soon.

        • Liv says:

          Me too, I also think they have great chemistry. There were a few moments when I thought something is happeing. I don’t know.

        • Kori says:

          I’m a total Richonne shipper but he can dally with Jessie. If he and Michonne got together it would probably be a harbinger of doom for one of them.

          As for Carol, my hubby loves her. (he’s a DarOl shipper too.) he loves women who could kick his ass. Lol. He said Pete probably peed his pants.

      • Dante says:

        Agreed, and it is totally in line with her character. Even when they were at the prison, she was teaching the kids about survival under the guise of story time. She is always assessing the circumstances and making tough calls.

    13. ScrewStewrat19 says:

      I loved last nights episode!! I was so anxious to watch. I was soooo sure Daryl or another main character was going to die and when it didn’t happen I was shocked. I find it so weird that everyone complains about how horrible the show is, but admits they still watch or hate watch. Why would you hate watch a show? Doesn’t it just end up pissing you off and making you mad? Not trying to be snarky, just curious.

      Anyways, I was so glad when Morgan and Rick were reunited. I think next season is going to be epic and I can’t wait.

      • beachpeach says:

        Right? I don’t understand why people would even bother hate watching this show for fun. TWD contains too much heavy material and dark themes to make it an even remotely entertaining hate watch. I also agree all the complaining is odd…if you don’t like the show then FFS folks, CHANGE. THE. CHANNEL. But I guess people would rather bitch and complain about a show they claim to dislike, as opposed to finding a program or activity that is more enjoyable to them and doesn’t trigger so much intense, tiresome whining.

        I’m with you, though. I really loved the finale. I was so glad to see Rick and Morgan reunited, Deanna finally get a clue even if it was at her husband’s expense (RIP, Reg) and the progression of the “W” storyline. The Daryl/Aaron bromance continues to give me life, and as usual Carol (aka Scare-ol) was amazing. You gotta love a character who in one breath can pull off threatening a man’s life and then demand the return of her casserole dish when he’s done with it.
        I’m so looking forward to next season on TWD….October can’t get here fast enough!

        • RJ says:

          +1–don’t understand the hatewatchers who love to bitch about a show. Change the channel, lots of other options to choose from!

        • suziekew says:

          I so agree with you! I absolutely love the show and all my friends and family do as well. We are not nerds for zombies either, we enjoy for the emotional and survival story lines. Not to mention that Andrew Lincoln is pretty fine looking too! 🙂
          Obviously there are plenty of people who don’t watch the show or “hate watch” but if you look at the ratings it tells the story…..week after week, it’s consistently the #1 cable show or perhaps the #1 show of all. I know it’s broken all kinds of rating numbers. Long may it rule… show on tv.

        • Kori says:

          Me too. I sometimes want to scream about the writing but I love it overall. The actors really sell it I think. They make you invested in the characters. And the good episodes (The Grove was as good as anything on TV last year) outweigh the bad IMO. But for Gods sake stop blahblahblahing about how bad it is out there. Give them specifics! Tell those AZShats that out there are: psycho megalomaniacs, cannibals, gangs that will ambush you and threaten to gang rape your son in front of you, your garden variety sickos–thieves, rapists, killers–with nothing to lose, a gang of rapey cops in a hospital who mow people down then bring them to be used as slaves and now people who are ‘very bad people’ in the area. Don’t just say ‘oh it’s bad out there’.

      • Norman Bates' Mother says:

        That’s true. No one goes out winning from hate-watching. People doing it end up annoyed and angry and by expressing it publicly, they are spoiling the pleasure for the fans.

        The season finale could have been much better but I liked how they neatly resolved each plot point from last weeks, concerning Pete, Gabriel’s betrayal, what was going on with Sasha, the W’s, Morgan and Rick vs Deanna. I expected a blood bath after seeing actors’ comments about shocking and sad finale but they didn’t lie. The very fact that no one major died was a shocker and to me – Reg was the only likable Alexandrian and I’m sad that he died. So checked and checked and a plus point for the suspense with Glenn.

    14. Cindy says:

      Loved the finale, but I need nicholas and douche priest to die. Please already, such treacherous weasels the both of them.

      Oh, and thank god Michonne is back with us, I almost had a stroke when she thumped rick over the head and thought she had gone to the dark side!

      • melain says:

        Agree! Die priest! And please stop sparing the a-holes. It always ends up getting someone good killed.

    15. pru says:

      I wasn’t impressed. The writing is not as good as it used to be. They seem to be good at building suspense, but the resolution is just meh. I feel like that happened in almost every storyline last night. Is it because all focus is being put into the spin-off? Or because they are trying to make already fleshed out characters fit into roles from the comics?

      I have to say I’m really getting tired watching situations like the one Daryl and Aaron were in; trapped in a car with almost zero chance of getting out alive – one person comes to rescue them – 15 seconds later, everyone is safe!

      Maggie, ugh. Why do the writers insist on making her so single minded? Her husband and guy he had a major beef with are both missing for the “very important meeting”, and she goes to look for Father Gabriel?? It’s like she can only think about 1 person at a time.

      And wasn’t Carol on a path of redemption the first half of this season? They seemed to just kind of drop that storyline.

      I find the themes of this show so interesting, and the characters so complex, but I’m just getting a little more disappointed with each episode.

      • shizwhat says:

        I dont get all the disappointment. The show was a comic book first, which I havent read, mind you, but the idea all along was for them to find safety and they find it in Alexandria. They will be meeting some more foes a la The Governor… but they really did need to find their safe place. I dont think the show could have continued with them just wandering around with people getting eaten alive every week. And for the first time ever they actually found what they’ve been looking for. The very point of the show and their goal has finally been attained. Thats not anticlimatic!

      • Kori says:

        Maggie went looking for FG after Deanna brought up his statement and Jessie said it was hearsay since he wasn’t there for them to judge. I think Maggie wanted him there to say it so she could lower the boom on him about what he did to his own (worse) sins. Her just saying it would be hearsay but confronting him with it would really undermine his credibility. And she really wanted a peaceful resolution.

    16. sali says:

      Sasha and Gabriel need to go

    17. kelsey says:

      Wow. Im surprised so many of you are hating on The Walking Dead. I thought The season finale was amazing and set up the plot for next season perfectly. Oh and to the person complaining about how gory it was at one point- get over it. Its a show about ZOMBIES.Last time i checked, zombies eat brains and everything that a human has to offer. That is the same thing as watching the Saw films and complaining about the gore. If you dont like blood and guts, don’t watch a show about zombies.

      • kcarp says:

        I hate the blood and guts. I cover my face like a small child. I love the characters and the story.

    18. david says:

      I was stunned when it ended. It felt like they had the killer ending in the works (giant herd approaching !) and cut the last 10 the climax out. Don’t think i’ve ever been so disappointed with a finale. Perhaps there’s an uncut version that really does last 90 mins and goes off with band rather than a whimper ?

    19. Marky says:

      The show doesn’t intrigue me the way it used to and I’ve decided it was my own fault for reading the comics (I hadn’t through the first 4 seasons)…took a lot of the thrill out of it for me. Nevertheless I shall continue to read them.

      With that in mind I am pinning all of my hopes on the new series.

    20. Angie7 says:

      Sasha must go?? Never. She’s grieving. The scene with her and Father Gabriel was perfect- it will snap her back to reality. Gabriel – what a snake – yes I wanted him to go. Who would miss him? The entire audience would cheer ! But I guess the writers have more in store for him – however as an asset, he’s useless. I love love Morgan and hope he’s around for the entire next season. I didn’t feel like we saw a lot of our main characters the second half?? Hope this changes next season. But overall, I liked the finale. Not sure what I will do next Sunday. I’ll be in mourning. Thank goodness no main characters died. Couldn’t take it…

    21. Kristen says:

      I’m actually not sure that Rick shot Pete. I think they left it intentionally vague as to whether he shot Pete and killed him or shot her husband to keep him from becoming a zombie.

    22. béranger says:

      I agree, we don’t care about Gabriel ? Why is he still alive ? He’s weak.
      Is Glenn back home ? Please tell me he is !!

    23. hnode says:

      I actually loved the finale.

      However, I think some of those selected to play the role of being on the brink of insanity is oh so unrealistic and just too over the top. IMO, all the wrong characters were selected. Tyrone was a silly choice as is Tasha. These two were/are just too strong in that they understand all too well how to survive the dead and should easily grasp an understanding that the living are just as dangerous as well as an understanding that “this is it”. Gabriel on the other hand is an excellent for this role because as a minister, it is realistic to watch as the faith he never had is revealed.

      I also think that it is unrealistic to find safe communities existing without some sort of realistic fortification, and doing so with idiots just running loose such as the Wolves. I like Morgan, but if he has truly come to understand what this world had devolved into, then he should understand that as a tribute to “life being precious” survivors that are an obvious threat to that philosophy should be laid to rest.

      I just wish that the show do a better job at character development and cease sacrificing in a superficial manner which main character will be offed. If Tyrone’s time was up, he should have been killed by a room full of zombies, not just one…although in such a world anything is possible. Just saying!

      But I love this show.