10 April 2015

Talking Out The Dead: "Conquer"


Spoilers follow.

Kelen: This was the best season finale in the entire series. I would have ranked season 2 first (the destruction of the Greene farm), then season 1 (entering the CDC, learning that everyone is infected, and the CDC’s destruction), followed by season 4 (captured at Terminus), and then season 3 (Andrea dies, the group surprises the Woodbury army, anticlimactic). While you were right in the fact that there was a lot of talking, there was no dialogue wasted here. From the introduction of the Wolves (there are only 2? I doubt it.) to Morgan’s look of confusion when he walked in on Rick killing Pete, this episode was a thrill ride.

You know, I may bitch that some characters go unused for several episodes, but when they do get to move back to active duty, they knock it out of the park. After being seen and not heard for most of their stay at Alexandria, it was Maggie who confronted Deanna about how Rick needed to be allowed to stay. It was Maggie who took off to find Gabriel after Deanna shared his lies with the other residents, and it was Maggie who chose to forgive Gabriel when he was ready to kill Sasha a few minutes earlier. Her choice to pray with Gabriel and Sasha (who both sorely needed it) rather than yelling, resorting to violence, or even running to the others was very Hershel like. I would love to see her filling that void from here on out.

Also, the few moments with Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, and Tara were great. Abraham and Eugene reconciled (with an assist from Rosita) and Tara woke up! I’m personally very glad to see all of them moving on to season 6. And Abraham’s speech defending Rick was awesome.

I sincerely hope we see Sasha and Gabriel begin to get their wits about them again. The Wolves are coming (thanks to Aaron dropping his bag with all the Alexandria pictures in it) and the more people in Alexandria who aren’t nutjobs, the better.

Glenn v. Nicholas finally came to a head and it almost proved fatal for our boy Rhee. Thankfully, Nicholas is a giant puss and only shot Glenn in the arm (just realized they have no surgeon. But also just remembered Rick got shot in the leg when the prison fell and he turned out okay). I’m a little sad we didn’t get to see Glenn fight off all of those walkers, but there’s always hope we’ll see a flashback to it next season. I could have sworn Glenn said something along the lines that he was going to die though. Did he get bit? I really doubt it.

Can I say how much I loved Nicholas’ sniveling when Glenn had the gun on him? It was definitely fan service at its finest as the guy who was responsible for Noah and other Alexandria residents’ deaths finally got when was coming to him. What I even loved more was the fact that Glenn didn’t kill him. Nicholas deserved it, as much as the Governor did, and Dawn, and Gareth, but at the end of the day, Nicholas is a giant scaredy cat and he knows nothing of how TWD world works now. That can be changed. Unlike Pete.

When Carol went to Pete’s house, she’s never been sexier. And in classic abuser form, the moment said abuser runs into someone they can’t intimidate; they shrink away from the confrontation. I could watch that scene of her threatening Pete on loop for a whole day and not be tired of it. Melissa McBride is a hidden gem and I really hope she gets more work when her TWD days are over. And I completely forgot to mention her scenes with Rick where she played dumb and stern when the others were there and then switched to badass and stern when it was just her and Rick. Has Carol started take a leadership role over Rick without him even knowing?

Good riddance Pete, you sonuvabitch. It’s a shame it took him killing Reg (with Michonne’s katana no less) to make Deanna see the light because up until that moment, even with Rick dragging the walker carcass in and telling them how it really is AGAIN, she was still ready to exile him. They had Reg set up to be the voice of reason when Deanna couldn’t see the forest for the trees (like with Rick) and now he’s gone. Because she thought Pete would change. That still bothers the piss out of me.

They brought Michonne around rather quickly as all is apparently well in Richonneville with the first major tease of intimacy between them ever. All I needed was a peck, nothing less, nothing more, but nope. You mentioned through text that America wouldn’t do well with an interracial couple when she’s black and Rick’s white. I think you forget that the show just featured its first man kiss not too long ago. And I don’t really see a difference if the roles were reversed and Rick was black and Michonne was white. I think it works either way. Rick and Carol work as a team but they’re strictly platonic and she has her eyes on Daryl… I think. Michonne is Rick’s closest female counterpart, it makes sense that they hook up. But they’re going to force him into a relationship with Jessie because he’s blonde and cute and white? I don’t like it.

Anyway, Michonne was awesome this episode. Her and Rick got everything on the table and like I told you, she’s still down for the group before anything else. And thanks to Pete being a jackwagon and stealing her sword, it’s now officially around her shoulder where it always belonged.

So Daryl and Aaron followed a lone person, lost him and then fall into a trap set by the Wolves. We only saw them (there are only 2 of them?) twice in this episode and it seems like they are killing for the sport of it (and of course taking what their victims left). If they’re not just killing people for sport, why the elaborate traps with the food trucks? Eventually they’ll have that whole loading dock filled to the brim with walkers. Of course, they could have traps all over the place but I still find it peculiar. I think the fact that we didn’t learn more about them is what gets me the most.

When Daryl was lighting the cigarette, I was thinking he was about to bite it (heh). The lone wolf (heh), who made his own family, making the noble sacrifice. But the “If Daryl Dies We Riot” crowd won out, as Morgan Jones showed up to make the save of both Aaron and Daryl. I really wish they hadn’t changed the scene when Daryl saw Abraham’s writing on the map from St. Sarah’s. I think we could have used a, “Rick Grimes is my friend and I can take you to him” moment and it would’ve instantly bonded Daryl and Morgan. Oh well.

I love the way Rick handled himself in the episode. He realized he crossed the line, but was prepared to do what was necessary to protect Alexandria. But thanks to Carl and Michonne, he found a way to get his point across without having to go with the hostile takeover plan. I also believe this was the most “normal” version of Rick that we’ve seen since before Terminus; getting cold cocked by Michonne had a lot to do with that. It also helped that Gabriel went into full zero effs mode and left the gates open/let the walkers in. And Pete going nuts with the sword. Also, how much alcohol does Alexandria have and why didn’t anyone take steps to keep Pete sober after that fight he had with Rick? Oh, that’s right; Deanna probably thought he’d stay sober on his own. Ugh. I hate Deanna.

But really, Rick could have not done anything this episode and went to the meeting on time and things would have ended the same. Well, the walkers that got in would have still needed dealt with, but you know what I mean! It all worked out for him with minimal effort on his part (aside from the walkers and having to kill Pete, which he was glad to do). How many words am I up to? Sheesh.

And Morgan. Glorious, glorious Morgan. When that Wolf showed up, I was sure we were headed for another black man down (I’ve been quiet about this but to tease him for a whole season just to kill him would’ve been the line) but I’m super glad I was wrong. Since we last saw him in “Clear”, Morgan made peace with his issues and turned himself into a bonafide ninja warrior. He made the crucial save when Aaron and Daryl weren’t going to make it away from those loading docks alive. He was reunited with the man who he saved from certain death so long ago.

But of course it comes with a catch: “All life is precious.” He didn’t kill the Wolves when he had the chance (though he reached for his gun). He left them to be found by walkers (didn’t work). I don’t know if he realizes when you have to kill (unlike Tyreese in how he dealt with Martin, who went back to what was left of Terminus and led the survivors directly to St. Sarah’s) but he seemed really shocked by seeing Rick put a bullet in Pete’s head. Granted, he has no idea why, and in his past encounters with Rick, he was an officer of the law. Clearly, those rules no longer apply to his friend. So I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But he was amazing. Doesn’t make up for killing three black people in one season though.

What a finale. I don’t know what else to say as I’ve taken up a huge chunk of everyone’s time already, but what were your thoughts on “Conquer”?

Thomas: I would have have to say thank you to the writers and producers of TWD show.  I realize I am partly to blame, but you have brought out a serious morbid side of me.  How bad is it that I have spent weeks thinking about the “big kill”?

I have dissected the issue.  I have thought about who would be the most likely to die.  There have been rumors that have made me rethink everything.  On top of that, I have argued with myself about the entire issue and saying that it would make or break the finale.

What do the writers do?  Yes, no big kill.  There was a kill.  I feel bad for Reg, I was just starting to like the guy.  He had a sort of cool, calm mixed with a sense of reason.  However, just thinking about it, it didn’t have a major impact on my view of the ending.  How screwed up am I?

The writers pulled a fast one on me.  They made it through a finale.  It was a 90 minute finale.  There was no big kill.  In fact, there was only one kill.  I would like to say kudos to the writers for all the misdirection and making my predictions worthless.  Once again they have succeeded.

On another note.  I am wondering if maybe I shouldn’t see a therapist?  Why is this show and who is on the chopping block something I consider each week it is on?  Yes, once again thank you TWD creators.  You have me questioning my humanity you jerks.

On the plus side: Wow, I really loved this finale.  I’m going to have to say I actually loved it more than the season 4 finale.  That was an intense ending with a cliffhanger.  Those are the ones that make me pull my hair out but end up being my favorite.  This one beat it out.

I guess I was right in a way.  There was a lot of talking.  I was also wrong.  There was not a lot of introspection on any member of the group.  They all obviously thought Rick was acting crazy.  Even Rick admitted that he had made a mistake.

However, they all supported him.  They were all behind him.  In fact, I felt like a jerk for thinking that anyone was going to question their trust and faith in him.

Again, maybe this show is screwing with my views.  I seem to be looking for the worst possible scenario.  I am, of course, blaming the show for a possible personality trait.  However, that is between me and my future therapist.

That being said.  I was pumping my fist when everyone got behind Rick.  Even Michonne, who knocked him out.  The one I thought would have the hardest time backing him up, did it without question.

You were right man about when it comes to Rick and his family.  He is willing to give people the second chance.  He is also willing to admit that he was wrong and apologize.  At the same time, he said he felt he didn’t have time to do anything else but what he did.

How is it that he apologized?  Admitted that he made a mistake in his actions?  Got forgiveness?  Then everyone accepted that if he gave the nod they would take the town?  Forgave Michonne?  Then managed to get some more sleep.  All that took him was a grand total of 15 minutes.  The man should teach a class is all I’m saying.

Rick and Michonne?  I feel like I have to touch on this.  I like that you bring up how I didn’t think America was ready for that type of interracial couple.  After all, the show has two gay characters, right?

Look I’m going to let you in on a secret.  If you hadn’t guessed, I secretly hope that Rick and Michonne will get together.  I mean, come on.  That would be the bad ass of bad ass couples.  It is obvious they aren’t doing anything with Daryl and Carol.  That ship has sailed.

However, these two have the capability to be tough, kick ass, be tender, and entertaining all at the same time.  I would love it if this would happen.  Not to mention, they both need it.  Let’s be real.  Michonne and Rick are wound so tight it is palpable.

Seriously, everyone has been getting a little love somewhere.  I know not everyone, poor Eugene.  You know what I mean.  With the situations, why wouldn’t two of the biggest characters get to blow off a little steam once in awhile?

Seriously, how close they have become since after the prison; it seems a statistical anomaly that they haven’t even had a kiss.  Even a peck.  I am saying that I would enjoy this coupling and I think it is time.

Now, about my comment.  I just think what I said is true.  Man, it isn’t just the interracial aspect.  I think that is what you keyed on during that text.  Though yes, it would be a factor still.  I think it is the “strong, black, woman” and the “strong, white, male”.  That was what I was getting at.

I am trying to rack my brain.  Granted I’m not that great at remembering a lot of shows.  However, I can’t think of having a leading couple where both characters fit that description.  They are either a white couple, a black couple, or an interracial couple where the man is black and the woman is white.

I’m not saying this never happens.  It just feels like a rarity.  I will leave it to you because you probably all ready have a couple in a show or movie in mind.  However, I just don’t see it enough.

Is America ready for it?  Well, duh.  The fact is that I said that because that is something that the entertainment industry constantly asks itself.  It isn’t about pushing the boundaries though it seems.  It is more about toeing an invisible line.  The sad part?  They are the ones that made up the line.  The poor sad sacks.

I’m going to wrap this bit up.  I feel like I’m about to go off on a tangent.  In fact, I’m starting to consider professional wrestling as I type.

The fact is, Rick and Michonne need to get together.  They should have gotten together.  Will they get together?  I am not sure.  I don’t think they will.  Yes, I think that would turn more heads than the gay kiss.  Just my opinion.

How can I change gears in a hurry?  That is simple, no segue.  How about Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, and Tara?  Eh?  I know, that was horrible.

I actually loved this little bit.  This was one of those things we both mentioned.  The writers tying up loose ends.  This was one of those times.  It was good to see Abraham apologize.  It was also good for Eugene to give a real apology.

Amazing that the guy almost blew it.  I mean he almost went off again about how he was responsible for getting Abraham and the group to Alexandria.  I mean without his lie, they never would have made it.  Dude, just take the apology.

How about Rosita?  That saucy little minx.  Setting Abraham up like that to get him to talk to Eugene?  I don’t know why, I just love clever women.  Not the devious, evil types.  I mean, the cute types that get the guy to do the right thing with a little trickery.  Come on.  We all know that “oops” face she made was adorable.  She really meant to drop that bed pan, I’m sure of it.

I will say, I was sad.  I was hoping to get a moment with Eugene and Tara.  I know it’s a whine.  However, I feel like it is something that should have made it complete.  I’m not talking a romantic moment here.  I’m talking a friendship thing.  I think it is safe to say that Tara and Eugene are best friends at this point.  Ah, well a little something to look forward to next season.

There is still a lot to say.  However, I feel like this could easily be two separate posts.  I’m going to turn it back to you to add some more.  It feels like this is going to be a couple pages at this point.  I’m going to force myself to stop and regroup.  After some stewing, I’m sure you probably have more to say.

Kelen: Me stew? Never! But seriously, I don’t know what I left unsaid from my first part, but I’ll see what I have left in the tank.

I think you’re being a little hard on yourself about the show making us morbid. Death is a main character in the show and if we’re not expecting it, we’re doing ourselves an injustice as fans. When Breaking Bad was winding down, I know I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who was going to die. Same with The Wire as well. To not try to prepare ourselves for who’s next on the chopping block is a fool’s game, especially TWD. While there’s no preparation for a Beth or (SPOILERS) a Hank or a Omar, it still makes the blow a little easier.

Compare it to 24 when Teri Bauer was killed by Nina Myers and no one saw it coming. The impact of Teri’s death stayed with Jack the rest of the series but the creators of 24 only had one shot at that big kill. Fans knew no one was safe. I don’t mean to be crude but I think TWD still has that nut to bust; they still have that big kill in their back pocket. Hershel was the closest they came but he was also a prisoner of the Governor, so once that crazy man started hacking at his neck, I wasn’t that surprised.

So maybe that’s why the cast started spreading rumors, to mislead people like us who think we’re too smart for our own good. And to make it that much more satisfying when they do pull the trigger on the big kill. So it’s less morbid than you think, unless you’ve started taking people you know and trying to figure out when we’re going to die. Then we should seek professional help for you immediately.

As far as Rick and Michonne go, I’m glad to know you’re on my side but I still see them forcing Rick and Jessie together now instead of the more natural fit. And honestly… I can’t think of a drama that featured/features a black woman and a white man together. I think Scandal has it but I’m pretty sure Kerry Washington is his mistress. The only other couple that I can think of are Helen and Tom Willis from THE JEFFERSONS if that tells you anything. I had to look up a list!

Shawn and Angela from Boy Meets World
Crosby and Jasmine from Parenthood (like anyone watches that)

And that’s all I can really say about that. So before moving on, creators of the TWD, I’m begging you, make Richonne happen!

Now that Abraham and Eugene are whole again, I hope we get to see more of their dynamic together again. They were a lot more fun before the truth came out.

Rosita is pushing Maggie for hottest chick on the show now. Mostly because Maggie hasn’t looked at Glenn in an intimate way since last season. But the more bad ass Carol becomes, the hotter she gets too…

And the payoff of Eugene saving Tara’s life will be awesome… but you know they’ll follow it up by one or both of them dying in the same episode!

To tell the truth though, I’m exhausted. This completes TALKING OUT THE DEAD recaps of the entire 5th season of the show! And I really can’t think of much else to say. I’m looking forward to the spinoff this summer, Fear The Walking Dead. You’re not getting a recap out of me until at least season 6 though!

So for the final time for season 5, the floor… is… yours.

Thomas: I hear you on being exhausted.  I love the show.  I enjoy doing the writing.  However, it is nice that the finale has come and gone.  It is time to take a break from the show and scratching my head.

Thanks for the understanding.  I say I’m being morbid as a little joke.  Sometimes it does feel like I am being that way though.  Do I need professional help?  Possibly, though not for my thoughts on the show.

Again, yes I can’t think of any couples that would fit the dynamic of Michonne and Rick.  I also think that the writers may try and push Jessie and Rick together.  It seems like it is obvious.  Yet it doesn’t feel right to me.

Jessie seemed to be on Rick’s side.  However, she was in an abusive relationship.  Couple that with watching Rick execute Pete.  I am thinking that is going to cause some tension.  In reality, I would never expect her and Rick to get together.  I just think that the writers might try to force it though.

I also totally agree about the big kill.  I guess I should define a big kill.  I am talking about a major character.  It has to happen fast.  There has to be no warning.  If they can pull that off, then it is considered a big kill.  I was sad and bit shocked at the kills that have taken place.  However, like you I didn’t see them as a big kill.

Don’t say that about Tara and Eugene.  The way the show works, that makes a lot of sense.  The more I think about it the higher they move up on my chopping block list.  I think the subplots that the writers could create would really push the show to new heights.  The way you put it though, these two won’t be around long for next season.

I think one of the biggest issues next season is going to be Morgan.  He walked in on Rick executing a downed man.  I’m not saying that will be fighting.  I just think there is going to be an issue or two with it.

It should be pointed out that I don’t think Morgan left the two Wolves to be taken by walkers.  If he wanted to do that he could have left them lying on the ground.  Instead, he put them in a car.  He closed the door.  It was more like he was making sure they wouldn’t be feasted on by walkers.

I also have to go back to what he said to Aaron.  After saving them, he said all life was important.  I don’t think Morgan got religious exactly.  I think he just found a certain peace.  Does this mean he won’t take a life?  That is up to next season to reveal.  I do think his attitude will be clashing with Rick big time.

Rosita or Maggie?  I have to agree with you Rosita seems to be the more beautiful of the two.  This is hard because Maggie has always been sexy to me.  However, Rosita has just been making her onscreen time count.  She has only had a handful of lines that I can remember.  However, she has made them work.

My one complaint.  Yes, I do have one.  I really wanted to get more of a clue about the Wolves.  We know they are a group.  They are bandits.  They attack people and take their things.  They kill without remorse apparently.

However, what is with the walkers?  Why do they have something that looks like a trap?  They even have a pretty ingenious setup for getting the walkers back into the trailers once they are out.

This leads me to the big why?  We only get a glimpse of them the entire finale.  That was all I could glean out of it.  I am wondering if the writers have a new angle for this group.  It is also possible that they are taking cues from the comics.

I’ve never gotten far into the comics so I feel like I’m blind.  They aren’t cannibals.  This is known because they killed the guy in the parka at the end.  They set a trap, however it made no sense why they did.  They were going to kill Morgan and take his things.  However, why not shoot him?  Why talk for a few minutes, and have him hacked at from behind?

See what I mean?  These things drive me nuts.  On one hand, I do love a mystery.  On the other, I can’t help it when the clues are so vague.  The way it ended, we know they are bad news.  We also know that they have an eye on Alexandria.  One thing’s for certain, they will play a role in the upcoming season.

I wish I had some great closing thought.  As it is, I have none.  The finale was awesome.  I truly enjoyed it from start to finish.  I was glad I wasn’t completely right in my predictions.  Like you, I’m exhausted though.  The writers did one thing right.  Right now, I can’t wait to see what the next season holds.

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