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‘The Walking Dead’ Ep. 16: How did the season finale fare for Rick’s group?

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STORY WRITTEN BY ANTHONY J. MACHCINSKI
amachcinski@ydr.com @ChinskiTweets on Twitter

SPOILER WARNING: This article features spoilers on “The Walking Dead” up to Season 5, Episode 16. If you have not watched up to this point, PREPARE TO BE SPOILED!

Before I start this week’s recap, I just want to thank everyone for reading these recaps for the past eight weeks. It’s been a blast to write them and interact with you all on Facebook and Twitter.

Fortunately for me, I picked the perfect season to start writing these recaps. Season 5 might go down as one of the best seasons in the show’s history.

Even in the season’s slowest moments, you never really felt like you were taking a step backward, like you were on Hershel’s farm in Season 2. There’s so much to look forward to in Season 6 that I’m going to do a separate post later this week just to focus on what’s to come – and hopefully some coping strategies to get you through to October!

On to last night’s episode, which was easily the best finale in the show’s run. On Twitter, I set an over/under of 5.5 for characters killed during the finale and the only notable character to die was Deanna’s husband. I expected the episode to have much more bloodshed, but wasn’t disappointed when the show chose storylines over slit throats (although there was plenty of that too).

It’s what I like most about “The Walking Dead,” even when things seem to be predictable – especially for comic readers, the show goes another way.

Let’s get to this week’s recap.

Deanna unleashes the Ricktatorship

How many of us were giddy when Deanna decided to unleash the real Rick Grimes? I know I was.

Pete was brash, and I’m not sure what he expected to happen when he rushed in with Michonne’s katana, but I’m sure he didn’t expect to be on the other end of Rick’s gun.

Seriously, is there any more iconic view in the series than Rick standing over his enemy with the long-barreled revolver pointed at their skull? I’m going to say no. It’s almost as iconic as Dirty Harry with his own revolver.

I kept watching this scene and having flashbacks to this scene from “Star Wars” between the Emperor and Luke Skywalker – except Rick doesn’t care about going to the dark side, he gladly accepts his fate.

I have to give Andrew Lincoln all the credit in the world with his performance throughout the whole season. Rick’s speeches, if delivered wrong, could come off as cheesy. Lincoln’s performances haven’t always been great in the series (“stuff and things”), but in rare showings early in the show – like the now-famous “Ricktatorship” speech – Lincoln showed his potential.

As for the fallout from the ending scene, I don’t think Morgan will be too bothered by Rick’s actions. Sure, Rick has love and jealousy partially to blame for his cloudy judgement, but I think Morgan will understand after a talk or two with Rick.

The scene just comes as a shock to Morgan who last saw Rick as the good guy trying to save his life.

Speaking of Morgan…

Morgan rescues Daryl, and the hearts of Daryl Dixon lovers

Bet you got trolled by Norman Reedus’ comments about Daryl’s possible death, or that right after the scene with Daryl and Aaron locked in the car, “Talking Dead” Chris Hardwick announced Reedus would be on the show – a fate worse than wearing a red shirt on Star Trek.

Even the set up was an epic Top 10 moment for the show, with Daryl volunteering to save Aaron and telling Aaron to wait until he finished his cigarette. But alas, Morgan – who has been teased since the season premiere in October – saves the day with his new-found broomstick skills.

One of the best parts about “The Walking Dead” hierarchy is their knowledge of their crazed Internet fanbase – like everyone who thought that Morgan was the body Daryl and Aaron found in the woods last week. Just a few words from Reedus about “an emotional finale” and Kirkman’s belief that any character – including Rick – could be killed and you have fueled the cult following that preaches “If Daryl Dies, We Riot.”

Hey, even I was moved to write about it.

I’m glad Daryl didn’t die. I’ve been a fan of Norman Reedus since “Boondock Saints” so I wouldn’t want to see him die, but the show WOULD be able to survive without him.

“Wolves not far”

Thankfully, “The Walking Dead” didn’t leave us at a cliffhanger like they did last year, but I’m glad they introduced us to The Wolves.

I don’t think The Wolves will be a major player – I’ve said as much for the past few weeks – but they’ll have a Terminus-like storyline for Rick & Co. and their new Alexandrian cohorts.

Morgan’s encounter with the two Wolves in the beginning of the episode gives some pretense to the group, that the group has both run through camps of people as well as having their own traps.

Why did they kill the guy in the red poncho? To be honest, I’m not sure why, besides just being evil. They were going to kill Morgan regardless of whether he handed over his beloved cup of coffee.

The excitement for them isn’t as large as say the people of Terminus, who had a whole half-season of anticipation before a cliffhanger at the end of season four, but the group should provide some intriguing story for our group to begin next season with a bang.

Quick hits

· Two words for “Walker Kill of the Week”: Chain whip.
· I still can’t get over how quick events around the fire unfolded. From Rick’s speech, to Pete’s mistake, to Deanna’s “Do it” and the no-thought shot to the skull by Rick. Just great pacing for a show where everyone was on edge the whole episode.
· As Rick’s character becomes accustomed to killing off people that don’t belong, Glen clings to his last shreds of humanity when he decides not to kill Nicolas.
· Anyone else jump when Glenn got shot? I know I did. Apologies to York Daily Record photographer Jason Plotkin, who will watch the episode thinking Glenn dies since he read this spoilerish tweet without context.
· “And I want my dish back clean when you’re done,” – said by Carol – is the “Walking Dead” equivalent to this famous “Home Alone” phrase.
· Again, Abraham Ford with a set of great lines I can’t repeat here, but I can always guide you where to go.
· Hey Admiral Ackbar, how do you feel about Daryl and Aaron’s situation in the episode?
· You would think after years of killing walkers in close combat, Rick would know that he can’t just squish a walker’s head without getting nasty guts all over his face. Just next time, try to keep your mouth shut when making that kill and maybe I won’t vomit.

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