With “Conquer,” The Walking Dead put its fifth season to rest last night, giving fans plenty to drive them crazy until the show returns.
We’ve been watching Rick and the gang slowly attemptng to integrate themselves into the tranquil Alexandria, with consistently unhappy results. They’ve been in this new world too long, seen too much, done too many things in the name of survival to track with the Free Zone’s desire to rereate civilization. You could easily make the arguement that ALexandria was going along well for themselves, solving problems as best they know how, until they welcome Rick & co. into the mix. Hell, I’d suggest that nearly every time the group meets another, things go south quickly.
The psychological damage done is epic, but no one has it worse in the crew than poor Sasha, reeling around the site obviously suffering from PTSD. The finale finds her finally able to rest while lying on top of a pile of Walkers in a makeshift grave. Gabriel too is suffering, but he’s still runnng from guilt. He tries to get the gang tossed, I mean, they’re the only ones who know his truth, but it never quite grows to fruition for him.
Other members have been making strides in their own way. The biggest character developments here come from Daryl and Carol. We’re seeng more and more of Daryl’s human side, giving Norman Reedus lots of room to stretch with the character and the show’s all the better for it. Carol peels back another frightening layer of her character, dropping into the role of an inept domestic, but we know if you scratch the surface, there’s something far more ruthless lurking. I loved her scene with the abusive husband, flicking that knife from nowhere and owning him with a matter of words. Most exciting is that Morgan is finally back in play, having gone from the traumatized crazy to a bo-wielding, Buddha Ninja. He’s going to make a welcome adition to the cast, especially since I understand he plays a significant role in the comics.
“Conquer” built to its bloody climax with an almost unbearable run of quick cuts back and forth with various characters in peril. That none of Rick’s group bought it last night is a relief after a season of loss (Tyrese’s death still feels like such a waste). While Rick seems to further descend into a violent, pragmatic paranoia, much of the remainder of the group looks poised to finally lay down their weapons. This has been the overacrhing dynamkic of season five. Who are these people now, in the face of both the horrors that lurk and the horros that they commit on each other? IS it possible to go back or have they been through too much and “gone feral?” Carl’s would-be girlfriend tells him in the woods, “It’s their world now. We just live in it,” suggesting the old days are long gone. Everyone is doomed to either a quick death or to just keep on walking.
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