Morgan wakes in the back seat of a car and smiles, glad to be alive another day. He has clearly found zen in the last few seasons. He makes some food over a tiny fire and is approached by a man with a gun and a W scarred into his forehead. He sits down and talks with Morgan, the gun still pointed at him. It is an oddly peaceful stand-off, with W making chit-chat about making chit-chat, and about wolves, then without changing his tone, telling Morgan that he wants everything he has, every last drop, including him. W’s buddy (also with a W on his forehead) jumps Morgan, and Morgan beats them both back soundly with some true ninja moves. Turns out, the gun wasn’t even loaded. Morgan leaves the Ws in his car and honks the horn to lure the walkers out.
Daryl and Aaron are tracking a man in a red poncho, in hopes of bringing him to Alexandria. They lose him, but they do find a seemingly undisturbed canning factory. Aaron is worried about the guy in the poncho, but this potential goldmine is too good to pass up. The pair easily clear out the dozen or so walkers roaming the grounds, then enter the gates. I am surprised that Daryl wasn’t concerned – didn’t even seem to notice – the tin can alarms that festooned the big-rig trailers. Daryl opens one of the trailers and finds them booby-trapped. All the trailers open, and dozens of walkers swarm out. Daryl and Aaron make it into a nearby car, but the car is completely overrun – there are so many zombies on the car daylight hardly gets in. Stuffed under the seat, Aaron finds a note: “Trap – bad people coming – don’t stay.” Too little, too late. With few options, but a nice little bromance between the two, Daryl offers to sacrifice himself so Aaron can make a break for it. Aaron refuses – they are going to go for it together. Before they can throw themselves to the mercy of the walkers, one of the zombie heads explodes against the glass. Someone is killing the walkers, distracting them long enough to get out of the car, kill a few more walkers, and lock them back up behind the gate. The mystery savior is Morgan, and Aaron invites him back to Alexandria with them. Morgan politely declines, but does ask where they are. He hands Daryl the “we need Rick Grimes” map. By the episode’s end, the three men return to Alexandria.
Glenn is having a hard time dealing with Noah’s death. When he sees Nicholas jump the wall and run out into the woods, Glenn follows. It’s a trap, and Nicholas shoots Glenn in the shoulder. When he runs out to capture his prey, Glenn is gone. What follows is a strange cat-and-mouse hunt through the woods that includes the two men beating each other, then disappearing, then beating each other again. A couple of walkers come out and Nicholas runs, leaving Glenn to fend for himself. Despite the fact that he has at least two zombies on him, and he is injured, a few scenes later Glenn is back up and chasing Nicholas again. We don’t see what happened with those zombies. The whole thing culminates with the two men battling, Glenn gaining the upper hand and putting a gun to Nicholas’ forehead. He cries, pleading for mercy – which Glenn eventually grants. He wants to kill the dirtbag, but that’s not who Glenn is. The pair eventually head back to Alexandria together. It seems a fair conclusion, but I sure hope they aren’t BFFs any time soon.
Gabriel goes for a suicide walk. He leaves the compound without any weapons, and heads into the woods whistling. He finally finds a walker having a snack, and he lures the walker towards him, arms open, ready to die. But at the last minute he grabs the convenient noose that hangs around this walker’s neck and pulls until its head comes off. He then smashes the head with a rock, and smashes the victim for good measure. He returns to the compound, even more depressed than before (and yet with a curiously white t-shirt that doesn’t have any blood on it) and agrees to lock up so that Spencer can get to the meeting his mother called. Gabriel pulls the gate shut carelessly and walks away. He doesn’t check it, doesn’t even bolt it – just leaves it ajar and heads back to the church. Sasha is waiting there for him. She wants his help: “I think I want to die.” Gabriel thinks she should die, and initially Sasha thinks this is reverse psychology, until he blames Sasha for Bob and Tyreese’s deaths. She goes nuts, they fight, and eventually she gets him on the ground, her rifle pointed at him. Maggie comes in (she left the meeting to find Gabriel) and gently takes the gun from Sasha. She doesn’t put up a fight, and the three sit and pray. It still shocks me that people are religious among all of this.
Rick wakes from his fight in an unfinished house, Michonne sitting over him. Glenn, Carol, and Abraham visit, too. Michonne is hurt that they didn’t tell her about the plan with the guns. When she and Rick speak later on, she assures him that no matter what, she is with him. He tries to give her the remaining gun he has; she insists he keep it. There is some concern that Rick will be kicked out of Alexandria at the meeting tonight. He and Carol even devise a plan to take hostages at the meeting – but they won’t kill them unless it is absolutely necessary. Rick is starting to lose his desire to keep lying to the people of Alexandria – Carol is way more hardcore about the whole thing. She even threatens Pete with a knife, holding it to his throat when she delivers a “get better” casserole to him. Pete looks like he is going to piss his pants he is so scared, but he does nothing until Carol leaves – then he throws a tantrum.
Anyway, Rick is getting ready for the meeting, when he sees something from his window: the front gate is open. He rushes out to bolt it closed, and sees blood on the ground. He follows it and eventually finds walkers inside the compound. He is missing the meeting because he is busy fighting the monsters.
At the meeting, Michonne, Carol, Maggie, and Abraham all sing Rick’s praises and tell what an asset he is to the community. Deanna finally steps in (in the spirit of transparency) to tell them about the conversation she had with Gabriel – which Jessie is quick to point out is all hearsay. This is when Maggie realizes Gabriel isn’t there and goes to find him with Sasha. Rick comes to the meeting with a dead walker over his shoulder. He throws it down and announces it got in because the gate was open – he didn’t bring it in. They got in on their own. “I was thinking how many of you do I have to kill to save your lives. I’m not gonna do that; you’re gonna change. I’m not sorry for what I said last night; I am sorry for not saying it sooner. You are not ready, but you have to be.”
Pete runs into the meeting, screaming that Rick isn’t one of them. Reg steps up to calm him down, and Pete pulls out a sword – Michonne’s sword – and slits his throat. Abraham gets Pete on the ground and holds him there while Reg dies in Deanna’s arms. She turns to Rick. “Do it.” Without a moment’s hesitation, Rick turns around and shoots Pete. This happens to be when Morgan, Daryl, and Aaron arrive. This is a very different Rick Grimes than Morgan remembers.
And finally, the W boys. They have escaped being eaten by walkers in the car, and have found red poncho man. They were also the ones who set the traps at the canning factory. They bring poncho man back to the factory, but slit his throat before they even enter. Then they reset the traps by luring the zombies back into the trailers with music and lights. Apparently zombies are ravers. “Wolves not far” is written on a propane tank just outside.
So clearly, these guys are Wolves. I am woefully behind on my comic books, but I did some research on who the Wolves are – or might be. Some people seem to think they may be the Scavengers, led by Derek; others think that these are a couple of Negan’s followers. I have even read one theory that they could be the Whisperers, citing a reference Morgan made to Rick wearing “dead people’s faces” in season three. (I feel fairly confident this was showing how far off the deep end Morgan was; not referencing yet-to-be-created villains.) However, the Whisperers are way too new, having only appeared in the comics a year ago. I personally can’t help but wonder if the Wolves are maybe a wholly original creation, specifically written for the TV series. After all, didn’t the people at Terminus mention a group that swept through and turned them into the butchers we met? These could be Scavengers or Saviors, but it seems odd that they would be given a new name.
Season five ended on a somewhat sedate note. Sedate in the sense that I don’t feel like our “heroes” are in abject danger like they have been in previous years. The Wolf danger seems to be lurking, fifty miles away, but I feel like the people of Alexandria finally understand and respect Rick and his people.