Tragic death is kind of a way of life for the Walking Dead. By the end of the season, at least a couple seemingly big characters are killed. The series only has about four or five people left from the first season (Rick, Glenn, Carol, Carl and Morgan).
And yet, death was not the primary focus of Sunday’s season finale for season 5. It was survival, mercy and the value of life. From the seemingly certain sacrifices and threats of murder, there were only two characters that lost their lives. For all the anticipation, Glenn survived the season, showing Nick mercy after Nick tried to murder him.
After throwing the crew under the bus, and showing Sasha tremendous disgust…after demeaning her, her brother and Bob, the truth comes out…it is really his own self loathing driving his actions. He let his parishioners die horrible fates because he was a coward. We saw glimpses before…but here he was ready to die, because he was broken from the guilt. And yet, in the end, rather than kill Gabriel, we see Maggie, Sasha and Gabriel holding hands, clearly praying. I was not happy with Gabriel going behind the family’s back…but I am all for a redemptive message.
The final moments before the credits were powerful. As Deanna cradles her dying husband, you see her idealism seems to bleed out with him. The look on her face tells us that in that moment, she decided to side with and trust Rick’s view on how it has to work. And yet, the story gives us a final glimpse with Morgan, Daryl and Aaron, the reaction of horror as Morgan speaks Rick’s name. The setup for next season is strong.
I also noticed that the show did some real misdirection, using fan’s knowledge of the comics. The “W” did not turn out to be Whisperers.