Hey, it’s Morgan! He’s sleeping all alone in an abandoned car, protected by a (presumably lucky) rabbit’s foot. He starts a fire and boils water for some packaged hot cocoa (yum!) and then some guy creeps his dirty ass out of the trees and points a gun at Morgan. Morgan tells the mystery man that his gun isn’t necessary, then asks what the “W” is for. With a point of view change, we see the man has a W marked on his filthy forehead, and naturally begins to make a speech.
Mystery Man: You know, the first settlers here, they put bounties on wolves’ heads. Brought the natives into it, made them hunt them. Didn’t take too long till they killed them all. (points to forehead) We’re back now. Thoughts?
Morgan: Everything gets a return.
The man laments not being able to meet new people often and is glad that he can just relate with Morgan. Usually he meets people here and there or finds a camp to tear through, but never anyone having a nice drink fireside. Morgan tries to sip his cocoa but the man stops him in his tracks, all, “No, buddy. That’s my drink now. All your stuff is mine. And then I’ll kill you and you’ll be mine, too.” Morgan doesn’t want any trouble and tells the man that he can have his belongings, but he will not allow himself to be taken. The man tells Morgan to be still and his equally squalid-looking partner leaps like a panther out of the bushes behind Morgan to attack, who dodges the slash and grabs what looks like a mop handle. Wielding his handle like a staff, Morgan shows these two jerks what for and lays both of them out flat. He picks up Mystery Man’s gun and it’s empty, but he keeps it anyway. Then he takes them to the car he had been sleeping in, piles them in the back seat, honks the horn a few times to get those walkers a shamblin’, grabs his rabbit’s foot and dips out.
Daryl and Aaron are ripping the streets up looking for recruits and make a stop to head into the woods. And after last week’s pistol whip heard ’round the world, Rick wakes up with Michonne watching over him. He seems to remember what happened and starts chuckling, and she wants to know what’s so funny.
Rick: It’s like the train car. After the whole thing, I’m still there.
Michonne says that Deanna wanted him enclosed in this room to calm things down, Rosita patched him up, and Carl came to visit. But she really wants to know what the hell Rick is doing. She says they put Pete in another house and that Rick could have told her what was happening. He says he had to move fast and he couldn’t tell her about the gun because she wanted to make Alexandria work too badly. She’s like, “Well, we had to stop being out there!” And he’s like, “Well, we’re here now, so…” But she says, “You just said you weren’t, though, remember?”
Glenn, Carol, and Abraham come into the room as Michonne asks Rick where he got the gun, so Carol’s like, “Oh you stole it from the armory all by yourself without involving anyone else in your actions, right? That was silly! Why’d you do a thing like that?” So Rick keeps the lie alive, like, “Just in case.” Glenn announces that Deanna is having a meeting tonight with no fixed purpose except to discuss the Rick Problem. Carol has the fix for that, too:
Carol: At the meeting, you’ll say you were worried about someone being abused and no one was doing anything about it. You say you took a gun just to be sure that Jessie was safe from a man who wound up attacking you. You say you’ll do whatever they want you to, just tell them the story they want to hear. That’s what I’ve been doing since I got here.
Carol: Because these people are children and children like stories.
Abraham: What happens after all the nice words and they still try to kick him out?
Glenn: They’re guarding the armory now.
Carol: We still have our knives. That’s all we’ll need against them.
Carol is absolutely ruthless! (She’s also right.) Rick says at the meeting, if the shit goes down, Carol will take Deanna while he takes Spencer and Michonne grabs Reg. If they can’t talk sense to them, Glenn and Abraham will guard the crowd while they lay out their only term: hand over the armory or Deanna, Spencer, and Reg get their throats cut. Glenn is a little shocked that they’d plan to recreate an environment similar to Terminus and wonders if Rick wanted things to end up like this. Rick’s like, “I screwed up! That’s the plan. Now get out, please. I want to take a nap.”
Maggie is shooting eye daggers a Gabriel and it’s a wonder he hasn’t died from them. She speaks with Deanna and Reg about the purpose of tonight’s meeting and tells them that if her plan includes sending Rick away, it’s not going to work. Deanna already vetted Rick and Co. and decided to let them in, and if she gives that decision over to the crowd tonight she’s handing over leadership. Reg says the meeting is just a forum and Deanna says she’ll make the final decision, but Maggie tries to make them understand Rick’s frustrations. Reg and Deanna aren’t convinced because Rick only stopped at Michonne’s intervention, so Maggie stalks off. Reg catches up to her and explains how important civilization is to the advancement of the human race, and says that he’ll tell Deanna and everyone that sending people away isn’t the answer.
Sasha is alone outside the walls again and gathering walker corpses to fill a mass grave she has dug. With the last waiting above to be added to the pile, she lies down with the walkers. This scene is so sad as we realize Sasha is truly the Walking Dead. Daryl and Aaron are tracking someone who was nearby recently and Aaron says should they find this someone, he and Daryl should hang back and observe them for a while, until they know. Daryl asks if Aaron has ever banished people from Alexandria and Aaron recounts a memory.
Aaron: It was early on, three people. Two men and a woman. Davidson was their leader. Smart as hell, strong. I thought they’d work out. They didn’t. I brought them in and I had to see them out. So me, Aiden, and Nicholas, we drove them out far, gave them a day’s worth of food and water and left them.
Daryl: And they just went?
Aaron: We had their guns. We had all their guns. I can’t make that kind of mistake again.
Carol pays Rick a visit in his bedroom of captivity. She says what happened last night was a good thing because, since everyone thinks Rick’s big plan has been blown, they have more cover. She hands him a gun and he asks why they didn’t tell Glenn, Michonne, and Abraham about the rest of the guns.
Carol: Michonne stopped you. She knocked you out.
Rick: Well, I deserved it. She’s with us, and Glenn is.
Carol: I didn’t tell them about the guns, just in case.
Rick: I don’t want to lie anymore.
Carol: You said you don’t want to take this place. And you don’t want to lie? Oh, sunshine, you don’t get both.
Through binoculars, Daryl and Aaron spots someone wearing a red poncho. Daryl is impressed: this guy knows about rubbing wild leeks on oneself to repel mosquitoes. And back in Alexandria, Rick walks out of his bedroom of captivity like nothing ever happened. He strolls past Tobin and the gang and gives them a “What’s up?”, then walks past Deanna, who has Maggie-level daggers in her eyes.
Glenn is sitting alone outside and Coward-Ass Nicholas is watching him, and this doesn’t look good at all. (STAY ALERT, GLENN! What would Carl say?) Maggie finds him and confirms that Deanna’s meeting is going to be about exactly what they thought: the Rick Problem. She says she’s going to speak to as many people as possible so they can have some facts. As Maggie leaves, Glenn spots Nicholas climbing the wall and heading outside. And Gabriel has gotten Spencer to open the front gates for him, just for a quick walk. With no gun. He says, “The word of God is the only protection I need.” Okay.
Rick gets back to his house and Carl greets him. Carl says he heard about the meeting and Rick’s like, “You’re staying home.” So Carl’s all, “So it is home? Like, we’re staying? Because we both know they’ll never survive without us.” And so Rick decides to keep it really real with Carl.
Rick: I might have to threaten one of them. I could have to kill one of them.
Carl: You won’t.
Rick: I might.
Carl: You have to tell them.
Rick: I told them last night.
Carl: Tell them so they can hear you.
Rick: I don’t know if they can. Does that make you afraid?
Carl: Just for them. You have to tell them.
Daryl and Aaron have found a mother lode: an abandoned canned goods factory. They weigh the pros and cons. If they decide to stop tracking the someone in the red hood to collect this food, they’re consciously deciding to leave a possibly good person to the bad people who are undoubtedly out there. But they’ll also be able to feed new people they bring to Alexandria. They attract and kill a few walkers in their path and head up a driveway to find some large shipping containers. (Knock on them first, you guys!) Aaron snags a very rare Alaska license plate and is super excited. Daryl opens one of the containers and it triggers a trap: an elaborate pulley system has been set up to open all of the containers at once, releasing dozens of walkers upon the poor suckers who didn’t knock first.
The walkers pour out and Daryl and Aaron are in fine form. They bolt out from behind the containers and there’s already a swarm of walkers on the other side. They kill a few but are soon surrounded, then they roll under a container. As the walkers (who all seem to have Ws carved into their foreheads) begin to crawl under the container, Aaron and Daryl roll out the other side. Daryl uses a heavy chain to decapitate three walkers (BAD. ASS!) and Aaron wields a machete like Machete when a walker steals his pack. He and Daryl make a mad dash for a car, shrugging walkers off as they go, and narrowly make it inside as walkers completely surround them. Aaron thinks the car’s windows should hold for a while and Daryl wants to cut up the seats to block the walkers’ view inside (so maybe they’ll forget they’re in there?). Just then Aaron finds a note stuffed into the side of a seat that says, “Trap. Bad people coming. Don’t stay.” OMINOUS!
Pete is all in his feelings and sitting in the dark when Carol, with a casserole, of course, knocks on his door. She comes inside and tells him that he needs to treat Tara. He was her surgeon, so he needs to check up on her, but he’s like, “Get out!” So she pulls out a knife and gives her sociopath muscle a little more exercise.
Carol: I could kill you right now. I could. I will. And then who would believe I did it because I didn’t like you? No one. They’d believe you tried to hurt me. They’d definitely believe that. Come at me. No? Yeah? No. The way this has played out, you have a chance. You’re here. Your wife’s there. You’re a small, weak nothing. And with the world how it is, you’re even weaker. Play your cards right and maybe you don’t have to die. And I want my dish back clean when you’re done.
Pete drops the casserole and his bladder in the hallway and loses it, shouting about his new house not being “his.” Okay. Glenn has followed Nicholas out into the woods, who disappears. As Glenn scans the area, a shot catches him in the shoulder and Nicholas creeps out of hiding.
Rick visits Neighbor Jessie because he’s been positively dying to do that. He wants to check on her but she thinks he should leave. People shouldn’t see them talking right now. He says he’s not sorry for what he did, and Jessie’s like, “You were right.” And across the way, Pete spied on the whole interaction from his new living room window. Who thinks he’ll do something stupid? (Me.)
Walkers continue to grab and slap at the windows of Daryl and Aaron’s safety car and Daryl’s found the irony in life.
Daryl: I came out here to not feel all closed up back there. Even now, this still feels more like me than back in them houses. That’s pretty messed up, huh?
Aaron: You were trying.
Daryl: I had to.
Aaron: No, you didn’t. Listen, I saw you with your group out on the road. Then you went off on your own, by the barn. Storm hit and you led your people to safety. That was it. I knew I had to bring you people back. You were right. We should have kept looking for that guy in the poncho. I shouldn’t have given up. You didn’t.
Daryl: I’ll go. I’ll lead them out and you make a break for the fence.
Aaron: No, no, no, this was my fault.
Daryl: It wasn’t a question. And this ain’t your decision. Ain’t nobody’s fault. Just let me finish my smoke first.
Aaron: No, you don’t draw them away. We fight. We go for the fence. We do it together. Either we make it or not, but we do it together. We have to.
Daryl: All right.
They are so cute and BFFs forever! Just as they’re about to open the doors, a walker’s head explodes right by Aaron’s passenger window. They climb out of the car to find Morgan kicking ass and taking names with his handle/staff. The three of them fight their way to the outside of the gates and Aaron is so thankful. Aaron introduces himself and Daryl and Morgan does the same, but Daryl wants to know why Morgan saved them. So Morgan’s like, “Because all human life is precious, Daryl.” Immediately, Aaron offers Morgan a place at Alexandria but Morgan is on his way somewhere, if not a little lost. He shows his map to Daryl and it says, “Sorry I was an asshole. Come to the Washington. The new world’s gonna need Rick Grimes.” (!!!)
Out on his leisurely stroll for no reason, Gabriel has found a walker feeding on someone on the side of a road. He walks over to it with his arms spread wide, saying, “I’m ready,” and I hope we’re finally going to be rid of him. When it attacks him, he uses the noose it’s wearing to decapitate it then grabs a rock to bash its still-snarling head in. And the guy it was eating? Gabriel bashes his head in, too. Then he curls up in the middle of the street and sobs, and it’s like what did you even come out here for?
Abraham brings some flowers to Tara but nearly leaves when he sees Eugene sitting by her bedside. Rosita convinces him to stay, citing Eugene’s “currently dozing” status, then drops platters on the floor so he’d wake up, forcing Abraham to speak to Eugene and allowing Eugene to finally say his piece.
Eugene: She saved my life. She also cracked open my gourd to considering implications I hadn’t. I’ll remark about those at this time. You got us here. All I did was craft a top-shelf lie, to which a person with strength and heroism could apply their talents. My bet is you needed that. I thank you. And I am sorry. And I mean both emphatically and in equal measure.
Abraham: I’m sorry, too.
Eugene: Utterly and completely unnecessary.
Abraham: I almost killed you.
Eugene: Yes, there’s that.
Gabriel comes back and Spencer is glad because he wants to go to the Rick Problem meeting. He wants to speak with Gabriel later about Aiden’s death but Gabriel hasn’t been anyone’s priest in forever so he’s really barking up the wrong tree. Spencer asks Gabriel to close the gate, so Gabriel slides the gate closed and walks away, allowing it to bounce back open. How is he still alive and Noah and Tyreese are dead?!
In the woods, Wild-Eyed Coward Nicholas is looking for Glenn but comes across a walker. He pulls out his gun to kill it, thinks better of it and grabs his knife, and then shoots the walker anyway? (God, he’s such an a-hole.) Just then Glenn leaps out of the trees and give Nicholas a few choice kidney shots. They fight and Nicholas overpowers Glenn on the ground. A walker approaches and Nicholas lets it – and the others who have gathered – attack Glenn as he runs away. Shocker.
Michonne goes to Rick so they can go to the meeting together, and Rick comes clean about the gun cache he, Daryl, and Carol conspired to steal.
Rick: Carol, Daryl, and me, we worked it out together. Carol took three guns from the armory. I still have one, she still has one. We lied to you because I wasn’t sure how you’d take it, what you’d do.
Michonne: You think I’d try to stop you?
Rick: Well, you did hit me over the head.
Michonne: That was for you, not them.
Rick: I was afraid you’d talk me out of it. You could’ve.
Michonne: We don’t need them here. I don’t need my sword. I think you can find a way. We can find a way. And if we don’t? I’m still with you. Something’s going to happen. Just don’t make something happen.
Argh, can these two make out already?! Rick tries to give his gun to her, but she lets him keep it. In his room, Rick replays conversations past with Bob, and he recalls how Bob only considered their plight a nightmare and not the real world. Just as he was about to drink the Kool-Aid, Rick spots the open front gates and speeds off to investigate. He notices blood and flesh on the gate and knows at least one walker has gotten inside Alexandria. He locks the gates and runs to find it.
Gabriel goes back to the church and finds Sasha inside. She says she’s there because she’s lost. She’s losing it and she doesn’t know what to do. She asks if he can help her and he says, “No.” Simultaneously, Deanna is calling the meeting to order. Maggie wants to wait because Glenn and Rick haven’t even shown up yet, but Deanna starts the meeting anyway.
Deanna: We’re gonna talk about what happened. Not the fight, not what precipitated it. We’re going to talk about one of our constables, Rick Grimes. We’re going to talk about how he had a pistol he stole from the armory, about how he pointed it at people, and we’re going to talk about what he said. I was hoping he’d be here.
Michonne: She said he’d be here.
Carol: I’m sure he’ll be here. And I’m sure we can work this all out.
In the woods in the dark now, Nicholas is still stumbling around looking for signs of Glenn. And Rick is still running around looking for the walker. He hears a dog barking and runs toward it. Sasha confesses to Gabriel that she thinks she wants to die and he goes off.
Gabriel: Why wouldn’t you want to die? You don’t deserve to be here. What you did can never be undone. The dead don’t choose, but the choices you made, how you sacrificed your own –
Sasha: I know what you’re doing.
Gabriel: Bob was mutilated. Consumed. Destroyed, because of your sins. Your brother felt he was apart from it, he was a part of it. He didn’t deserve to be here. You don’t!
Sasha: Stop it!
She screams at him and they begin to fight. And Rick finds a walker outside someone’s house as it attacks him. Meanwhile, Michonne is speaking at the meeting saying they all wish they were as savvy as Rick Grimes. Then a second walker joins in attacking Rick and he’s fighting both of them off. In the woods, Glenn cracks Nicholas over the head. Carol speaks at the meeting, saying that Rick has saved her so many times and stresses that people like her (i.e.: Alexandrians) need people like Rick or they’ll never survive. Then we see Rick forcing his gun through and out the back of one of the walker’s head, as Glenn lays into Nicholas out in the woods. And Abraham gets his chance to speak at the meeting.
Abraham: Simply put, there is a vast ocean of shit that you people don’t know shit about. Rick knows every fine grain of said shit, and then some.
Ever the poet, that Abraham. Rick finally shoots the walker and its head explodes like a water balloon, then we see the two jerks who attacked Morgan marching the guy in the red poncho up to the gates of the canned goods factory trap. He’s begging for his life but the jerks slit his throat, and it’s clear that Daryl and Aaron should’ve saved this poor guy. Maggie gets her turn to speak at the meeting. She says her father respected Rick as a man and father, and she and their group have become family, in large part because of Rick. She tells everyone they don’t really want to break that up, and neither will they let it happen. Then Deanna pipes up.
Deanna: Before we hear from anyone else, I would like to share something in the spirit of transparency. Father Gabriel came to see me the day before yesterday, and he said our new arrivals can’t be trusted, that they were dangerous, that they would put themselves before this community. And not one day later, Rick seemed to demonstrate all the things Father Gabriel said. I had hoped Gabriel would be here tonight.
Jessie: I don’t see him here, Deanna. So you’re just saying what someone said. Did you tape him?
Maggie: He’s not here.
Deanna: Neither is Rick.
Maggie excuses herself, and back in the woods Glenn is beating the brakes off Nicholas. He’s pissed because Noah is dead because of him and he tried to tell Nicholas the way of the world he lives in and was repaid with an assassination attempt, so he’s thiiiis close to killing him. And Sasha has her rifle trained on Gabriel. And the two psychos with Ws on their foreheads reveal the secret to their trap’s success: they’ve rigged the containers with lights and music that they can use to attract the walkers, allowing them to close them in and reset the pulley system for the next poor saps who happen by.
At the meeting, Tobin speaks up, saying he just wants to keep his family safe, and just then Rick shows up, blood mask firmly in place, and throws one of the completely dead walkers down in the middle of the circle. Nicholas is crying about how scared he is and Glenn tells him to shut up. Glenn doesn’t kill Nicholas, and Maggie arrives just in time to convince Sasha not to pull the trigger on Gabriel. Gabriel feels just as empty as Sasha, saying Maggie should have let Sasha kill him. He’s still not over the guilt of letting his parishioners die while he holed up inside the church, and Maggie helps him up. Rick begins to admonish the crowd.
Rick: There wasn’t a guard on the gate. It was open.
Spencer: I asked Gabriel to close it.
Rick: I didn’t bring it in. It got inside on its own. They always will. The dead and the living, because we’re in here. And the ones out there, they’ll hunt us, they’ll find us. They’ll try to use us. They’ll try to kill us.
As he speaks, we see everyone’s resolution. Carl holds Judith and they observe a ballerina dancing in a jewelry box; Glenn helps Nicholas walk as they go back to Alexandria; Sasha, Maggie, and Gabriel pray; and Medical Assistant Rosita (I’m calling it!) is there as Tara wakes up. Then one of the trap setters finds Aaron’s lost pack – and photos of Rick, Carl, and Alexandria.
Rick: But we’ll kill them. We’ll survive. I’ll show you how. You know, I was thinking, how many of you do I have to kill to save your lives? But I’m not going to do that. You’re gonna change. I’m not sorry for what I said last night. I’m sorry for not saying it sooner. You’re not ready. But you have to be. Right now, you have to be. Luck runs out.
Pete arrives half-cocked and wielding a sword, yelling about Rick not being “one of us.” Reg tries to calm him down and Pete cuts Reg’s jugular! Abraham tackles Pete to the ground as Reg dies at the hands of the town’s only doctor in Deanna’s arms. Pete screams that it’s Rick (no, honey, it was all you. We saw you), and Deanna looks at Rick and tells him to “do it.” Automatically, Rick aims and kills Pete – just as Aaron, Daryl and Morgan arrive.
Michonne takes her sword down from the wall, resigned that she’ll have to keep wearing it. And we see the poor guy in the red poncho, now a walker, shambling at the canned good warehouse trap, then get a final look at some writing on a car. “Wolves not far.”
And I am exhausted!
The Questions: Could the two men and a woman that Aaron banished be these two W jerks and the woman who was tied to the tree? Is Mystery Man actually the guy called Davidson? Has Nicholas learned his lesson? Will praying help Sasha and Gabriel? And when is the sixth season premiering?!