'The Walking Dead' Season 5 Finale Recap: 'Conquer'

In its first ever extended finale, "The Walking Dead" delivered 90 minutes of shocks, surprises and twists.

Here's our blow by blow recap of "The Walking Dead" Season 5, Episode 16, "Conquer":

The Return Of An Old Friend!

An old car sits crashed into a tree. In the back, a man wakes from his slumber – it's Lennie James' Morgan! At a small campfire, he boils some water and makes some instant oatmeal. But, before he can eat, a man walks up to him, pointing a gun. "Looks good," the man says of the grub. "What's the 'W' for?" Morgan asks the man, who has the letter carved into his forehead. The first settlers put bounties on wolves heads and "brought the natives into it. Made them hunt them. Didn't take them too long to kill them all. They're back now," the man explains. "Everything gets a return," a calm Morgan replies. Eventually, after a bit more talking, the man reveals his end game -- he's going to take everything Morgan has -- including Morgan's body. But, when his friend comes at Morgan from behind, Rick Grimes' old friend grabs his walking stick and wields it like a martial arts pro, knocking both men down and out. After putting the unconscious men in the back of the car he previously occupied, he honks the horn and heads out.

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After The Fight

Back at Alexandria, Rick wakes up on the floor and laughs. "What's so funny?" Michonne asks from the chair she's watching him from. Rick compares this situation to the train car. Michonne explains to Rick what happened since she knocked him out – Jessie's husband, Pete, has been put in another house. Deanna's going to have a meeting to decide what to do next, Glenn says as he, Carol and Abraham come in. Carol has a suggestion. "Just tell them a story that they want to hear," she says. "That's what I've been doing since I got here… Because these people are children and children like stories." If things don't go their way, Rick will whistle and they can each grab Deanna and what's left of her family – Reg and son Spencer. "They give us the armory and it's over," Rick says.

Over at Deanna's house, Maggie is trying to do what she can to help out with the Rick situation. "You let Rick in, you let all of us in. You talked to us, you decided," she says. But Deanna wants to wait for the meeting to deal with things, so Maggie walks off. Reg follows her. "Civilization starts when we stop running, when we live together, when we stop sending people away from the world and from each other," he says. "That's what I'm going to tell [Deanna]. That's what I'm going to tell everyone."

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon and Ross Marquand as Aaron in ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 15

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Daryl & Aaron's Recruiter Mission

The boys – Daryl and Aaron – are tracking someone. Aaron has some advice, the protocol he's used before: hang back, watch and listen. As the two walk, Daryl gets the story on the people they previously sent away from Alexandria – people Aaron recruited. "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. Me, Aiden and Nicholas. We drove them out, far, gave them a day's worth of food and water and left them," Aaron says. As the pair keep walking, they finally spot the person whose trail they've been chasing – a man in a red poncho. They sit back and watch.

Meanwhile, Back At Alexandria…

Sitting on a porch, Glenn waits for Maggie (Nicholas watches him from around a corner). "We're gonna talk to people," Maggie says about their plan to help the Rick situation. After she leaves, Glenn hears some rattling at the fence and spots Nicholas trying to climb over it. He stands and follows.

Over at the gate, Spencer, Deanna's son, opens the gate and lets Father Gabriel out. "I just want a quick walk. The word of God is the only protection I need," the priest says, refusing to take a gun.

At Rick's house, father and son talk about what's to come at the meeting. Rick admits he might have to threaten, and maybe even kill someone.

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The Recruiter Mission Continues

"Sometimes they slip away, it happens. But you don't come across something like this every day," Aaron says as he and Daryl stand at the gate of a food factory. They're going in. But just minutes inside the place and they find out it is a trap, and not just a simple one. As they open one of the food trucks at Del Arno Foods (their slogan is "How the harvest gets home") all of the truck doors open and dozens and dozens of walkers (all with the letter 'W' on their heads) pour out. The only thing Daryl and Aaron can do is climb inside a car. But there's a note. "Trap," it reads. "Bad people coming. Don't stay."

Carol Confronts Pete

Carrying her latest casserole, Carol heads to Pete's house and tells him to check on the injured Tara (he's a surgeon, after all). She also uses the moment to threaten him, and give him an option. "The way this has played out, you have a chance," she says. "Play your cards right, maybe you don't have to die," she adds, shoving the casserole into him. "And I want my dish back – clean – when you're done."

Glenn Vs. Nicholas

In the woods, Glenn loses Nicholas, but finds the dead walker that was killed when they first went out on a trial run with Aiden and Nicholas. As he stares at it, it gives Nicholas a moment to strike. He jumps out and shoots Glenn in the shoulder and runs over to finish the job, but Glenn escapes.

Nicholas (Michael Traynor) and Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) (AMC)
Nicholas (Michael Traynor) and Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) (AMC)


Even though they are trapped in a car, walkers all around them, Daryl finds a moment of levity. Aaron's surprised to hear him laugh and asks why. It's because, even in that car, being outside, "still feels more like me," Daryl says. "That's pretty messed up, huh?" he asks. "You were trying," Aaron says. With things not getting any better, the two men converse some more and then Daryl makes a bold move. He's going to lead the walkers away and let Aaron escape. "This ain't your decision. It ain't nobody's fault. Just let me finish my smoke first," Daryl says. But Aaron won't let Daryl sacrifice himself. They'll fight together. Or will they? A hunting knife cuts down a walker at the window – it's Morgan. Outside of the yard, Aaron can barely contain himself, he's so thankful to Morgan. They introduce each other. Aaron offers to take Morgan back to Alexandria, but Morgan says he's heading elsewhere. But… he's lost. He hands Daryl the map – the very one Abraham wrote Rick's name on -- and Daryl knows this man isn't just a kind stranger, he's a friend.

A Man On His Own Mission

Out in the woods, the unarmed Fr. Gabriel spots a walker and tells the creature, "I'm ready." The rotter comes at him and Gabriel uses the rope around its neck to decapitate it. After putting the dying man (the walkier was eating) out of his misery, Gabriel cries and curls up into a fetal position.

Mending Fences

Rosita is making some sort of notes on the kitchen counter as Abraham comes in with flowers for Tara. Eugene is asleep at her bedside. "Whoops!" Rosita says, knocking a pan off of the counter to wake Eugene up. Finally, it's time for Eugene and Abraham to talk about everything. "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 was you needed that. I thank you. I am sorry," Eugene says. Abraham accepts and then apologies for almost killing Eugene when he found out he was not a scientist.

Haven't You Learned Anything?

Deanna's son Spencer opens the gate for Father Gabriel to come back in. "You think we could find some time to talk later, about Aiden? There's just some things I need to say and I'm not sure who I can say them too," Spencer asks. "I'll see," Fr. Gabriel replies. He's got something to do, so Spencer asks Gabriel to take care of the gate. But he doesn't. The priest just pulls it toward the latch, but walks away without locking it!

Glenn Vs. Nicholas, Round 2

In the woods, Nicholas is taking down a walker when Glenn tackles him and the two engage in an all-out brawl. Nicholas presses into the gunshot wound he inflicted on Glenn to keep him down. Then the walkers come, trapping Glenn on the ground!

Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in 'The Walking Dead' set

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Rick Reveals All

It's time for Rick to confess everything to Michonne – about the guns and the plans. "We lied to you because I wasn't sure how you'd take it, what you'd do," he says trying to hand her a gun. She doesn't take it. "Something's gonna happen, just don't make something happen," she tells him of what's to come. He tries to hand her the gun again, but she pushes it away, and heads out. As Rick sits there, he hears Bob's words over and over in his head. "This is a nightmare, and nightmares end." But then, Rick sees something – the gate is open. He bolts outside.

After walking inside the makeshift church, Fr. Gabriel spots Sasha. She's still got her gun. "I came here, because I don't know what to do with what's in my head. Can you help me?" she asks. "No," Gabriel tells her.

Chaos In Alexandria/The Meeting About Rick

"We're going to start," Deanna says, starting the meeting.

Back at the church, Sasha says she wants to die, and holier-than-thou Gabriel gives it to her. "Bob was mutilated. Consumed. Destroyed because of your sins," he tells her, setting Sasha off. She stands up, screams and shoves him against the wall.

Running through the town, Rick finds a walker and takes it down, while Michonne stands up for him, giving a moving speech at the meeting. But he can't be there. There are more walkers to kill.

As for Sasha, she's wrestling with Fr. Gabriel. Outside the gates, wrestling is going on between Glenn and Nicholas too, as they continue to fight.

"People like me, people like us need people like him," Carol says at the meeting, but Rick still doesn't come. He's being attacked and has to use his gun, not firing it, but pushing it through the walker's gooey skull to kill it, spraying guts all over Rick's face.

While Rick's doing the hard work on the streets of Alexandria, Abraham's trying to sway people at the meeting . "Simply put, there is a vast ocean of sh** that you people don't know sh** about," he says, poetically. "Rick knows every fine grain of said sh** and then some." It's Maggie's turn next. "No matter when we found each other, we're family now. Rick started that, and you won't stop it. You can't and you don’t want to. This community, you people, that family -- you want to be a part of it too," she says. But Deanna gets the last word, telling the group about Fr. Gabriel's warning. "And not one day later, Rick seemed to demonstrate all the things that Father Gabriel said," she tells the group. Moments later though, Rick arrives and dumps a walker body down in front of them all.

In the woods, Glenn takes on Nicholas. "Noah died because of you," he says, as he holds Nicholas down. "I don't belong out here," Nicholas says crying, as Glenn holds a gun at Nicholas' head. And then, he let's go. Sasha too doesn’t kill Fr. Gabriel.

Out there, the man with the red poncho has been found – by the wolves who attacked Morgan. They slice the poncho man's throat and send him inside the food factory yard. They also turn on music inside the trucks to re-set the trap. Our last look at these bad, bad men -- we watch them looking at photographs (from Aaron's backpack) of Rick and Carl, happy in their Alexandria homes.

Time To Change

"There wasn't a guard on the gate, it was open," Rick tells the Alexandrians. "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," he continues. "They'll use us, they'll try to kill us. But we'll kill them."

Rick reveals he was wondering how many of the Alexandrians he was going to have to kill to save them. "But I'm not gonna 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. Right now you have to be. Luck runs out," he says.

And just then, luck runs out for one of the Alexandrians. Pete storms in carrying what looks like Michonne's katana and charges at Rick, but slices Reg's throat, killing him in the process. Deanna is devastated, and as her husband dies, she turns to Rick. "Do it," she says. Rick shoots Pete.

"Rick?" a voice calls out from the edge of the meeting. Rick looks up. It's Morgan, flanked by Aaron and Daryl.

-- Jolie Lash

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