The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Descriptions of violence; domestic violence. There is an image of Grimes looking pretty beat up lower down in this post. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of Morgan, a middle-aged black man, sitting on a log in a woodland campsite, looking pretty miserable
Look, it's Morgan! And he's thrilled to be back!

Welp, last night was the super-sized season finale of The Walking Dead, and it was 90 patriarchy-packed minutes of reminding us that Rick Grimes is the hideous monster we all need to save us from hideous monsters.

We open with Morgan, Grimes' long-lost buddy, who is taken hostage by two of the W-Heads who were exiled from Aarontown, and whom he handily defeats with his makeshift bō staff. I can't make that sound any more exciting, because it was exactly as unexciting as it sounds.

Cut to Grimes waking up locked in a room in Aarontown, his face covered in bandages. Michonne is keeping watch over him. Carol, Glenn, and Sgt. Red Bull drop by, and the team discusses the meeting Deanna is fixing to hold that night to discuss Grimes' fate. Glenn and Michonne definitely want to pursue a diplomatic approach, and Grimes agrees, but outlines a violent coup as a back-up plan, in case things don't go their way.

It's like the Boy Scouts say: "Always be prepared with a violent coup."

Later, Carol drops by to talk to Grimes about the plan and to give him a gun, since his got confiscated after he went haywire in the middle of Main Street. They talk about concealing from Glenn and Michonne that they've got guns, and Grimes says he's tired of lying. Carol responds, "You want to take this place, and you don't want to lie? Oh, sunshine—you don't get both." LOLOLOL.

When Michonne drops by later, Grimes tells her about the guns and explains he lied to her because he wasn't sure she was on his side. She assures him that she's on his side, and tells him she knocked him out "for you, not for them." HAHAHA PERFECT. I'm pretty sure it was actually for me, since I've watched the gif of that moment fully one million times now.

Anyway, the important thing is: Everyone is definitely on Grimes' side! Because Grimes is the best! And he always makes terrific decisions that save people's lives! Even Blaura Blinney, when she sees Grimes wandering about town, assures him, "You were right." OF COURSE HE WAS. GRIMES IS ALWAYS RIGHT FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

Maggie stops by Deanna's house to give her the 411 about how Grimes is always right and tell her she can't banish him. Deanna ain't having it. Mr. Deanna follows Maggie and tells her that he's definitely going to try to convince Deanna, because civilization starts when people settle in one place and stop sending people away. Not really, but whatever.

Meanwhile, out in the woods: Sasha continues her descent into madness, and flings herself atop a pile of zombie corpses. Gabriel the Terrible Priest goes for a walk with no weapon, because "The word of God is the only protection I need." Okay, player. Douchebag Beta slips over the wall, and Glenn follows him, and he shoots Glenn and they fight. Aaron and Daryl continue their recruitment mission, and find a food distribution warehouse flanked by trucks they assume are full of food but whoooooooops are full of zombies! They all have Ws etched into their foreheads, so this was clearly a trap set up by the exiled Aarontownian W-Heads who were also harassing Morgan. Oh no!

Aaron and Daryl get in a parked car on the lot, and they are immediately surrounded by zombies. Oh no! Daryl volunteers to distract the zombies. Oh no! Aaron says they'll go together. Oh no! They get out of the car and suddenly Morgan shows up and starts fucking shit up with his trusty bō staff. Huzzah!

Aaron invites him to come live with them in Aarontown, and Morgan is all, "Nah." But he does ask them for help locating where he is, because he's totes lost, and holds out the map that Sgt. Red Bull left for Grimes once upon a time, on which he'd written: "Sorry, I was an asshole. Come to Washington. The new world's gonna need Rick Grimes." To which Aaron and Daryl make Tim Allen's question-grunt with their faces.

Back in Aarontown, Carol pays Abusive Pete a visit, bringing him a casserole and a death threat. Neighborly! Pete is real mad. He doesn't want the casserole, which he throws on the floor, and storms around shouting about how "this isn't my house!" YES IT IS YOUR HOUSE AND NOW YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEANING UP THE MESS YOU MADE WITH THAT CASSEROLE, ABUSIVE PETE.

Elsewhere, Sgt. Red Bull goes to visit Tara, who's still recovering from her injuries sustained during the supply run, and he and Dr. Mulletsworth make up. I would be touched, except I totally forgot they were still mad at each other and also don't care.

Definitely a lot of amazing hair in that scene, though.

Gabriel returns to Aarontown after enticing a zombie to come kill him and then changing his mind. He hates himself for being a coward, but also continues to be a coward. He can't kill himself, and can't just stand there and let a zombie kill him, so he leaves the gate open at Aarontown, presumably hoping he'll either die by being overrun or by being murdered when people find out what's he done. He finds Sasha brooding at the church, and, as a Plan C, tries to provoke her into killing him, too. This guy is terrific.

Allllllllllll of this is, of course, lead-up to the big finale scene: The Aarontown community meeting at which Grimes' fate will be decided.

Grimes, who has spotted zombies that shuffled into town after Gabriel left the gate open, is absent when Deanna begins the meeting. The Grimes Gang members in attendance ask her to wait, but she's all HELL NO and plows ahead. Which really doesn't matter, because the meeting consists of every member of Grimes Gang talking about how Rick Grimes is a power angel whose veins run with pure awesomesauce and testosterone.

Sgt. Red Bull really sums it up by telling the meeting: "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."


Maggie gets frustrated with the way the meeting is going, and she takes off to find Grimes, but ends up finding Sasha holding a gun on Gabriel, and they all pray together. It's a real turning point for Gabriel, I guess, because Maggie tells him that he is indeed to blame for killing people by locking them out of his church. Moving on.

The W-Heads, who are apparently going to be the nemesis next season, even though they are stupid cartoon characters, reset the zombie traps at the food distribution center. But, as another great W once said: "Fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me can't get fooled again."

ANYWAY! Grimes finally shows up at the meeting looking perfectly normal.

image of Grimes, with bandages and streaks of blood all over his face

He has a zombie corpse slung over his shoulder, and he tosses it on the ground in the middle of everyone, announcing that the gate was left ajar. He makes a big speech about how this is proof that the Aarontownians need him (even though it was one of his people who left the goddamned gate open). Zombies will always find a way in, he warns (even though they got in because one of his people left the goddamned gate open). "But we'll survive; I'll show you how," he promises.

Is it by keeping the gate closed? Because that's literally all it would take.

In a final perfect moment, Grimes tells the townspeople: "You know, I was thinking, 'How many of you do I have to kill to save your lives?'" only before informing them he's not going to do that. "Phew!" they all say. "You're a real hero, sir! We definitely don't find it terrifying at all that you were planning to kill a bunch of us! We're just glad you're here to save us!"


Just then, Abusive Pete shows up, with Michonne's katana in his hand. OH NO YOU DIDN'T. He screams at Grimes that he isn't one of them, and Mr. Deanna tries to intervene, and Abusive Pete (accidentally?) slits his throat. Deanna cradles Mr. Deanna as he bleeds out, and Grimes pulls out his gun. There aren't any questions about Grimes having a gun now! "Do it," Deanna tells him, and Grimes shoots him dead.

Just then, Aaron and Daryl arrive, Morgan in tow. Morgan gets a glimpse of murdery Grimes with his murdery face. "Rick?" he says.


The key line in this episode (besides Sgt. Red Bull's fine dissertation on how Grimes is a Certified Shitologist) was Maggie telling everyone at the town meeting that Grimes is just what they're all going to become. But that's not true. Michonne's not Grimes. Carol's not Grimes. Daryl's not Grimes. NO ONE ELSE IS GRIMES EXCEPT GRIMES.

Of course we're meant to understand that he is the über-survivor—the full-tilt version of everyone whom he saves, because he carries a heavier burden being their leader and savior and father and saint.

But, you know, maybe that's not as strong a case for accepting Grimes in all his grotesque glory as it is a case for allowing other people to lead once in awhile.

Next Season: More of this crapola.

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