Episode 516 of The Walking Dead, “Conquer,” begins with a shot of an abandoned car in the woods that has crashed into a tree. Inside the car, we see Morgan, Rick’s friend from the very first episode (and a brief return in season three, as well as some brief appearances earlier this season) waking up. He starts a fire and makes himself breakfast. Then a man steps out of the woods and points a gun at him. He sits down, and they begin to talk. After making some small talk, Morgan asks him what the W on his forehead is for. The man says, “You know, the first settlers here, they put bounties on wolves heads. Brought the natives into it. Made them hunt them. Didn’t take them too long to kill them all. They’re back now.” “Everything gets a return,” Morgan replies.
The man tells him that he doesn’t get to meet people often, except when they run through people’s camps. “We have traps, too,” he says, “but it’s different.” The man tells Morgan he’s going to take all of his things. When Morgan asks if he can just keep a little of it, the man replies, “I’m taking you too. And you’re not exactly gonna be alive.” When Morgan starts to reach for his staff, the man says, “Just be still. Just be still.”
Another man with a W on his forehead suddenly leaps out from behind Morgan and tries to stab him, but Morgan evades him. He grabs his staff and proceeds to beat the crap out of the two men with it. Once they’re unconscious, he ties them up and puts them in the back seat of the car. Then he honks the horn a few times to attract walkers, snatches a rabbit’s foot that’s hanging from the rearview mirror, and sets off.
Cue opening credits.
When we return, we briefly see Daryl and Aaron scouting. They stop and start walking. Then things shift to back inside the community. Rick wakes up and his face is all bandaged from his fight with Pete. He looks around and sees that Michonne is sitting in the room with him. They have a brief argument about Rick’s actions, and not long after, Carol, Glenn, and Abraham come in. When Michonne asks Rick where he got the gun, Carol jumps in and says, “You took it, right? From the armory? Stupid. Why’d you do it?” Rick catches on and says, “Just in case.” Glenn reveals that there’s a meeting tonight to discuss kicking Rick out. Rick hatches a plan in case the meeting starts to go bad, wherein each of them will grab one of the townspeople and take over the armory if they need to. No one seems particularly happy about it, but nobody objects, either. “Did you want this?” Glenn asks Rick. “No,” Rick replies, “I hit my limit. I screwed up.” Then he tells them he’s going back to sleep and they all leave.
Meanwhile, Maggie is over at Deanna’s house, pleading Rick’s case to Deanna. Deanna tells her that everyone will tell their story and Deanna will make the final decision, like she always does. Maggie storms off, and Reg goes after her. He tells her that he’s going to try to talk to Deanna, indicating that he’s on Rick’s side.
Outside the wall, Sasha is pulling one of the walkers she shot last episode away from the wall on a dolly. She wheels it up to a pit where she’s burying all of the walkers and accidentally slides in. Instead of getting out, she lays down among all the dead walkers and doesn’t get up.
As Aaron and Daryl are walking, Aaron tells Daryl of a group of three people that didn’t work out early in the community’s days. He explains how he brought them in, so he had to get them out. He tells how they drove them far out of the community, left them with food an water, and drove off. “I can’t make that kind of mistake again,” Aaron says.
In Rick’s room, Carol and Rick are having a conversation. Rick asks why she didn’t want the others to know they had guns. Carol says, “Michonne knocked you out. I didn’t tell them about the guns just in case.” “I don’t want to lie anymore,” Rick says. Carol replies, “You said you don’t want to take this place. And you don’t want to lie? Oh, sunshine, you don’t get both.”
We see that Aaron and Daryl are following a man they’ve spotted in a red poncho. Then we cut back to the inside of the community, and Rick leaves the house he’s temporarily holed up in. As he walks down the street, the townspeople are noticeably chilly towards him. He passes Deanna’s house, and although they look at each other, there are no words spoken. Soon after, Glenn spots Nicholas climbing over the wall and he decides to follow him.
At the front gate, Austin lets Father Gabriel out. “Sure you don’t want a gun, Father?” he asks. “I just want a quick walk,” Gabriel replies. “The word of god is all the protection I need.” Rick arrives back at his own house and Carl is happy to see him. They have a conversation in which Rick tells him that he may need to take over at the meeting, maybe even kill someone. Carl understands, but reinforces to his dad that he won’t have to. “You have to tell them so they can hear you,” Carl says. “I don’t know if they can,” Rick replies.
Aaron and Daryl come across a canned food factory. Daryl wants to keep after the man in red, but Aaron convinces him that opportunities like this don’t come along very often. Daryl finally relents and they dispatch a small number of walkers milling about the parking lot. They then make their way to the factory and decide to open up one of the abandoned tractor trailers. Daryl unlatches the back door of one and we see a mechanism release that simultaneously opens the doors on every semi truck parked their. The door slides open and it’s filled with walkers. Every truck opens up and walkers come pouring out, surrounding Daryl and Aaron in seconds. They try to fight their way through, but the sheer numbers are too much for them. They just barely make it to the inside of an abandoned SUV in the parking lot before it is set upon by hundreds of walkers.
On this commercial break, we see a very brief commercial that starts off with a voice over that says, “Good morning Los Angeles, hope you got your flu shot. Reports in five states that a strange virus is going around, so if you’re not feeling well, go home and take care of yourself.” The scene of idyllic Los Angeles is replaced by a quick shot of a walker in a tunnel, before the logo for AMC’s new show Fear The Walking Dead appears with the words “Summer 2015.”
When we return, Daryl and Aaron are still trapped in the car. They decide to try and cover the windows, to see if they can make the walkers forget about them. “In a few hours, something comes by,” Daryl says. As they start to dig around for material to cover the windows, Aaron uncovers a note written on a scrap of paper in blood. It reads: “Trap, Bad people coming. Don’t stay.
Back in the community Pete is sitting in the dark in the house he’s been put up in, when Carol knocks on the door and walks right in. She tells him that he needs to check on Tara. When Pete gets angry with her, Carol pulls a knife out and tells Pete that she could — and will — kill him, and that nobody would believe that it was just because she doesn’t like him. “You’re a small, weak nothing,” she says to him, “and with the world how it is, you’re even weaker.” She hands him a casserole and walks out. Pete walks into the next room and we hear him raging and throwing things around.
Outside the walls, Glenn is following Nicholas. He loses track of him, and as he comes across a dead walker, a shot rings out and hits Glenn in the shoulder. Glen falls back and rolls down an embankment. Nicholas runs out to where he fell, but Glenn is gone.
Rick walks up to Jessie’s house, where she’s trying to patch up her window. They have a brief conversation in which Jessie tells him they shouldn’t be seen talking right now. “I’m not sorry I did it,” Rick tells her. As he turns to leave, Jessie says, “Rick, don’t turn around.” Rick stops, but doesn’t turn around. “You were right,” she says. We then see that Pete is watching the exchange from a few houses away.
Inside the car, Aaron and Daryl are talking. Daryl tells Aaron that he’ll run out and draw the walkers away so that Aaron can make a break for the fence. Aaron feels like them being trapped is his fault and says that he’ll go. Daryl rebuffs him, and Aaron finally says. “We’ll both go. We fight. Whether we make it or not, we do it together.” Daryl agrees. “On three,” he says. He gets to two, and suddenly a walker is dispatched from outside the car. The door is yanked open and Morgan is there, taking out walkers with his staff. The three of them fight their way to freedom.
Outside the fence, Aaron thanks Morgan and introduces himself and Daryl. Daryl asks him why he saved them. “Because all life is precious, Daryl,” Morgan replies. Aaron offers to take Morgan back to the community. Morgan tells them that he appreciates it, but he is on his way somewhere. “Fact is, I’m lost, so if you could tell me where we are,” he says, and hands them a map. The very same map on which Abraham wrote, “The new world’s gonna need Rick Grimes.”
Back outside the community, Father Gabriel is walking and whistling when he comes upon a walker eating a body. He starts whistling louder and then he walks up to it and loudly says, “I’m ready.” The walker gets up and starts to walk towards Father Gabriel. Right before it can eat Gabriel, Gabriel finally reacts and defends himself. He grabs a rope that’s noosed around the walker’s neck and decapitates it. He then smashes its head in with a rock. He walks over to the body the walker was chewing on and smashes its head in, too. Then he falls to the ground, sobbing. Good lord, if only they could have killed him off instead of Noah.
Inside the community, Abraham shows up with flowers where Tara is convalescing. When he sees that Eugene is there, he says he’ll come back later. Rosita assures him that Eugene is sleeping. As Abraham comes in, Rosita “accidentally” knocks over a pot that clangs loudly and wakes Eugene up. Eugene launches into a lengthy rant to Abraham: “She saved my life. She also cracked open my gourd to considering implications I hadn’t. I will remark upon 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 was that you needed that. I thank you. And I am sorry.” After a moment, Abraham replies, “I’m sorry, too.”
Father Gabriel returns to the gate in something of a daze. Spencer asks if they could talk later, about Aiden. “I’ll see,” Father Gabriel replies. Spencer tells him he wants to get to the meeting and asks Father Gabriel if he’ll take care of the gate. Gabriel replies yes and Spencer heads off, and Gabriel halfheartedy closes the gate behind him; it bounces open a few feet and he never turns around to check it or lock it. Then he walks away, leaving the gate ajar.
Nicholas is walking through the woods and comes across a walker. He tries to stab it but can’t bring himself to, so he shoots it in the head. Glenn pops out of nowhere and attacks him, and they get into a huge fistfight. Glenn breaks Nicholas’s knee and although he’s the better fighter, Nicholas keeps shoving his hand into the gunshot wound on Glenn’s shoulder. He gets the upper hand when a walker appears, so Nicholas dives out of the way and lets the walker attack Glenn. Two more walkers pile on top of Glenn, and things look grim for him.
Michonne tells Rick it’s time for the meeting. Rick discloses that he has a gun and what he, Carol, and Daryl were up to, and Michonne tells him that no matter what, she’s still on his side. About the guns, she says, “You 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 gonna happen. Just don’t make something happen.” Rick tries to hand her the gun anyway, but she makes him keep it. She tells him not to be too long and heads out. As Rick’s getting ready, he sees out his window that the gate is open. He runs out to it, and sees some blood and what looks like a scrap of walker flesh caught on it. He closes the gate, and then runs off following a trail of blood on the ground.
Sasha shows up at Father Gabriel’s and asks for help. “No,” he replies. At the meeting, Rick is nowhere to be seen, so Deanna starts without him. Carol, Abraham, Maggie, and others give testimonials about Rick and how he’s the only reason they’re alive. They also try to get the townspeople to understand that his way is the best way for them to survive. Back at Father Gabriel’s, Sasha says, “I think I wanna die.” Father Gabriel says, “Why wouldn’t you want to die? You don’t deserve to be here. Bob was mutilated, consumed, destroyed because of your sins!” He starts yelling at Sasha and they get into a fight.
Rick hears a dog barking and runs off in that direction. Behind some houses, he is set upon by three walkers. He dispatches the first two easily, but the third gets him pinned on the ground. As Rick struggles to keep it from biting him, they seem to be at a standstill. We then see Sasha and Father Gabriel fighting over a gun and it goes off. As Rick is about to get his knife up into the walker’s brain, the same gunshot rings out and blows the walker’s brains all over Rick.
Oustide, Nicholas is wandering around, lost. Glenn comes out of nowhere and knocks him down. He punches him a few time and takes all the fight out of Nicholas. He puts his gun to Nicholas’s head but can’t bring himself to kill him in cold blood.
Back at the canned food factory, we see the two Wolves from the very opening scene. They have the man in the red poncho with his hands tied behind his back, who is pleading with them to let him go. “Shhh…” one of them says, “they’ll hear you. It’ll take longer to reset it. Just be still. Just be still.” Then he slits the man’s throat and says, “Welcome home.”
Back at the meeting, Deanna reveals to the people that Father Gabriel came to her and told her that Rick and his people couldn’t be trusted. Jessie speaks up for the first time and says that since Father Gabriel isn’t there at the meeting, “You’re just saying what someone said.” Back at Father Gabriel’s, Sasha has knocked him down and has her gun pointed at his head.
At the canned food factory, the wolves activate a remote control that starts loud music and lights playing inside one of the semi trucks. The walkers start making their way into it. At the meeting, Tobin is standing up and talking about protecting his family when Rick shows up and drops the dead walker at everyone’s feet.
Maggie shows up at Father Gabriels and disarms Sasha, keeping her from killing Gabriel. Sashs is crying. “You should let her,” Says Father Gabriel. “They died. They all died because of me.” “They did,” Maggie replies before taking his hand and helping to his feet.
At the meeting, Rick launches into an impassioned speech: “There wasn’t a guard on the gate. It was open. 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. 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 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, you have to be. Luck runs out.”
As he’s speaking, we see a few other scenes. Glenn is walking back through the woods, helping Nicholas walk on his injured leg. Maggie, Sasha, and Father Gabriel are sitting in a circle and praying. Rosita is sitting with Tara and Tara wakes up. And one of the wolves picks up Aaron’s bag that he dropped at the food factory and starts looking at the photos in his bag, including one of Rick and Carl.
Then Pete shows up at the meeting with Michonne’s sword. He’s angry, and he’s yelling at Rick, “You’re not one of us. You’re not one of us!” Reg tries to talk him down, and as Pete shoves him away, the sword slashes Reg’s throat. Deanna collapses and starts sobbing uncontrollably as Reg dies in her arms. Abraham has Pete restrained as Pete struggles and yells “This is him! This is him!” A despondent Deanna turns to Rick, sobbing. “Rick,” she says through her tears, “do it.” Without hesitation, Rick turns and shoots Pete. After he does, he hears his name. “Rick?” He looks up and Morgan, Aaron, and Daryl are standing there.
After the last commercial break, there are two final brief scenes. The first one sees Michonne back in her house. She is about to hang her sword back up on the wall, but changes her mind and sheathes it, then hangs it over her shoulder instead. Then we see the man in the red poncho, now a walker, slowly walking past the SUV Daryl and Aaron were trapped in. On the side of it is spray painted “Wolves Not Far.”
End Season Five.