NOTE: This post contains spoilers regarding the Walking Dead’s Season 5 finale.
It has been more than 12 hours since I finished watching Walking Dead’s Season 5 finale. I have slept. I have guzzled coffee and done quite a bit of that whole Monday thing.
But nothing works. I’m still somewhat in shock.
At the end of last night’s episode, I was staring at my TV with this strange, unfamiliar expression on my face. After a moment, I realized it was actually a smile.
Smile? Season Finale? Walking Dead? I’m not used to those going together.
TWD are masters at manipulating our emotions. I expect them to rip my heart out and gnaw on it like a zombie with fresh meat. I was still reeling from Beth’s death when it was suddenly time to begin mourning Tyreese. Hell, I’m still not sure I’ve recovered from Hershel.
I was certain that last night’s episode was going to hurt. It was the season finale. Norman Reedus had been quoted as saying we should have our tissues ready, and a Huffington Post article proclaimed that Daryl himself might be the character on the chopping block.
The voices in my head carried on a conversation that went something like this as I watched the episode:
“Wow. Morgan! Yes! Oh, wait. Daryl and Morgan just realized they have ‘The Rick Connection.’ Now they’ll kill Daryl and Morgan will have to be the one to tell Rick he’s gone.”
“Sasha, you’re losing your shit. You’re taking naps in zombie piles. Normally I’d bet on you in a fight with Gabriel any day of the week, but you’re clearly whacked. Maybe he’s going to kill you. Oh shit. Here comes Maggie. Maybe he’s going to kill her …”
“Oh Glenn, no. Don’t do it. Don’t be the the ‘I can’t kill him’ guy. Time for you to pull a Rick. Think about Tyreese. Nice guys don’t finish last on this show. They finish dead.”
“Abraham and Eugene just had an ‘I’m sorry I told the biggest lie ever’ and ‘I’m sorry I almost beat you to death’ moment. And they’ve both really grown on me these last few episodes. Shit. One of them is toast now.”
“Rick has a zombie on top of him. Oh well, that’s nothing, really. They wouldn’t kill Rick. Unless they would. They’ve always said no one is invincible. Oh, shit. Not Rick …”
And so round and round went the who-gets-it Russian Roulette game in my head. When the episode ended and everyone in the group was still breathing, I was stunned. And I’m still stunned.
Well played, Walking Dead. You have trained us well. The last thing we expected was for the most notable death in the season finale to be Dr. Douchebag. You kept us on the edge of our seats. After the show, I had a drink to celebrate. As far as Sunday night TV goes, that usually only happens when I’m watching football.
The gang is all still here. And we don’t have to worry about any of them kicking it until at least October.
If TWD was looking to surprise me, it sure as hell delivered. That was the last thing I expected. I kind of feel like I got punked, but in a good way. Kudos to the show for a new kind of adventure.