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'The Walking Dead' season finale: Rick takes charge

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Gene Page/AMC

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s “Conquer” season finale of The Walking Dead.]

So Rick gets to stay after all. Tonight’s season finale of The Walking Dead centered around whether the inhabitants of Alexandria would exile Rick after he pulled a gun on them in last week’s episode—and how Rick and Co. might violently respond to such a proposed exile. But thanks to some zombie intruders—after the perpetually infuriating Father Gabriel accidently left the main gate open—and a machete-wielding jealous Pete, Rick got to prove his mettle and show Deanna and others why they needed his hard line approach.

Rick not only made a zombie’s head explode all over him and delivered the body to the community meeting, but then watched as Pete sliced Deanna’s husband Reg’s throat open while trying to get to the constable. That led to the only words Rick needed to hear from Deanna—“Rick, do it”—and he shot Pete dead. As if that was not dramatic enough, Rick then turned to see his old pal Morgan (brought back to Alexandria by Daryl and Aaron), before the show cut to black.

The episode also started with Morgan, this time fighting off two men with the letter W on their foreheads—the Wolves group we first saw a clue about back in the midseason premiere with the “WOLVES NOT FAR” graffiti. Morgan later helped save Daryl and Aaron, who walked into a Wolves trap by opening a booby-trapped truck they thought was filed with food but instead sent zombies streaming out from everywhere.

Elsewhere, Glenn followed Nicholas into the woods, where Nicholas shot him. They tussled, with Glenn finally pinning him down with a gun to his head. However, Glenn eventually showed mercy and allowed him to live. Speaking of sparing super-annoying people who have done nothing but cause grief, Sasha lost it after Father Gabriel told her she did not deserve to live and that she and Tyresse were to blame for Bob’s death. She had a gun on him and appeared ready to pull the trigger before Maggie intervened.

It was an ambitious 90-minute finale that tracked multiple storylines at the same time. It also set the table for season 6 with the return of Morgan and the Wolves seemingly advancing in on an inevitable conflict with Alexandria, especially with that final “WOLVES NOT FAR” image. Check back later for our full recap as well as interviews with the cast and producers, but you can weigh in right now with your thoughts on the finale and what you’d like to see happen in season 6. And for more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss