Revisiting The Walking Dead: Season 5
Now that the Walking Dead season 5 has wrapped up, we at The Geekiary sat down at our virtual roundtable to discuss the obnoxiousness of Father Gabriel, whether “Caryl” is still a thing, how awesome Aaron and Eric are, and more.
So sit back, relax, and grab yourself some of that Alexandria Scotch. Or beer. Or even just running water. Because we’ve got a lot to talk about!
WARNINGS: There are some slight comic book spoilers in the Rick and Morgan questions.
Who was your favorite character this season, and has it changed from previous seasons?
Angel: Well, one of my top three favorite characters – Beth – is dead. So my top three going forward is going to have to change. Thankfully my other two favorites, Glenn and Carol, are still kicking (at the moment). My love for Glenn has grown over the seasons. He’s remained my favorite since episode two. His relationship with Maggie has only intensified my love of his character. It’s something beautiful in a very dark world.
My feelings about Carol are less stable. I think she’s grown enormously as a character, but her ruthlessness sometimes concerns me. The deadpan way she said “we’re going to have to kill him” sent chills down my spine. Yet despite these questionable things, I still admire her growth (and hey, she’s been right most of the time too, so keep being ruthless I guess).
Tara: Yup, totally agree with you about Carol! Though I’m actually a bit more on the “I don’t really care for her anymore” end of that spectrum, mostly due to her recent actions in Alexandria. And I suppose it’s because as a viewer who knows her character, I know better, but I still don’t understand how the Alexandrians aren’t seeing through her act.
But I digress. Favorite character this season…I’ve definitely been feeling some Glenn love! More so than usual. I still have a slight preference for Rick and Daryl, but Glenn has really just been great this season. And Abraham is up there too…so hilarious. I mean really…WHO’S DEANNA? And his speech in the finale, about Rick? Best ever.
Farid: My favorite character is still Carol. I don’t know, there’s just something about her that I love. I know she has become more ruthless this season but I think knowing what she went through it makes sense for her character. She’s someone who shouldn’t be taken lightly, and I love how she uses her appearance to make others believe that she’s weak. The interview she gave in Alexandria was awesome and spoke a lot about who she is as a character and how she has developed since the first season.
Sasha is another character I think is close to reality. Even though she’s the most unstable right now, her emotions are the ones that mirror what viewers should feel in such a situation.
Pearl: My favorite characters this season were Glenn, Carol, and Daryl. They have consistently been my favorite characters for a while now. I think Glenn and Carol especially have steadily and continuously grown as favorites, and I was very content with their development in season 5.
Bekah: The character that has remained one of my favorites since the beginning has been Glenn, because something about him was always appealing. Daryl joined the ranks soon after, but a character who will always be my favorite (and not just because of all the meta in my head) is probably going to be Beth.
I know she’s technically no longer a part of Team Family and she got a lot of disgruntled chatter about her always singing, but Beth was one of those people who lit the flame of hope for a lot of the characters. There’s a lot I could say about her, especially in season 4 with Team Moonshine and “Still”. In season five, I liked to see her buck up a little, and then it was interesting to observe what effect her loss had on Team Family (and I do mean all of them, not just Daryl and Maggie). Some people complain that the end of her appearance was just another way to further on Daryl’s “man pain” and while I don’t necessarily agree with it, I still have a lot of strong feelings on Beth’s loss and how it was handled (or not handled, in this case).
Tara: A bit off topic, but I do want to add that I’m one of those people who believed that Beth was killed off to further both Daryl and Maggie’s character development…however, I feel like the show then didn’t even go that far with it. Instead it’s almost as if the writers have written Beth out of existence, and that may be worse than using her death as reasoning for any changes with and/or actions by Daryl and Maggie. Maddening, TWD. Maddening.
What about least favorite characters?
Angel: If you’d asked me this three episodes ago I’d have ranted a lot about Eugene, but he redeemed himself so much when he saved Tara. Perhaps he’s near the top of my “favorite people” list now…
But you know who is beyond redemption? Father Gabriel. Nothing that man can do will fix what he’s done. I try to put myself in his shoes, like I do all characters who oppose the protagonists, and I just can’t find it in myself to truly understand him. I think he’s selfish, entirely focused on self preservation, and not worthy of being part of the group OR a member of Alexandria.
Farid: I’m with Angel, Father Gabriel needs to be shown the door. I liked his character when he first appeared and I could understand he felt guilty about what he did to the people who came to his church for help, but now he has become intolerable. He can not function as a group member and will only bring harm to the people around him.
Carl is still one of my least favorite characters in the show, but now he’s second to Father Gabriel.
Pearl: My least favorite characters during this season have been Father Gabriel and Sasha. I think that Father Gabriel is despicable. Ever since his character was first introduced, I had a feeling that he was going to bring trouble for the group. I don’t trust him and I hope that Team Family learns that he can’t be trusted, too.
As for Sasha, I understand that she’s been through a lot recently. She lost Bob and Tyreese, two people who meant the world to her. Although I get that she’s in the process of dealing with her loss, I just can’t seem to relate to her or feel sympathy towards her. Her behavior comes off a bit selfish to me.
Tara: Father Gabriel is annoying but I feel like he’s not important enough to name as my “least favorite”. I do agree with Sasha, though – I really used to enjoy her, and while I totally understand that she’s lost a lot, she’s made some stupid mistakes (letting the Grady cop get away) and just acted like a total brat (with Michonne and Rosita). However, I have hopes that they’ll bring her back around next season ::fingers crossed:: (Especially as she seems to be the show’s new comic!Andrea, at least in the sharpshooter/sniper sense.)
And ha, all the Carl hate amuses me, he hasn’t really annoyed me since about season two…
Bekah: I have more characters that I’m ambivalent about rather than really disliking them, but one character I absolutely despise is Gabriel. I can’t see any use for him other than him stirring the plot pot and throwing in conflict. I agree about Sasha as well, but she’s another character I’m pretty ambivalent towards. I also have a problem with Rosita, but I wouldn’t call her my least favorite character by any stretch of the imagination.
Has Rick gone off the deep end, or is he the most sane of them all?
Tara: Rick has had some really obnoxious moments throughout this series, but for the most part I’ve really liked him the past couple seasons…until Jessie. I think he has some great points, I think he’s right about a lot of things, and I don’t think he’s totally insane…but man, couldn’t he have waited until he’d taken care of Pete to start throwing himself at Jessie? Did he really have to go all “white knight” on her and promise her that he’d take care of her in hopes of getting her to agree with him basically getting rid of her husband? That all just rubs me the wrong way.
But hey, you know, outside of that, he was right about Pete and right about the fact that the Alexandrians are weak. So again, no, I don’t think he’s totally gone off the deep end…he just needs to learn to control himself a bit more.
Angel: He’s not acting rationally, but he isn’t exactly wrong with his opinions. Basically, his delivery sucks – especially when you contrast it with how Carol and Michonne are dealing with things. They both generally agree with Rick, but are approaching things differently. Carol is being sneaky and underhanded as she tries to steer Alexandria towards being a stronger community, while Michonne is trying to truly integrate and be at peace, but still stay strong and remember what it was like outside the walls of Alexandria. Meanwhile, Rick is throwing people through windows and waving guns in people’s faces. Delivery, Rick. It’s all about the delivery.
Farid: I agree, Rick hasn’t gone off the deep end yet. It all comes down to delivery. Carol and Michonne are trying to do the same thing as he is, but Rick’s way of handling things just doesn’t seem right. He more or less made all of Alexandria think he’s a nutjob! As for him and Jessie, I was like, “Dude she’s married and has a kid, back off a little bit, even if you hate her husband.” Does Jessie remind him of Andrea and Carol, women he had a thing for? I don’t know why I said that, maybe because I know what happens between him and Andrea in the comics, and now the show has put in Jessie to take her place or something. But personally I don’t see Rick and Jessie working out as a couple. I’m more Richonne (That’s the name, right?) or more towards Rick going on without a love interest because he doesn’t want her getting hurt like his wife.\
Tara: Ha, Farid, yes, there was a weird thing with Carol in the comics (but Rick wasn’t into her like that), and yes, he does end up with Andrea in the comics as well. But Jessie is a comic book character too – Rick is with her for a short time before Andrea (and that’s all I’ll say about that). I am definitely a Rick x Andrea girl when it comes to the comics, but I am *totally* on Team Richonne for the show and Jessie or no Jessie, I still have Richonne hopes!
Let’s gush about Morgan!!!
Pearl: MORGAN!!! I’m so happy to see him again! I had to do a double take when he first reappeared! I’m so excited to have him back on the show! I had so many feels when I saw that he still had Rick’s map, and I can’t wait to see more of him in season 6. I’m so curious to see how he regained his sanity!
Also, I loved seeing him on Talking Dead with McReedus. Lennie James is so charming and hilarious! Plus HIS ACCENT! I can’t believe he’s British!
Tara: Even as a comic reader, it surprised me when Morgan popped up at the beginning of the season; when he refused to join them at the prison in season three I assumed we would never see him again. However, once it was clear that he wasn’t going anywhere (when he appeared yet again in “Coda”), I wasn’t surprised when he eventually met up with the group at the end. If they’d dragged it out much longer it would have been ridiculous.
I definitely agree with Angel about wanting to know the extent of his peaceful nature, and especially how it will affect his relationship with Rick. Their reunion certainly wasn’t what Morgan expected, and I suppose the real question is whether or not he’ll give Rick the chance to explain himself.
Bekah: I honestly couldn’t think past his sweet ninja moves with his staff. It’s nice to see him back and in a right state of mind again, though.
Farid: Morgan has indeed changed and I would like to see more of his journey. His nature is very different from the current state of Rick’s group and I’m excited to see how the two characters interact with each other moving forward. Maybe Morgan will end up making Rick change some of his ways?
What do you think about the inclusion of Aaron and Eric – particularly their relationship – and the resulting fan reaction?
Tara: I really like how Aaron and Eric were introduced as just any old couple – the group didn’t seem shocked or bothered by their relationship. Of course there was a vocal minority amongst viewers that was shocked and/or bothered, but I really believe it was a minority. Outside of that, I think that the show has handled Aaron and Eric’s relationship very well so far. To me they’re just another Glenn and Maggie – a loving couple that has survived against a lot of odds – and I can’t wait to see more of them (and of Daryl/Aaron and Daryl/Aaron/Eric) in season five.
Angel: I think it’s interesting that a segment of show viewers were shocked or upset by the on screen homosexual relationship. Fans of the comics knew it was coming. The majority of fans of other genre TV shows have been exposed to queer couples on various other shows. They even talked about it in various news articles before the episode aired. But The Walking Dead is a cultural phenomenon that attracts a wide range of viewers, so it did become an issue. It attracts people who don’t watch genre TV, read articles about their favorite shows, or have lengthy discussions about the show with other people. It basically attracts “casual viewers.”
Because of the fact that this show attracts casual viewers, I think it’s even more important that it portrays Aaron and Eric on screen.
Farid: I remember some vocal fans losing their heads because of Aaron and Eric and how The Walking Dead was turning into “another gay show”. I don’t remember these people saying anything when Tara was introduced, but I guess two men being shown in a loving relationship is maybe something casual viewers can’t really handle. The good thing is that Aaron kept getting a good role to play in the episodes that followed and the ratings didn’t plummet. It just went to show that even if a handful of viewers weren’t happy about a gay couple, the rest of the world was still okay with watching The Walking Dead.
I also like the way Aaron and Eric’s relationship has been portrayed, and I agree with Angel that it’s important to have such portrayal of gay characters for casual viewers. The show even paired Aaron up with Daryl, the resident bad boy of Team Family, and I think it was awesome!
What do you think about Glenn’s decision to spare Nicholas?
Tara: I wasn’t surprised, but I still think his mercy is going to come back and bite him in the ass. That said, I hate the idea of Glenn killing a person, so even if I don’t think that leaving Nicholas alive was the best course of action, I like that the show is continuing to stay true to his character.
Pearl: I was both surprised and not surprised by Glenn’s decision. I was so nervous throughout the entire episode because I really thought that this was going to be the end for Glenn, especially after Nicholas shot him, and also after Glenn got attacked by three walkers. I wondered if Glenn was finally reaching his limit. After all, he had to watch Noah’s cruel and gruesome death – the result of Nicholas’s selfish decision. Even though I was really hoping for Glenn to finally crack and get rid of Nicholas, I’m also really glad that he didn’t. Glenn is one of the very few characters on the show who has yet to kill a person. He really values his humanity and his virtue. Even though it sometimes frustrates me that he always gets the crap end of the stick due to his moral decisions, I really hope that he continues to be true to himself and his beliefs.
Angel: Glenn is one of the few characters who hasn’t killed a human yet, so I’m not surprised. As much as I hate Nicholas it would have been out of character for Glenn to kill him so I’m glad he didn’t.
Farid: Glenn stayed true to his character so his decision didn’t surprise me, either. I would’ve been surprised if he had killed that good for nothing piece of…excuse of my language! I do feel that Nicholas is still going to cause trouble for Glenn, though, and I hope someone kills him before he does any more harm.
What are your views on Caryl (Carol x Daryl) after this season?
Tara: Back in season two I saw something more than friendship between them at times, but it’s been awhile since I felt that way. Later on I definitely liked them in a platonic relationship, and this season – especially since Beth’s death – it’s seemed more of a motherly thing on Carol’s part. But I’m not quite sure that it’s good for Daryl to continue to be so close to Carol now that he’s working for Alexandria while she still seems to be working against it. I guess I’ll just have to see how things unfold next season!
Angel: Platonic OTP. I’m going to choose an asexual reading of Daryl so I don’t really ship him with anyone, in that regard. I am, however, enjoying his friendship with Aaron immensely, so if anything is going to shake me from my asexual reading of his character it’d be a queer reading, not a straight one. Alas, Aaron clearly loves Eric so I’m not shipping Daryl with Aaron either. Asexual Daryl all the way.
Bekah: I like Carol and Daryl together as friends. So definitely with Angel on this one. People really want to see our rugged redneck strike up a romance, but I don’t think it’s an issue that the writers are going to address – at least not right away. They have a meaningful friendship and it was important to see Daryl dealing with his grief over the loss of Beth. If anybody else but Carol had suggested he handle it, I don’t think we would have seen him grieving. He trusts Carol and she trusts him enough to approach him about it. Daryl had a couple of vulnerable moments that were expressed with Carol in season 5, including the hug after Terminus and the instance in the women’s and children’s shelter in Atlanta. They’re two broken people who understand what it is to grieve.
Farid: I love Carol and Daryl as friends. They share a very strong bond of understanding and I just love that. I agree with Angel, as I too get an asexual reading from him. However, if the writers do intend on giving him a love interest, I think it’ll be someone other than Carol. I have a feeling that the writers like those two as friends and will keep it that way…not that I’m complaining, because when it comes to The Walking Dead, I live for their awesome bond. A man and a woman can have a healthy bond of love and understanding without it turning into something sexual or romantic, people!
There’s a part of the Walking Dead fandom that believes that Beth is still alive. Their meta is pretty intense and poses a lot of questions and thoughts about the midseason finale. Thoughts about the people who call themselves “Team Delusional” or “Team On The Fence”?
Farid: I love reading meta by fans. It gives them a chance to share what’s on their mind in a very researched and organized manner. But then again I have read meta that brings up points about Teen Wolf having a meaning bigger than what’s shown on screen, and we know that even Jeff Davis hasn’t thought about things in such a deep manner. So, about Beth still being alive in The Walking Dead? Nah! She’s dead.
Bekah: I admit I got in very deep with the Beth meta and consider myself Team on the Fence. I know there’s a lot pointing to her definite demise (I refuse to say ‘death’ since nobody in the show actually has said that she’s dead–just ‘lost’). However I have yet to see a body. I have yet to see a funeral. I have yet to hear a character say that she’s dead. They skip around the word. Emily’s panels have been canceled every single time. Even when directly confronted with the question of her death, Gimple has refused to answer. There’s so many things that are fishy to me. I think there’s a possibility that Beth may be alive. In what capacity, I don’t know.
Tara: When it first happened I didn’t question whether or not Beth was dead, but after reading tons of Team Delusional/Team on the Fence meta, I was definitely on the fence for a while! That said, I’m fairly certain at this point that she is in fact dead, as I can’t figure out why she wouldn’t be or how they’d ever bring her back into the story at this point. That doesn’t mean I like how her death was handled (I don’t), and I truly wish she wasn’t dead…but she really must be.
From a fandom perspective, though, I do love that these Beth fans came together and if anything pointed out all the silly inconsistencies that surrounded her death. I really wish you’d been right, guys. I really, really do.
There’s obviously a lot more we could say about Walking Dead season 5, so leave your thoughts in the comments! Or you can always check out our Walking Dead masterpost for more on season four as well as season five!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is a fandom and geek culture expert, public speaker, and character cosplayer who is best known for her Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), and Andrea (The Walking Dead) cosplays. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.