I imagined the conflict with Woodbury would be the same conflict, writ large. The Woodburians were a bunch of scared people who probably don’t “deserve” to die, but we can’t blame the Grimes gang for taking the aggressors out to ensure their own survival. Once the Grimes group had turned the tables on them, they faced a big decision—does Rick stay true to his faith, and offer life, or does he remember Lori and dictate death?
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n killing most of the attackers, the Governor made the decision for him. If there’s any trace of the conflict remaining, it’s whether Rick should bring under his wing all of the harmless people who weren’t fit for the Governor’s army anyway. The decision was made so easily that it doesn’t even come close to illustrating some sort of evolution in Rick. If this final test was supposed to show that Rick’s faith endures, it was the weakest test of the whole season.
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I don’t see how it could have turned out any other way, though. It’s the only reasonable resolution to a conflict that is itself a copout. The resolution reveals the flaws of the prison-Woodbury war itself: It rests entirely on the Woodburians’ ignorance. True, the harsh realities of the zombie apocalypse allows the Governor to easily manipulate them, but the whole conflict boils down not to scarcity or irreconcilable philosophies but a misunderstanding whose only satisfying conclusion can be a series of events in which the two factions finally understand each other.
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Still, I can’t say the season finale and the season as a whole weren’t vastly entertaining. By the midseason finale, the show was better in every possible way than it used to be, and the second half of the season improved on it still, with especially strong character arcs for Merle, Milton, and Michonne. As an added bonus, Andrea died!
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