‘The Walking Dead’ 5.15 Recap: “If You Don’t Fight, You Die”

It’s the penultimate episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, and all the pieces are being put in place for next week’s finale (which will be a 90-minute presentation). In Episode 15, Rick and Pete finally square off, Carl looks like he’s found a girlfriend, and Daryl and Aaron make an ominous discovery outside Alexandria’s walls.

Mourning her son’s death, Deanna plays a CD mix that Aiden had created. It seems like a poor excuse to introduce a song into the series that the show can sell on iTunes, not to mention that it’s a pretty awful song (Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged”). Carol makes a casserole and drops it off at Deanna’s door with a sympathy note, but when Deanna sees it, she leaves the casserole on her front porch and burns the note. Meanwhile, outside the walls somewhere, Daryl and Aaron see a light in the distance and go to investigate.

While Glenn is telling Rick what really happened to Aiden and Noah, Nicholas is being interviewed by Deanna and lies through his teeth about the events. He claims that Glenn was responsible for the deaths. Rick tells Glenn that they don’t need to live by the community’s rules, but Glenn is hopeful that they can work things out, at the very least because that was what Noah wanted. Later, as Rick is on patrol, Pete comes to see him and asks him if he’s okay. Rick stares him down and tells him to, “Keep walking.”

Rick visits Deanna at Aiden’s grave and tells her that they have a problem with Pete. Deanna already knows that Pete has been abusive to Jesse. Rick wants to kill him, but Deanna insists that they exile him. Rick thinks that’s a horrible idea, because they’ll never know when he might come back or what he might do.

Meanwhile, Michonne gets a visit from Rosita, who believes that Sasha spent the whole night up in the watchtower and now nobody knows where she is. They go outside the walls to search for Sasha and come across a number of Walkers who were shot in the backs of their heads. Obviously, Sasha has been hunting and executing them.

Also outside the walls, Carl catches up with Enid and asks her why she goes outside the community. Enid says that she does it so that she doesn’t feel safe – as she believes you shouldn’t feel safe with the world the way it is. After distracting a lone Walker with a kitchen timer (which, honestly, seems like a huge waste of a kitchen timer), the pair encounter a larger group of Walkers and hide in a hollowed-out tree until they pass. The two almost kiss, but Carl pulls back at the last second. Enid is happy, because now it seems that Carl is as afraid of her as she has been of him.

Glenn approaches Nicholas and tells him that all the recent deaths are on his head. He wants Nicholas to know that he knows what kind of person he really is (a coward). Nicholas asks if Glenn is threating him. Glenn replies that no, he’s saving him.

Back out beyond the walls, Michonne and Rosita finally catch up with Sasha, who says she’s sick of playing defense. The three dispose of a number of attacking Walkers, but when the dust settles, Sasha yells at Michonne for helping her out. She seems to be carrying some major guilt around because one of the last things she told Noah was that he wouldn’t survive in this world.

Daryl and Aaron come across the bodies of some dismembered Walkers and then see a female body tied to a tree, gutted out. The victim has a “W” carved in her forehead and hasn’t turned yet, although she starts to when Daryl lifts her head up. He stabs her through the skull to finish her off.

Rick goes to see Jesse in her garage and tells her he that knows Pete is abusing her. Jesse doesn’t understand why Rick cares and tells him that she can take care of herself, then storms back inside her house. Rick looks like he’s going to walk away, but then sees her two sons playing outside and barges inside the house, telling Jesse that he can solve her problem. All she has to do is say “Yes.” Jesse does say “Yes” right at the point when Pete comes in and tells Rick to get the hell out. The two men argue and start fighting, and eventually crash through the house’s front window.

Out on the street, Rick and Pete bash away at each other while nearly everyone in the community comes to break up the fight. Pete hits Jesse when she tries to pull him off, and Rick shoves Carl away. Finally, Deanna gets them to stop. At this point, Rick loses his cool and – quite possibly – some of his sanity as well. He screams at the others that it’s time for them all to start living in the real world. Before things turn any uglier, Michonne comes up behind him and knocks Rick unconscious.

This is another really good episode, although I wish the writers would have kept it vague about whether Pete was beating Jesse or not, or at least not made it such common knowledge to Deanna and some of the others. It could have been an even more interesting dynamic if Rick had gone after Pete and then we later found out that he was mistaken about him. As it is, this episode pretty much confirms that Pete is a no-good bastard, so we don’t feel that Rick is doing the wrong thing when he beats the snot out of him. However, it’s clear that Rick is walking the fine line between sane and crazy again, so it will be interesting to see what happens with him in next week’s finale.

Also of interest is who the heck is carving “W”s into the foreheads of Walkers, and who’s tying up and gutting living people in the nearby woods. I have a feeling they’re one and the same and are most likely going to pose a serious threat to the community in Alexandria. But whether we see them this season or if the writers hold them off to next year is a lingering question.

Next week, we’ll say goodbye to ‘The Walking Dead’ until October. Do you have any predictions about the finale? Will Rick lose his grip on reality? Will Daryl and Aaron find out who’s behind the mutilations of human and Walker alike? Will Carl get his first kiss? Will Sam get more cookies from Carol? Stay tuned!


  1. This episode could’ve easily been titled “Somewhat Damaged” and opening with a song from Nine Inch Nails of that same title seems appropriate. As the song played, the scenes alternated between some of our most damaged characters (Rick, Deanna, Sasha, Glenn and Carole) and gave us time to ponder what just happened and what is about to happen next. Now that casserole Carole made did look awful, no wonder Deanna left it on the door step.

    Best line of show was when Rick told Pete to “Keep Walking”, that will be a classic line for sure.

    I think the kitchen timer was just a reminder to the audience at how naïve these people are.

    At first I also wanted the writers to keep the Pete thing vague, but I like the fact the Deanna knew because this was the moment we clearly see what Rick has become.

    What I like most about this episode is that it seems like Rick as turned into Shane and Deanna is now in the same position as the old Rick was way back in the first couple of seasons. Rick is doing the same thing Shane did when Shane was trying to make Lori and Carl is own family when he thought Rick was dead and again afterwards even after Rick was back with them.

    Rick sees everything as black and white and cannot see the gray areas or the good in anyone anymore. I think once they got jacked at Terminus, Rick has gone into full on anything to protect my family mode. I can’t wait to see if he starts lashing out at his own people and turning them away too. I am not convinced that Michonne has picked sides yet, she may have been protecting the group by shutting the crazy Rick up. She has seen him crazy before. Maybe next season Rick won’t carry a gun again… I hope not.

    Rick is on the verge of losing everything he is trying to protect and it should get real interesting. The real danger isn’t the zombies, it is us.

  2. PaulB

    Shannon – “heck is carving “W”s into the foreheads of Walkers, and who’s tying up and gutting living people in the nearby woods.” The W was carved on a (formerly) alive person they chained to the tree for the walkers to eat. It was indicated it was the walkers who gutted this person.
    Also, you didn’t mention a notable piece about Michonne’s knocking out Rick. She was wearing her cop outfit which they made a note of her not putting on earlier. Possibly indicating she is going to side with the town, not with Rick, that she doesn’t want to go back to being feral Michonne as they showed in her mental flashbacks in the scene before.

    Eric- With the kitchen timer, it was the girl who isn’t naïve that wasted it. I agree with Shannon that it was a waste as it, and any other non-electric multi-use noise maker, would often come in handy for distracting walkers. She should have used it to get an easy walker kill.

    • PaulB

      Oh and I forgot to mention that the one person they haven’t touched on is Lennie James who has been following their trail. As I haven’t read the comic I don’t think that he is the severer & W carver as it would mean he had to get to Noah’s home, where they first ran into the body parts and W, before the group did. But I would assume he has to show up before the season is over.

    • Thanks Paul – it actually never occurred to me that the girl was being tied up there to feed the walkers, although now that you bring it up, it’s pretty obvious. Still, someone is chopping up those walkers too, so the group feeding them and chopping them up can’t be one and the same, can they? Seems like a waste to feed something if you’re going going to off it.

      • It seems to me that the girl was branded with a “W” and tied to a tree for Walkers to kill as a punishment.

        Reminds me of what Carol threatened to do to the kid. (I don’t think Carol is behind the “W”s.)

      • theyre not offing the walkers, theyre dismembering them and saving their still animated torsos for some twisted reason.

        if you remember back to richmond when they were leaving and hit the van and all the bodies flew out onto their car with just their heads and upper torso.

        the show runners are straying from the comics slightly and its making the show that much more interesting to watch.

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