I will not let a spoiler leak out of my comments here, BTW. Let me say, though, the last 10 minutes of this episode (E12 - not the finale) are as heart-wrenching and intense as I've seen in any great film.
Maybe it's because I've invested so many hours into the lives and characters that makes watching this show worthwhile. If someone in the story were to perish, then the dynamics of the show, as in life, will change. My wife has the same issue with "Dexter." Except, with Dexter, you know he will eventually be caught-- it can't end any other way.
With "The Walking Dead" they all may or may not perish; there are so many variables and possibilities... and each show brings that possibility. As I mentioned in previous postings, with Kirkman's graphic novels... everyone is fair game. The TV series is not following the book series to the word, but there have been many sub-plots pulled from them. In his books, everyone is fair game.
But imagine the show without Rick. This show is brave enough to do that. Among all of it's other great attributes, it's that.
Will report back after the season Finale...
The season finished like it started. With a whimper. Should have stopped at Episode 12.