The Walking Dead Review – “No Sanctuary” S5E1

As I took notes for the long awaited season 5 opener of The Walking Dead, they included several “What the fucks,” a dash of “Carol is hot/Rick is hot/Maggie is hot,” lots of “Oh my god!” and once, all in caps, “FIRE ZOMBIES!”  Tonight’s episode was a roller coaster of emotion, and I really enjoyed the ride. Suffice to say, “No Sanctuary” lived up to my expectations after last season’s finale.  Now be warned, this is NOT a spoiler free review, so here be spoilers.

First of all, how badass is Carol?  And who would have thought in season 2 that that woman would be the heroine of future seasons?!  Between her Rufio hair, her zombie blood face mask, and the fact that she is responsible for setting Terminus ablaze, I think we can officially say that Carol is the toughest lady in the zombie apocalypse.  Carol is an army of one.

I love you Judith, but I must go rub my self in zombie guts and channel my inner Rambo.
I love you Judith, but I must go rub my self in zombie guts and channel my inner Rambo.

As for “our” group, they are as resourceful as ever.  Rick leading the group through taking apart the box car, the terrible butcher room, and finally through the overrun Terminus has me screaming “Go Rick!” at the TV harder than I have every screamed for any football team on a Sunday.  I was really emphatic when he grabbed that guys machine gun and killed a shit ton of humans and walkers alike.  Go Rick, you murderous beast you!  But along with that note, I think it is interesting that Rick is insistent they kill everyone.  The line between Rick being good and bad morally is getting thinner and thinner.  The parallel between he and his enemies is also evident; just like the people of Terminus, he doesn’t trust anyone, and he doesn’t have any reason to.  “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.”

As for Terminus… those are some crazy cannibals!  But who can blame them after finding out that their people were pillaged?  Well Rick and this group can because they don’t know that, yet.  Yet is the key word here.  There have been plenty of times that The Walking Dead has built something up only for it to be inconsequential in the end (i.e. Andrea and The Governor), but it was clear that the writers are up to a little more here.  The beginning “Then” scene coupled with the final “Then” scene are very telling of what is to come.  For readers of the comic books, the shadowy figure with the flashlight and the creepiest laugh ever resembles major villain Negan.  However, he doesn’t appear for quite some time after the “prison” arc.  It is very possible this whole thing is a tease to lead us in his direction. CORRECTION: So at the time of writing, I had not watched Talking Dead or kept up with Robert Kirkman’s Twitter account.  The “Charles Manson” looking man was the man who had taken over Terminus.  He is NOT Negan.  Womp, womp, woooomp.

Hi.  I'm Gareth and I am goddamn ruthless.
Hi. I’m Gareth and I am goddamn ruthless.

Gareth is the ruthless ringleader of his group, and he will stop at nothing to protect his own.  I am very interested to find out how exactly he was able to get Terminus back from the people who took it over.  It is clear that Gareth and his crew aren’t exactly tough (other than the extreme Columbian neckties).  They are barely able to kill the walkers who have taken over their land, and they don’t kill people without their hands tied behind their back.  But they do have a few things going for them: they are smart, they are strategic, and they have a lot of land that they claim as theirs.  It seems like Gareth’s story will become important as the season goes on.  One thing I do wonder, do you think that Gareth and his group were cannibals before they were taken over?  They seem like they were nice people before, particularly because of Mary’s speech to Carol.  Perhaps this is their way of revenge?

One reason I started to question whether the Terminus group used to be cannibals is because of the man who Tyreese is stuck with in the cabin.  He talked about his past life compared to now.  He seems like he used to be a decent person, but he is so jaded now.  However, he did make a good point about Tyreese and Judith.  Why keep a baby in a world where she is a handicap?  It is something I have thought for a long time.  I realize that a) they can’t kill a baby on TV and b) that she represents life, but she really does present more danger than hope.  To go with that, I just don’t understand why Tyreese is so domesticated.  I get that he is still upset about Lizzie, but he isn’t thinking things through, either. This could be attributed to his preoccupation with what Carol did last season; he clearly does not see her as a friend, but acknowledges baby Judith as one.  All of it seems to be clouding his judgement, proof in not tying the man’s hands behind his back and turning his back on the baby was asking for her to get hurt.  His redeeming factor was taking the hammer to the walkers on the outside.  When he came back in he “killed” the Terminus man, but did he?  If the past is any lesson, unless you see the character die, they aren’t really dead.  I personally think that Tyreese let the man go.

And now for rapid fire thoughts on the other characters:

  • If Glenn is now the voice of reason, is he the next major player to die?  Dale and Hershel did.  Also, all the comic book foreshadowing of Glenn and a baseball bat is a little nerve wracking.
  • Rosita is still too clean.
  • The dirtier Maggie gets, the hotter she gets.
  • Bob has dual machetes.  Repeat.  Dual Machetes.
  • Michonne may not have her katana, but she is still a samurai with her double sided stick thing.
  • Eugene is still so full of bullshit.  Perhaps he was the janitor at a college science building?
  • The man that Rick saw at the butcher trough was Sam, the same man he met when he and Carol were on the road.  Then Sam’s throat got cut in the trough, thus severing their bond.
  • After the battle at Terminus, Carol washed her face mask off very quickly.
  • That zombie was totally giving its victim eskimo kisses, now deemed “zombie keeses” in my house.
  • Daryl and Carol 4eva.

With Carol helping take down Terminus and Rick being as bad ass as ever, our group was finally reunited, sans Beth.  BETH!  I feel like it will be a bit before we find out her fate.  But our group seems really big now.  It is a matter of time before someone dies, and I feel like it may be that time.  I hate to say it, but this horror show hasn’t killed off one of our own in a while.  It is bound to happen.

They really were fucking with the wrong people.
They really were fucking with the wrong people.

Our common theme in this episode was fire.  Terminus was on fire.  Zombies were on fire.  And Eugene claims to fight fire with fire.  There was also the smoke the group looked up at in the sky, reminiscent of last season’s smoke from the forest fire.  I know there is some significance here, but can’t place my finger on it.  If you know, tell me in the comments below.

What is hard to believe is that Terminus lasted only one episode, which makes it hard to predict what is to come.  What can be pondered on is with all the loose ends.  There are Terminus people still alive, especially Gareth.  Will those survivors leave their sanctuary?  Is the man in the shack really dead?  Michonne doesn’t have her katana and has risked her life for it before.  Does she plan on going back to get it?  Negan is teased.  Will he play a role later on this year?  Or will his character be developed in the already greenlit season 6?  But most importantly, in the post credit scene, why is Morgan not in his loft, what are those X-Men tree carvings he’s following and why is he dressed like Michonne was when we met her?  Will Morgan find Rick’s group?  And most importantly, is he sane?  Gah!  I can barely stand it. As a reader of the comics, I think I know these answers, but I have been proven wrong so many times, it’s all just speculation.

Hush Comics gives “No Sanctuary” a A for its use of suspense, having intense, non-stop action, and for Carol and Rick taking on the crazy cannibals like bosses.

all pictures belong to AMC Television and are credited to Gene Page.

Published by

Adrian Puryear

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon, and Breaking Bad are the best things to ever happen to me. I'm only a Three on MeowMeowBeenz. I really want to be a Four.

13 thoughts on “The Walking Dead Review – “No Sanctuary” S5E1”

  1. Oh man, so many questions he here! I think Morgan’s appearance is mostly a good thing and I do think he is saying. However, leaving marks on trees doesn’t seem like something Rick’s group would be doing right now. Seems more like something the remaining survivors of terminus would do to find their way back. I predict he will stumble upon Gareth and company before he finds Rick.

    It is totally unfair that Daryl gets his crossbow back but Michonne does not have her sword. No way she goes back for it though, she has to stay with the group now.

    You’re right about Eugene, he is totally full of it. As I said in my review (which I’m starting new with this season!), he said precisely nothing in that boxcar that gave any clue as to what this supposed cure is. Lot of sounding smart to folks who don’t know better.

    I get your tease of Nagin, and it would make sense if his appearance is what pushes Rick over that edge to become very similar to the terminates. We shall see!

    1. I never thought that our group was leaving the tree markings. But I’m not sure I do know who left them. It would be interesting if Morgan came in with Gareth’s group instead.

      I’m still not convinced that Michonne won’t get it back somehow. But that how may be a pretty important factor later on the season. Could it be given back to her without her return to Terminus? It’s something to ponder.

      I think that some of the folks in the train cab do know better. They just weren’t in a moment where they could confront Eugene about his cure.

      -Adrian

  2. Always been a butcher?? Not the Rick Grimes I know and love! He was hopeful enough to go to Sanctuary and, SPOILER, he made a huge, character-defining choice recently in the comics that even I thought was merciful to the point of weakness. I agree that the governor, biker gang, and now Terminus have set Rick on a darker path somewhat but he’s still our guy and has never been bloodthirsty in the way of the TWD baddies.

    That darker path could be a tragic one (let’s hope Baby Judith turns him around!) as TWD has been very clear in all formats that “you’re the cattle or the butcher” is the wrong lesson to learn from the ZA. That shit’ll get you killed. Look at the Termites: It’s easy to understand how they took that lesson to heart but ultimately that’s exactly what got them killed. If they had resisted the urge to go to that dark place, Rick and company could’ve been their true salvation. Always darkest before the dawn and whatnot. Same with Governor, bikers, etc. Another way I’ve heard it put is that you’re either a sheep or a wolf. Rick Grimes has found a third way. He’s the shepherd.

    One other bone to pick: Do we really think Carol would’ve left the Termite with Tyrese instead of just killing him? Or was that just a way to give him something to do? She knows he’s a big softy and we know she doesn’t err on the side of mercy. I would’ve rather seen her smearing his guts all over herself as zombie camouflage while Tyrese puked in the corner. But whatev’s. No way Tyrese killed that guy though.

    Anywho, what a great episode! TWD is back!!

    1. I think Rick in the show is riding the fine line between good and bad. In fact, he is now exactly what Shane said he would never be. I think that if this whole thing had been told from Gareth’s perspective, that Rick would be a bad guy.

      I do agree that the lesson of butcher vs. cattle is the wrong one. I really like that you call Rick the Shepard. I think it just depends on the person.

      The whole thing with leaving Tyreese and the baby alone with a guy whose hands are tied in front of him makes me laugh. How idiotic was that?

      -Adrian

      1. Gareth eats people! Anyone who doesn’t eat people is not gonna think he’s the good guy.

      2. Yeah.. I’ll admit it. I eat people too. It’s why I’m on his side. It has nothing to do with his mom and friends getting raped repeatedly.

        -Adrian

  3. Side note: not sure what the fire means but loved when Rick wonders if the fire is still burning and Carol immediately says it is. Mika told Carol that black smoke meant a fire was still burning the day before she was killed by psycho Lizzie.

  4. I was actually more glad with Carol and Daryl’s reunion than Carl and Rick with Judith, but that’s just me. And yes, the guy in shadows bore a VERY strong resemblance to Negan based on build alone, but since we haven’t reached Alexandria yet, it could be either a tease or someone completely different since, for the moment, it doesn’t look like the show is going to directly adapt The Hunters arc. And glad that Carol is showing a giant spine. This is a giant step away from her comic book counterpart and it’s a positive change. Though Carol, I agree, DID clean up a tad too quickly. Where’d she find the water? Was it clean? And Eugene’s explanation, while funny, was also pretty crap. I enjoyed it, though I have an issue with some of the pacing. While I enjoyed the action and smaller character moments where we’re reminded that Rick and company are more human- or convincing themselves that they are- than the others, my only gripe is very minor: I feel that the reunion AND destruction of Terminus came too soon for just a single episode, particularly with how Season 4 built up to Terminus. It could have spread over two episodes, but that’s very minor. Also, given how much of a survival instinct these people I have, I never felt they were in any real danger at all, despite the false scares. Nothing that took away from my enjoyment of the premiere. Hoping that since we got a little insight on Terminus that we eventually come back to it.

    1. Carol and Daryl’s reunion was very touching, I agree.

      I will have to add a correction about Negan in my post because apparently the Charles Manson guy was the man who was raping and pillaging. Robert Kirkman confirmed this.

      I agree that I didn’t think they were in danger… from the Walker. But people have always been different. I was genuinely scared during the first 10 minutes of the episode.

      Thanks for the comments!
      -Adrian

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