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.