That just might have been one of the most cringe-inducing, graphically bloody and intense hours of The Walking Dead in a while.
I’ve always enjoyed the show, but there also has been a fair amount of moments that have dragged on or made me want to roll my eyes. But that was definitely not the case with The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 1.
And for those of you guessing that the people from Terminus were cannibals? You were right… but there was an interesting twist on it.
Providing those bookend-style scenes, plus that one crazy lady’s confession to Carol, revealed the freighting situation the Terminans were in. That ideal world of sanctuary, of peace, of being “good guys” just doesn’t exist anymore, and for the people of Terminus, they adapted. Grossly adapted, yes, but they were no longer the cattle.
But Rick and his crew aren’t cattle either, and they weren’t going down without a fight.
Though seeing them lined up like animals to the slaughter for a baseball bat/neck throat cut combo of blood-gushing proportions was as tense as it was gross. And to see Garret and his men working in such a matter-of-fact way, like it was just business as usual was unsettling.
To think that people could actually do that?!?
Thank goodness Carol was able to come in and mess everything up. And I love love loved that, aside from her being a badass and great shot (she has come so far on this show), she covered herself in blood and guts to stumble into the compound like the rest of the walkers. I know some of the “rules” regarding the walkers haven’t always seemed to stay the same, but here it seemed to reiterate the concept of finding a way to be invisible to them like in The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 2.
And wow was the battle at Terminus a visceral experience of blood, bullets and biters. Rick was intense as ever, leading the charge with a solid command of no hesitation, because the Terminans won’t. It makes sense, especially seeing the bodies hanging like meat or the general experience they were put in, but I was glad to see Glenn tell Rick that they should save the people in the containers, etc.
It was also an interesting predicament that Tyreese was put in while waiting for Carol. He didn’t want to kill, he didn’t want to change and he wanted to keep on being the peaceful good guy. The conversation he had with the guy tied up really pointed those things out, much like most of the episode did, but when you mess with the baby, you get the Tyreese.
That burst through the door and tackle was one of those cheering moments, though after, it was rather heartbreaking to watch him end up killing the guy. He did save Judith, but yes, the world really has changed.
But even with all the despair and danger that’s risen up, there still is a sense of hope and community and love, at least with Rick’s group.
Daryl’s breakdown at seeing Carol, even Rick’s hug for her or him getting to see Judith was an emotional way to really help close out the hour. It was great to see them all finally come together, reunited after all they’ve been through. Where they will go is totally up in the air, but this hour had me so invested that I’m OK not having that answer in the premiere.
Maybe they will follow Eugene to D.C.?
I’m still trying to go over what he said about fighting fire with fire and “flipping the switch” and if he actually can do something or if he’s just really good at rambling out confident sounding words. One can only hope he can at least do something (and it will be interesting for the show to leave the area), but I can only hope his plan is better than his running.
And is it the last we've seen of Gareth? He was shot, but with Terminus up in flames, he and some of his crew are still out there...
“No Sanctuary” was not an episode for the squeamish (it’s sometimes surprising just how far the show can push the boundaries on AMC or even just how incredible the quality of make-up and effects are for TV), but it was an action packed full-throttle ride that never felt like letting up until it needed to.
And I can only hope The Walking Dead Season 5 keeps it up, because I can’t help but be excited for what’s in store after an hour like that.
Here's your first look at The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 2, "Strangers."
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.