THE WALKING DEAD Season 5, Episode 1 'No Sanctuary'

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

It’s that time of the year again, when all of your favourite shows return. In terms of fan-favourites, The Walking Dead is right up there with the very best of ‘em. When we were last with our walker-troubled pals, the majority of them had realised that the apparent safe haven that they had spent so long searching for wasn’t quite all it had cracked up to be. Yes, there was definitely something not quite right about Terminus.

The guys behind The Walking Dead had teased how Season 5 would start with a bang… and they certainly weren’t having us on. No Sanctuary picks things up with the thoroughly pissed off Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and crew as they’re holed up in a containment unit at the believed-idyllic Terminus. As the group concoct a plan to escape, things quickly go belly-up and Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) wake up to find themselves in some sort of warehouse that is being used for all sorts of misdemeanours. Just so we know that these Terminus bastards aren’t messing round, we promptly (and rather bloodily) get to see some conveniently-placed, disposable newbies have their throats slit in order to be bled dry and have their bodies used for other gnarly practices. Things are certainly looking bleak for our survivors, but could help be on the way?

Elsewhere, we’re brought up to speed with Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and baby Judith. The only remaining survivors of Season 4’s core group that didn’t manage to make it to Terminus, the trio come across a rather shady guy who seemingly has plans to displace Michonne (Danai Gurira) of her katana and Carl (Chandler Riggs) of his hat. Things is, this new face certainly makes some valid points to both Carol and Tyreese about how the world nowadays is either hunt or be hunted; how good people wind up dead unless they embrace the filthy nature of the world that now exists. And this is a theme that exists throughout the episode as a whole, as several times we hear the line, “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.” Clearly, that certainly seems to be the case where Terminus is involved.

To again hark back to what was teased before The Walking Dead returned, it was said that this first episode of Season 5 would kick right in with the heavy action and that our core group would be well and truly out of the captivities of Terminus. That’s certainly the case, although it does feel as if the whole Terminus idea is a little rushed if we’re to believe what we’ve seen. That said, this is only a minor gripe in a great episode of the show. And with The Walking Dead, people and places have a habit of turning up again when you least expect them. Key to the Terminus moments is Andrew J. West’s Terminus leader, Gareth. Creepy, clinical and oddly-engaging, Gareth is a great addition to the show. We can only hope that we get to see a lot more of him down the line.

In other points of note, finally somebody is questioning just what is the great plan and cure that Eugene (Josh McDermitt) has locked away in his head. Additionally, we also finally get to see what really is going on at Terminus and we get some semblance of backstory for Gareth and his group. And nicely tied in with that backstory is some potential setup for things to come further down the line in this season, should the show choose to go down a certain route. The personal highlight, for this writer at least, is getting to see Carol go postal! Like a female Dirty Harry, she reuses a classic trick to infiltrate the walkers as she sets out on a mission of redemption. And whilst that character surely has an arc of redemption about her story, Rick is a man who seeks some good old fashioned revenge. Going forward, it seems as if we’re going to get some further wrinkles to Andrew Lincoln’s grizzled ex-cop.

All in all, No Sanctuary is bursting with bullets, brutality and plenty of brooding sentiment. The Walking Dead is back and has already thrown up a bunch of questions that we can’t wait to see play out over the coming months. Oh, and there’s shuffling zombies on fire. Yes, on fire!


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