TV Recap: The Walking Dead S5 EP01 – No Sanctuary

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@Lcfremont recaps The Walking Dead Season 5 opener…

I could feel it all week long. As AMC played The Walking Dead marathon this week, you could feel the excitement build day by day as we all patiently, and impatiently, awaited the season five premiere. What kind of episode was this going to be? Would it be one of those dreaded drama filled episodes or were they going to keep up that level of menace, excitement and dread that Rick left us all with last season? Well, when Mr. Nicotero is at the helm of an episode you can bet that you will see some awesome action and some truly epic gore and this episode was no exception. In fact, this may be Nicotero’s “Ozymandias.” The people of Terminus have screwed with the wrong people, indeed.

As if we didn’t already know, there is most definitely “No Sanctuary” to be found at Terminus, but it wasn’t always that way as we learn at the beginning of the episode. The people of Terminus began as a group of do-gooders, but were turned into what they are now by some very bad people. That’s the one thing you can depend on when it comes to humans. There will always be a group of jerks who ruin something good. However, two wrongs don’t make a right and I have no empathy for them deciding that they needed to remain ruthless after reclaiming their camp.

Rick and Daryl The Walking DeadWatching our beloved group make weapons out of what they have on them is exactly why they are all still alive this far into the zombie apocalypse. This is a true group of survivors, so, of course they were going to find their way out of a locked train car, but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t forced to question if we were about to be greeted by a very unwelcome death of a main character.

Adore, adore, adore the Texas Chainsaw Massacre feeling going on here.The complete and utter lack of emotion that these men showed while expertly and methodically killing their dinner was truly gruesome and really set the tone for how this episode was going to go down. Bob is usually a pain in the butt, but thank goodness for his talkative ass, huh? Glen almost died. Twice. Glen has stared down the barrel of death so many times lately, that it’s hard to ignore the rumors that he’s the next big death to occur.

It’s clear that the moment Gareth put Rick into that train car, the Ricktatorship was back on and angrier than ever. Listening to Rick detail the contents of the hidden bag and then end with the samurai sword that he is going to kill Gareth with was absolute Rick Grimes perfection and the fun was only just beginning. Much like the season four finale, Rick was a one man killing machine reminding people to go for the eyes and throat, stabbing the butchers with his makeshift knife and telling Daryl, Glen and Bob that they should kill anyone that they come across.

Yes, it was a little bit annoying that Carol’s explosion went off at the EXACT moment that it needed to in order to save her friends’ lives, but who cares? Carol singlehandedly allowed our group to escape Terminus; she has more than redeemed herself from setting two people on fire last season. I barely remember the Carol from the first season now that we get to see this boss lady cover herself in blood and guts, take out a propane tank, waltz through Terminus like she owns the joint and then serve Mary up for a snack.

Tyreese’s drawn out come to Jesus moment in the shed with that baby killer was both lovely and tiresome. Yeah, yeah, we get it. Baby killer was the necessary evil to bring the fighting spirit back into Tyreese, but I could have lived without all of the chatter that led up to Tyreese taking care of business. It was already made crystal clear back at the slaughterhouse that the residents of Terminus have become very acclimated to their new world order. I’m with Rick; let’s just kill all of the bastards and move on. We all know that not going back in and killing Gareth is going to come back and bite everyone on the ass. As long as I get to see Rick come through on that threat, I’ll be fine with it.

After waiting for what felt like 10,000 years for Daryl and Carol to reunite, the look on Daryl’s face when he saw Carol was well worth the wait. Daryl and Carol have an extremely special bond and it’s not a romantic one. They are both survivors of abuse and they’ve both been unappreciated and undervalued their entire lives until they found their voices, both separately and together, surviving this new reality. I know that the many relationship dreams that surround Daryl are intense, but I’m still going with Daryl and Rick. Daryl and Carol are non romantic soul mates, Beth is Daryl’s new Sophia, but Rick-he loves Rick. I mean, come on! That very special moment the two managed to have during a literal walker riot? No one else had the luxury of a genuinely good moment in the middle of all of this death and chaos. Daryl is a man of action; are you really trying to make me believe that after being apart from Carol for so very long, that he wouldn’t have kissed her during that emotionally overwhelming moment? That’s what Glen and Maggie did. That’s what Rick and Lori did. That’s what all couples on this show do when they are returned to their romantic partner.

Walkers on fire, throat slashing realness, lots of blows to the head via gunshot, bat and anything else handy, butchering bodies, Rick dolling out his now trademark neck kills, walkers eating people alive, meat hanging from hooks, impalements and a walker explosion! What can’t you do, Mr. Nicotero? All of the makeup and effects were spectacular in this episode.

“No Sanctuary” brought the goods and was every bit as satisfying as I had hoped that it would be. Rick is in full force vengeance mode, our entire team is back together, we finally heard why everyone is supposed to follow Dr. Porter to Washington D.C., gallons of blood were spilled, the suspense was turned up to an 11 and we even got to have some really beautiful moments with beloved characters. I adored that they were using Hershel’s pocket watch to make weapons. Hershel is still with us; I just wish he could have been around to witness Rick and Carl’s reunion with Judith because that was gorgeous. With one episode, so many emotional needs were fulfilled, our group was finally fully reunited and some truly exciting things have been set up (Hello Morgan!), our thirst for all things Walking Dead has been quenched and now we can anxiously look forward to what looks to be a very promising season.

Lisa Fremont

Follow @lcfremont on twitter
Images: Variety

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