Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Walking Dead: Season 5, Episode 1

The Walking Dead
Episode Title: “No Sanctuary”
Channel: AMC
Director: Greg Nicotero
Writer: Scott M. Gimple
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Runtime: 44 min
Rated: TV-14
Original Air Date: October 12, 2014

Wow, that was an action packed season opener! It just felt like it started and never even slowed down. Gareth and company are, I think, the scariest villains we've run into so far on The Walking Dead. What they're doing is clearly evil and heartless, but they do it so dispassionately that it makes their heinous action seem like another day at the office. The trough scene highlights this perfectly, encompassing outright butchery and book keeping all at once.

Carol's reunion with the rest of the group is amazing as she single-handedly causes more destruction and chaos than any character on the show has thus far without the benefit of a tank. The emotional rollercoaster reaches a new high as the reunions at the end of the episode should leave everyone feeling at least a little misty. I'm not sure I like the flashback scenes that almost seem to be trying to evoke some sort of sympathy for the citizens of Terminus. Their side of the story was told to the audience already, let us decide how reliable their version is.

My one major problem with this episode is that I don't believe the group's reaction to Rick's suggestion at the end. The survivors that have been with Rick for a while have seen what happens when you hurt an enemy and don't finish them off. They lick their wounds and then they come after you. How could they think it's a good idea to leave any possibility of pursuit from those calculating killers? They've been burned before, and without some serious discussion among them about a course of action I can't believe they'd willingly leave the proverbial knife to their back.

Conclusion: Other than the one issue I took, this was a great opener. I'm glad to see that after the second half of season four, where every episode seemed like it followed a different set of two or three survivors, we seem to have gained some cohesion for the time being. The only thing this episode didn't do is delineate a clear path for the season to take, but that isn't always necessary, especially when you begin with such a bang.

Rating: 8.5/10

Sidenote: After the show, there was the typical, “scenes from the next...” followed by a short little teaser, featuring a character that we haven't seen in a very long time. My first thought was of a return, but I'm not sure if, distance-wise, that's feasible. I'm not sure how far into production the spin-off series is, but what if that was what we saw there? That would allow the fans to continue the story of one of the early series favorites, without trying to find a contrived way to reintroduce them to the main arc. I don't know that that's how it's going to go, but I'd be happy if it did.

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