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The Walking Dead

"No Sanctuary" (Aired October 12, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

I really missed "The Walking Dead" during its break. It may be my favorite, current show (though to be honest, it's hard for me to say this with 100% certainty). Because I'm on the west coast, I go on full social media lockdown until I am able to watch the latest episode for fear of ANYTHING being spoiled. I won't read the graphic novels (though I really, really want to), and I stay far, far away from any websites or articles that may given even the slightest hint at events to come. This show also stresses me out unlike any other show on TV right now. There are times where I actually pace back and forth while watching. More than once, one of my roommates has come home to find me with my hands over my mouth, starting intently at the TV with a look of panic on my face. I LOVE that a television show can make me feel this way. (And thank goodness for "Talking Dead" afterward to talk me off the ledge and provide me with much needed therapy after a new episode). 

So needless to say, I enter each season of "The Walking Dead" with high expectations. Thus far, I have not been let down. I know there is a lot of criticism from fans that the seasons start off slow. Well, I've personally never had this complaint. I've always enjoyed the pacing of the show, and after the Season 4 finale and the return of badass Rick Grimes, I couldn't have been more pumped fore Season 5. After watching the premiere, it looks like Scott M. Gimple and crew are turning the traditional pacing on its head, and I like it! Now what do ya say we get into it!

Season 5 opens with a flashback - a device not used that frequently, so when it happens, it's important. We see a group of people in a boxcar, and we hear screaming in the background. One member of the group expresses regret at posting signs offering sanctuary. It becomes clear that the people of Terminus were really offering a safe place, but that Terminus was overrun with the type of people that repeatedly rape women and murder. We then see Gareth tell his companion that they were trying to do something good. You guys, this show just gave an explanation as to why these people became cannibals (though at this point we still aren't 100% sure they are, but all the signs are there). How many shows provide motivation for the "bad guys?" ANOTHER reason I love this show.

We then flashforward to the group we know and love, still in the boxcar. We see Rick, Michonne, Maggie, Glen, Daryl, Carl, Tara, Sasha, Bob, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene prepping and fashioning weapons, getting ready to attack the Termites when they next open the boxcar. As one of the Termites approaches, a canister of gas is thrown in, knocking everyone out. Next thing we see, Rick, Daryl, Glen, Bob, and three other nameless characters are being dragged to kneel in front of a tub. Sorry nameless guys - you won't be around much longer! We see that two Termites are dissecting the guy Rick killed earlier when he and the group first arrived at Terminus. Cannibal theory confirmed!

The two Termites then turn their attention to the new meat (pun totally intended). This tub is where the people are killed and the bodies prepped for cooking. YUM! It turns out, we do know the first guy that is killed! It's Sam, the male half of the couple Rick and Carol ran into in Season 4, whom Rick lent his watch to. Sam and the two other nameless victims summarily have their heads cracked and throats slit. Right as they're about to take Glen out, Gareth walks in to take care of some inventory. It's chilling to see how nonchalant he is about the whole thing. I guess after a while, even cannibalism can become mundane. 

Bob and Rick try to negotiate with Gareth for their lives. Rick tells Gareth that he buried weapons before entering Terminus. He promises to use those guns to kill Gareth, but Gareth laughs him off.  Meanwhile, we see Rick sawing away at the tape binding his hands together with a piece of wood he managed to get from the boxcar before he was pulled out. Right as the two Termites go to kill Glen, there is a giant, mysterious explosion.

We then flashback to presumably earlier in the day. Carol, Tyreese, and baby Judith are walking along the train tracks, headed to Terminus. She tells Tyreese that she's not going to stay at Terminus. Tyreese looks like he has some thoughts, but Carol notices a walker. When Tyreese says he's not ready to kill, Carol tells him he has to be able to. Tyreese is still too traumatized after the incident with Lizzie and Mika. Well sorry 'bout it Tyreese, but you live in the freaking zombie apocalypse. You're gonna need to toughen up real quick if you want to survive AND keep baby Judith alive. After taking out the walker, Carol realizes there's a herd, and she and Tyreese hide out and wait for it to pass. The herd is heading for them, but then gunshots are heard in the distance (likely from Terminus), and the herd heads in that direction. Carol and Tyreese decide to take another route into Terminus.

We then see a guy preparing some fireworks whilst talking on a walkie-talkie. He makes references to Michonne and Carl, and Carol and Tyreese walk up and realize that their friends are at Terminus. They (very loosely) tie up Southern boy (they don't ever say his name), and Carol is off to Terminus to see what’s happening. Tyreese is left to keep an eye on Southern Boy and protect baby Judith. Southern boy tries to use his Southern charm and mojo. But Tyreese is guarded. Southern Boy tells Tyreese he is a good guy and that's why he and baby Judith are going to die.

(Tyreese, for the love of God, please kill this dude. Look, I know that I shouldn't be supporting the killing of human by another human, but considering Southern Boy is a Termite and likely eats people, he is not someone who should be allowed to walk around. Granted Tyreese doesn't know about the cannibalism, but still.)

Meanwhile, Carol walkerfies herself to keep other walkers from noticing her. I mean she does a real good job, all in her hair and everything. And while it grossed me the eff out, it's pretty freaking genius. She gets to the gates of Terminus and sees her friends being dragged inside. She also sees the herd approaching and notices a large gas tank. Carol, being the genius BAMF that she is, shoots the gas tank poking a whole, then shoots a MOTHEREFFIN firework at it, exploding the gas tank, sending walkers up in the air, and lighting others on fire. God bless you Carol. 

The explosion is so large, that Tyreese hears it in his shack. As he's checking it out, Southern Boy manages to get loose and run over to baby Judith, threatening to snap her neck. There are walkers outside of the shack, and Southern Boy tells Tyreese to go outside or he will kill Judith. Tyreese, knowing his one duty is to protect her, goes outside. Somehow, he's able to fight off the walkers, come back in, and beat the shit out of Southern Boy. It looks like Tyreese's killing prowess is back! (Though it's odd they don't show him actually killing Southern Boy, particularly since this show isn't one to shy away from violence). 

Back inside Terminus, Rick manages to free himself and stab the two butcher Termites in the neck killing them. They then decide to go back to the boxcar to let their friends out. There may be a herd, but it's their family, and to be fair, they've taken on herds before. Rick tells the others if they see any Termites, don't hesitate to kill them because the Termites won't hesitate. This is an even tougher and harder Rick than before. He's vengeful, a side of him we haven't really seen. It's nice to see him not as Farmer Rick, but it seems that his time spent at Terminus has made him a bit less forgiving, and less willing to see the good in people. He's not Gareth by any stretch of the imagination, but it's possible to see that similar experiences resulted in a hardness in both men. 

So the four men fight there way through the herd, nearly giving me a freaking heart attack. The thing about this show is that no one is ever really safe. Ever. Except for Daryl. I fear for Scott M. Gimple and Robert Kirkman's safety if they ever make the decision to kill of Daryl.

Carol makes her way through Terminus, I assume in an attempt to try and find her friends. She finds the room where the Termites store the personal items they take off of their victims, and pockets a watch that she seems to recognize. Eventually, she makes her way to the candle-ritual room, where “Never Trust” is painted on the wall (is this the message of the season?!?). There, Mama Termite (on "Talking Dead," Scott M. Gimple said that she is Gareth's mother) tells Carol they did in fact start Terminus as a sanctuary, but that the wrong people came and they fought back. She says they realized you are either the butchers or the cattle. (Now, why this is the conclusion they came to seems a little unclear to me. I get fighting back, but for the next “logical” step to be cannibalism is a connection my brain can’t quite make, but maybe that’s my own issue.) Carol shoots Mama Termite in the leg, and instead of killing her, opens the door for the Walkers to do the job for her. 

In the boxcar, Sasha and Michonne press Eugene on the mysterious cure. Eugene says that even if he gave them step-by-step instructions, the cure would still die with him. There's something fishy about Eugene - part of me wonders if he really knows about a cure or if this is some kind of alternate strategy (what exactly this alternate strategy would be I don't know). Finally he breaks down and tells them that he was part of a team that used "weaponized disease to fight weaponized diseases," in other words, fighting "fire with fire." Apparently, he believes the information he gleaned while working on these projects will allow him to develop a cure. 

Rick, Daryl, Glen, and Bob make it back to the boxcar to release their friends. They’re able to get out of Terminus and over the fence to where Rick buried his weapons. He wants to go back in and kill the rest of the Termites - he doesn't believe that any of them should have the right to live. I hope this is as close as Rick gets to Gareth. And I mean, I get it. Being locked up in a boxcar, seeing people killed and eaten, that is going to mess you up. But the worst reaction is to turn into the thing you hate.

We then see Carol approach the group. She somehow managed to find a shower or at the very least, time to clean up and get the Walker blood off of her (pretty amazing considering there was a giant herd of walkers). When Daryl sees Carol, he runs to embrace her. I was genuinely surprised at how emotional this made me. I am not a Daryl/Carol shipper. I want Carol to remain strong and independent, the same with Daryl. (And do not even get me started on the Daryl/Beth thing. That better not happen or I may lose my mind). Rick asks Carol if she saved them, and he hugs her. Even after all Rick (rightfully) put her through, she came through for them. 

Carol leads Rick and the crew back to the shack with Tyreese and Judith. Once there, Tyreese and Sasha reunite, and Rick and Carl are reunited with Judith. SO MANY EMOTIONS!! Tyreese tells Carol killed Southern Boy (weird again that Carol doesn't go in to check and we don't see a dead body, but whatever). This may be the only, remotely happy moment of the season, I should enjoy it while it lasts. 

As the group is moving on, we see an exchange between Abraham and Rosita. Abraham tells Rosita that they'll "Talk to 'em. Not just yet." Umm... what? This makes me all kinds of nervous. Characters knowing things but keeping it secret from everyone else does not a good omen make. Plus, it's "The Walking Dead," and nothing can ever go right for more than 2 seconds anyway. 

And with that, Season 5 is off and running. If anyone complains about this season starting off slow, they should just stop watching the show because they are never going to be satisfied. 

Concluding Thoughts: 

- I find it really interesting that a good chunk of Season 4 was spent with the group getting to Terminus, only to have Terminus destroyed and the Termites assumingly killed in the season premiere. It also seems weird to introduce a major character like Gareth and to only have him in a couple of episodes. Something tells me we're going to see him again. 

- There's no way that the group made it out of Terminus emotionally unscathed. We've seen the changes in Rick, but I'm sure others were affected as well. I’m betting we'll see the repercussions of Terminus throughout the season. 

- Tara has some fence mending to do. She was by the Governor's side when he killed Hershel. Will Rick and Maggie find out, and if so, will they forgive her the way Glen did?

- Lastly: WHAT THE FUCK DO ABRAHAM AND ROSITA KNOW?! Guys, it's making me really nervous and it's going to come back and bite everyone in the ass, I just know it.