TURNING THE TABLES ON TERMINUS
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
There are two sides to every story. Season 5 begins when the current leadership of Terminus locked up in the very same railroad car that Rick and his team ended Season 4 in. The men and women look horrified, regretting their decision to put up signs even though they were trying to be “human beings.” It’s a fun twist to begin the season with. One of the things The Walking Dead gets consistently right is fleshing out the root of their antagonists. The Governor had a mental breakdown from the loss of his daughter and wife and never recovered. In much of the same fashion, it appears we will get several glances at why Terminus operates the way it does. These flashbacks look to center around Gareth particularly, who does a great job of showing a shift in personality from compassionate helper to do-whatever-it-takes survivor.
Switching time to the present, several bits of conversation are segmented from each of the characters, catching us up on some of what happened to them last season. The system works in its brevity while each of them turns the clothing on their back into weapons. This would prove somewhat inefficient, as there plan went in a different direction. There is a very disturbing and methodical feel to a scene that I can only call “The Bleeding.” The threat is very real as four men from “D” are lined up in front of a steel trough next to Bob, Rick, Daryl, and Glenn (from “A”), with their hands and feet bound and their mouth’s gagged.
There’s a lot to ground here to show how efficiently run Terminus is. Where Woodbury felt very clean and homey in the beginning, only to reveal a much darker world beneath, Terminus wears its identity on its sleeves for the world to see (once you enter the compound of course). The intro ends raising more questions than answers and does a great job of drawing us back into Kirkman’s world.
We pick up with Tyreese and Carol (holding lil’ ass kicker of course!) still reeling from the hard decisions they had to make during “The Grove” in Season 4. Tyreese isn’t quite ready to kill walkers yet, and Carol is still doing what she does best: killin’ walkers (and later, people). There’s a very Predator-esque moment where Carol owns her role as a force to be reckoned with, covering herself with walker blood to blend in with her surroundings. And let’s not forget for one second how amazing her assault on the compound was. Carol may have a very dark side, but she also is a survivor of Daryl’s caliber.
I will say that the season opener gave us some of the goriest moments I have seen in a while. From the guy on the table in the Terminus workshop to the first victim of Carol’s assault, we are instantly reminded that at its heart, The Walking Dead is about zombies.
Terminus was a sanctuary. It is told to us through the story of a woman during a faceoff with Carol. As I wrote earlier that fleshing out the antagonist is one of the main things that make The Walking Dead so popular. It is during moments like this, with the look of the woman while she tells Carol the story of the rise, fall, and rebirth of Terminus, that makes your heart ache for these people. The story does a great job anchoring just how dark this world is, where the compassionate are taken advantage of by the merciless.
While the show may have had its missteps, especially with last season being very hit or miss with quality episodes, Season 5 hit all the right notes. It’s been a long time since I was excited to root for Rick and his team, and it was awesome to see Rick, Daryl, Bob, and Glenn work together as the fighting force we know and love. “No Sanctuary” ended on a very high note. The reunion between Carol and Daryl was one of the more touching moments of the premiere, as was seeing Rick’s reaction to finding out that Judith was still alive. It’s good to have the gang back together again in a post Terminus world, and I’m excited to see where the journey takes them.
The Season 5 premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead hits all the right notes to bring fans of the series back and introduces the dark and bloody world to new audiences. With slasher genre gore, a peek under the hood of Terminus’ inner workings, and a triumphant return of Rick’s team, this season is off to a great start.
How does it feel to have the group back together? What role do you think Morgan will play? Did you notice ‘Gotham’’s Robin Lord-Taylor playing a second character on the show? Screw with the right people in the comments below.
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