Monday, October 13, 2014

The Walking Dead: Season 5 Episode 1 - No Sanctuary

The Walking Dead has finally returned!  And wow, what a way to kick things off.  I've always enjoyed this shows through its various showrunners, choices of pace and various focuses on character depth.  I've always dropped my jaw at shocking events and bit my nails in suspense.  But, I think this is the first time that I found the show emotionally affecting me.  Maybe I'm a sucker for a reunion episode with manipulative music playing in the background, but I sure was happy to see the gang back together again.  Scott Gimple has taken his time building story arcs that pay off over the long run and this cliffhanging resolution episode is a perfect example of one of those payoffs.  The Walking Dead is a better show for it now and I'm glad to be revisiting the land of the non-living!  Let's dive in to the things I felt worth mentioning (or that I ripped off from watching Talking Dead)!

Discussion Points  

  • The episode was bookended with flashbacks to the Terminus crew.  It basically showed the evolution into what they became and the comparison to our crew we've been following.  It shows that they're not too much different.  It's survival of the fittest and the smartest out there.  It's not personal.  Basically, we learned that Terminus did start as everything it promised to be, but then some people came in and took advantage of that trust.  Gareth, his mother Mary and the rest of their crew were able to plot a coup and take their sanctuary back.  But, when they did they adopted some of their captors' rules and started herding in their own cattle for survival.
  • I never would've picked up on this, but the tattoo guy that Glenn wanted freed during their own escape was the same guy that they showed in that final flashback.  He was one of the Terminus Crew's captors.  Of course, I was making a mental note that Glenn might be their new resident sponsor of living a normal life and helping people out (a la Dale, Herschel, etc...), but with that idea backfiring on them almost immediately I think it was just an additional sign of the brutal future coming for our crew.
  • The other sign was the whole conversation between Tyreese and the Terminus guy they had in the shack with Judith.  He mentioned that Tyreese is still a good person and that's why he wasn't going to survive the day.  Terminus guy had no qualms of threatening baby Judith's life to survive another day.  I don't remember when Tyreese went on this "I don't want to kill anymore" pledge.  Maybe it was just introduced and effectively ended all in this premiere.  But, I loved the whole concept of him being thrown out of the shack, taking out a group of walkers with his bare hands then coming in and beating Terminus guy to a bloody fatal pulp.
  • So, we did confirm very early in the episode that the Terminus crew had become cannibals out of necessity. The whole scene at the trough was rough to watch.  Of course, we knew the 4 people lined up from the D trailer were all going to be offed.  I did not make the connections that they did on Talking Dead, that the first guy in the lineup has been in a previous episode and that it's also the actor playing the penguin on Gotham.  I don't even remember when they ran into him.  So, I'll have to look that up later unless someone else remembers!
  • Carol's rescue effort was nothing short of awesome.  She knew that a herd of walkers was heading towards Terminus due to the gunshots.  And she knew that also meant her friends might be in trouble.  So, she borrowed a tip from Rick from Season 1 Episode 2 - Guts, and smothered herself in walker goo and headed towards Terminus with the herd, and her sniper rifle of of course.  She blew up a gas tank and a whole mess of walkers with it.  And the distraction was plenty to give Rick and co the upper hand.  It through Gareth and go off their game.  Rick had a created a wooden shiv and used it to free himself and take out their would be slaughterers.  Then we saw the whole crew go into survival mode, taking anything that could be used as a weapon to fight walkers and Termites (Walking Dead coined term) alike.  My personal favorite was Michonne's double edged wooden blades.  Hopefully she gets her sword back though!
  • It was easy to see that Rick is a non-nonsense leader of men in a zombie apocalypse now.  He ordered the death of all Termites that they see.  His reasoning?  None of us were going to get to live?  None of them should either.  He took out 4 or 5 of them in the back with a machine gun without even considering the emotional consequences of taking a life.  This is not your farmer Rick anymore!  Carol took out Mary after learning what had happened to Terminus.   Well, I guess she didn't really take her out more than let her be taken by some hungry dead people.  And eventually, everyone escaped Terminus and the place was set ablaze.
  • Rick wanted to go back and take out the rest of them, including Gareth but the rest of the crew had to convince him it wasn't worth it.  But the only thing that really convinced him was at the sight of Carol whose return started the tearjerking reunion!  It reminded me of every episode of LOST where the cast came back together again after a long arc apart and the music swirled and the tears fell.  Daryl and Carol were reunited.  But then Rick, letting bygones be bygones, was so grateful to see her and embraced her.  And of course, this wasn't even the best part.  Rick and Carl had just assumed Judith was no longer alive, but they found out Carol and Tyreese had her this whole time.  Yikes, Niagara Falls in this house!  The whole gang is back together.  Well, most of them.  Rick's goal now is to get as far away from Terminus as possible.
  • Surely, Daryl is going to catch them all up on Beth's situation and they're going to either intentionally or accidentally stumble upon her soon.
  • It was clear that Abraham and Rosita were not content with just hanging around with the group and are eager to get back to their mission.  But, Abraham insisted they would talk to Rick soon.  Eugene did spend some time revealing his plan for the walker cure.  He said he worked with a team of scientists on viruses that could take out the whole planet of the living in rapid fashion.  He has a plan to use this knowledge against the walkers.  In my mind I thought, yeah like THAT's really going to work.  But, the crew in that trailer thought it sounded pretty solid.  Granted, when you're just trying to survive day in and day out, having some kind of goal might be more incentive to do that surviving, even if it's potentially a fool's errand.    
  • So how funny is it that the Terminus plot ended in the first episode?  I think we all assumed this would be a season-long plot, at least the first half of the season.  The show will keep the gang on the run for now.  Granted, the fact that Gareth is still out there means we probably haven't seen the last of the people from Terminus.  And the fact that Rick wanted to go back and kill them all and didn't get the chance to has to have repercussions.
  • So, the episode ended with Rick painting over a Sanctuary sign on the railroad tracks and indicating that there is NO SANCTUARY at Terminus.  If you stuck around after the scenes for next week you would've seen that someone walked up to that sign hooded and masked, only to reveal that it's Morgan from the Series Premiere episode (and the awesome season 3 episode CLEAR)!  As Scott Gimple pointed out, he looks like he's more put together than the last time we saw him, and he started following different signs in the woods.  We didn't see Rick and crew making those signs, so who knows where he's going?  It's nice to know that he's still out there and the show has a plan for him.  I wonder if these post-credit scenes will be a new thing for TWD.  Must be tough for people who don't watch previews for next week!  Granted, they showed it again on Talking Dead, so maybe most people caught it.  
Well, I think I squeezed all the info I could out of this episode.  Looking forward to discussing further with everyone in the comments.  This was a great episode of The Walking Dead.  I might even suggest it was one of the best.  I'm very optimistic about the season ahead, and I'll look forward to writing about as much of it as I can!  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week. 


Mike V. said...

Kirkman talks premiere:

MJ said...

I'll have to get to your write up shortly. But what a premier !

And I missed the end apparently ? One of my co-workers told me today something about the very end and I didn't see it !

Last I saw Rick wrote NO sanctuary. But then somone came and read it - that's what I missed. I know who now but don't want to spoil any one else who did not see that.

Mike V. said...

MJ, I wrote about the end and assumed you'd miss it because it came on AFTER the previews for next week (which I recall you don't watch lol).

It was part of the episode, so spoil away!

I agree though, it was a great premiere!

MJ said...

I agree - very emotional ep. Daryl's face when he sees Carol and is hugging her. Rick's face when he sees Judith. I was welling up. This ep had it all. Was even interesting to see how the people at Sanctuary became who they were. Still not right - can see not trusting very readily after people came in, took over and were raping women. That does not translate to cannibalism - but it does translate to Trust No One Again.

Tyresse was puss ! LOL He did start the non-killing last year. Didn't want to kill them at the fence. But yeah - he was bad-a** when he came back into that shack. I'd have loved to have seen the scene with him taking them all out with no weapons. And now Michonne has lost her Katana ! But yeah - Carol was the read bad-a** of the episode.

My husband said he's nervous that Maggie and Glenn did not want to go back and kill who was left. The moral compasses of the show don't do well (RIP Dale and Hershel).

That trough scene was awesomely horrible. Yeah - we all knew the red shirts would get it.

So lots of talk about Gareth really not being dead - and Gimpel pretty much spoils that one. Def thought that Terminus would last a few weeks.

Glad to hear they showed the 'guy' on Talking Dead. Now I don't have to watch credits and comings - and not try to re-tape this if I missed it.

MJ said...

Oh - the Then Now thing - totally ripped from Supernatural. They do that every season finale and sometimes during the season.

Mike V. said...

Definitely was nervous for Glenn with his moral compass action in terminus....but it seemed to be the general consensus that when they got out of Terminus they should just get away. They survived to fight another day, why risk it? Rick wanted to kill them all.

Ahh forgot about Tyreese last year. I think I do recall it now.

Kirkman/Dalton Ross (EW) kind of spoiled Gareth not being dead too...but TV Rules dictate if you don't see the person dying they're not dead. (hence your Harrison theory on Scandal too lol)

Yeah it was a really quick scene with the "guy" that I already mentioned in the recap above. :)

Then/Now....yeah such a creative technique! That's like me saying everything from Revolution was ripped from Star Wars! lol

Leslie said...

Definitely a great episode! Very intense! Agree that the whole reunion part was emotional. The best was Carol and Daryl when his tough guy persona melted for a minute. Pretty sweet with Rick and Carol, too, and Rick and Carl seeing Judith.

On the flip side, lots of gore to go around. That trough scene was crazy! Interesting to hear on TD that our gang's reactions to the visual of all that was real. Was the first guy that got it the guy Rick and Carol saw with the girl in the house in the episode where Rick banished Carol? I didn't recognize him until they mentioned it on TD.

Mike V. said...

@Leslie - Hmmm...that might be it! In fact, I looked that episode up on imdb and that's definitely the guy. He's definitely the guy playing penguin on Gotham too. No way I would've remembered him. I don't rewatch these eps like I have other shows in the past, so those one off characters are lost on me!

Mike V. said... His IMDB profile (meant to link it in the last post)

Mike V. said...

Ratings were huge...but this might show that maybe they're topping off. "Only" a million up from last year. I think it's jumped higher from year to year in the past. But 17 million on cable is ridiculously good!

Rob UK said...

Hi Mike V, thought I would time travel to the present for today and comment on your blog of a show that is actually running and you don't know how it all ends :-)

Nice that you have a WOW in here and also mention Lost (weird coincidence unless you mention it often, which come to think of it you probably do!)

Thought this was a great episode.premier, Carol's redemption by saving the crew was a lovely touch, and agree the reunion was very moving.

Looks like a lot of twists and turns ahead, but at least no time travel in this one - just bad ass scientists looking to fight zombies with biological weapons. I like that they seem to be back on the road now as well. The rest of the season has a lot to live up to now!

I totally missed the bit at the end, I really hate watching next episode previews, I'm going to watch anyway and it just spoilerizes it for me. But thanks to your blog I didn't end up missing the big reveal at the end!

Thanks as always for writing your blogs :-)

Mike V. said...

Welcome Rob! Glad you were able to make the jump from the LOST blog over to here.

My wow's don't come as frequently for other shows as I dolled them out for LOST, but I thought TWD was deserving this week. They pulled out all of the stops for the premiere. As for LOST, I've compared TWD to LOST a few times, especially in the first season when we were following a bunch of "survivors" trying to make it in a strange new world. I guess that vague comparison is still valid today, but not as much!

But yeah, it's a funny coincidence that I did both as you're still plowing through LOST. lol

As for previews for next week, you can mute them or fast forward them just to catch that post credits scene...and they aired it during Talking Dead right after as well.

No problem for the blogs, thank you for reading and commenting!

Zainab Sher said...

Hey Mike, it is that time of the yr where I watch walking dead episode and rush to your blog to see what you and other peeps are saying.
WOW, what am episode, seriously! I didn't cry but I was super emotional and was cheering every termite's death like hell yeah, you deserve it!
I don't know who the third party is that in the end was beating up gareth and had him and his mother plus remaining crew in container. They seem to be a whole new crew... Can't wait to see who they are and why they attacked terminus.

Finally we are going to see priest. I haven't read comics but he was quite a talk last time walking dead was airing.

Oh and when everyone was meeting each other and hugging and going all so happy and emotional, I thought that it is going so sweet that may be they drop Beth in it from the sky to rejoice, lol.

MJ said...

Watched Talking Dead last night finally. Had no clue that the first guy at the trough was the guy who Rick gave his watch to (nor that he later became penguin on Gotham later). Did not pick up on the guy Glenn lets out was one of the crew that took over Sanctuary from Gareth and company. Never even realized Gareth had a brother never mind that he was on the table. Too bad we had to blow it up - Sanctuary was actually a really good set up.

So who'd leaving the circle with an X symbol on the trees ? The priest we are about to meet or the crew that had Beth ?

Agree about if not seen dying you might not be dead. Very excited to see Morgan again - and very surprised.

Ratings - knew the premier would be big numbers. Everyone I know was dying for this show to come back. That was a hell of a cliff hanger last year.

Mike V. said...

Zainab - Welcome back! Glad you look forward to these recaps. I'm not sure how important it is to know the crew that captured the terminus crew was more to give the Terminus crew an origin story to how they got to the levels that they got to. But who knows???

Funny on Beth. lol I loved how they were asking what they should do next...i was thinking, "umm duhh...BETH!" Of course Abraham and co has other plans.

@MJ - Ahhh I'm connecting the dots now...I guess the watch that Carol picked up was Rick's that whole story came full circle. Makes sense now. It was weird how Scott Gimple was giving all of those plot details and backstory to the Terminus crew on Talking Dead when it just wasn't covered on the show. Like, they discussed it in the writers room, maybe it's in the comics...but if it's not on the show who cares?? lol

Hmmm...I just assumed the Priest vs. crew that had Beth were one in the same. Didn't the car that carry Beth away have a cross on it? No idea about the X circle on the trees. Is it too obvious to think that he might be headed to the same place Rick and Co are? Like maybe he's a couple storylines away from Rick's next move....I dunno. lol

Yeah..I figured the ratings would be huge too. I was just thinking that every premiere jumped up multiple millions of viewers...and this one went up 1 million. I was thinking maybe we're reaching the cap on the show's potential viewership. Makes sense, since they're in season 5. lol How long can this train ride on for? I'm sure AMC will milk it for all that it's worth. And if the cast is on board, and there's still story to adapt, I don't see why they should stop...unless the interest in the show eventually goes away. We'll see!

Mike V. said...

Well to follow up on my last comment, looks like the group that was with the mysterious tattooed "large man" might come into play eventually. We'll just have to see!

mj said...

That was a little spoilery. Never heard ofthat group til now.

MJ said...

Shield - kinda a fun episode with the faux faces. I want that ! LOL The minute Talbot was on the phone with Hydra you knew something was off - but just not quite what. Very interesting that someone else out there is carving these symbols. My husband went to the Face Off thing too - but they didn't switch faces. YOU didn't recognize the general as the guy from heroes ? LOL wow !

Blacklist - Oh - so close to getting real info about Red from Naomi ! And what she said is true - he manipulates, he makes you feel special and he always wants something. PeeWee was def more creepy this week. Liz was def talking about her self in that eval - so Aram def should have won that bet. And she has her own personal sniper ! Nice ! And where was Liz at the end - some cabin or something ? The Mossad chick - did she conveniently change the genetic tests from the file before giving it to Liz - or did Liz get the real thing ? My usual frustration - the FBI knows Red is just leading them where he wants for his own benefit - they even say it aloud now - but just go with it any way. Most interesting - Naomi says Red isn't who you think he is. So - is he one of the good guys in deep cover - that would be surprising but boring. And it was very clear that naomi kept saying 'my daughter' - probably to throw us off as we are meant to say 'ah hah - it's Red's daughter too.

Funny - I don't feel we got alot of answers. Just alot of red herrings (pun intended) as usual. Some will pan out - other won't. To me the only real info was that Naomi knew Liz back when Red first supposedly rescued her. The rest is more conjecture.

Ha Richard - I just read your theory. I pondered up above that Red could be a good guy in disguise. Though I disagree that Liz is doing alot that Red does not know about. Between her sniper following her and the Mossad chick I thnk Red knows all.

Legends - finally watched the 2 hour finale. Was pretty good. Can't believe we finally get his name from when he is in MI-5 only to find out that was a Legend too. A great summer show.

SOA - didn't get to watch again. The husband is killing me with the early bed times he's keeping. LOL

Mike V. said...

I think I heard of them last year...people thought they were the group that Daryl ended up with for a little.

Sorry didn't think it was too spoilery!

Mike V. said...

MJ, you posted that comment on the wrong post. lol I'll copy/paste it over. :)

mj said...

Nah - not too spoilery.