It is finally October 12, 2014, and the long wait is over. The Walking Dead Season Five has begun on AMC in all of its walker-filled glory, continuing the story of the humans who have so far avoided the living dead or the humans who have moved outside of the previous moral boundaries imposed by a society that no longer exists. It is very clear to me that Rick and his band of survivors have one main focus – maintaining their humanity at all costs.
I will warn you that there may be some spoilers, but I will keep them to a minimum.
In the opening scenes of Episode One, titled “No Sanctuary”, things look bleak for Rick and the group. As you may or may not remember from last season, they had been captured by the people of Terminus, a supposed sanctuary in this dangerous world, and they were trying desperately to escape. The only ones missing from the group were Carol, Tyrese, and little Judith. But it was still unclear what the intentions of the Terminus folk were.
Those intentions are made very clear in the first few minutes of the episode as they drag Rick, Glen, Daryl, and a few others into a room that looks more like a butcher shop than anything else. They begin to slaughter the group, like animals, slitting their throats like livestock and letting them bleed out. Only some timely intervention from someone saves Rick, Glen, Daryl, and Bob.
The phrase that pervades this episode is “Either you are the butcher or you are the cattle.” As has been speculated, based on the comics, the people of Terminus are cannibals, killing humans like cattle, slaughtering them, cooking and eating them. This drives Rick to say that these people are nothing more than animals and he cannot tolerate that. Rick believes that the one thing that still separates this group from everything else is their humanity and he is not willing to sacrifice that, nor will he not try to punish those who have abandoned their own.
I will say that there is a lot of action, suspense, and scares in this episode, but we see Rick as the strong leader, Carol as the resourceful soldier, and Tryese as Judith’s protector. The emotions run high. But, this is an episode that should not be missed.
I really love the evolution of the visual effects, from walker makeup to walker bites, everything is more realistic and so much more believable. There are some great scenes with walkers that are on fire shambling along. I really commend the cast and crew for an awesome spectacle to kick off this season. I know we all hope for many more seasons, but it is really nice to see things go well for this group for a change.
And you have to watch that last scene, the flashback to THEN. Could that be Negan we see at the door to the traincar? Foreshadowing of things to come, we hope, even if Kirkman says no.