Walking Dead Season 5 Review “No Sanctuary”

The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 1 No Sanctuary (1)

The Walking Dead has never been shy about violence, but the stars of the show have been very vocal in the lead up to season five about just how violent this season would be. Lauren Cohan said it would be “gruesome”, and Chad Coleman promised it would be “unrelentingly violent.” My first thought was “Ok sure, they’re just hyping up their show, but how much more violent can we possibly get?” Well, “No Sanctuary” kicked off with a scene that reminded us what show we’re dealin’ with here. Indeed, to paraphrase Rick in last season’s finale, I had forgotten who I was screwin’ with.

Seriously, that bleeding out scene was one of the gnarliest things I’ve seen on this show. Although it may not have had the ick factor of other kills in the past, or even other kills in this episode, the fact that it’s man-on-man violence somehow makes it seem exponentially worse. Seeing a walker nom on a poor Terminan’s face is gross, but it’s not as depraved and disturbing as conscious individuals butchering humans like cattle.

Of course Rick and his crew weren’t going to get butchered, so they were able to turn the tides and fight back, and the fight lasted basically throughout the entire episode. This is the kind of episode that The Walking Dead really nails, with wall-to-wall action and violence. They can sometimes get a little bogged down in the exposition or character centric episodes, but I wish this were the type of episode we would get every week. Sure, they might not have the budget for that, but there was very little for me to complain about tonight.

I used to complain about Carol a lot, but man, she’s really cranked up the bad ass meter in the last few seasons, and this episode was no different. She might be tipping the scales a little too far in the Rambo department, though. Between covering her body in walker blood, hitting a gas canister from 100 yards away, and then firing a mortar into the leaking canister on her first try…that’s a little too much. The explosion was one of the biggest and best we’ve seen on this show, though, so I’ll excuse this because of the pretty explosion.

My biggest complaint with the finale from last season was that we didn’t spend enough time at Terminus before quickly realizing that the people there were psychos, and that complaint still stands tonight. There’s so many cool parts of Terminus that I would have liked to have explored before all of our heroes got rounded up in a train car. I liked seeing the temple again, and the episode opening and closing with scenes showing that the people running Terminus were one time captives too was really interesting. Alas, most of them are dead and Terminus is in flames. Gareth and a few other Terminus red shirts are still alive, though. Since we concluded the episode showing Gareth vowing revenge, I’d have to imagine that means he’s still out there and hunting down Rick and his crew.

Oh, and it was just about confirmed tonight that the Terminans were cannibals, right? I mean, we can safely assume that at this point?

Meanwhile, we heard a little more about Dr. Eugene’s plan for a “cure”, and it really does sound like a legitimate plan. Who knows if there’s even the type of infrastructure in place in DC to support some kind of nationwide plan like that, but it isn’t like we’re really in this show because we want to see a cure for the zombies. We just like seeing them get smushed every week, with some good characters mixed in!

The episode concluded with several tearful reunions, as Daryl reunited with Carol, Tyreese with Sasha, and Rick and Carl finally saw Judith alive and well! I did not expect this episode to have such a happy ending, but I know happy endings will be few and far between as the season progresses. As long as they can keep up this same level of suspense and gore, I think that me and many other Walking Dead fans will be happy.

What did you guys think? Sound off in the comments section below.

Random Thoughts:

– I have a son of my own that’s about the same age as Judith, and I can tell you he would not have been as quiet as she was during all of that gunfire and hiding from the walkers. TV show babies sure seem to cry or not cry whenever the story suits it. I could not handle the threatened baby choking, though. That was really bothering me.

– It was funny seeing Robin Lord Taylor pop up again as the Terminan Sam. He’s my favorite part of Gotham as Oswald Cobblepot, so it was funny seeing him in a completely different type of character.

– Did Tyreese and Carol not hear that Terminus guy talking as they snuck up behind him? He was literally just talking about taking someone’s hat after they bled him out, and then when he has a gun to his head he starts backtracking and telling them that he’s a good guy. That cracked me up.