Talking Out The Dead: “No Sanctuary”

Kelen Conley: The fifth season is finally here and the premiere didn’t disappoint. Things pick up right where they left off, as we rejoin our group in the same boxcar we left them in at the end of “A”. Secrets are revealed, walkers are killed, and one person goes Rambo on the bad guys!

If that’s not enough warning, SPOILERS AHEAD.

What an episode. This was definitely a response to everyone who criticized all the character driven episodes of season 4 that we loved. And the true star at the heart of it all was Carol. After dealing with Mika and Lizzie and Tyreese and her guilt at some of the things she’s had to do, she really gets to cut loose once she discovers her friends are captive at Terminus. She takes down the whole place in about 40 minutes and doesn’t even have any real trouble other than having a brief scuffle with Mary.

It really shows how far she has come since the apocalypse started. In the season 4 opener, she was showing the children how to use weapons but this is new achievement in badassery for Carol. But I also worry about what kind of toll her actions are taking on her psyche. She’s already suffered years of abuse from Ed before the world went nuts and now she’s turned herself into this independent walker (and people) killing machine. She’s seen three children die. She left Mary to die even after Mary explained to her that the people of Terminus were similar to her: prey who became predators. I don’t know if being welcomed back into the group is going to be enough for her to maintain her sanity.

We also see the return of Cryreese as he picks the absolute wrong time to decide not to kill anything and almost gets Judith killed. Clearly the events of “The Grove” are still weighing on him heavily, but considering all the things the group has been through now, it would make more sense for him to find inner strength instead of retreating from what the world has become.

I especially liked how this episode really featured the core of the group. Rick, Carol, Daryl, and Glenn have been around since season 1 and it was nice to see them kicking butt together without too many distractions. They really got it right by showing how intense the situation was and how dire it was that the group get out of Terminus ASAP. Tyreese and Judith provided enough emotional drama without Glenn having to worry about Maggie or Rick having to protect Carl. Bob was the only person who got any screen time that was relatively new to the series still.

And speaking of Bob, how long until he dies, seriously? You can almost make a drinking game out of how close he comes to death on screen: first, in the slaughterhouse and Rick and Daryl were damn near shoving him out of the way as they made their escape. He seems to have outlived his usefulness and it has to be a matter of time before something really bad happens to him.

I’m really kind of bummed that Terminus was defeated so easily. I feel like there was so much to learn about those characters and the history behind how it formed. Surely, we haven’t see the last of its former inhabitants, mainly Gareth, as I suppose Rick will still kill him with that machete he mentioned. How long between this episode and Gareth’s actual death though, I really have no clue. But there’s no reason to assume he’s dead.

As far as Eugene’s story, I still feel like he’s a liar. He’s just a geeky dude that had a chance to make himself feel important after the outbreak.

The flashbacks of Gareth and crew before the Terminites became cannibals were interesting but I still don’t see how you go from zero to eating people even if they were overran by the meanest crew of survivors ever. Rick ripped out Joe’s throat but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to roast people. Maybe they managed to fight back and take back Terminus but were too beaten up to go look for supplies, so they started eating their former captors and never looked back? So much more to tell and I hope we still see it.

And Morgan! And he looks way better off than we last saw him in “Clear”. I can’t wait until he and the group cross paths.

Thomas Crawford: I have to agree. I think that a big part of this season will be Carol dealing with the loss of her children and the things she has had to do to survive.  Yes, she is showing a new level of violence and willingness to kill.  However, where will it end?  It is interesting that Mary mentioned that they were the same.  Carol has sort of gone from a prey of TWD world to a predator.  She showed no hesitation in coating herself with walker blood, storming the Terminus compound, and leaving Mary to die being eaten by the walkers.  While some may say this is awesome for her, it should be noted that this is a far cry from where she was even when they first got to the prison.

I’m giving Cryreese a break at the moment.  Yes, he wasn’t ready to kill.  Though what happened with the girls at the farmhouse, I can kind of understand him wanting to take a step back.  Don’t forget though, he didn’t step back that far.  Martin forced him out to face all those walkers without any weapons.  He had a gun and baby Judith hostage.  Who ended up walking out of the cottage alive at the end?  Yes, old Cryreese.  I don’t think he will be doing that much crying, at least when it concerns the safety of Walker Bait and his friends.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

I don’t think the Terminus people are down and out yet.  We know from the trailer that Gareth and Rick meet up again.  The fact is that at one point during the preseason trailer, it looked like the groups had to join forces.  I doubt it would be more than for one episode, however it is something to consider.

The opening of the early Terminus crowd in the boxcars was just a tidbit.  I think as this season goes on we will eventually see how they turned the tables, and became the top dogs.  I kind of hope they don’t try and make the Terminus crowd seem sympathetic.  I don’t see it happening, but at the same time the opener sort of hints at showing their humanity.  I will say, slaughtering people like cattle for dining purposes sort of steals away any hint of humanity.  I don’t find these people sympathetic at all, though who knows where it will go.  The show does have an interesting way of making people connect with the people we are supposed to hate and sometimes even root for them.  You could put the Governor into this category slightly, but I’m thinking more along the lines of Merle (Some may even point out that in the opening, a lot of people liked Shane, even though he was obviously meant to be more of a bad guy).

Poor old Bob.  I have to admit, I sort of like him.  He showed some of his personal demons, mainly with alcohol.  He seems to have a good humor and soft heart.  Those combined with the fact that he is now obviously in a thing with Sasha tends to make me think he is ripe for the kill list.  That is the nature of this show though.  They give a character some build and show something of their personality…and then boom they are gone.  I honestly hope though that he won’t be a pointless killing.  I don’t think he will die as dramatic as Herschel.  However, he has added some interesting qualities to the group, though it was mainly with Maggie and Sasha.  Perhaps he could go out for a good cause?  One can only hope.

One question I have, who is in charge at this point?  The group follows Rick, that is sort of obvious by how he was giving orders from their escape.  He seems to be in a good place, ready to do anything to protect Carl and the people of the group.  However, Abraham obviously hasn’t forgotten his mission.  The question is, when will these two butt heads?  Will it be subtle or more explosive?  I think they will eventually become friends, or at least comrades in arms.  However, the initial problem is that Abraham is a man used to taking charge and making things happen.  It is also obvious that the crew is firmly behind Rick.  I think we all remember how it turned out when Glenn didn’t back down from Abraham.  I think this should be an interesting dynamic for at least the first part of the season.

Moving on, I don’t know if Eugene is a nerd who thinks he is important, or is just a nut.  Every time he has explained about the “mission” to DC, he has been very unclear.  At first it was just confidential, now it is this whole mess of using germs to fight germs, fire with fire I guess.  He doesn’t actually talk about the how, why, and where this could be done.  At this moment, DC seems more like a pipe dream, just something for him to shoot for.

I should also note that what he said about fighting the biological war sounded very similar to a mission from a video game or even a comic book.  I am starting to wonder if maybe he isn’t living in the real world anymore, yet really believes he can do something to change it.  That being said, I am keeping an open mind, as he did help save Glenn when Rosita and Abraham were hellbent on getting back to the mission.  His main reason was he had to be able to live with himself after saving the world.  Maybe he is telling the truth.  Maybe he is just a nutjob and no longer living in reality.  I will say that overall I don’t sense anything malicious or evil in his intentions.  Mostly, I just get weird and awkward.  This is something that we will probably have to wait until the end of the season to truly find out.

KC: I think something has to give with Carol now. She’s clearly proven she’s the baddest woman on the show and is probably top three out of all the characters (I feel like Michonne has taken a step back since she’s embraced humanity and become friends with Carl). Where do you go from here? I don’t know if she quite gets over the unkillable hump like Rick, Daryl, and maybe Michonne have. But we care enough to not want her to just get randomly bitten and stabbed in the brain too. So while there’s room for more character exploration, I think there needs to be more to go with it.

Man, I just don’t have patience for wishy-washy people when we’re this far along. It’s great for storylines every now and then but when you’re preoccupied having a personal crisis, that’s what gets you killed. So yes, the way Tyreese took out those walkers hand to hand to save Judith was heroic and awesome. He just needs to find a middle ground so that he’s more to the group than a glorified babysitter.

The trailer definitely made it seem like a team up with Terminus was imminent, I just wonder what the costs of that deal would be. And really, you’re forced into situations with people you don’t trust all the time in this world, but can you ever really trust a cannibal? That’s probably the last kind of person I’d want to be forced to trust. The slightest twinge of hunger and you’re missing an ear? No thank you.

On that note, I hate the Terminites and there’s no redeeming them for me. Gareth just looks like a sick sonuvagun every time he’s on screen. DON’T TRUST THE CANNIBALS. I want to know how they got to that point but there’s no sympathy on this side for me either friend.

I do love Bob, mostly because he continues to survive even though he’s the likeliest candidate to go every time a walker jumps out and yells surprise. I’d say he’s escaped the meaningless death list for sure, with Rosita and Tara being the only ones I can imagine kicking around for that. Bob has had his moments to shine since he showed up in season 4, so I too hope that when he goes, it’s with dignity.

Rick is still in charge but I can tell from what Abraham said to Rosita that he plans to make the move to Washington still. And convincing Rick to do so might be difficult. After all that Rick has seen and been through, he’s not going to believe Eugene knows the answers. Any hope he might have had for a resolution was destroyed along with the CDC way back in season 1. So conflict between the two for sure, but I don’t think it will result in anyone losing a hand… or will it?!

Eugene definitely isn’t leading everyone to Washington just for fun or because he wants to slaughter them. Maybe he was just some dude who lost his friends or family and ended up getting saved by Abraham and Rosita. Maybe he cooked up the story of being able to save the day if he could get to DC so that Abraham and Rosita would protect him. Maybe he has Asperger’s and this was the only way he could think to connect with them. Or maybe he has checked out and he really thinks he can end the apocalypse. So many different ways to go with him. I just hope he doesn’t die before we find out.

TC: I think that is one thing that was so awesome and yet so annoying about the opener, just so many questions.  Yes, I’m happy they made it out of Terminus.  Where do they go from here? I’m glad that Tyreese was able to save Walker Bait.  How long until his conscious becomes a liability?  Carol is the baddest woman on the show at this point.  How long until she snaps mentally?  Most important…What About Bob?  Bill Murray reference.

Seriously, I think we can agree on some things.  I think we both can agree that neither of us have much love for the Terminites.  I think we both also agree that the whole idea of them being victims, while true, is not making them sympathetic.  However, we did not see Gareth die.  I am willing to bet he will be looking for some revenge for his mother and loss of home in the upcoming episodes.

I also think it is weird that the trailer hinted the two groups working together.  I can’t imagine what in the world would make these two groups join forces, even for one episode. We will just have to wait and see.

I forgot about season 1 and the CDC.  That was where Rick learned that being bitten really didn’t matter.  The doctor told him before he left that the disease had spread to the entire population.  Everyone was infected.  This meant that you die and become a walker.

This seems obvious to anyone at this point.  However, I didn’t really think of how that might affect Rick’s views of a medical cure.  The CDC episode and how it affected his views might play a role in his decision to go to DC and try for Eugene’s cure.  It is something to think about.

The one thing I will say for certain, I think Rick will do whatever he can for the group’s survival.  I call it a group but it is obvious the group isn’t just the group, they are his family.  Yes, Carl and Walker Bait will always come first.  However, it is obvious that his feelings for everyone that survived the prison massacre are cemented.

I still see Michonne as his sister.  She is obviously bonded with Carl, and that is important to Rick.  He told Darryl point blank that he was his brother, and the Claimers finding them at the end of season 4 was not his fault.  Tyreese handed Rick his daughter back at the end of the episode.  He literally brought her back from certain death in the eyes of Rick and Carl.  Not only that, it was obvious he went through hell to protect Walker Bait.  I think it is safe to say Rick will go through hell to return the favor to Tyreese and keep him alive.

Finally, Carol is back.  Yes she has her problems, yet Rick has obviously reconciled with her in just a few words and a hug.  The relationship will probably never be one hundred percent the same.  Yet, she did save him and the rest from certain death, right as they were on the gallows so to speak.  I think Carol may have issues with what she has had to do recently through the season.  I also think that Rick feels that she is a member of the family, regardless of what she did.

It was a great start, because honestly the family is back together.  They are down, out, and suffering the loss of the security of the prison.  Yet they finished the episode together.  I think that Rick will make sure that he can do whatever is in his power to keep it that way.  They are not just a group of friends, they are a family.  I think how Rick deals with this season’s trials and probable losses are going to be a big theme throughout.  In the end I’m betting they try to go to DC.  However, they will hit a few speed bumps along the way (What About Beth??)

A final thought, the name, “No Sanctuary”.  That was what Rick marked on the sign to Terminus.  It seems a simple warning.  It could also just be a play on what Terminus was really about.  It could also be another major theme for the entire season.  The family is seeking a place to call home, a sanctuary.  Will they find it in DC?  It sort of gives an ominous glance into the season to come perhaps. This opener got me ready to see where the road takes them and what what is waiting around the bend.  Whether they find the sanctuary or not, it should be a wild ride.

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